Last Saturday night, the Ohio State Buckeyes hosted a massive group of prospects for their showdown against Michigan State. By some accounts as many as 55 commits and targets visited Ohio Stadium, most on unofficial visits. There are only a few spots left that need to be filled in OSU’s 2020 recruiting class, and with the early signing period starting on Dec 18, let’s take a look at the most likely candidates to join the class.
There is always a balance of need and talent that comes into a school when filling out a recruiting class. Ohio State currently sits at No. 3 in the 247Sports Composite Rankings with 23 recruits that have an average star ranking of 92.12.
As most people could probably guess, the two teams ahead of the Buckeyes would be Clemson at No. 1, with 20 commits and an average star rating of 94.12, and Alabama at No. 2 with 22 recruits, and an average star ranking of 93.56. No team is going to be able to pass Clemson for the top spot, since they already have six of the top 30 players overall committed to their class.
After a 2019 cycle that only included 17 players, Ohio State has the room for a larger class in 2020. Given the 23 current commits, there would be spots for about four more players, given the assumptions that players like Chase Young, Jeff Okudah, and J.K. Dobbins could be heading to the NFL a year early.
Many fans believe that the biggest need at this point is at the running back position. On Saturday night, four-star RB Kevontre Bradford from Lancaster (TX) took his official visit, but while expectations were that Bradford would eventually be a Buckeye — perhaps as early as last Saturday night — that is looking less and less likely.
Coming out of the major recruiting weekend, the only 247 crystal ball that Bradford picked up was from 11 Warriors’ Andrew Ellis, and it was forecasting that Bradford would be playing his college football in Madison, Wisc., not Columbus, Ohio.
With rumors that local target Michael Drennen II is starting a lean toward Kentucky, it is becoming more of a legitimate question for discussion whether Ryan Day and Tony Alford will end up with any running backs in the class at all. If that does end up being the case, it is almost certainly by choice. With the performances thus far in the season by red-shirt freshman Master Teague III and true freshman Marcus Crowley and Steele Chambers, the need to stock up on running backs might not be as high as many assumed that it would be in the preseason.
However, if Ohio State does end up grabbing a back for the class, I think that Bradford is exactly what they need.
Another guy who came to see the show in the Shoe on Saturday was quarterback Target CJ Stroud. The 6-foot-2, 194 pound prospect came all the way from Rancho Cucamonga, Cali. and carries a .938 composite ranking.
By all accounts, things went very well during his visit while being shown around by possible future teammate Jaxon Smith-Njigba. All crystal ball predictions have turned to Ohio State, which would give the Buckeyes two highly touted QBs in the 2020 class, along with Jack Miller the four-star out of Chaparral in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Both of these QBs are considered pro-style, but shouldn’t be too closely compared Dwayne Haskins just because of their label. This is something that I am very interested to watch develop with the way that the transfer portal has already affected Ohio State in the quarterback room. This could be another Dwayne Haskins vs. Joe Burrow situation after Justin Fields (in all probability) leaves for the NFL following next season
Next up, Ohio State would love to pick up a commitment from Tyler Baron. A four-star, .949 rated SDE from Knoxsville Catholic (TN). He currently sits with about a 70 percent crystal ball to Tennessee, which makes sense considering that his father, Patrick Abernathy, is a member of Jeremy Pruitt’s staff.
However, Baron fits the mold of a Larry Johnson-style player, coming in at 6-foot-4 and 252 pounds. This would be the guy that I believe could be the final piece to join the class as he is still trying to figure out if he wants to stay home, or come play at a place that litters the NFL with defensive lineman.
I would place about a 50/50 shot that Ohio State ends up with Barron at this point, making him the least likely of the four guys that I am predicting to fill out the 2020 class.
Finally is the player that I think is the most obvious and that I believe will be the next to commit to Ohio State, and that is Ryan Watts.
The 6-foot-2, 187 cornerback had been committed to the Oklahoma Sooners until last week when he announced that he was re opening his recruitment. For a few days after his announcement, Oklahoma still believed to have a chance to retain Watts, but that feeling has decayed over the last few days and the predictions now heavily lean towards Ohio State.
Watts comes out of Little Elam, Texas, and has earned a .910 star ranking and is probably encouraged by what is happening with another 6’2 corner out of Texas, Jeff Okudah. The Ohio State corner is likely to forgo his remaining year of eligibility and become an early pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and could provide the perfect road map for what a guy like Watts wants to do.
So there it is, the final four players that I predict will join Ohio State’s 2020 recruiting class. If you agree or disagree please comment and tell us why. That way we can have some fun as we will find out in the next few weeks and months who it will be