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Ohio State recruiting: Taking a look at the running back position for 2020

Two big misses leaves the Buckeyes looking for answers at RB in 2020.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

After two big misses this recruiting cycle, Ohio State is still without a running back in the 2020 recruiting class. Missing on Bijan Robinson and Jaylan Knighton, who chose Texas and Florida State, respectively, Buckeye nation may be getting a little itchy about the thought of having to settle for a recruit at running back. As a bit of Buckeye community service, I want to give you a reason to R-E-L-A-X, as Aaron Rodgers would suggest.

It is no secret that Robinson and Knighton were the two guys Ohio State wanted the most, but there are a few guys still out there that are more than just serviceable at a place like OSU. The three guys I would most like to see become Buckeyes all have visits coming up soon—meaning now is crunch time for the coaching staff to narrow down who they want and who they think is likely to commit to them.

First off we’ll begin with the guy who is coming to town for his official visit this weekend in Kevontre Bradford. A 5-foot-11, 193-pounder out of Lancaster High School (TX), he sports a four-star, .917 rating by the 247Sports composite. Bradford is known to have good top end speed an is said to always hit the hole with a purpose. He shows great stop and start ability and reaches top speed quickly, making him a danger stretching the field side to side. Currently I would say he is the most likely of any of the guys I will mention to end up at Ohio State, though the popular opinion is OSU will take two running backs in this class.

The second most likely commit I see for the Buckeyes at RB is a local product from Dublin Coffman High School. That would be four-star (and .921 rated) Michael Drennen II. If you’re a recruiting nut like me, you may have noticed that Drennen II has been 247Sports Crystal balled to Kentucky for several months now. The 5-foot-11, 196-pound Drennen II was offered by Ohio State in June 2018, showing that he has been on the Buckeyes’ radar for a long time. Drennen II is a skilled back in several ways and would have no trouble fitting in at Ohio State. But, some think the fact that Ohio State went so heavily after other out-of-state players may have not sat well with him. While the prediction sits with Kentucky, I believe OSU head coach Ryan Day and running back coach Tony Alford will get into his ear and convince him to stay home. Hopefully a big time atmosphere at his official visit on the weekend of the Penn State game will help them do just that.

Last but not least is the son of a former NFL great with four-star EJ Smith. The son of Emmitt Smith, he plays his high school football at Jesuit High School in Dallas. EJ stands at 5-foot-11, 199 pounds and shows off an impressive combination of strength and speed. Some analysts have him listed as an athlete instead of a running back.

Having a great pedigree can be useful—but EJ is not Emmitt. While it seems a bit of a stretch at this point to predict EJ to Ohio State, anything could happen when he comes for his official visit on the weekend on Nov. 22.

It is a must that Ohio State lands at least one of these three guys in this 2020 class, but two would be preferred. We at Land-Grant Holy Land will keep you updated with all the news on these and other potential commits as the season moves on.