Ryan Donnelly/Land of 10
Five-star tackle Devontae Dobbs, pictured in the gray and orange hoodie, could be making his way to Columbus.

Ohio State recruiting mailbag: Can Buckeyes pull 5-star recruit from That State Up North?

Have Ohio State football recruiting questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Wednesday for the Land of 10 Ohio State recruiting mailbag. This week, we discuss Ohio State’s chances of pulling a 5-star from Michigan, how many commits could come over the next month, and if Ohio State’s recruiting success could hurt them down the road. If you want to check out previous mailbags, you can find them all here.

Good Wednesday afternoon, everyone.

Thanks for your questions this week. If you didn’t get to ask a question, make sure to send one to me on Twitter (@L10Ryan) or via email (DonnellyLandof10@gmail.com).

Let’s dive in.

I’ll take the over here. Ohio State already has two commits in the fold — 4-star offensive linemen Ryan Jacoby and Doug Nester — and the Buckeyes continue to bring in top prospects to campus on the weekends and for spring practices. Even though none of Ohio State’s top targets have scheduled locked-in commitment dates between now and the spring game, enough players have mentioned the possibility of committing during the spring and have shown major interest in Ohio State that I’ll trust my odds.

Plus, Ohio State has averaged nearly nine commitments by the end of April in each of the last four recruiting cycles (2015-18) and have had more than four in all but one of those recruiting classes. While the 2015 class had just two commitments by the end of April, the next three have had at least eight a piece. I’ll stick with the math to date.

 

I don’t really see that happening. It’s difficult to compare any program to Alabama, but that is essentially the standard that Ohio State’s coaching and recruiting staff is competing against. The Crimson Tide strung together seven consecutive No. 1 recruiting classes on the 247Sports composite team rankings from 2011 through 2017 and saw no blowback or ill consequences for the entirety of that time span. They continued to pull elite prospects from all across the country and pile up unbelievable recruiting classes.

The Buckeyes have not yet matched that prodigious effort, but they have signed top-5 classes in six of Urban Meyer’s seven recruiting cycles at Ohio State and likely will manage that feat yet again. Ohio State can still sell a package that few other programs can match — elite football, championship contention, NFL-level development, strong academics, storied tradition, an impressive gameday atmosphere, and personable recruiters — and can still point to a track record of giving freshmen early playing time when they earn their way toward the top of a depth chart.

Ohio State is not Alabama, but that is the standard the Buckeyes are striving to match. If Meyer wants to wrest back the college football throne from Nick Saban and Alabama, then they’ll need to make sure this drop-off doesn’t occur. I don’t think it will and haven’t heard any indications of that on the recruiting trail.

My prediction was admittedly a bit of a projection moving forward more so than it was an expectation of an imminent commitment from 5-star Belleville (Mich.) tackle Devontae Dobbs. However, I do have reason to believe that Ohio State is currently in the driver’s seat for Dobbs and remains ahead of Michigan State, which is the leader on his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions. It seems that many of the expectations for Dobbs to end up in East Lansing are based on the long-running relationships between Michigan State and Dobbs’ high school program, including the commitment of his teammate and friend Julian Barnett to the Spartans.

Still, Ohio State seems well-positioned to beat Michigan State. The 5-star tackle speaks to Ohio State’s offensive line coach Greg Studrawa on a daily basis and told Land of 10 that the Buckeyes are separating “themselves in every category.”

Ohio State will pursue Dobbs until the end of this recruiting cycle, and he has strong relationships with the Buckeyes. They can pitch him on having an opportunity to play early at essentially any offensive line spot  he chooses. The Buckeyes have proven themselves capable of winning big-time battles for Michigan recruits against the in-state Power 5 programs — just ask Mike Weber, Damon Webb, Michael Jordan, or Joshua Alabi — and will push to do so again.