Ohio State searches for leader in 2019 recruiting class
During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Buckeyes address pressing questions on the minds of the Ohio State fan base with our daily feature. To ask Ryan Donnelly a question on the Buckeyes recruiting, follow along on Twitter and suggest a topic right here. Check back Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as we dive into the Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day. Go here to see all of our previous answers.
Do you believe there is a 2019 recruit out there that might commit to OSU in the near future and could be that lightning rod type of recruiting leader?
— Jared Duncan (@buckeyefan686) March 20, 2018
This is a really interesting question and one that I struggled to answer somewhat when I was running through some names in my head. Ohio State already holds three 2019 commitments — Indiana running back Sampson James, Ohio tackle Ryan Jacoby, and West Virginia guard Doug Nester — but none of them are necessarily those rah-rah recruit-turned-recruiter that fans fall in love with.
All three prospects live within a four-hour drive of Columbus and should be able to easily travel to help recruit future Buckeyes on visits when they’re around campus, a nice bonus for Ohio State’s coaching staff, but they don’t necessarily strike me as the type to go nuts with it and do a lot of recruiting on social media and things like that.
Ohio State will have some important visitors coming to campus soon and a few of them do strike me as the types that could be keystone recruiters for the Buckeyes.
On April 13, the weekend of the spring game, Houston St. Pius X wide receiver Jalen Curry will be visiting Ohio State for the first time. Curry called Ohio State a dream school when he received his offer from the Buckeyes and he continues to speak frequently with receivers coach Zach Smith and other members of the Ohio State staff.
Interestingly enough, Ohio State is also heavily involved with pro-style quarterback Grant Gunnell, Curry’s high school teammate. LSU is likely the top competition for both prospects right now, per Land of 10 sources closer to the recruitments. Both are regarded as top 100 prospects nationally on the 247Sports composite.
Gunnell also recently visited Ohio State and may return again for an unofficial visit during the late spring or early summer. Is it possible that the Buckeyes could land the Texas duo and spark another strong recruiting year in the state? They’ve landed Texas prospects in each of the last two prospects. Curry is definitely a big, outspoken personality and Gunnell is one of the country’s top quarterbacks (No. 2 pro-style QB), which is always a draw for other top prospects.
The weekend before the April 6 spring game, Ohio State is expected to host a trio of Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas prospects for official visits – safety Jordan Battle, cornerback Jaden Davis, and linebacker Anthony Solomon. Solomon is not seriously considering Ohio State and I’d find it unlikely that Davis ends up in Columbus, but the Buckeyes are the favorite for Battle right now.
With top Ohio State recruiters like Smith and Tony Alford making waves in Ft. Lauderdale and the South Florida region as a whole, landing a high-profile player at a high-profile program like Battle at Aquinas could give the Buckeyes some momentum down there. The Raiders have previously sent players like Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, Trevon Grimes, and Damon Arnette to Ohio State.
Finally, Ohio State will host the No. 5 running back in the 2019 class, Virginia native Devyn Ford, for two visits in April – an unofficial visit on the weekend of April 6 and an official visit on the weekend of April 26. The Buckeyes are battling with Penn State and Virginia Tech for Ford, and both of those schools seem to be ahead of Ohio State at the moment, but these visits represent a huge opportunity.
It doesn’t hurt, of course, that Ford’s coach Joe Mangano just spent several days in Columbus observing Ohio State’s practices, meeting with coaches, sitting in on team meetings, learning schematics and drills, and building relationships. Check out Mangano’s comments to Land of 10 on the visit here.
Ford is a similar story to Battle, in my opinion. He’s a big-name prospect in a super-talented state where Ohio State has to fight with many of the country’s top programs for talent, including a division rival in Penn State. Landing a player of his prominence could help Ohio State in northern Virginia.
So far, they’ve mostly succeeded in the Norfolk (Va.) and Virginia Beach (Va.) areas — about three hours to the south of North Stafford — landing players like Jalyn Holmes, Wayne Davis, and Teradja Mitchell.
Read more answers to questions about the Ohio State Buckeyes here.