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Could Ohio State offer in-state QB Connor Bazelak soon?
KETTERING, Ohio — Ohio State has been searching for a quarterback, turning over new leafs around the country in search of one for the 2019 class. The Buckeyes have offered players like Michigan State commit Dwan Mathis and South Carolina commit Ryan Hilinski, searching around the country for the right fit.
However, the Buckeyes are fortunate enough to have a Power 5-caliber quarterback in their home state. Connor Bazelak, a 3-star quarterback from Archbishop Alter in the Dayton area, has racked up scholarships from more than two dozen programs. Georgia, Iowa, Pitt, Kentucky and N.C. State are just a handful of the offers for the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Bazelak.
“Right now, I’m just letting this May recruiting cycle go through and meeting with all of the coaches that want to come see me,” Bazelak told Land of 10. “I’ll probably narrow it down to three or four schools at the end of May and then visit those schools in the beginning of June and have a decision in mid-June. Some of those will be official visits, depending on the school.”
Ohio State has noticed the attention and accolades piled onto Bazelak, who has excelled at Alter despite playing in a somewhat limited passing attack. Quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day has built a relationship with Bazelak and will return again to see him throw very soon. It could prove to be a fruitful visit.
“I’ve been in contact with Coach Day a lot, probably every week or so. He came to see me throw about a month ago, but it was storming, so we could only use the gym. Next week, either on Monday or Tuesday, he’s coming back to see me throw outside,” Bazelak said. “He said they’re very interested and it seemed like the only thing holding them back from offering is that they haven’t really seen me throw outside and in the elements I would be throwing in.”
Bazelak has compiled enough major offers that one from Ohio State, should it come, would not immediately end his recruitment, but it would be a key development in his process.
“I would still have the same process with narrow down in May and visits in June, but the Ohio State offer would definitely be a big one. It’s close to home, kind of the hometown team and one of the country’s powerhouses,” said Bazelak. “Coach Day, I can tell that he knows what he’s talking about. He seems very calm and goes along with his business, but he knows what he wants and what he’s doing.”
Though many kids in Ohio grow up rooting for the Buckeyes and dreaming of playing at Ohio Stadium, Bazelak’s childhood was a little bit different.
“I actually wasn’t, I grew up a Michigan fan. Everyone else liked Ohio State, so I kind of wanted to be different and be against everyone else,” said Bazelak, laughing. “I outgrew it though. They haven’t really recruited me at all.”
Ohio State is a perennial power in college football, but they’re not the only program with that kind of weight pursuing Bazelak. The Dayton area prospect recently landed an offer from the Georgia Bulldogs. He visited for a UGA practice recently, stopping in Athens on the way home from a spring break trip in Florida.
“I was really, really excited when they offered. Obviously it’s a great program, the national runners-up. It’s an offense that fits my style and they’re definitely quarterback-driven. [Georgia’s quarterback depth] is definitely something I look into, but I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker,” Bazelak said. “Just because they have two really good quarterbacks on the roster – I mean, they only have two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. Maybe if they’re that good, they might be going to the NFL anyways.”
It’s a testament to Bazelak’s skill level that he has been recruited and offered by so many Power 5 programs despite playing in a triple option offense that offered him relatively few opportunities to pass the football. That’s expected to change in the fall, when Alter will likely open up the playbook to take advantage of their top-level quarterback. Bazelak has been preparing for that moment.
“I think the biggest things that I’ve worked on are just the mental side of it – reading coverages, making the right decisions with the ball based on coverage and personnel – and I’m also working with my trainer to get the mechanics and footwork down,” he said.
The 247Sports composite rankings consider Bazelak to be a 3-star prospect, the No. 20 pro-style quarterback in 2019, No. 653 prospect overall and No. 32 in the state of Ohio. He has 26 offers total — 15 from Power 5 programs, including five the Big Ten.
During the Urban Meyer era, Ohio State has taken just one quarterback from the state of Ohio — Joe Burrow, who has since announced plans to transfer. The Buckeyes signed Cardale Jones, a Cleveland Glenville product, out of Fork Union Military Academy in the 2012 class, but he had been committed to Ohio State for quite some time before Meyer showed up. Danny Clark, of multiple Ohio high schools, was committed to Ohio State’s 2017 class for years, but ultimately ended up at Kentucky.
3 Ohio State prospects schedule commitments
Three 2019 Ohio State prospects have scheduled commitment dates coming up in the near future.
Kelly has visited Ohio State multiple times and may have the Buckeyes as a hat on the table, but I have the team running No. 3, at best. Penn State is my pick here and Clemson seems to be ahead of Ohio State, as well. Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Washington State and Alabama are also in the mix.
Another Virginia native, defensive lineman Hakeem Beamon, has also announced a commitment for June 16, he confirmed to Land of 10. I don’t believe the Buckeyes would take Beamon at this point; there’s some confusion about the position he’ll play at the next level. He’s a tweener who could be a defensive end or defensive tackle. Penn State, Alabama and Virginia Tech are some of the other top schools for the 4-star prospect.
Finally, Tennessee wide receiver Lance Wilhoite has decided he will commit by the end of July. The Nashville native and former Tennessee commit is high on the Buckeyes, but there’s a lot of time left to go. Ohio State’s wide receiver board lacks clarity and the situation could be different by the time Wilhoite is ready to commit. Wait and see on this one.
Ohio State issues several new offers
The Buckeyes issued several new offers to prospects in the 2019 and 2020 classes throughout the week.
Defensive tackle D’Von Ellies of Owing Mills (Md.) McDonogh School became the eighth defensive tackle prospect in the 2019 class to land an Ohio State offer. Ranked as the No. 25 defensive tackle and No. 8 prospect in Maryland, Ellies has also been offered by schools such as Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and nearly 20 Power 5 offers in total.
Miami cornerback pledge Henry Gray has been committed to the Hurricanes since March, but that’s done little to dissuade other programs. Nearly a dozen other schools have offered Gray since his commitment and Ohio State joined that mix on Tuesday. Gray plays at Miami Central and the 6-1, 175-pound cornerback is considered one of the best defensive backs in the 2020 class.
Finally, two 2020 wide receivers in the state of Texas landed offers from the Buckeyes on Wednesday.
Troy Omeire, a 6-4, 205-pound wide receiver from Fort Bend Austin, picked up an Ohio State offer. The rising junior also holds scholarships from Texas, Texas A&M, Georgia and many of the nation’s best programs. He is considered to be a 4-star prospect.
Frisco Lone Star wide receiver Marvin Mims also joined the Ohio State offer list and holds nearly 20 scholarships. Texas A&M, Nebraska, TCU and Wisconsin are a few of the prominent offers for the 6-1, 165-pound Texas native.
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