Welcome to the first edition of the Class-In-Review for the class of 2023. We have just completed looking at the class of 2022, so it’s time to take an even farther look into the future here by jumping into the class of 2023 (typing that made me feel old).
To start off we are going to take a look at the very first prospect who made the call to the coaching staff letting them know he was going to be a Buckeye, tight end commit Ty Lockwood. Lockwood jumped on early and has been recruiting lots of talent to play alongside him in Columbus. Every new offer that goes out or player tweeting about the Buckeyes, Lockwood is there putting on his recruiting hat. I do not think Buckeye nation will need to sweat out his commitment until signing day, as he seems fully sold on being an Ohio State Buckeye.
Ohio State is looking to take at minimum two tight ends in the class of 2023, and with Lockwood on board they believe they have a future star at the position. Lockwood has even been helping recruit fellow TE’s to the team, so you can tell he has absolutely no fear of competition.
Ty Lockwood - Tight End
Independence High School, Thompsons Station (Tennessee) - 6-foot-5, 225 lbs.
Lockwood is one of those big body targets that every quarterback loves to have as that safety valve in an offense. The scary part for opposing defenses is he still has room to add muscle on his frame that will make him an even more difficult assignment for any linebacker or defensive back. He is too big for most corners to cover, and too fast for a lot of linebackers to hang with him. With that combination, it is a tough ask for any defense to keep Lockwood contained. He creates so many mismatches with defenders that it is going to be hard not to get him on the field, especially in the red zone.
He is an elite pass catching tight end and forces the defense to always account for him every play. He showcases great hands, rarely letting the football hit his chest. This definitely lends itself to less drops and more consistent offensive production. He has soft hands as well, which means he tends to catch the ball with receptive fingers, wrists, and slightly bent elbows, watching the catch all the way into his hands. He uses his size well to shield defenders from the football, making it difficult to make any play on the football.
Lockwood has a smoothness to his route running and making his progressions when he needs to find an open spot in the zone. He is a very smart player who wont have any problem picking up the Ohio State offense if I had to take a guess here.
He has pretty good short area quickness for somebody his size, and his ability to get off the line of scrimmage cleanly is outstanding. Getting around press coverage, or more so in the case of tight ends the outside linebacker or defensive end crashing in on you, is crucial to the timing of the route and getting open and in-sync with your quarterback. Once in the middle of his routes, he has clean breaks and cuts and knows how to get separation from the defender. I am a big fan of his technique here. He has a great knack for high pointing the football and catching it away from defenders so that only he has a decent shot at it. You can see this evidenced in the clip below:
Now lets talk about his blocking. Blocking is something Ohio State always asks of its TEs, and it is one of the more crucial parts of the offense. Lockwood has a knack for being aggressive at the point of attack and knows how to get his hat on a defender to clear out running lanes. He has good technique in the run blocking game, he is very disciplined and does not rush his blocks. Lockwood really makes sure he utilizes leverage to earn himself a few pancake blocks as well.
He will need to add more bulk to deal with collegiate pass rushers, but the Ohio State strength program will certainly help him out in that regard. He has the unique ability to be lined up tight inside on the line of scrimmage or be split out as a split end and excels at blocking from both positions. Corners and safeties really struggle getting off his blocks, and even linebackers and defensive linemen seem to also struggle at times. I know Ohio State loves to run multiple TE sets in the run game, so having another above average to elite blocker on the team is a huge plus for the running backs who will be running behind that blocking whenever Lockwood’s time comes.