Land of 10/file photo
Running back target Noah Cain last visited Ohio State in September.

The latest on Noah Cain and Ohio State’s pursuit of RBs

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 Question of the Day. Go here to see all of our previous answers.

From @AntoBuisson (via direct message): What happened to Noah Cain? I haven’t really followed 2019 recruiting that much, but I thought he was the main guy they were going for. What’s the latest on running back recruiting in 2019?

This question came in the wake of 4-star running back Sampson James committing to Ohio State on March 19. The Avon, Ind., standout is the No. 8 running back nationally on the 247Sports composite rankings and the third commitment overall in the Buckeyes’ 2019 class.

Noah Cain is the No. 2 running back nationally out of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy and certainly remains one of Ohio State’s top targets at the position. Running backs coach Tony Alford and the rest of the staff remain in frequent contact with Cain, who is scheduled to take an unofficial visit to Columbus this Thursday. He has visited the Buckeyes several times previously, the last time being the Oklahoma game on Sept. 9.

Make no mistake, Cain is still a major priority for the Buckeyes. They’re expecting to take two running backs in the 2019 recruiting class and although Cain has no plans to decide until later this year, Urban Meyer and his coaching staff will keep pursuing him hard. Cain previously told Land of 10 that Ohio State had “solidified itself” among his top schools. You should expect them to make his top list — coming later this offseason — and receive an official visit.

Still, there are a few other running backs that could take the second spot at the position in this class.

The Buckeyes have been emerging as a contender for Virginia running back Devyn Ford. On Thursday, Joe Mangano, Ford’s coach at North Stafford, Va., came to campus for the start of a multi-day excursion with his offensive line coach to spend time with and learn from the Buckeyes coaching staff. Land of 10 caught up with Mangano, who shared that Ford would be making two visits to Ohio State in April, including his final official visit.

Hosting Ford twice in April and spending lots of 1-on-1 time with his coach last weekend is a huge opportunity for the Buckeyes. Ford is the No. 6 running back in the 2019 class per 247Sports, but he has the versatility that could allow him to lineup as a slot or H if needed. That could mean that Ohio State would be able to continue pursuing Cain even if they landed Ford.

If they were to pursue a traditional running back, Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) University School standout Kenny McIntosh seems like a prime candidate. He is the No. 7 running back in the class and No. 108 prospect overall per 247Sports. Miami certainly seems to be the leader for his services, but Ohio State, Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida, and Florida State are in the mix.

Two other offered running backs to watch are Katy (Texas) product Deondrick Glass and Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances Academy’s Joachim Bangda. Glass, the No. 13 running back in the class, is scheduled to make his first unofficial visit to Columbus this spring, but has held an offer from the Buckeyes since around this time last year. Bangda had what he described as an “amazing” visit to Ohio State in February. He is one of four players at St. Francis with an Ohio State offer, but is likely not at the top of the board at his position.

It’s also possible that the Buckeyes could look in-state. Three running backs in Ohio already hold Power 5 offers — John Bivens, John Branham Jr., and Brandon Wright¬†— and have received interest from Ohio State.

Bivens seems like the top candidate for an offer from the Buckeyes. USC, Nebraska, Kentucky, Louisville, Cincinnati, and Toledo are the top six for Bivens, who also holds offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Purdue, and West Virginia. In nine games, he ran for 1,308 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging nearly 10 yards per carry.

Bivens is currently rehabbing from a knee injury that has kept him away from football activities and will keep him out of any prospect camps this summer. That means Ohio State will have to wait until this fall and his senior season to evaluate Bivens, who is from the Dayton area. That could give the Buckeyes time to keep pursuing Cain and make a decision on whether or not to offer Bivens until late in the process.

Read more answers to questions about the Ohio State Buckeyes here.