Ohio State had two main targets that they were looking at to join their highly touted 2019 class, and unfortunately, just one spot available, because even with the loss of Jaedon LeDee, Chris Holtmann has no interest in the problems that could come with a full five man class. Those final two players —Ibrahima Diallo and Ben Roderick— were looked at extensively by Ohio State, and while it seemed like the Buckeyes preferred Diallo at least a bit because he was the one to get an offer, they liked both a lot.
On Sunday, Ohio State landed their final commitment, as Ibrahima Diallo announced he’d be playing his college ball in Columbus. Just a day later, Ben Roderick announced that he’d be playing for former Buckeye assistant Jeff Boals at Ohio.
Roderick, who dominated Columbus this past season on his way to first team All-state honors, may just be a case of poor timing. Because of an injury that sidelined him for his junior season, teams had very little tape to go on, even with his dominant senior campaign, limiting him almost exclusively to mid-major offers. On top of that, Roderick is a scoring wing, of which Ohio State already has two in the 2019 class.
He’s an extremely talented player, and a great get for Boals and Ohio, he just wasn’t a great fit for the Buckeyes in this class.
Resetting the running backs room
One of the most crucial positions for the Buckeyes in the 2020 class is halfback. With Mike Weber off to the NFL, and J.K. Dobbins and Demario McCall likely to follow him after this season, Ohio State’s running back room is starting to look a bit thin, even if the room has plenty of talent with Master Teague, Marcus Crowley and Steele Chambers. The answer, as per usual, is to go out and land more talent. Ohio State is certainly working towards that in this class, and has eyes on no fewer than six top halfback targets, though I think three is their ceiling for this group.
So, who should you know as we head into a long summer of camps and evaluation?
Kendall Milton: Milton, the five star from California, seems like much more of an option for the Buckeyes now than he did at the beginning of the month. He had an excellent visit to Columbus a few weeks back, and I think that visit brought Ohio State firmly into a battle with Oklahoma. Now, that certainly doesn’t mean this is anywhere near a done deal, but I do think if the Buckeyes are hitting a home run at halfback in this class, it’ll be with Milton.
Bijan Robinson: The other five-star target to know is another West Coast guy: Arizona product Bijan Robinson. Robinson however, unlike Milton, hasn’t had a recruitment altering visit recently. In fact, he hasn’t had a Buckeye visit recently at all, and the likelihood that he visits this weekend, as planned, seems relatively low.
Why is that? Well, Robinson seems likely to stay closer to home. That probably means Texas is the choice for the talented halfback.
DeaMonte Traynum: I think Traynum is a Buckeye sooner rather than later, but the question is more about his position in college. Because of his size and speed, and because he plays both ways for his high school, I think there’s a pretty good chance he ends up at linebacker in Columbus rather than halfback, which means the Buckeyes will need another running back to pair with Milton if they are to land Milton.
Michael Drennen: After watching tape for every name on this list, I can pretty confidently say that I think Michael Drennen is the most talented and best fit for Ohio State’s offense of anyone in this group. Does Ohio State agree? I don’t know, but the Buckeyes are certainly well aware of the Dublin speedster, and seem to be pretty far out in front for his services. I think whenever he wants in he will be taken with open arms.
I have seen some talk about him being a slot receiver or h-back, and I disagree with that pretty strongly. Drennen has the talent and ability to play halfback full time, and I think Ohio State thinks so too.
Jutahn McClain: If Drennen ends up elsewhere, McClain is Ohio State’s next option for a speedier, smaller back. I don’t think he’s quite as slippery as Drennen, but he can get the job done, and would be a dangerous option in this offense if Ohio State ends up taking him.
Miyan Williams/Torrance Davis: If Ohio State is to miss on their two bigger backs, Milton and Robinson, Williams and Davis are options 1a and 1b in replacing them. I don’t there’s a ton of difference in preference for the Buckeyes between the two, and I imagine if both Milton and Robinson commit elsewhere, both of these two will get a scholarship with the understanding that the first one in gets the spot.
So, who do the Buckeyes get? My guess should be taken as just that, a guess, right now. We’re still so far out from signing day, and it’s hard to say anything definitively right now, especially because we’re still learning about how Ryan Day recruits. However, as of right now, in mid-April, I think Ohio State lands Kendall Milton, Michael Drennen, and Deamonte Traynum, who eventually ends up at the new “bullet” spot on the defense.