clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ohio State's top remaining recruiting targets for 2016

Space is limited for Ohio State's 2016 class, so we take a look at what else they want, and who else could join the Buckeyes

Will Damar Hamlin be one of the next Buckeyes in the 2016 class?
Will Damar Hamlin be one of the next Buckeyes in the 2016 class?

Last week was a banner week for Ohio State recruiting. The Buckeyes grabbed a hold of the top spot in the 2016 rankings by bringing in five-star DE Nick Bosa and four-star TE Luke Farrell, bringing the class of 2016 to 19 spots. They also picked up their kicker of the future for 2017 in Blake Haubeil, and four-star DT Jerron Cage, further solidifying the top ranked 2017 class as well, which now has 9 commitments. To say the future is bright for Ohio State's talent level would be an understatement.

The Buckeyes will have plenty of time to continue to recruit and assess talent for the 2017 class, but there aren't many spots left in 2016. Barring some unforeseen and significant roster turnover, Ohio State is likely to only take about five more players for this year's class, give or take. Given the rest of the makeup of this class, and the rest of the roster, that means that recruiting for multiple position groups is basically done for this class, like TE, LB, RB, and probably the offensive line.

So what are Ohio State's needs right now, and who are they targeting?

Wide Receiver

The Buckeyes already have one excellent wideout in this class, four-star Austin Mack, whose performance at The Opening sent him shooting up the rankings list. Mack brings great size, and may have the best all-around skillset for a WR recruit of the past several classes. Even though Ohio State has loaded up on H-Backs in this class and have loads of talented young WRs on the roster from earlier classes, they would still like to grab one more wideout.

Nate Craig-Myers, a five-star from Tampa, is the top name on the board. Craig-Myers was formally an Auburn commit, but has now opened things up. Florida State is the top team on the crystal ball, but Auburn is still in the picture as well. This would be an absolute coup for the Buckeyes, but also probably not the most likely name on this list.

Also from Florida, Binjimen Victor is near the top of the board as well. The high-ranked four-star has offers from basically everybody, and a long visit to Columbus caused him to postpone a previously scheduled commitment decision in June. Victor was at Florida's FNL last week, and the crystal ball heavily favors the Gators, but don't rule out Ohio State here. Victor is probably more likely than Craig-Myers.

The Buckeyes are also still recruiting Donnie Corley hard, a four-star prospect from Michigan that was at FNL last week. Corley was thought to be a lock at Michigan State, and while they're likely still the favorite, Ohio State and Tennessee are factors in this recruitment.

The other big name on Ohio State's board is four-star Ahmir Mitchell, a big target from NJ, who also attended FNL. Mitchell is going to decide in mid-August between Ohio State and Michigan, and the Wolverines are the favorite here; if Ohio State wanted to make Mitchell a priority in this group, they could potentially make up some ground.

Finally, recent Ole Miss decommitment Daniel Crowell is also considering Ohio State. He's a bit more of an under-the-radar prospect, without as many premium program offers. Along with the Rebels and Buckeyes, he's considering Mississippi State.

This is an interesting group to follow, since Ohio State is targeting multiple talented prospects, but they aren't favored in any of these races. If Ohio State strikes out among all of them, what happens with the rest of the class might dictate whether they expand their board, or try to beef up other position groups. If that board expands, one name you might hear more of is Javon McKinley, a four-star from California who has a visit to Columbus scheduled in the future. Ohio State isn't near the top of his list now, but that could change with a visit.

Defensive Tackle

The Buckeyes already have one highly regarded tackle in this class, with four-star Malik Barrow already aboard, but if there is any position group (irrationally or not) that fans seem to have shown concern over, it's this one. The Buckeyes would certainly like to add another tackle to this class.

The top target is high four-star defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson of Georgia. Jackson boasts an impressive offer list (i.e, everybody), was in town for FNL, and there seems to be momentum going in Ohio State's direction for his recruitment. The Buckeyes will need to fend off Auburn, and this recruitment may not end quickly, but the Buckeyes are in very solid position to add him to the class.

Outside of Jackson, Ohio State has still targeted five-star Rashard Lawerence of Louisiana, and the top prospect in the entire country, Rashan Gary of New Jersey. Gary has shown more interest in Ohio State and is more likely than Lawrence (who would be very difficult to pry away from LSU), but the Buckeyes are still underdogs to Michigan and Alabama for his services.

Secondary

The Buckeyes have commitments from two corners, in four-star composite Wayne Davis and three-star Kareem Felder, but Ohio State would like to add more help to the defensive backfield, with a safety, and perhaps another corner.

Unlike the wideouts, there are some high Buckeye leans on the board. Four-star corner Damar Hamlin of Pittsburgh, PA, is thought to be favoring Ohio State over Notre Dame, Penn State and Pitt. Hamlin attended FNL as well, and could be the high upside corner the Buckeyes are looking for.

Also considered a Buckeye lean is four-star safety Andrew Pryts, also of Pennsylvania. Like Hamlin, Pryts is considering Penn State and Notre Dame, as well as Stanford, but he just recently visited Ohio State's campus, and could form a formidable backfield-mate with Hamlin.

Other names to know include four-star athlete Jordan Fuller of New Jersey, where Ohio State is a 77% crystal ball favorite over UCLA and Rutgers, Patrice Rene, a three-star corner from Northern Virginia who is set to pick between Rutgers and Ohio State shortly (Rutgers is the big favorite), and four-star athlete Brandon Burton of California, where Ohio State isn't prominently featured in his recruiting, but he does have an official visit scheduled.

Other prospects

After loading up on the position in the last class, Ohio State isn't very likely to take on another linebacker in this group after grabbing Tuf Borland. If they do though, one name to consider is D.C's Aaron Hansford. Hansford is a high three-star outside linebacker with offers from Penn State, Maryland, Kentucky and more. The crystal ball still favors Ohio State, but while the Buckeyes were once widely considered to be heavily in the lead for his services, other programs have jumped forward, including Duke and North Carolina. If Ohio State finds themselves with more room than they thought in this class, and Hansford is still on the board, perhaps Ohio State pushes harder in this race.

We're still a long way from signing day, and it's possible, even probable, that new names will emerge on this list, and others will drop off. We'll likely have greater clarity on how many kids Ohio State can take (and where) later on in the season, but if the 2016 class finished with Fuller, Pryts, Hamlin, Jackson, and another WR, the Buckeyes would be in phenomenal shape moving forward.