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Ohio State’s search for a 2020 running back commit

The Buckeyes missed on their top two 2020 running back targets. Where do they turn now?

NCAA Football: Tulane at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

For most Buckeye fans, the names Jaylan Knighton and Bijan Robinson bring on the feelings of anger or sadness. Any time a college like Ohio State is the clear leader for players like Knighton and Robinson but ends up missing on them, it stings. For Tony Alford, it stung twice as bad seeing as he had his top two targets in the 2020 class seemingly locked up and then all of the sudden they were gone.

However, I urge Buckeye fans not to panic because, contrary to popular belief, Tony Alford is a great recruiter and coach. If that wasn’t the case, he wouldn’t be at OSU right now.

While Knighton and Robinson committed to Florida State and Texas, respectively, there are other RBs out there. Let’s take a look at who Alford and the Buckeyes have been recruiting over the month of August.

The month started off with an offer to four-star running back Kevontre Bradford out of Lancaster, Texas on Aug. 1. For any Buckeye fans that have not heard of Bradford, I urge you to check out Bradford’s Hudl highlights below:

Bradford is a short, stout runner with speed and the ability to make a would-be tackler miss. He does have some power as a runner, but more importantly he has the frame and ability to add more power when he gets to college. As for Bradford’s recruitment, he is still fairly open at the moment having only visited the University of Wisconsin officially. I fully expect Bradford to take an official visit to Ohio State this fall—and that may be when he commits. Even though Ohio State just offered him this month I think that they lead at the moment. If he sees all he needs to see on his Columbus visit and is given the green light to commit, he may very well likely be a Buckeye by the end of the season.

Buckeye fans should definitely keep a close eye on Bradford’s recruitment.

As for the next two names I mention, they are both guys Ohio State has reached out to and are keeping an eye on. The first guy is Ebony Jackson, a three-star out of Marietta, Ga. As a runner, Jackson is the total package. He is shifty, quick, and has the power to punish a defender. While Ohio State’s contact with him is in its infancy, I look for the Buckeyes to keep tabs on him throughout the season and maybe take action later.

Jackson is currently committed to Maryland, but one would have to think an offer from Ohio State would at least warrant a visit.

The second of the two players I want to talk about is three-star Henry Parrish Jr. Some of you may have seen the highlights from his Week One performance where he ran for 324 yards and three touchdowns along with making the ESPN Sportscenter Top 10 plays with this run:

Parish Jr. has seen his recruitment pick up steadily following his performance and if he keeps up this level of play his ranking may rise. Similar to Ebony Jackson, the relationship with Ohio State is brand new but the Buckeye have at least reached out to talk to the talented running back. Parrish Jr. is currently a Pittsburgh University commit and we’ll have to wait and see if Ohio State decides to offer him. Both of these players are talented running backs, but are simply just not Ohio State’s top targets at the moment.

I do want to touch on Ohio State’s other running back targets with EJ Smith and Michael Drennen. Both players are likely Ohio State’s top target at their respective positions and both at one point or another have had Ohio State on their list. Right now, though, Ohio State is playing catch up for both players because they got put on the back burner when Ohio State thought they were going to land Robinson and Knighton.

For Smith, Ohio State is going to have to pass Stanford. I believe if Smith wanted to commit to Ohio State right now they would happily take his commitment, but they have some work to do first.

Same goes for Drennen.

Ohio State has been in contact recently and he could commit to the Buckeyes, but he may take some fall visits first. One other name is Jalen Berger, who Ohio State is keeping tabs on but not pushing too hard for at the moment. Luckily though for Ohio State, Berger does not plan to commit till January.

Ohio State’s running back recruiting is very fluid at the moment and could change at any time. I expect more names to emerge as the things continue into the fall, but at the moment, these are some names to watch.

I will continue to dig and find out more on Ohio State and their search for a 2020 running back commit, so keep it locked onto Land-Grant Holy Land for the latest.