What, you thought recruiting news was going to slow to a trickle just because National Signing Day is over? If that's true, somebody forgot to tell Ohio State. With the 2016 class firmly in the books, Ohio State took another step towards dominating the 2017 class, with the surprise commitment of 2017 DT Haskell Garrett, out of Las Vegas.
The Garrett commitment gives the Buckeyes 11 commits in their top-ranked class of 2017, with 10 of them being four or five star recruits. And the one kid who isn't a blue chip? He's a kicker.
So the Garrett commitment is a big deal. But why? Let's take a look.
This is a shot against the "Ohio State can't recruit DTs" trope
Ohio State has been more dominant than almost anybody else over the last few seasons when it comes to recruiting, but if there has been one less-than-stellar spot, it's been with recruiting defensive tackles. The Buckeyes have swung and missed on multiple blue-chip targets over the last few recruiting classes, and have not been able to replace them with comparable talents on paper.
The Buckeyes already have one DT committed for the class of 2017, four-star Jerron Cage out of Cincinnati, and they'd like to bring on three, given that it's still a position of need. But Garrett is far and away the highest rated DT that has picked Ohio State during the Urban Meyer era. Garrett is listed as a top 100 player in the 247Sports Composite, with a .9617 rating, and a top five DT across the country. That's a big deal!
The Buckeyes would probably still like to take another DT, and they're already in the conversation with several other highly regarded players. Those include guys like Darnell Ewell of Lake Taylor, VA (the same school that 2016 Buckeye commit Wayne Davis attended), Fred Hansard of Princeton, NJ, and Cam Spence, at IMG. Having two really good DTs already in the mix could help Ohio State take their time in adding a third, to make sure it's the right fit. If the Buckeyes are able to hang onto Garrett and grab another one of those three, the 2017 defensive line class could end up being the best in school history.
It opens the door into a very important high school
As a state, Nevada doesn't produce a ton of great high school players, and Ohio State would probably be in an uphill battle to grab many of them anyway. But Garett comes from one of the very best high schools for prep athletics in the entire country, Bishop Gorman. Establishing a relationship with those coaches and players could pay dividends for years to come.
The Buckeyes are already targeting one former Gorman player, five-star wideout Tyjon Lindsey. Lindsey moved back to California, but has relationships with many Gorman players, and a former teammate picking Ohio State could help the Buckeyes if they decide to push hard for Lindsey. Ohio State does not currently have a WR committed in 2017, but they're pursuing some very big names, like five stars Donovan Peoples-Jones of Michigan and Trevon Grimes of St.Thomas Aquinas (who is considered a big Buckeye lean at this point), along with four-star Jaylen Harris of Cleveland Heights.
A Gorman relationship may not bare fruit this cycle, but if the Buckeyes can crack that door open a little bit now, it certainly could in the future.
Goodness, the 2017 class is gonna be really good
It's probably unlikely all 11 members of Ohio State's current 2017 class remain committed by National Signing Day. Urban Meyer said as much after his NSD press conference last week. But even if a few leave, and even if Ohio State isn't able to sign a very large class after signing larger ones over the last few years (roster attrition we don't know about will need to happen for them to sign much more than 20), this could still be a group for the ages.
Right now, the Buckeyes have the best offensive lineman recruit, three of the best ten defensive backs/safeties, a solid QB who has been committed for ages, another blue chip lineman, and a slew of other very highly regarded players. They'll be heavily favored to add some of the best wideouts in the country as well. Alabama is the recruiting king until somebody knocks them off, but right now, Ohio State has the foundation of a class to be the team that finally does it.
We're a long, long way away from National Signing Day 2017. But right now, Ohio State is in about a good a position as you could ask for, and Garrett is a big reason why.
Land-Grant Holy Land's Luke Zimmermann and Christopher Jason got a chance to digest Garrett's tape and had the following to say about his makeup and upside with Ohio State:
Haskell Garrett played on the outside some as an end his sophomore year before getting moved more to the interior his junior year. He brought many of the same attributes with him as he moved inside. At Ohio State, he has the potential to fit perfectly into a Michael Bennett/2015 Adolphus Washington type role. He's good good burst; fires through gaps instead of being a space eater. Solid high end speed for his size and a decent vertical to boot. Listed at 6'2, he may actually be a hair shorter and might not have ideal size for big-time interior line college football play. Curious to see how he develops as he doesn't need many moves at the high school prep level as he just blows past dudes with his speed or goes through them with his strength. His time at end allowed for a surprising level of awareness in pass coverage for an inside lineman his age.