The 2019 class is going to have a very heavy lean towards the trenches for Ohio State. After a 2018 class packed with skill position players, Ohio State knows they have to land plenty of offensive and defensive linemen in this recruiting cycle to keep their depth at a comfortable level.
We’ve already started to see that on the offensive side of the ball, with commitments from Doug Nester and Ryan Jacoby, as well as heavy interest in Devontae Dobbs, Darnell Wright, Quinn Carroll, Harry Miller, Xavier Truss and Zeke Correll, but the Buckeyes know the other side of the trenches is just as important in this class.
Ohio State landed just two defensive ends in the 2018 class, and while they’re certainly not lacking in talent up front, they are looking for three or four edge rushers in this class. One of the Buckeyes biggest targets at defensive end, Marcus Hicks, announced his Top 12 yesterday, and the Buckeyes were very happy to be included.
I thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to get a degree and play football at the next level. In no specific order, these are my top schools at this time. Thank you to all the coaches who believe in me. I am truly grateful. Marcus Hicks pic.twitter.com/vKBqNI7bwA— Marcus Hicks (@harcus_micks) March 13, 2018
Hicks, a Northwest (Wichita, KS) High School product, is the 255th ranked player nationally, and the 16th best WDE, according to 247Sports. At this point, Hicks seems destined for Oklahoma, or the Big 12 as a whole, but if the Buckeyes miss on some top targets like Zach Harrison or Brandon Smith, Hicks could be a serious possibility.
As the Buckeyes continue to search for recruits to add to their 2019 class, the shape of the class is starting to become a little bit more clear, and after recent visits from a few key targets, we could see the leaders of this class joining very soon.
After visiting Columbus back on March 8, Houston quarterback Grant Gunnell’s recruitment has been trending pretty hard towards one school: Ohio State. The No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the nation decommitted from Texas A&M shortly after receiving an offer from Ohio State, and while it seemed like a long shot at the time, Gunnell to Ohio State hasn’t just become a possibility, but a likely result, as the Buckeyes are the obvious leader right now.
I don’t expect Gunnell to commit any time soon, and Ohio State will still have to battle with much of the Big 12, but Ohio State feels very good about where they stand with the 6-foot-6 gunslinger right now.
Spring break in South Beach
It’s been a pretty busy couple of days in the Sunshine State, both as it relates to recruiting and to Buckeye football. Buckeye quarterback Dwayne Haskins has been down in Miami for the past few days on spring break, working with recruits and with quarterback guru Quincy Avery.
Why the traffic to Florida? Well, in the last several days, Bradenton has hosted the NFA 7v7 Southeast Championship, while Miami played host to the Adidas East Championship. SBNation’s recruiting guru Bud Elliott was in attendance for both events, and passed down some notes on Buckeye targets.
John Dunmore, Jadon Haselwood and Jahleel Billingsley were all in attendance, and Bud had some good things to say about each one.
John Dunmore: Dunmore, a Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Hollywood, FL) receiver in the class of 2019 picked up an offer from Ohio State back in February, and while the Buckeyes aren’t a top contender for the No.22 ranked receiver right now, they could be in the future.
“Dunmore is just so smooth that defensive backs underestimate his speed. He gets in and out of his breaks, he makes tough catches and has excellent body control. Dunmore was open a lot more than he got the ball, too. Florida State is in a good spot with Dunmore, as he visited recently and called the Seminoles his “dream school.””
Jadon Haselwood: Haselwood is the top receiver in the nation and the second best player in the country, according to 247Sports. While he’s been committed to Georgia for nearly a year, the Buckeyes are still recruiting him, albeit not as hard as their other receiver targets.
“He was by far the best player on his team. Opponents knew the 6’3 receiver prospect, who many consider the best in the nation, would be getting the ball. They doubled him. They pressed him. They played off. They held him all day. And he still made tough catches, snatching the ball repeatedly, using his body to shield defenders, and his speed to go by them. He caught the touchdown to send his team to overtime, and the winner in that overtime to send his team to the semifinals. Haselwood was exhausted. He probably played 150 plays in five hours on Sunday.”
Jahleel Billingsley: Billingsley is a relatively new name to Ohio State fans. The Phillips Academy (Chicago, IL) tight end picked up an offer on March 7, and currently stands as one of the Buckeyes top tight end targets in 2019.
“Jahleel Billingsley, a tight end of Chicago had some really nice catches. He just picked up an Ohio State offer and is one to watch.”
Billingsley is the most likely of the three to land in Columbus, and late yesterday evening, he announced that Ohio State had made his top seven, along with Michigan, TCU, Illinois, Penn State, Florida and Ole Miss.