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Ohio State’s dominance in Texas may continue for the 2019 class

Is Ohio State set to take over Texas once again?

Grant Gunnell
Greg Powers - 247Sports

The Ohio State Buckeyes have had a complicated relationship with the state of Texas in the past few recruiting cycles. The Buckeyes dominated the state in the 2017 recruiting class, landing three of the best players in the state in JK Dobbins, Jeffrey Okudah and Baron Browning as the state’s flagship program struggled with a lame duck head coach.

2018 was a different story, however, as Urban Meyer’s star disciple Tom Herman reclaimed the state, and Ohio State pulled in just one Texas product (Matthew Baldwin) while missing on top targets like Anthony Cook and Brennan Eagles to the Longhorns.

While it seemed like the tides had fully turned towards Herman, an awful offense and disappointing 2017 campaign have once again opened the state’s borders, and Ohio State is looking to take advantage.

Ohio State landed their first Texan on Sunday, when five-star receiver Garrett Wilson spurned the Longhorns for Columbus. Wilson also said something interesting Sunday night, as it relates to Ohio State’s efforts in Texas.

Wilson wasn’t the only one to notice this phenomenon, and current Buckeyes like the aforementioned Okudah, as well as Wilson’s former and future quarterback Baldwin had some thoughts as well.

Today, let’s take a look at what these comments could mean, and see if Ohio State could be the kings of the hill in the Lone Star State once again in 2019.

Grant Gunnell

Perhaps the most likely of the bunch is also the most crucial to Ohio State’s class. Gunnell is far and away Ohio State’s top target at quarterback for 2019, and has been made a huge priority by Ryan Day and Urban Meyer.

Gunnell visited campus recently, and many thought he was possibility going to commit, but decided instead to hold off. Ohio State does lead at this point, but will have to hold that lead until at least after the Elite 11 competition in June.

Gunnell is ranked No. 96 nationally, third among quarterbacks, and 13th in his home state. While Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Oregon still have a shot, my pick in this one is Ohio State.

Gunnell is a departure from Ohio State’s usual quarterback type, and that may be a good thing. Day has been pushing hard for a more pass heavy offense, and with quarterbacks like Dwayne Haskins and Matthew Baldwin already on the roster, he has chance to show some proof of concept to Gunnell as well as some receivers.

Elijah Higgins

Higgins is a newer name to the Buckeye recruiting universe. He’s ranked as the No. 25 receiver and a top-150 player nationally, and is really starting to look at Ohio State as a realistic option, despite receiving an offer just a few months ago. Ohio State has pushed hard to make that happen, and talks to Higgins nearly every day.

He was also on campus recently, and that visit changed the dynamics in his recruitment, as he had a fantastic time. Higgins had some questions about the school, and while nearly all of those were answered, I still feel that Ohio State is behind Stanford and Texas in this one, but it’s not out of reach by any means.

Higgins is one of Ohio State’s top receivers in this class, and for good reason. He’s a great complimentary player to Garrett Wilson. He’s a big bodied wideout at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, and would serve as a fantastic possession receiver alongside the more play making oriented Wilson.

If he’s still a realistic possibility by signing day is yet to be seen, but at this point, Ohio State is firmly cemented as a contender. If Higgins is willing to wait until November or December to make his decision, and Ohio State can showcase a great passing attack, that will be huge in this one.

Erick Young

Erick Young is a bit of a confusing recruit, in terms of where he may be headed. Ranked No. 56 nationally and seventh among cornerbacks, Young is generally expected to stay close to his hometown of Richmond, Texas. With that being said, Texas A&M or Oklahoma are seen as viable landing spots—but he is genuinely interested in Ohio State.

Young was a player Wilson mentioned by name as someone he wants to bring to Columbus, and in all regards, Young has been very receptive to Ohio State. The only problem is that the 6-foot-1 cornerback hasn’t been to Columbus yet, and until he makes that visit, it’s tough to say that he’s a real option.

Ohio State was included in his recent top six, along with A&M, Oklahoma, Alabama, USC, and TCU a few weeks ago, and I feel that Ohio State is in his top three, with A&M and Oklahoma, though they are currently third. If the Buckeyes can get him on campus, I’ll believe the chance. Until then, consider me skeptical.

Noah Cain

I was hesitant to include Noah in this list, because Noah isn’t technically a Texas recruit anymore. Noah transferred from Guyer High School to IMG Academy in Florida to get better coaching, so he won’t count as a true Texas recruit for the Buckeyes, but they will still face off with familiar Texas teams, and he does have a very good relationship with the top recruits in the state.

Cain has seemingly dropped a bit on Ohio State’s board, as the Buckeyes added Steele Chambers and Sampson James in the past few weeks to fill the running back spot, but there is still interest in Cain. He’s the No. 51 ranked player in the country, and if Ohio State does add any more running backs in this class, it’ll be him.

Unlike Young, Cain has visited Columbus, but to have a real chance, they’ll have to get him back on campus for an official visit. I do expect that to happen, probably for a game in the fall. At this point, I think Cain is likely headed to Texas, but Ohio State still has a very real shot to land him.

Quick Hits

  • Ohio State offered 2020 quarterback DJ Uiagalaelei. The St. John Bosco product is ranked No. 8 nationally. He’s really good, and this is really good news.
  • Ohio State also offered 2020 Orlando (Florida) running back Brandon Fields. He’s not yet ranked, but he will be very soon.
  • 2019 defensive tackle Joshua Harris included Ohio State in his top eight. He’s ranked 286th nationally, and I’d be shocked if he ends up anywhere but Chapel Hill.