GENEVA, Ohio — Ohio State has a major need for offensive linemen in the 2019 recruiting class, especially among tackle prospects. The Buckeyes have pursued few prospects more aggressively for that need than Belleville (Mich.) lineman Devontae Dobbs. The 5-star prospect is ranked as the No. 1 tackle in the country by the 247Sports composite.
The Buckeyes have been in contact with Dobbs since the start of his high school career, offering Dobbs at their Friday Night Lights camp in the summer after his freshman year. Although Michigan State often has been tabbed as the favorite for Dobbs, that has done little to dissuade Ohio State’s pursuit.
“The most unique one, I guess it’s not really too different, but it just stands out how persistent Ohio State is. They text me every day, call me every day or two or three times a week. I talk with Ohio State every day. It’s me and Coach Stud [offensive line coach Greg Studrawa] every single day,” Dobbs said. “I’ve gotten to know him really well. I’ve found out that he’s a really positive dude and somebody I’d definitely love to be coached by. We’re just moving in a positive direction every day. [The frequent contact] is definitely a good thing.”
Following the Under Armour All-America camp series event on Sunday in the Cleveland area, where Land of 10 spoke with Dobbs, he made his way to Columbus with teammates and coaches from Belleville for an unofficial visit. The Buckeyes will hope to impress Dobbs during his trip, but they might not have much impressing left to do.
“I feel like [Ohio State] just separates themselves in every category — academics, football team, training staff, facilities, just everything, really,” Dobbs said.
Among Dobbs’ teammates to make the visit with him is 2019 defensive back and standout Michigan State commit Julian Barnett, a highly regarded 4-star prospect and the No. 69 player in the country. Barnett also holds an Ohio State offer, which he landed a day before committing to the Spartans.
It is no secret that many expect Dobbs to join Barnett at Michigan State, something Dobbs is fully aware of. That doesn’t mean Michigan State is absolved of recruiting duties. Mark Dantonio’s coaching staff has had to work just as hard as anyone else to build relationships with Dobbs.
“I’m pretty sure everyone is going to favor [Michigan State] because I’ve got a whole lot of teammates that are going up there — Davion [Williams] and Julian Barnett — so I’m sure that’s always going to be up there. … [Offensive line] coach Mark Staten is just a nice, genuine dude who’s always going to keep it 100 with you,” Dobbs said.
Befitting of a 5-star prospect, Dobbs has a long list of elite programs pursuing him. The Buckeyes and Spartans are joined by programs such as Penn State, Tennessee (two schools he labeled as “dream offers” recently), Georgia, Michigan and Notre Dame.
“Penn State has a great coaching staff. They came up to the school to see me,” Dobbs said. “We talk all of the time. I FaceTime a lot to talk with the coaches, so it’s just been great building relationships. … Georgia is a school I talk to really often. They have a great coaching staff; I love the coaching staff. Especially Coach [Sam] Pittman, I love him.”
Following the brief Ohio State visit, Dobbs and teammates were expected to travel to Westfield, Ind., to compete in the annual Best of the Midwest combine. From there, the Belleville crew will head to Notre Dame for another unofficial visit.
Players expected to join Dobbs and Barnett are:
- 2021 defensive lineman Damon Payne — An early phenom emerging as one of the top national prospects in 2021, Payne holds offers from Michigan, Georgia, Florida State, Iowa, Minnesota, Kentucky, Iowa State and Syracuse. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Ohio State offer soon.
- 2019 defensive lineman Jalen Hunt — Holds offers from Iowa, Kentucky, Pitt, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa State and multiple FCS or G5 programs.
- 2019 linebacker Marvin Ham II — Holds offers from Boston College, Iowa State and seven MAC programs.
- 2020 cornerback Andre Seldon Jr. — Holds early offers from Kentucky, Toledo and Central Michigan.
- 2020 wide receiver Jalen Williams — Holds an early offer from Toledo.
- 2019 defensive tackle Jalen Bell
- 2020 defensive back Michael Jenkins Jr.
- 2020 defensive back Ronald Jackson Jr.
- 2020 guard Sherod Green
- 2021 wide receiver Jamari Buddin
- 2021 wide receiver Deion Burks