Chris Holtmann and the Buckeye basketball team could use a 6-foot-7 forward to add to their roster, but Ahmad Wagner isn’t interested in leaving the Iowa Hawkeyes basketball program just to play somewhere else. Wagner announced that he’ll be spending his offseason getting his body in football shape, and will look to finish his collegiate career on the grid iron rather than the basketball court.
And this is why Ohio State should recruit him.
Sure, Wagner only has one year of high school football under his belt, but as a senior at Wayne High School, the Yellow Springs, Ohio native and then-wide receiver claimed 58 catches for 1,028 yards and 17 touchdowns. His performance was enough to contribute to his team making a run at the state championship — a game in which Wagner had a first-quarter TD and a 90-yard kick return to score — and earned him first-team all-conference, all-state, and all-division honors. Despite his commitment to play basketball for Iowa, he had an offer to play football for Kentucky, and Ohio State had previously shown interest as well.
Iowa’s men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffrey has confidence in Wagner making the move to the football field, and will help with that transition.
“Ahmad has a unique blend of athleticism and strength to go along with a tremendous work ethic. I have no doubt that he will be successful in his pursuit of playing football. I am excited for his future and wish him nothing but the best. We will work with Ahmad any way we can to assist him during this transition.”
The Buckeyes already have a strong receiving corp, with so many draft eligible players deciding to instead return to Columbus for one more season, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a spot for Wagner. The three-sport HS athlete could even make the move to tight end with his 235-pound frame.
Ohio State won’t have Marcus Baugh back this upcoming season and will now have lost three tight ends in the past four seasons. It’s been a heavily recruited position for the Buckeyes, with top-ranked prospects choosing to play in the scarlet and gray, but the “Next Man Up” includes three guys who have yet to see much playing time. In addition to Rashod Berry, the future of the TE position at Ohio State seems firmly up for grabs between Jake Hausmann, Luke Farrell and 2018 freshman Jeremy Ruckert.
Throwing Wagner in the mix wouldn’t be the worst idea. Plus, it might finally give Meyer and Co. the boost they need to actually use their tight ends as receivers more often than they usually do.
If Wagner does decide to transfer to another program — and not continue playing for the Hawkeyes -- he’ll have to sit out a year per the NCAA rule, and have one year of eligibility left. Wagner also doesn’t have to choose an FBS school — although he’s talented and big enough to do so — and would still have two years of eligibility left if he chose an FCS program instead.
*Correction: This story was updated after publish to reflect his eligibility.
So, what do you think? Is Wagner worth pursuing for the Buckeyes? (Sound off in the comment section!)
Is Wagner worth pursuing for the Buckeyes?
This poll is closed
Only if there’s a scholarship available
No — he’s a basketball player, silly.