Welcome to Buckeyes Crootin’ 2022 Class-In-Review, with me, Shane Bailey — or as many of you may know me @BuckeyesCrootin on Twitter. In this series I will be discussing and highlighting the strengths of all of the 2022 Ohio State football commitments, along with what to expect when they get to Columbus. If you missed any of my prior articles, I covered RB Dallan Hayden here, WR Kaleb Brown here, Kyion Grayes here, Caleb Burton here, and Kojo Antwi here.
Current 2022 Offensive Commits
Cherry Creek HS, Englewood (Colorado)
6-foot-6 285 lbs.
This week we are moving on to another one of Ohio States offensive line commitments. George Fitzpatrick out of Englewood, Colorado stands 6-foot-6, 285 pounds and has heaps of potential waiting to be unlocked in Columbus. Fitzpatrick ranks as the No. 320 recruit nationally, the 29th-ranked offensive tackle, and the second-best prospect in the state of Colorado for the 2022 recruiting cycle.
This was another recruiting win for the Buckeyes made even better by winning it over that Team Up North. Fitzpatrick has scholarship offers from 29 different schools, and has slowly been climbing the rankings since his offer from the Buckeyes. He was offered by the Buckeyes last August, the same day as his classmate Dallan Hayden. He also has helped his team to back-to-back state championships in Colorado, and is aiming to win a third straight this postseason.
It isn't too often that the Buckeyes go into coach Tony Alford’s home state of Colorado to find prospects, but this time they went and found themselves a gem. This is now back-to-back recruiting classes Ohio State has landed a commitment from a Colorado native, last year it being tight end Sam Hart.
Take one look at Fitzpatrick, and you know he was born to play offensive tackle. He has the perfect frame for the position, although nowhere near his ideal playing weight yet. That of course is where the Buckeyes strength and conditioning staff comes in. He has plenty of room to add more weight and muscle without sacrificing his athletic ability that pops on tape.
He shows great ability to pull in the run blocking game and to get to the second level of the defense. Like his fellow classmate Tegra Tshabola, he excels at pancaking his opponent and finishing out blocks to their fullest extent. Sometimes Fitzpatrick even pancakes his defender and immediately takes out another at the second level, whether it be a linebacker or a defensive back. It just goes to show how smart a player he is in looking for a second block to spring his ball carriers once he finishes his first assignment.
The awareness of the playing field around him is clearly there, and is a strong suit for Fitzpatrick. He shows the capability to perform some of the more advanced blocking techniques, such as reach blocks — getting leverage on the defenders outside shoulder and driving them away from the play. His footwork in the run blocking game is a joy to watch as he gets out in space so effectively and with such ease. I can see Ohio State using him to pull in space quite often as he is an elite zone run blocker.
There are several clips in the highlight tape below (that you should totally watch) that show how fast he gets out in space and pulls to get in front of the running back, creating a convoy to go down the field. He is so quick for a 6-foot-6 tackle. His lateral agility and movement speed are definitely ahead of schedule for someone who is also relatively new to the position. He has the speed of a fullback or a tight end more so than an offensive lineman, and is extremely athletic for his size.
He has a nasty streak in the way he plays the position as well, showing great aggression and the nastiness you want from your offensive linemen. I’m not sure if its something coach Stud actively searches for when offering players, but after watching tape on Tshabola and Fitzpatrick, you can see they both turn into nasty yet focused titans on the field the moment the first snap happens.
In the pass-blocking game, it’s almost as if he just simply locks on to the defender — not to the point of holding, but in grabbing the defender and locking them up in his grip. Once he has them locked up, he excels in keeping leverage while also driving the opponent into the dirt. He has a good punch and heavy hands as well, throwing pass rushers off balance and then getting his large wingspan to keep his hands on them and locking them up. This helps prevent some of the more advanced pass rush moves, rendering some defensive ends useless.
He definitely needs to — and surely will — add more weight to his frame in order to deal with the much larger defensive ends in the Big Ten. If he can maintain his athleticism and simply add to his power through weight training, then I see Fitzpatrick becoming a crucial part of a future Buckeye national title run.
That about closes out the offensive prospects that have so far committed to the Buckeyes in the class of 2022. There will be more to come by national signing day I am sure, and when they commit I will be right here to add in my two cents. Up next we move on the defensive side of the ball, where the Buckeyes have added some elite talent that I cannot wait to take a closer look at.
Speaking of adding elite talent, I have a feeling we will be adding even more on Tuesday when Kenyatta Jackson Jr. announces his commitment to either Ohio State, Oklahoma, or Alabama. I tend to like Larry Johnsons chances in this one.