This past January, when Ryan Day took control of the football program at Ohio State, he did a bit of house cleaning with the coaching staff. Day hired Greg Mattison, Al Washington, Jeff Hafley and Matt Barnes to totally revamp the defensive staff. On the offensive side of the ball the first thing Day did was hire wide receivers coach Brian Hartline full time. Then he followed that up by hiring Mike Yurcich to be the quarterbacks coach.
Although Greg Studrawa was under much scrutiny for both his recruiting and players on-field performance at the time, Day did not fire him. Ever since Ryan Day decided to keep Studrawa on staff, he has greatly improved his recruiting efforts by helping put together the best offensive line class in the country for the class of 2020. Coach Stud, as he is referred to by many, is off to a great start with the class of 2021 offensive line when Ben Christman committed.
Christman will not be the only high end offensive line prospect Ohio State brings in for the class of 2021 seeing as the Buckeyes are recruiting many of the top offensive line talent across the country.
Let’s begin with the fourth and final segment of ‘McCord’s Men’ with the big boys up front on the offensive line. Beyond Ben Christman in the class of 2021, Ohio State’s top offensive line target is Donovan Jackson out Episcopal high school in Bellaire, Texas. Jackson is one of the most impressive offensive lineman in his class. As an underclassman, he earned an invite to the prestigious Nike event, ‘The Opening,’ where he earned MVP honors over all the 2020 prospects in attendance. While his recruitment is still fairly open, Ohio State is definitely near the top for Jackson. Ohio State’s main challengers in this recruitment process are the in-state Texas A&M Aggies and the Georgia Bulldogs.
One big positive Ohio State has going for them is Jackson’s grandmother. She is an Ohio native and a long time Buckeye fan. While these family ties do not always matter in recruiting, it definitely cannot hurt the Buckeyes’ chances. Ohio State commit, Ben Christman, said he is actively recruiting Jackson. As is quarterback Kyle McCord.
“One other guy that I’ve been in contact with on the offensive side of the ball is Donovan Jackson. I’m hoping he commits too,” McCord said to Land-Grant Holy Land. “He’s a beast.”
Look for Ohio State to be a big in Donovan Jackson’s recruitment till the end and do not be surprised if he is a Buckeye come February 2021.
Ohio State has Ben Christman committed and Donovan Jackson at the top of their target list. After both Christman and Jackson, the Buckeyes are going after guys like Nolan Rucci, Landon Tengwall and Ryan Lithicum, who are the next tier of elite talent.
Rucci is a large athlete with a giant frame. Furthermore, his frame allows him to add good weight. He is currently around 270 pounds but there is no doubt he can carry 300 pounds or more easily.
“Ohio State was great, I loved the coaching staff and the facilities, and Coach Day sat with my family and I and talked for around an hour about football and family,” Rucci said to Land-Grant Holy Land.
Rucci is a guy who has taken a few visits but look for him to take more during the fall as he starts to narrow his list for a spring decision. Being one of the top kids out of the state of Pennsylvania, fans should also look for Penn State to challenge heavily. Expect Wisconsin, where his older brother goes, to be up there as well.
McCord, a fellow Pennsylvanian, had a few words to say about his fellow classmate. “I’ve only talked to him a few times but from his film he’s a huge kid that moves really well. He’s built really well.”
Tengwall, is another guy that Ohio State wants because he is a mountain of a man. He possesses a very large frame with a muscular build and moves very well for his size which will allow him to play early at the level.
“I played against Landon Tengwall and he’s a brick wall. He’s a really strong kid who’ve I’ve started to build my relationship with,” McCord said.
Tengwall has offers and interest from schools all across the country but look for a midwest battle between a few Big Ten schools and Notre Dame.
The final of the top tier guys is Lithicum. He is a stout, powerful interior offensive lineman. Lithicum is yet another guy whose recruitment seems to be a battle of midwestern schools, specifically Ohio State and Michigan with Clemson also among the top. It seems, though, that OSU is trending upward in the battle for Lithicum.
“I’ve been in contact with Ryan, and I really think OSU is in great position with him,” McCord to LGHL.
Ohio State fans should look for the Buckeyes to land at least one if not all of these top level targets that are in this elite tier.
Beyond the top dog, Donovan Jackson, and the other three guys in the elite tier, there are a few other names for Buckeyes to watch for. Garrett Dellinger, Trey Zuhn, Bennett Pitcher, and Jager Burton are the next tier of offensive line targets.
Dellinger is a four-star out of Clarkston, Michigan who has a very long frame with a nasty streak in the trenches. His recruitment looks to be coming down to an old-fashioned Ohio State-Michigan-Notre Dame battle for one of the top lineman in the Midwest. Zuhn is a long, athletic tackle prospect out of Fort Collins, Colo. As of right now, the biggest challenger to Ohio State seems to be Texas A&M with Notre Dame sitting behind them.
Pitcher is a very interesting prospect at 6-foot-9, 275 pounds. It is yet to be seen whether he is a tight end or a tackle but his most potential lies at the tackle position for the future. Even though he is a small school prospect out of Massachusetts, he holds many national offers and his recruitment is still pretty open with Ohio State just recently getting involved.
Burton may be the only pure guard of this group. Mainly he lacks length, but what he does lack, he makes up in power. The good news for the Buckeyes is that Burton has seen the program already.
“Ohio state is definitely one of my favorite schools I have been at,” Burton said. “I loved everything about it.”
This second group of offensive lineman are all talented. The main reason they are second tier guys is because Ohio State is either new in their recruitment or does not have the lead for them as of right now.
While Ohio State is in on many great offensive lineman for the 2021 class, Buckeye fans should not forget that Christman was their absolute top guy in the class. Christman has the size, power and footwork to come in and play early at Ohio State. Not only is Christman a prototype tackle prospect, he is also an in-state stud for the class.
“Ohio State is unbelievable and it feels like home,” Christman said to Land-Grant.
Buckeye fans should not think for a second that Christman is out of the recruiting game. He is actively recruiting many guys for Ohio State and is building great relationships with his fellow commits. One of those relationships built is with McCord.
“I’ve talked to Ben a good amount and we are both excited to build this class together,” McCord said.
After Coach Day and Coach Stud, McCord may very well have been the happiest person when Christman committed to Ohio State.
After talking to McCord for quite a few weeks to do this segment, I have absolutely no doubt that this 2021 offensive class will be a great one. Ohio State currently has four commits in the class 2021 with three being on the offensive side of the ball—and all are top 150 guys in the country. Not only are the committed guys very talented but they are also a very close knit group. There is no doubt in my mind that this class will work especially well with one another. While the class of 2020 has exceeded many Buckeye fans’ expectations, this 2021 class may very well top their predecessors.