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Rewind: Five thoughts about recruiting during Ohio State spring camp

5 min read
Rewind: Five thoughts about recruiting during Ohio State spring camp

COLUMBUS — Ohio State capped off its fifth spring camp under head coach Ryan Day a week ago with its annual spring game.

It doesn’t really matter who won the glorified scrimmage — the defense 40-31 — because truthfully at the end of the day, the Buckeyes have more tape about things they need to evaluate.

Anytime a team can make it out of a spring mostly healthy, that’s an automatic good thing for a program.

But arguably where the program found the most success this spring wasn’t on the field at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. It wasn’t in the meetings or in film or even in the weight room.

It was on the recruiting trail.

Ohio State encountered a lot of success this spring on the recruiting trail.

Lettermen Row offers up five thoughts about that success and where the Buckeyes go now into the summer.

Let’s dive in.

Take a bow, offensive staff

Ohio State holds commitments from 12 prospects as of April 22.

Ten of those pledges are from offensive players.

This is the part where Lettermen Row gives head coach Ryan Day and the offensive staff their flowers. If you want to read about the critical moments this spring, just scroll down.

Day, Brian Hartline, Justin Frye, Tony Alford, Corey Dennis and Keenan Bailey all brought in at least one commitment to their respective rooms.

The most important position has been taken care of — again — with four-star Fairburn (Ga) Langston Hughes quarterback Air Noland.

The No. 42 overall prospect per On3 chose the Buckeyes over six other programs on April 8 and then returned a week later for the spring game.

Ohio State has its natural leader in the class at the most difficult position in football.

Now, you pair that with the weapons and resources Ohio State brought in for Noland mostly ahead of time.

Frye added three more offensive linemen this spring with Marc Nave, and twins Deontae and Devontae Armstrong.

Alford landed two tailbacks with James Peoples and Sam Williams-Dixon in the class.

Hartline did Hartline things and got five-star wide receiver Mylan Graham to choose the Buckeyes.

Bailey landed his “first” commitment with Max LeBlanc.

There are roughly four more spots to be filled in the entire offensive class.

Bravo, Ohio State, bravo.

Quality and Quantity

Again, circling back to the total number in the class right now.

There are 12 prospects in the Buckeyes’ No. 2 rated class. And all 12 are extremely talented, but eight of them are considered top 300 players.

On3 has Jeremiah Smith, Graham, Noland, Peoples, Garrett Stover, the Armstrongs and Ian Moore inside the On300. That’s the most of any school behind Georgia, which has the No. 1 recruiting class.

Ohio State wants to take a big class. In a perfect world, the Buckeyes take 28 players. I think it’ll be closer to 25-27. The 12 they have now are pretty darn impressive.

Not only are they impressive off the field, but all of them are actively peer-recruiting the remaining offensive options for the Buckeyes. And of course, every single defensive prospect the Buckeyes are looking at.

The biggest factor in that peer recruiting has come from the Armstrong twins. The duo from Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward is extremely vocal on social media. Jeremiah Smith has entered the peer recruiting conversation.

Noland was recruiting for Ohio State before he announced his commitment.

Ohio State recruiting snowballed in the spring. And a large part of that was because of the peer recruitment from those within the class.

An important and foundational defensive commit

There shouldn’t be any denial about how important two people associated with Ohio State are.

That’s defensive assistant James Laurinaitis and linebacker commit Payton Pierce.

Let’s start with Pierce first.

Four-star Lucas (Texas) Lovejoy linebacker Payton Pierce ultimately ended his recruitment earlier than he thought and chose Ohio State. Pierce might not be the highest-ranked recruit in the class, but that doesn’t matter to the Buckeyes. That’s their Mike linebacker in this class. Ohio State needed to earn a defensive commit in the middle of a wave of offensive pledges this spring.

Pierce was exactly that. And he’s extremely important because of who he’s trying to bring into the class all the way from Texas.

He is from the Dallas area and wants to bring in as many Texans as he can. That includes four-star Melissa (Texas) defensive lineman Nigel Smith II. He gives the Buckeyes a defensive commit outside of Ohio.

That’s the important part.

The foundational part? He is the first prospect committed to Ohio State with Laurinaitis on staff.

Everyone knows what Laurinaitis did as a player for Ohio State. Every major defensive award a player can win, he has the trophies in the Woody.

Laurinaitis is already proving that he’s on his way to being a great coach. The Buckeyes’ linebackers have developed well this spring, notably C.J. Hicks. And now he’s showing his worth as a recruiter.

It’s exactly what Day hoped for when he hired Laurinaitis in January.

Momentum is intangible, but present

Ohio State added nine commits in six weeks.

That is impressive.

That momentum has slowed down just a bit, however. When, not if, it picks up again, it needs to be on the defensive side of the ball.

Ohio State has laid the groundwork for a number of defensive prospects this spring and if that’s the direction it’s taking, the payoff has to be worth the wait.

Who else will join Pierce and linebacker Garrett Stover?

Cornerback looks clear with Aaron Scott Jr., Bryce West and Miles Lockhart all trending toward the Buckeyes. Safety remains a little clouded, but at the very least, in-state target Reggie Powers looks like a pledge.

Defensive line coach Larry Johnson has to get it into gear when the Buckeyes host prospects in June for official visits. Laurinaitis and Jim Knowles will take at least one more linebacker.

There was never a worry about offensive recruiting. As long as Day is at Ohio State, the offensive talent will head to Columbus. But the questions and concerns about defensive recruiting still remain. It helps that stability is on that side of the ball, but stability has to turn into results.

Buckle up

June and July don’t seem as far away as they are, but those two months are rapidly approaching.

That means recruiting camps, official visits, commitments, reshuffling the board and a whole bunch of other things to take care of.

Ohio State from now until then will prepare itself as best it can for the madness that the summer brings. Even though July is a dead period, the staff still works with each other paying attention to when kids commit and more important, to where they commit.

Buckle up, Buckeyes and Buckeye fans.

The post Rewind: Five thoughts about recruiting during Ohio State spring camp appeared first on On3.

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