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What’s up with Moretti?
College football recruiting is a microcosm of real life. In real life, you never, ever, really know what’s going to happen from one day to the next.
Take Wednesday, for example. When I woke up and penned (ok, fine, typed) out a story about the most underappreciated Ohio State commitments, it included Colorado offensive lineman Jake Moretti. Just hours later, rumors began to swirl that Moretti – committed solidly to the Buckeyes since July 4, 2015 – may not end up in Columbus after all.
When these situations arise, there are a few key things to consider. Foremost among them is this: There are no great answers, but that doesn’t mean either side is right or wrong.
Here’s what you need to know about Moretti and the Buckeyes.
- Ohio State has not “pulled” his scholarship. The Buckeyes wants to sign Moretti in February.
- Moretti has planned to enroll early as he continues to rehab his surgically repaired knee.
- As numbers tighten, and with a limited number of early-enrollee spots needingto be sorted out, it made less sense for the Buckeyes to bring Moretti in early because he will not be physically ready to compete until next summer at the earliest.
At that point, it appears that Jake and his family are leaning toward checking out other options that will 100 percent allow him to enroll early. Colorado makes the most sense from a number of standpoints. The Buffaloes are a blooming program that would love to keep one of their state’s top players at home. And Moretti staying closer to home while rehabbing is helpful for him and his family.
This is not an easy decision for the Morettis, and it’s not a decision that either side is happy about. Ohio State identified and offered Moretti’s talent very early in the process. He was a player the coaching staff was eager to coach and a person that you’re proud to have in your program. Life sometimes has other plans, and there’s not always a clear-cut answer when it throws the big questions at you.
As of now, do not expect Moretti to sign with Ohio State.
So if that happens, who takes his place?
Because numbers are so tight and there are so many players that still want in at Ohio State, if Moretti ends up elsewhere, it’s not necessarily a slam dunk that the Buckeyes even replace him specifically.
Ideally, though, there will be a third offensive lineman in the 2017 class. Heck, even with three in the mix, the Buckeyes were working to try to land a fourth.
Two names to watch moving forward are Jackson (Tenn.) University School 5-star offensive lineman Trey Smith, who is expected to make an official visit to Ohio State on Nov. 26, and Massillon (Ohio) lineman Thayer Munford.
Smith, the country’s fifth-ranked offensive lineman, is a long shot. While he will visit Ohio State, the challenges of pulling him from SEC country, especially his home state Volunteers, are obvious. This Saturday, he’ll visit Notre Dame, so he’s at least still considering the more northern schools. Smith has been a target of the Ohio State coaching staff for almost two years and Tate Martell has been reaching out to him in recent weeks.
As for Munford, he’s had a very interesting year. He started his career at Cincinnati La Salle High School, but transferred to Massillon Washington for his senior season. Initially ruled ineligible because of a recruiting violation, Munford recently was reinstated and has played a handful of games for the Tigers. He impressed at a June camp at Ohio State and visited the Buckeyes on Nov. 5. Offered by Michigan State on Nov. 12, Munford will officially visit Iowa State this Saturday.
Again, there’s no guarantee that anyone takes Moretti’s spot specifically. With numbers as tight as they are, it’s likely Ohio State will focus on finding the best available players regardless of position to fill the (estimating here) remaining five to six spots in the 2017 class.