New Ohio State basketball head coach Chris Holtmann knew when he took on the responsibility of rebuilding the Buckeye basketball program that it would not be an easy job. And with the Matta era ending due to a decline in recruiting, there will be little room for error for Holtmann in this area.
Holtmann has proven he can recruit though, as he quickly vaulted the Buckeyes' 2017 recruiting class to No. 2 in the Big Ten and No. 22 in the country upon his arrival.
However, the program recently learned that the lone commitment in next year’s class, shooting guard Torrence Watson, decided to re-open his recruitment to focus on schools closer to home. The news certainly provided flashbacks to past recruiting failures and many were quick to question the state of the program.
Fortunately for Ohio State, Holtmann isn’t dwelling on the loss. Instead, the coaching staff is hard at work on the recruiting trail, and it continues to pay off, as the Buckeyes learned they made the cut for a blue-chip small forward in Talen Horton-Tucker (Chicago, IL/Simeon).
I am grateful and I appreciate all of the schools that took the time out to recruit me but, these are my final 1️⃣3️⃣ schools #ItsTime pic.twitter.com/rLVoeS2S3E— THT5 (@_Tal0w) August 27, 2017
Ohio State has some stiff competition when it comes to earning a commitment from Horton-Tucker, as he also included Illinois, Michigan State, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Kansas, St. Louis, Dayton, Missouri, Iowa State, Xavier, Georgetown, and Michigan in the list of schools he will focus on for the rest of his recruitment.
The four-star SF has had a busy summer with the majority of his offers coming in the last few months. He is the No. 28 SF in the ‘18 class and is the No. 108 overall recruit in the class at any position.
Illinois will likely be in the mix for Horton-Tucker because of the hometown connection, but schools like Michigan State and Kansas will be tough to ignore because of their success and the opportunities they can present a recruit.
As of now, Michigan State is seen as the favorite to earn his commitment, with all six of the 247Sports Crystal Ball Predictions.
Currently, Horton-Tucker doesn’t have any official visits scheduled, but with him being roughly six hours away from Columbus, getting him on campus for a visit is far from an impossible task. If Holtmann and Ohio State are able to convince him to view what the program has to offer, the Buckeyes will definitely be seen as a legitimate contender.
Ohio State offers a blue-chip WR
One of the reasons why Urban Meyer has cemented his name as one of the best recruiters in the country is his ability to recognize talent early on. This allows him and his coaching staff to get a head start on establishing relationships with elite recruits.
Ohio State is hoping to do exactly this by extending an offer to 2019 four-star wide receiver Devonta Lee (Amite, LA/Amite).
Blessed to Receive an offer from the University of Ohio State .#GoBuckeyes ⚪️ pic.twitter.com/mlx8jbAUNY— Devonta Lee (@DevontaleeLee) August 28, 2017
Lee is one of the top receivers in next year’s class, seen as the No. 9 WR in the country and the No. 42 overall recruit. With just one WR commit in the Buckeyes’ 2018 class and only one or two more realistic targets remaining, the position will certainly be one the coaching staff will focus on next year.
With that being said, Louisiana has been one of the more difficult states to lure talent away from for the Buckeyes, so the early offer is Ohio State’s best shot at securing a commitment. Additionally, the Buckeyes are not the only elite program to notice his talent, as Lee already has 10 scholarship offers from schools like LSU, Florida State, Arkansas, Auburn, and Florida. Alabama hosted the WR during a summer camp back in June.
Ohio State will have to continue to build a strong relationship with Lee and will need to get him on campus if it has any chance at stealing him from SEC country. But as we have seen time and time again, with Meyer at the helm, anything is possible.