Folks, we could be in the middle of one of the best recruiting runs in the history of college football as on Friday, the Ohio State Buckeyes added the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver Emeka Egbuka to their 2021 class. The five-star Steilacoom, Wash. native is the No. 9 overall prospect in the country, according to 247Sports Composite rankings, and the second-rated player in the state of Washington.
Thank you to all who helped me get to this point. Time to start a new chapter .. pic.twitter.com/caZGpfRj3B— Emeka Egbuka (@emeka_egbuka) December 12, 2020
Ohio State’s recruiting effort was led by wide receivers’ coach Brian Hartline, and Egbuka chose OSU over nearly every major program in the country, including Clemson, LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, Washington, Georgia, Michigan, Penn State, Notre Dame, Oregon, USC, Texas A&M, and many more. In the end, the Buckeyes came out ahead of the Sooners and Huskies who were his other top schools.
At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Egbuka was clocked at an official 4.42-second time in the 40-yard dash in January 2019, with a 35.10 inch vertical recorded in May of that year. He is noted for his rare combination of speed and physicality, as well as his ability to excel both inside and outside.
With the addition of the WR, OSU’s 2021 recruiting haul comes within shouting distance of Alabama’s for the No. 1 spot. Now at 310.36 total points with 21 commits (compared to the Tide’s 314.18 points with 22 commits), Egbuka becomes the fifth five-star commit in the class, second top-10 recruit, and 12th player from 247’s top-100 — yes, Ohio State has 12 percent of the top 100 players in the country committed to its class, with another big name potentially on the horizon.
As Hartline has shown in recent years, he is looking for WRs that aren’t afraid to compete with their classmates. In addition to Egbuka, OSU has commitments from the No. 8 and No. 15 receivers in the country in Jayden Ballard and Marvin Harrison Jr. This is also marks the second-straight season in which Hartline has secured a commitment from Washington’s top receiver; Gee Scott Jr. joined the Buckeyes from Eastside Catholic in Sammamish, Wash.
Hartline’s long-standing relationship with Egbuka was one of the primary reasons why Ohio State was able to haul in the star wideout. Since becoming the Buckeyes’ wide receivers coach in 2018, Hartline has quickly become one of the nation’s best recruiters. He is currently on an absolutely unbelievable stretch, now earning commitments from the No. 1 wide receiver in three-straight classes with Julian Fleming in 2020 and a verbal commit from Caleb Burton in 2022.
It is truly impressive that the Buckeyes were able to lead in this recruitment pretty much from wire to wire, as they even staved off the momentum from Egbuka’s visit this past weekend to Oklahoma. Some had speculated that his trip to Norman could potentially result in a last minute flip to Lincoln Riley’s squad, but in the end the efforts of Sooner QB commit Caleb Williams and others were not enough to sway Egbuka away from Columbus.
Egbuka is an incredibly smart and talented receiver, and he has the chance to be an elite player in Ryan Day’s offense. Already drawing comparisons to Pittsburgh Steelers star wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster, here is what 247Sports national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman says of Egbuka’s abilities:
Elite body control to go with optimal size and strength, with good top end speed and separation. Physical receiver, difficult to press but also take advantage of any cushions given. Can adjust to each and every throw, take short passes the distance while also getting behind the secondary on deep routes. Strong hands, wide catch radius, will bring anything in range down. Consistently draws double coverage and bracket coverage and routinely gets open. Able to get consistent YAC. Also skilled punt and kick returner. Can play safety, with tremendous range and ball skills. Projects as immediate Power 5 starter and future first-round NFL draft pick.
Ohio State’s 2021 class has some crazy incoming offensive firepower, adding the nation’s No. 1 WR to a group that already included the top RB in the country in TreVeyon Henderson and the top offensive guard in the country in Donovan Jackson. With Egbuka coming in from Washington, this class now contains players from 13 different states, showing that Ryan Day has lost absolutely none of what we saw under Urban Meyer in terms of recruiting at a national level.
Check out highlights from Egbuka’s junior season: