Ryan Donnelly/Land of 10
Nolan Rumler handles a defensive lineman at Under Armour's camp near Cleveland.

Ohio State recruiting mailbag: Buckeyes’ biggest needs, offensive line updates

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 offensive line recruiting efforts, the biggest needs for 2019, and where Lil Wayne ranks in rap’s pantheon.

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.

Jared is referencing two 2019 Ohio guards — Nolan Rumler of Akron Archbishop Hoban and Zeke Correll of Cincinnati Anderson — who have had some interesting buzz around them. For reference material, I wrote about Ohio State’s attempts to flip Rumler from Michigan and covered the Buckeyes rising to the top of Correll’s list following an unofficial visit.

Let’s start with Rumler.

Rumler is solidly committed to Michigan. He was considered the lock of all locks when the Wolverines offered him after his freshman season, and there was nothing to sway my mind about that in the slightest … until last weekend. I still think Rumler signs with the Wolverines, but the first notes of doubt started to creep up when he discussed Ohio State’s efforts to get him on campus and how hard the Buckeyes were pursuing him.

A coaching change at Michigan — either with Jim Harbaugh or offensive line coach Tim Drevno — would need to happen for Ohio State to have a chance, but the Buckeyes are going to do everything in their power to open this door. Rumler is an impressive talent.

The question about what the Buckeyes would do if Rumler and Correll wanted in is more interesting in the long run to me. Like you said, the focus on Ohio State’s 2019 offensive line recruiting efforts will be at tackle. I’d expect Ohio State to take at least three or four tackles in the class with one or two interior offensive linemen as well.

The problem? It’s not clear which position some of their top O-line targets will play. Even Devontae Dobbs, the No. 1 tackle in the 2019 class, is only pushing 6-foot-4 and isn’t a slam dunk to stay at tackle at the college level. Ohio State is recruiting him as a tackle and projects him there, but it’s not a sure thing. Offered prospects and top options such as Harry Miller, Ryan Jacoby, William Putnam and Darrian Dalcourt are in the same boat as tweeners. Even Ohio State’s lone commit at the position, Doug Nester, is considered a guard on the Rivals network, although I think he’s probably a tackle.

To make a long answer short: I don’t know and neither does Ohio State. I think they’ll want to see a few of these guys in person for camps or visits before determining who’s a tackle and who’s a guard. Figuring who they can get, who they can take, and at what positions will be key tasks for Mark Pantoni, Urban Meyer and Greg Studrawa.

I’ve been thinking about this question since I received it Monday night. The pessimist in me looks at a college football industry dominated by programs and coaches who will do anything to gain a leg up on the field and remembers a track record of widespread cheating nationally. I think there’s a real naiveté to assume it’s all clean and everybody is playing fair. We know programs have cheated and we know that people who cheated are still around the sport. Why would it be different?

At the same time, I do think there’s a deeply different dynamic in college football from what you see in college basketball, partially because of the nature of the sports. In college basketball, you have 13 scholarships to fill a roster. Maximizing each of those spaces for immediate contributions and future projections is critical. In college football, you have 85 scholarships and often a robust walk-on program with 20 or more athletes on hand.

The importance of landing an elite recruit is so much lower in football than it is in basketball. The level of replacement you can find around the country is higher and creates more leverage for football coaches. Blue-chip recruits are kicked out of programs or left to sit on the bench all the time.

I just don’t think there’s the same level of leverage by recruits or the people that influence them in football as there is in basketball. It’s that leverage and scarcity of elite talent that allow the people around blue-chip basketball stars to extract six-figure sums in exchange for their services.

Is there cheating in football? Absolutely. But it simply doesn’t happen at the same scale as you see in basketball, and it’s much more decentralized with lower stakes. I don’t think there would ever be a national scandal to overtake the entire sport the way it appears there will be in basketball.

There isn’t a slam-dunk, must-get guy at other positions this early for Ohio State. The Buckeyes can’t afford to let Zach Harrison leave Columbus, but no one else has claimed sole possession of the top spot at any other position as convincingly as Harrison has at weakside defensive end.

I will say that there are positions that need critical attention from the Ohio State staff. They need to hit home runs in recruiting at quarterback, wide receiver and offensive line in the 2019 class.

The Buckeyes are down to four scholarship quarterbacks this season — Dwayne Haskins, Tate Martell, Joey Burrow and Matthew Baldwin — and it seems unlikely that all four will be on the roster by the time the season actually arrives. It seems fair to say that we could see one loser of the pending quarterback battle transfer for greener pastures. Then you have freshmen Baldwin and Martell, neither of whom have played a college snap. Baldwin is coming off a knee injury. Ohio State will need to land a talented quarterback in 2019 to replenish the roster and provide depth for the future.

It’s a similar story on the offensive line and in the receiving corps. However, those positions have a wealth of recruiting options close to home and around the country.

So, this wasn’t a question directed at me and no one’s asking for my opinion, but I’m not going to ignore this golden opportunity to write about my list of top five rap artists. It’s a question nearly as old as the genre and the subject of countless locker room and barbershop debates. It inspired a Chris Rock movie and more Twitter arguments than you can shake a stick at.

First of all, Collier is correct. Weezy F. Baby is a necessary inclusion for any top five list. Lil Wayne’s run from Da Drought in 2003 to Sorry 4 The Wait in 2011 will put your favorite rapper’s entire discography to bed. While he had the misfortune of coinciding with Kanye West — the greatest musical artist to ever hold a microphone — Wayne’s volume and quality of production were nearly unmatched for a decade. A Milli, Go DJ, Mrs. Officer and Fireman were earth-shattering songs, and we haven’t even gotten into his mixtape production. When Weezy took someone’s beat for his own use on a mixtape, he always put the original owner to shame. I haven’t listened to the original Ice Cream Paint Job since the day I heard the No Ceilings mixtape.

Anyway, without further adieu, here’s my top five of all time. Please feel free to talk with me about this list on Twitter.

  1. Kanye West
  2. OutKast (I’m not going to pick between Three Stacks and Big Boi and you can’t make me.)
  3. Lil Wayne
  4. Notorious B.I.G.
  5. Drake

And for more fun, here’s my current top 10. Only folks who are still making music and based on recent production (last two or three years).

  1. Kanye West
  2. Young Thug
  3. Drake
  4. Lil Uzi Vert
  5. Migos
  6. Kendrick Lamar
  7. Travis Scott
  8. Isaiah Rashad
  9. Future
  10. Kodak Black

Just missed the cut: Chance the Rapper, Playboi Carti, Mac Miller, ScHoolboy Q, Cardi B, 21 Savage