To maintain its place among the nation’s elite college football programs, Ohio State cannot rest on the success of its 2017 recruiting class. The Buckeyes are looking to secure top targets for 2018, and they currently have three commits in the class. Each is ranked among the top 61 prospects in the country.
We’re going to go position-by-position and review the names you need to know in advance of the next signing day. Names will be added and removed, but it’s a place to start the adventure to 2018.
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This time around, we’re going to examine the game’s most difficult to predict position: the offensive line, specifically offensive tackle. In its second-ranked 2017 class, Ohio State signed three offensive linemen, including two Ohioans in Miamisburg’s Josh Myers and Massillon Washington’s Thayer Munford, and all three could play tackle. In 2018, Ohio State is likely to sign four to five new “slobs” and would like two or three new tackles. To do that they’re going to look coast-to-coast.
Ohio State and the top of the board targets at tackle
The offensive line – specifically the recruitment of the offensive line – has so many moving parts that this early in the process, it’s hard to get a good handle on exactly what’s what. Ohio State signed 5-star recruit Wyatt Davis out of California in 2017, and at this time last year, the Buckeyes hadn’t even offered him yet he committed in June. There’s one thing that we know, though, and that’s who the top target is at tackle.
Jackson Carman | Fairfield (Ohio) | ★★★★★
As was the case with the tight ends and Jeremy Ruckert, it’s a pretty safe bet to say that there’s zero doubt that Carman is the man for the Buckeyes along the offensive line. The 6-foot-6, 290-pound Carman is the complete package at tackle already and is only going to get better as he continues to add good weight in a college football program. He’s been to Ohio State dozens of times and the Buckeyes are the absolute frontrunners to land his eventual commitment.
Carman is a Top 10 player nationally, and though you hate the label, is a “must-get” for the Buckeyes.
Richard Gouriage | Tampa (Fla.) Cambridge Christian School | ★★★★
Gouraige has almost 30 offers and Ohio State is among them. A 6-foot-5, 270-pound prospect, Gouriage is the country’s fourth-ranked offensive tackle and a priority for most of the ACC and SEC. Clemson is the favorite at the moment.
Nicholas Petit-Frere | Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep | ★★★★
Right behind Gouriage on the national rankings list is Petit-Frere, but he’s not little brother. Florida is the favorite to land the 6-foot-6, 260-pound lineman, but Ohio State has offered and Tony Alford’s past success in the Tampa area makes them a threat to land any prospect from the region if the heat gets turned up. The key for the Buckeyes with these Florida studs? Get them to campus for a visit.
That hasn’t happened yet. But if it does, things can turn around quickly.
Darrell Simpson | Justin (Texas) Northwest | ★★★★
Where Gouriage and Petit-Frere are a bit more polished but need to get their bodies college ready, Simpson is decidedly on the other side of the coin. The Texas 4-star prospect checks in at 6-foot-7 and a hefty 330 pounds. Simpson has family in Ohio and has visited Ohio State already, making him a player that is probably a more-likely name to watch on this list than some of the others.
Ryan Hayes | Traverse City (Mich.) West | ★★★★
A newer name to watch is Hayes, who has been in recent contact with Ohio State. The 6-foot-7, 252-pound tight end-turned-offensive line prospect has the type of frame that college coaches – and eventually NFL scouts – love to work with. Hayes only has seven scholarship offers currently, and the Buckeyes are not one of them, but he’s an interesting prospect to pay attention to this summer.
Rasheed Walker | Waldorf (Md.) North Point | ★★★★
Walker is a 6-foot-5, 280-pound offensive lineman out of Maryland and the 10th-ranked player in the Old Line State. Ohio State, Penn State and Maryland sit near the top of his list\, and he has an offer from the Buckeyes, though he’s not yet visited the school. He’s had a few separate visits to Columbus planned that didn’t pan out.
John Dirksen | Maria Stein (Ohio) Marion Local | ★★★★
Ohio’s best offensive line prospect after Carman may be Dirksen. The Marion Local standout has no Buckeyes offer but does hold a scholarship opportunity from Notre Dame, Michigan State and Northwestern among his five offers. He’s a big-time prospect at a small school in Northwest Ohio, and that means the 6-foot-5, 295-pound Dirksen will likely need to make his way to summer camp in Columbus if he wants to earn an offer from Ohio State.
Darian Kennard | Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius | NA
We’ll end this segment with one of Ohio’s most intriguing offensive line prospects. Kinnard looks like an offensive lineman that was built in a lab and has been an anchor on the offensive line for historical powerhouse Cleveland St. Ignatius for two seasons now. He stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 315 pounds and moves his feet well while exhibiting strong hands and good punch. I look at his tape and see a potential superstar, but he’s currently not ranked by the major recruiting services. That is likely because he’s not made his way to a bunch of sponsored camps that earn him network favor. Still, he’s earned nine scholarship offers so far and something about his tape, frame and game lead me to believe he’ll eventually wind up in Columbus.