Ohio State’s 2016 recruiting class – the country’s fourth-ranked class – featured 25 signees from 11 states and many of those players are expected to contribute to the Buckeyes’ on-field success early in their careers.
Join Landof10.com as we introduce you to the next wave of Buckeyes in our Young Bucks series. Next up: four-star offensive guard Tyler Gerald.
Who is Tyler Gerald?
Although recruiting services might list Gerald as an out-of-state player because his final season was played at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., make no mistake about Gerald’s status. He should be considered an in-state prospect by Buckeyes fans.
He spent the first three years of his high school career at Sciotoville East in Portsmouth, Ohio and committed to Ohio State in June 2014 while still living in Ohio. He was one of the first commits in the class of 2016 for the Buckeyes, and he never wavered in that decision even after schools renewed their interest in him because of his success at IMG.
- Height: 6-5
- Weight: 310
- Number: 72
- Hometown: Portsmouth, Ohio
- High School: IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
- Composite Ranking (Position): 8
- High School Highlights
Gerald enrolled early, which enabled him to use Ohio State’s resources as he rehabbed from a shoulder injury that cost him much of his senior year. Although he sat out spring practice, he was still part of a seven-person class of early enrollees that impressed Urban Meyer and earned routine praise from the OSU head coach.
What does he bring to Ohio State?
Like most high school offensive linemen, Gerald needs to work on his pass blocking before he’ll be able to see playing time in college. With that being said, he was an elite run blocker who played with physicality and wore down defensive linemen with his relentlessness. He was already a star at Sciotoville East, but when he left to play his senior year at IMG, he made recruiting analysts take notice.
Suiting up for a team where players with Power 5 scholarships are more common than not, Gerald worked his way into a spot on the line and dominated in the games he played in before a shoulder injury cut short his season. In a game against DeSoto, Texas that came against then-Ohio State commit Tristen Wallace, Gerald put on a show that led recruiting analysts to rave about his ability after the win.
“Tyler Gerald really was a pace-setter up front for them,” Scout.com’s Gabe Brooks said. “I think Ohio State fans are really going to like him. He’s got great size, has that nasty streak you want to see in a guard-type of prospect and is a guy that should leave them happy.”
It seems as though his relentlessness isn’t limited to the field, either. According to his high school coach, Gerald is one of the most competitive and hard-working athletes he’s ever been around.
“He’s about as good as it gets as far as work ethic,” Sciotoville East coach James Gifford told me last fall. “He’s very, very self-driven, and that comes from his competitive nature. He could be playing checkers and he’d want to win and if he didn’t win he’d want to play again until he figured out a way to beat you. His work ethic is outstanding and he expects a lot out of himself.”
Will he play as a freshman?
Although he could end up being one of the stars of this class, it’s relatively rare for true freshmen to play on the offensive line. What Michael Jordan is doing right now is very impressive — and Jamarco Jones and Isaiah Prince also played limited amounts as true freshmen — but the numbers indicate that more often than not, offensive linemen will redshirt at Ohio State.
Gerald’s quest to see the field is also complicated by the season-ending shoulder injury he sustained at IMG. Early enrollees are often considered slightly more likely to play than their peers who arrive in the summer, but Gerald wasn’t able to take part in full football activities this spring. Everything indicates that he’ll be a good football player for the Buckeyes at some point in his career, but he’ll probably make his impact in 2017 and beyond.