Jeremy Birmingham/Land of 10
5-star DT Taron Vincent will be a big part of the Buckeyes' future defenses.

Ohio State recruiting mailbag: Taron Vincent’s impact, Emory Jones drama, Tommy Togiai and potatoes

Jeremy Birmingham

Have Ohio State football recruiting questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Thursday for the Land of 10 Ohio State recruiting mailbag. This week, we talk about a number of things, including who the Buckeyes could turn to if they miss on a few of the top remaining targets in the Class of 2018.

Hey everyone, welcome back to the mailbag.

Football is crazy, right? One week, you’re the king of the world and the next you’re justifying a Top 25 ranking.

Recruiting is the same way, of course. It’s in a constant state of flux and it changes almost weekly.

Is the Emory Jones situation the most challenging that you’ve covered for such a high-profile position/player?

Yes, I think so, and here’s why: No one has any idea why he’s looking at Bama as often, and as seriously, as he is.

Emory Jones committed to Ohio State, his “dream school,” 16 months ago. In the last few months, though, he’s certainly acted publicly more like a Bama commit than a Buckeyes commit. But he remains committed to Ohio State and other Buckeyes commits feel like he’s still going to sign with them, etc. Bama feels the same way.

No one has heard a single reason from Jones why Bama has become the “favorite” to land him, and he’s not telling the Ohio State staff anything one way or another.

Very confusing.

Also, all the big time DTs we’ve missed on recently have come in and had immediate success, namely Dexter Lawrence. Can you see Taron Vincent making a big impact his freshman year?GoBuckeyes4Life

Ohio State could very well lose Dre’Mont Jones to the NFL draft, and it will absolutely lose Tracy Sprinkle and Michael Hill following the 2017 season. Malik Barrow has now torn an ACL in two of the last three years, and as much as you hate to do it, it’s reasonable to wonder if he’ll ever again play at an Ohio State level.

There will be a need for a young defensive tackle to step up for the Buckeyes in 2018 and there’s no reason to think it won’t be Taron Vincent. He’s got all the tools, both physical and mental, to be a star.

Is Christopher Oats this year’s Ellijah Gardiner? That late signee that was a surprise addition.  – MikeDoss2Forever

I can see how you make a comparison between them, but it’s not really the same situation.

Christopher Oats has been discussed here and in other places for more than a year as a potential Buckeyes signee, where Gardiner came up literally in the last month of recruiting. I’ll go so far as to say that if Luke Fickell were still in Columbus that Oats may be committed to the Buckeyes.

If Ohio State is unable to land Solomon Tuliaupupu or flip Palaie Gaoteote, I could certainly envision a scenario where Oats is the next guy.

In your opinion, over/under odds on the following players become Buckeyes? – BuckeyeSMS

I don’t usually play the percentage game, but sure, I’ll bite. I’ll just do this, I’ll consider your percentages and say if I believe they should be higher or lower.

Emory Jones: 40% – I feel weird saying it, but it should be higher. Let’s call this a 50/50 split.
Anthony Cook: 33% – Lower. Feels like the Buckeyes are out of this race, kind of.
Solomon Tuliaupupu: 15% – Higher.
Tommy Togai: 50% – Higher.
Tyreke Smith: 25% – Higher.
Jayson Oweh: 66% – I think this is spot on.
Jackson Carman: 90% – Lower, slightly.
Cade Mays: 5% – Sure, this is about right, I’d guess. It’s a long shot, for sure.

No one talking about Palaie Gaoteote. Does he visit? Is there a chance?? – KBonay

I think the thing about Palaie Gaoteote, the country’s No. 1-ranked inside linebacker prospect, is that his longtime commitment to USC has never really seemed to be in jeopardy, so it’s hard to be too optimistic when it comes to Ohio State potentially flipping him.

But he’s expected to visit officially, and most people believe that if any school is going to flip him, no one has as good a chance as the Buckeyes.

So, to answer your questions: Yes, and yes, but I wouldn’t recommend putting a wager on it.

Which QBs are realistic options if Emory Jones flips and Jarren Williams stays with UK? — @ChuckBentley57

You’re asking serious questions, Chuck!

First of all, Ohio State needs a quarterback in the Class of 2018, period. So, if they lose Emory Jones and Jarren Williams ends up somewhere else, the Buckeyes’ search for a signal caller will be the major priority until signing day.

We’ve talked already about Virginia Tech commit Quincy Patterson and Colorado State commit Matthew Baldwin. That pair is worth watching, Baldwin perhaps a bit more than Patterson at this point.

Beyond that, it will be a search from coast-to-coast, and you should expect the Buckeyes to have some tricks up their sleeves. More names committed elsewhere will pop up and probably be public soon, so pay attention.

What’s your take on Anthony Cook pushing his decision date back? Is it good news for the Buckeyes? — @DarkKnight1093

The decision by Anthony Cook, the 5-star cornerback from Houston, to delay a commitment was in no way negative for Ohio State, but that’s not to say it was positive, either.

A choice between Texas, LSU and Ohio State is still going to happen soon and will happen without a return visit to Columbus, which is something I felt was necessary to pull out a win for the Buckeyes.

About three weeks ago, I read somewhere that Tommy Togiai was going to be announcing his college choice within two weeks. I’ve never been great at math, but by my calculations his two weeks was up about a week ago. And, yet, no announcement. What gives?

Also, with him being from Idaho, any word on whether he digs potatoes? Asking for a friend. — Potatodigger

Initially, a decision from Tommy Togiai was expected in December. That timeline was altered, at least rumored to be, when the Pocatello (Idaho) 4-star defensive tackle told USA Today he was hoping to make a decision within two weeks.

Reportedly, Togiai has been torn between Ohio State and Washington, two schools he’s visited officially. If you’re a Buckeyes fan, there’s some belief that the longer he waits the better it is for Ohio State. As for his potato affinity, I can’t speak to it, but I’d imagine the 6-foot-3, 290-pound senior has eaten a couple in his day.

Have a question about Ohio State recruiting? Tweet us @Landof10OSU and we’ll try to answer it in a future mailbag. If you wish to have your Ohio State recruiting questions answered in a future version of this column, sign up for our Ohio State forum. We try to keep the conversation going over there.