COLUMBUS, Ohio — National Signing Day 2017 is in the books, but Urban Meyer and the Ohio State coaching staff won’t get much time to rest. The 2018 recruiting cycle is already in full swing.
And much like its 2017 predecessor, the Buckeyes’ 2018 recruiting class possesses the potential to be something special. Ohio State lays claim to only two commitments in its upcoming haul, but it remains in the hunt for several of the 2018 class’ top prospects.
Who are the names you need to know when it comes to the Buckeyes’ 2018 class? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a look at what Ohio State is hoping to land at each position.
Commits: Emory Jones
Targets: Casey Thompson
A 5-star prospect, Jones is the nation’s top-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2018 class and the No. 21 player overall.
A native of Franklin, Ga., Ohio State will need to continue to recruit Jones until he officially signs. Should Jones look elsewhere, Thompson could provide a solid backup plan as a 4-star prospect and the nation’s No. 6 dual-threat quarterback.
Commits: Brian Snead
After taking just one running back in their 2017 class in J.K. Dobbins, the Buckeyes will look to add at least two players at the position in 2018 and already have a 4-star prospect committed in Snead.
A native of nearby Westerville, Ohio, Gill possesses the potential to be one of the headliners of the class. The 6-foot-1, 182-pounder is a 4-star prospect and the No. 3 all-purpose back in the 2018 class.
Should the Buckeyes add another more traditional back — in addition to Snead — look for Meyer to make a strong push for White or Lingard.
The Buckeyes signed three wide receivers earlier this week and two more in the recruiting cycle before that, but in Ohio State’s offense, you never can have enough playmakers. As a result, look for the Buckeyes to add at least two more receivers in 2018.
Dotson is one of the highest targets of the bunch, and Ohio State will have to beat out both Alabama and hometown Rutgers to secure the services of the Garden State native. The Buckeyes also have targeted Smith, a native of Dayton, Ohio, and Babb, the nation’s No. 13 wide receiver.
After not signing a tight end in the 2017 cycle, the Buckeyes will want to add at least one player at the position in 2018. Thus far, Ohio State has extended scholarship offers to eight tight ends in the 2018 class, with the nation’s No. 3 (Ruckert) and No. 4 (Muhammad) prospects at the position having reciprocated the most interest.
With five predictions in, Ruckert’s 247Sports crystal ball currently favors the New York native to land with the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes signed three offensive linemen in 2017, but just one true offensive tackle in Thayer Munford. As a result, look for Ohio State to place a premium on the position in the coming recruiting cycle, especially with Jamarco Jones entering his senior season and Isaiah Prince and Malcolm Pridgeon not far behind as juniors.
Carman is a 5-star prospect, a top-10 recruit and the No. 1 player at his position in 2018. Ohio State will place a heavy emphasis on keeping the Fairfield, Ohio, native home, and look to add depth with prospects such as Petit-Frere and/or Simpson.
The Buckeyes will also make a strong run at Salyer, an Atlanta native and the top-ranked guard in the 2018 class.
Defensive end is one of Ohio State’s deepest positions in 2017, but the Buckeyes will see attrition after the year from at least seniors Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Holmes and possibly redshirt junior Sam Hubbard.
The Buckeyes added a 5-star prospect at the position in each of their past two classes in Nick Bosa and Chase Young and will look to add depth with at least two prospects in 2018.
Smith is a Cleveland Heights product, who recently received his offer from Ohio State and possesses high upside entering his senior season. Emerson is the nation’s third-ranked strong side defensive end and should be one of the top priorities at his position for Meyer and defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
The Buckeyes took two defensive tackles in 2017 in Haskell Garrett and Jerron Cage, but will lose two seniors in the coming year in Michael Hill and Tracy Sprinkle. As a result, Ohio State will likely add one — if not two — players at the position in 2018.
A 5-star prospect and a top-10 overall player, Vincent will be the priority. The top-ranked defensive tackle in the 2018 class hails from IMG Academy, which produced two members of the Buckeyes’ 2017 class in Isaiah Pryor and Marcus Williamson.
Along with Vincent, Ohio State will make a strong push for Jones, a Brooklyn, N.Y., native who attends the same school that gave OSU former Buckeyes H-back Curtis Samuel.
In his first six classes at Ohio State, Meyer has made a habit of grabbing multiple linebackers. The 2018 cycle shouldn’t be any different.
As it currently stands, the Buckeyes are in the hunt for Gaoteote, a 5-star prospect from Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman, the same school that produced Ohio State signees Tate Martell and Garrett in 2017. The Buckeyes also recently offered Gant, a Toledo native, who would be an ideal fit at the SAM linebacker position currently occupied by Chris Worley.
After signing five cornerbacks in their 2017 class, the Buckeyes likely will place a lesser emphasis on the position in 2018. Nevertheless, Meyer isn’t one to pass on premium talent when it’s available.
In fact, Ohio State already has offered 12 cornerbacks in the class and has received reciprocated interest from Surtain, a 5-star prospect. Griffith could help bolster the Buckeyes’ pipeline to IMG Academy, while Samuel hails from another OSU pipeline program in Fort Lauderdale’s St. Thomas Aquinas.
Although the Buckeyes signed six defensive backs in 2017, only Pryor is a pure safety. In 2018, Ohio State likely will add at least two players at the position and are already in the process of making a run at Foster, a 5-star prospect.
Should the Buckeyes land the nation’s top-ranked safety, the Angleton, Texas, native would serve as one of the crown jewels of Ohio State’s 2018 haul. Ohio State is also already targeting 4-star prospects in Woodbey, Burney and Young.