For years, it seemed nearly impossible to even consider Ohio State recruiting California effectively, due to location, and with competition from some of the nation’s top programs, like USC, UCLA, Stanford, Washington, and Oregon nearby. However, after years of nearly no attempts to reach that far west under Jim Tressel, Ohio State has finally made inroads in the Golden State under Urban Meyer, and those efforts have paid dividends.
Since 2012 (Urban’s first year), the Buckeyes have now pulled four prospects from the West Coast, up from just two from 2002-2010. That connection out west was huge for Ohio State just minutes ago, as they picked up the most recent player to join the pipeline in San Marcos receiver Chris Olave.
Olave joins Michael Thomas, Marcus Baugh, and Wyatt Davis as the only Buckeyes to come from California in the Urban Meyer era (safety Jaiden Woodbey would have made it five had he not flipped to Florida State last month).
Ultimately, while the long distance recruiting win is nice, what matters most is what Olave is bringing to Columbus. Let’s take a look at the latest Buckeye verbal commitment.
ON THE FIELD
If you’re still disappointed about Ohio State losing Tyjon Lindsey to Nebraska in the last recruiting cycle, I’ve got good news for you: Chris Olave is a very similar prospect. He’s a prototypical slot receiver in skill, with the size of a primary receiver (6-foot-1, 170 pounds).
He’s a very crisp route runner, and he’s electric with the ball in his hands—because of his quickness, and surprisingly long strides. He’s never really going to be a big play kind of receiver, as he isn’t really a burner, but he’s capable of tracking down deep throws, and could find himself at the “KJ Hill” hybrid slot/H-back position.
With his consistently good hands, and willingness to block, Olave could see the field early in Columbus, as Ohio State will have a mass exodus of receivers next season, with Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, Johnnie Dixon, and CJ Saunders all graduating, and Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack, and K.J. Hill could all decide to declare for the NFL as well.
IN THE CLASS
Olave is the 24th member of Ohio State’s top-ranked 2018 class, and the fourth receiver, along with Cameron Brown, Kamryn Babb, and L’Christian Smith. He's only two spots behind Brown in the 247Sports composite rankings, and saw a big boost in the last ratings change, after a huge senior season.
Olave picked Ohio State over USC, Utah, and UCLA, which is part of what makes this commitment so impressive. The Buckeyes identified Olave’s talent before most of the Pac-12, and stuck with him to the end, ultimately beating out every local program for one of the region’s best talents. That’s what good recruiting and coaching can do for you, and Ryan Day deserves a ton of credit for this one.
Olave will almost certainly be shutting his recruitment down after this, and should be signing with Ohio State on the first Wednesday in February, unless anything absurd happens between now and then.