It’s come to that part of the season where there’s two priorities for the football program. First and foremost is competing for championships. We’ve all heard it said time and time again how this team wants to be playing it’s best football in November, and as fast as it’s gone, the Buckeyes only have three regular season games to be played. With a trip to Indy on the line the next three weekends, it’s do or die time for Ohio State’s 2021 campaign, and the intensity surely will be as high as it’s been all year as the big time opponents are ahead.
On the flip side, with the regular season entering the final stretch, the early signing period for the 2022 class is just around the corner, and the staff will be working tirelessly to make sure they’re in a great spot. Hoping to sign all of their current commits in December, this class still has some spots up for grabs, and that of course is the other top priority for Ryan Day and his crew. Though the top targets are identified, the work is far from over. The last few weeks to make their pitch are here, and like the on-field product, the Buckeyes are hoping for multiple wins.
Bucks make the cut for a top 2023 tight end
In Ohio State’s 2022 class currently only features one tight end commit thanks to Georgia native Bennett Christian. This late in the cycle, the staff will likely only have that single player at the position in the fold, but that of course wasn’t the original plan. The Buckeyes for some time had two guys in the class at tight end, but when Benji Gosnell de-committed from Ohio State back in July after an eight-month verbal pledge, it certainly reshuffled the deck for the coaches from a recruiting strategy in 2022.
With only one guy in the current class that is nearing the early signing period, the Buckeyes will almost certainly take two tight ends in 2023. With Jeremy Ruckert’s departure coming at the end of this season, Ohio State needs depth. Like most aspects in recruiting for the Buckeyes, the program is already off to a hot start, as the first commitment in the cycle was a tight end thanks to Ty Lockwood, who is currently ranked as the eighth-best TE in the country and the 140th best player nationally per the 247Sports Composite.
The search though for a second in the class is still on, and Thursday may have shed some light on who one of the top options could be as the Buckeyes sift through their leaderboard. Announcing a top schools list via his Twitter account, California native Walker Lyons released his latest recruiting update with a list of 11 schools he is still considering before making a final call.
A 6-foot-4, 230 pound tight end, Lyons is the third-best at the position and the 69th ranked player in the country regardless of position. Having nearly 30 offers to his name, getting it down to 11 couldn’t have been easy for him, but making the cut included Ole Miss, USC, Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Michigan, Alabama, Oregon, BYU, Texas, and Ohio State. As it stands now, Ole Miss owns the single Crystal Ball prediction, but with this latest top schools list, it’s proof that he’s not yet ready to decide and there is plenty of time for any of the finalists to become a bigger threat to land his services.
As we get deeper into 2023 recruiting, Lyons will continue to be a name to watch for the Buckeyes’ pursuit of a second tight end.
Buckeyes have to look elsewhere for offensive line additions
There may not be a position in the 2022 recruiting class that’s been tougher to figure out than the offensive line. Not that it’s been a negative issue, but the coming and going of names that seem to be Ohio State leans at one time or no longer considering the Buckeyes has been a list that’s pretty active. Not for a lack of effort, this staff still has some top targets they are after, and while it’s going to be tough to land any of the top guys still out there, the development of the current guys should speak volumes to young impressionable recruits.
On Thursday, one name was officially off the board when in-state product Aamil Wagner (Dayton, OH/Huber Heights Wayne) announced his commitment to Notre Dame. Not a huge surprise to see Wagner head elsewhere, he at once was thought to be a lock for the Buckeyes, but as time went on you never got the feeling that he was a major priority for Ohio State and the coaching staff. For whatever the reason, it wasn’t a perfect fit for Wagner in Columbus, and that’s just the reality of it all. Sure, keeping a top player in-state is typically the priority more times than not, but the Buckeyes will look elsewhere.
Ranked as the 12th-best offensive tackle in the class as well as the sixth best player in Ohio for 2022, Notre Dame being the call may have stunned most people when Kentucky looked to be the destination for Wagner, but like others recently, a top Ohio native will head west to South Bend to suit up for the Irish. From here, the offensive line recruiting gets a little easier to understand, but the finish for this class is still mildly up in the air for the Buckeyes to land another in the trenches and who that will be.