Without fail, each and every time Ohio State lands a verbal commitment from one of the country’s top prospects, one question pops up.
Who is next?
That’s really anyone’s guess. On Wednesday I’ll be anyone and try to piece together the remaining pieces of the puzzle for the Buckeye in 2018. We’ll circle back to the defense on Thursday.
Who will be the Ohio State quarterback?
Emory Jones will be the guy at quarterback as long as he wants to be so. He committed in July of 2016 and if the Buckeyes can hold off Bama – and a likely official visit to Tuscaloosa – then there’s no need to look elsewhere.
What about at running back?
You can add Jaelen Gill into this position group, too, at least for now. He’s probably a more of a hybrid player in college, but either way, he’s committed to the Buckeyes already and will be a big part of their future offense.
OK, and at wide receiver?
Ohio State has one receiver committed, Huber Heights (Ohio) 4-star wide receiver L’Christian “Blue” Smith. Smith picked the Buckeyes over Kentucky in at the end of August and he, along with the aforementioned Gill, are a good 1-2 punch right here.
One more player is likely to be added at this position with the top choice being Kamryn Babb, a 4-star wideout from St. Louis. Babb has been the top prospect on Ohio State’s board at this position for a while and that’s not changing.
The Buckeyes never seriously pursued players like Cameron Brown (now committed to Nebraska) and haven’t been able to lock in an official visit from 5-star wideout Amon-ra St. Brown, so it’s hard to consider him a serious threat. Texas commit Rondale Moore visited the Buckeyes as Ohio State hosted Oklahoma, and he’s still worth looking at as a potential addition if A) Babb goes elsewhere or B) the need for an additional prospect at this position pops up.
Tight end is wrapped up
New York’s Jeremy Ruckert is committed to Ohio State and he’s the nation’s top-overall prospect at tight end. Ruckert is a rare talent and one of just three tight ends in the last six years to earn a 247Sports.com composite 5-star ranking.
At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Ruckert catches the ball very well, runs crisp routes and has the speed and size to make himself a big-time college tight end.
Blue Smith, if he continues to grow (he’s 6-foot-6, 205-pounds now), may very likely see some reps at tight end in the future as well. That would be a homerun class for the Buckeyes, adding two dynamic playmakers at a position where they are currently looking for help.
Hold that line … it’s really all that’s left
This remains one area of concern if you’re paying close attention to the Buckeyes’ recruiting class.
Jackson Carman, the 5-star tackle from Fairfield, Ohio, is a must get. Point blank, period, no ifs about it. You can’t lose Ohio’s best player to Clemson and call the recruiting year a success. There’s no player out there capable of replacing him on the big board, either, which makes it a tricky proposition if the Buckeyes don’t land him. Yes, there remains a shot at Nicholas Petit-Frere but the country’s No. 1-ranked tackle (the only player ahead of Carman at the position) still feels like a pipe-dream. The same can be said for the top pick at guard, Georgia’s Jamaree Salyer.
Players likes William Barnes, a 4-star prospect out of Florida, and Rasheed Walker from Maryland remain real options. Barnes is considered a heavy lean to Florida, while Walker — according to most folks — is Penn State bound. Ohio State is certainly in the mix with Walker, and that’s why I had him on my prediction for August, and why I will keep him on my prediction for September.
So, here’s the offense
As of Wednesday, Sept. 13, here’s the Land of 10 prediction for the Ohio State recruiting Class of 2018, offensively.
- QB • Emory Jones, 4-star
- RB • Brian Snead, 4-star
- RB • Master Teague III, 3-star
- RB/WR • Jaelen Gill, 5-star
- WR • Kamryn Babb, 4-star
- WR • L’Christian Smith, 4-star
- TE • Jeremy Ruckert, 5-star
- OL • Max Wray, 4-star
- OL • Matthew Jones, 4-star
- OL • Jackson Carman, 5-star
- OL • Rasheed Walker, 4-star