Ohio State is certainly not hurting for wide receiver talent. While Chris Olave is likely now off to the NFL, the Buckeyes will still be returning both Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams, in addition to a host of talented freshman wideouts in Julian Fleming, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Gee Scott Jr. On top of that, the 2021 class will also introduce the nation’s No. 1 WR in Emeka Egbuka, as well as another pair of four-star pass-catchers in Jayden Ballard and Marvin Harrison Jr.
This is all to say that Brian Hartline has done a tremendous job loading his wide receiver room with a boatload of star power, and now he can get picky with who he wants in the upcoming recruiting classes. That picking and choosing is seemingly already coming into play with the 2022 class, as one of Ohio State’s previous top targets has now committed to Texas.
Four-star wide receiver Armani Winfield, the nation’s No. 12 WR and the No. 79 player in the junior class, has chosen to stay at home and take his talents to the Longhorns. Once thought to be an Ohio State lean, with five Crystal Ball predictions in favor of the Buckeyes, the explosive offense Steve Sarkisian was able to put together at Alabama has helped him to secure the talented pass-catcher from Lewisville, TX.
While on the surface it may seem as though Hartline lost the recruiting battle for Winfield, it instead appears that Ohio State’s priorities at wide receiver have shifted. Winfield at one time looked to be the top priority at the position moving forward, and according to Eleven Warriors had actually wanted to commit to the Buckeyes back in November, but had to wait due to a number of external factors. With Winfield now committed elsewhere, Ohio State will continue to pursue a pair of prospects that were most likely higher on their board already.
The first of those two guys is Kojo Antwi — a four-star wideout from Georgia. Coming in as the No. 19 WR in the 2022 class, Antwi is not as highly regarded nationally as Winfield, but Hartline is clearly enamored with what he sees in the 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior, even going so far as to FaceTime the recruit an hour before the Sugar Bowl against Clemson.
“He was telling me that I’m a big priority, that I’m the one that he wants and stuff like that. He’s always fired up when he’s talking to me and in a good mood and stuff like that,” Antwi told 11W. “Coach Hartline is a great dude. He recruits the best, and he’s one of the best receivers coaches in the country. Just trying to be a part of that, you know?”
Ohio State officially offered the receiver on Nov. 18, and the Buckeyes most recently made his top eight at the end of December. They are seemingly in very good shape with the Suwanee native, with the lone Crystal Ball currently in favor of Ohio State. Hartline has made Antwi his No. 1 priority in the 2022 class, and that could pay dividends in this recruitment as it continues to wind down.
The other guy to keep an eye on is Kyion Grayes. We’ve spoken about Grayes here numerous times, and it really seems like only a matter of time before he makes things official with Ohio State. Just recently acquiring his four-star status, the Arizona native is a bit lower on the totem poll than all the aforementioned receivers — coming in as the No. 46 WR in 2022 — but Hartline views him in a very similar light as Chris Olave, who went from three-star prospect to superstar with the Buckeyes.
Of course, the luxury of being able to pick and choose your guys has been made even easier for Hartline since he has already earned a commitment from Caleb Burton — the No. 1 WR in 2022 and the nation’s 14th-best prospect overall. A Texas native like Winfield, you shouldn’t worry all that much that he looks to make the jump to Sark’s offense, as he put those rumors to bed right away on social media on Tuesday.
I ain’t going nowhere ⭕️⭕️ https://t.co/5HwMFyOmAq— Caleb Burton III (@calebburtoniii) January 13, 2021
If Burton does in fact sign on the dotted line at the end of the year, and there is no reason to think that he won’t, Ohio State will have a chance at lining up the No. 1 wide receiver in three-straight recruiting classes all on the same offense (Fleming in 2020, Egbuka in 2021, and Burton in 2022). Brian Hartline has done a really impressive job with the Buckeyes’ wide receiver room, and that work doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.