Despite a smaller than usual 2019 class, and despite all but one Buckeye commit singing with Ohio State back in December, there’s still plenty to talk about in the Buckeye football recruiting world, as we now sit a week out from National Signing Day. The largest topic, and for good reason, centers around Doug Nester, so we’ll start with him, and roll through the main storylines around Buckeye recruiting as we enter this final stretch.
Will he stay or will he go?
Let me preface all of this by saying that Doug Nester’s recruitment isn’t done yet, and I don’t think it will be done until he signs an NLI next Wednesday. Anyone who says they know what Doug is doing is lying, because right now, I don’t think Doug really knows what he’s doing yet. He’s committed to Ohio State, yes, but visited Penn State this past weekend and is headed to Virginia Tech this upcoming weekend.
That doesn’t happen when a recruit knows where he wants to be, and I think Nester is legitimately conflicted. He likes Ohio State, and obviously has connections there, but with no Urban Meyer, he wants to look at two very good programs that are a bit closer to home. He likes all three schools quite a bit, and I think all three are going to get a final shot, with Tech’s coming this weekend and both Ohio State and Penn State visiting Doug next week.
When it’s all said and done, it’ll likely come down to where Doug feels the most comfortable, and where he feels he can get the best coaching. I think it comes down to Ohio State and Penn State, with Ohio State having a slight edge, because of the familiarity and because his family really likes Ohio State, but again, no one knows right now.
Last man in?
While Nester is target number one for the Buckeyes, Ryan Day would like to add another offensive lineman to fill out the class alongside Nester, and that list seems to have narrowed to two. The more likely option, Dawand Jones, and the higher ranked prospect, Enokk Vimahi.
Both players recently visited Ohio State, and both of those visits went very well. Ohio State likes both players, and would take either one on Wednesday. I think Jones is likely a done deal to Ohio State if given the green light a week from now.
Vimahi is a bit more complicated. Ohio State is very much in a battle with USC and Oklahoma here, and with the uncertainty at USC, the Buckeyes could sneak in and steal this one if Ryan Day has some of that closer DNA that Urban Meyer brought to the program. That’s a riskier move though, and if Ohio State goes all out for Vimahi, they could lose Jones.
Ultimately, while they made up a ton of ground with him, I think Enokk ends up at either USC or Oklahoma, and Ohio State adds Dawand Jones on Wednesday. Jones is a very intriguing prospect, and I don’t think Buckeye fans should feel like the staff is settling here because of his ranking.
Any late surprises?
It’s become a bit of a Buckeye tradition to pull one surprise recruit very late in the cycle. However, outside of maybe Vimahi, I don’t see it this year. There was a possibility that Ohio State would go hard for Kaiir Elam, MJ Devonshire, or Jonathan Allen, but all three will be heading elsewhere as Ohio State has spent the past month focusing on the three offensive line targets. We may get a 2020 commit right around signing day as DeaMonte Traynum visits this weekend, but I wouldn’t expect any big time surprises next Wednesday, and that’s fine.