We’re on the precipice of the summer, possibly the most crucial time for major universities to scout, recruit, and most importantly, land commitments from some of their top targets. With camps, visits and offers galore, summer is always busy in college football recruiting, and that’ll be no different for Ohio State this year. Hell, with a new coach, it may be even busier than usual as Ryan Day and his staff work to establish themselves.
Of that staff, there may not be a more impressive new coach than receivers coach Brian Hartline. Hartline was a revelation in 2018 for the Buckeyes, both on the sidelines and in recruiting. He helped produce the best passing game in school history, and then turned around and landed five-star Garrett Wilson and high four-star Jameson Williams. That’s a pretty great start, but Hartline wants to show the world that he was just getting started.
With five available spots for receivers in the 2020 class, Hartline has the chance to do that, and if he wants to make a splash, this summer will be crucial. The Buckeyes have a pretty solid recruiting board, and two wideouts already committed (Gee Scott Jr and Jaxon Smith-Njigba), meaning that the next few months are all about cutting down the board to three or four final targets to end the class with.
So, as we enter the dog days of summer, who populates that board, and who might be landing in Columbus at wide receiver?
Top of the class
Julian Fleming: Five-star Pennsylvania product Julian Fleming is bar none Hartline’s top target in this class. Fleming has outstanding ball skills, and is as natural a receiver as they come out of high school. He’s the top receiver in 2020 for a reason, and Brian Hartline is well aware of just how good Fleming is.
Hartline is also aware that this one is going to be a battle for a while. Fleming is still very interested in Penn State and Clemson, and we know both of those schools are formidable foes in the recruiting world. Some think that Ohio State recently took the lead, but this still has plenty to go. If they can get him back on campus it could go a long way. Right now, I think Fleming lands in Columbus, but it’ll take Hartline’s best work yet.
Marcus Rosemy: The connecting thread between all of these receivers is elite ball skills, and just like Fleming, Gee Scott, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Rosemy has excellent hands and is a natural receiver. That’s exactly what Hartline and Day want from receivers in this offense, and Rosemy fits pretty perfectly into that mold. He isn’t huge, and he isn’t blazing fast, but he’s a true receiver, and that’s what the Buckeyes want.
It certainly seems like Ohio State will be getting it too, because they appear to be running away from the competition in this one. Georgia is interested but hasn’t been very active recently, and Ohio State looks like the runaway favorite for Rosemy at the time being. They’d love to get him on campus soon and lock up a commitment before fall.
LV Bunkley-Shelton: A fairly new name on the board, Ohio State shot up the California four-star’s list when he visited Columbus last month for the annual spring game. There were rumors that he’d commit on the spot, and while he obviously didn’t, the Buckeyes seem to have established themselves as a top contender, up with USC and Oregon.
Now, because LV is so far away, this may be contingent on getting him back on campus this fall, but Ohio State feels very good with this right now. If they could add Fleming, Rosemy and Bunkley-Shelton to end the class, they’d do it in a heartbeat.
Johnny Wilson: Another California product, and another five-star, I think Ohio State probably has Wilson as No. 2 on their board, but he seems unlikely to leave the West Coast. If Hartline can get the big receiver to Ohio State for a visit I’d give the Buckeyes a fighter’s chance, but right now this seems to be mostly an Oregon, USC and Washington battle.
AJ Henning: Under the previous regime, I think Henning is probably a Buckeye right now. He’s less refined than the other targets on the board, and more of an athlete than a receiver, which is pretty much exactly what Ohio State recruited at receiver in years past. Not anymore though. Because of his skillset, Henning is firmly behind some other prospects for the Buckeyes, and while they do have interest, I don’t think they’ll really push for Henning unless they miss on at least two of their top targets. He’s a very good player, just not a great fit.
Chris Scott: Speaking of missing on top targets, if Ohio State is looking for a receiver to add to the class a bit later on in the process, it’ll probably be Scott. He’s the best receiver in Ohio, and his talent fits Ohio State’s requirements, because he has excellent hands, route running, and ball skills. There are questions about his athleticism, but I think the Buckeyes will overlook that if they need a receiver when November or December rolls around. Will Scott be available at that point? Maybe not, but that’s the gamble Ohio State is taking.