Over the first few months of the head coaching tenure of Ryan Day, recruiting the offensive positions has been a strength. With a staff loaded with guys who can recruit their various positions, the Buckeyes aren’t lacking by any means in terms of landing talent for their future rosters. When you look at the current class, all but one of the pledges are on the offensive side of the ball. While some may worry, it may be necessary to take a step back and realize that, with basically an entire new defensive staff, those new assistants have to not only begin, but also build over time relationships with their top targets.
In recruiting, relationships are everything. While the defensive guys are for sure to come relatively soon, Ohio State and Brian Hartline may be in for a treat larger than any other as they await the decision of a not only a five-star receiver, but a prospect that is as good as it gets.
The decision awaits...
The recruitment of Julian Fleming has been one to have its twists and turns. The 2020, five-star receiver, who is the top receiver in the country, the sixth best player in the nation and the top player in Pennsylvania, has his decision slated for later today. The final schools to be in the mix are Penn State, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State.
Being a Pennsylvania native and going to high school under two hours from Happy Valley, Penn State was the long time favorite to keep this native son at home. However, recruiting took its course, and Clemson catapulted into the conversation as a favorite to receive Fleming’s pledge. Fast forward until the last month or so and it’s Ohio State that is thought to not only be the leader, but the likely destination that Julian decides on later today.
It really started when Fleming was in town for a spring visit just a few short weeks ago that also held Student Appreciation Day at Ohio State during one of the team spring practices. While on this visit, Fleming was not only able to see another inside scoop to Ohio State’s program, but also hang around guys such as Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon. Add in the fact that the relationship between Julian and Coach Hartline is strong, and you have what seems to be the perfect recipe for success.
When Julian decides later today, most believe it will in fact be in favor of the Buckeyes. Realizing that a commitment isn’t 100 percent cemented until signing day, the Buckeyes (if they land Julian) know they’ll have to keep Penn State, Clemson, Alabama, and Georgia off of him as much as possible. If today goes as planned though, Ohio State’s loaded receiver room will get a boost every program in the nation will envy. As Day continues to impress with his offensive abilities, the future continues to be bright in Columbus.
An all important visitor
As if today wasn’t big enough already, arguably the Buckeyes top running back target, five-star Kendall Milton, begins his official visit in Columbus. The nation’s third best running back and the 21st ranked player in the country overall will be on a multiple day stay at Ohio State and Ryan Day has his staff more than ready to roll out the red carpet for this visit to keep the momentum riding high. With Milton, Oklahoma was the once thought to be favorite, but as it stands now, Ohio State and Georgia look to be the two out in front with LSU not far off behind. Lately though, the Buckeyes have seen continued good news as the ever so popular 247sports crystal ball predictions have seen casts in favor of the Buckeyes regarding Kendall.
This weekend is as important as it can be in regards to landing Kendall. While a decision isn’t necessarily expected to come this weekend, never rule out the possibility for the hype and excitement at Ohio State to send Milton over the top. What Ohio State can present that others can’t is the fact that they have a wide open depth chart as soon as Milton steps on campus. With a No. 2 back behind Dobbins not completely solidified, Milton has to like what he could do to potentially earn early playing time. With his size and abilities too, early playing time isn’t anything out of the question. With the example of Ezekiel Elliott in the NFL, those types of recruiting tactics don’t hurt either. Being that Day has a West Coast background too, the ability to appeal from that far away area is seemingly becoming easier.
Milton’s first official visit starts today with the Buckeyes, and if this visit is everything Kendall could imagine, it could set the tone, and even set the Buckeyes closer to their chances of landing his services. Combined with the potential to strike gold today with Fleming, the timing of Milton’s visit isn’t only interesting, but also could be part of a larger plan to cement Day’s first class as one to remember.