It’s no secret that Ohio State is a national brand. Regardless of what you’re referring too, the Buckeyes don’t have an issue with representation. When it comes to recruiting, specifically, Ohio State is able to go pretty much anywhere in the country and land top targets, but what helps the Buckeyes even more is the fertile recruiting ground right within their state lines. Maybe not as prevalent as it was 10 years ago, Ohio is still home to some of the best high school football the nation has to offer, and every year the Buckeyes profit from their own soil.
The Buckeyes have done an incredible job at building a wall around the state of Ohio and keeping their top in-state players at home. Landing the top players in Ohio is a major priority for Ryan Day and his crew, and 2023 will be no different.
On Monday, the Buckeyes found out that their top remaining in-state product, Luke Montgomery is planning to announce his commitment on Feb. 17, which of course is just over a week away and a little sooner than originally expected. The second-ranked player in Ohio for 2023, Montgomery is the sixth best offensive tackle in the country and the 62nd best player nationally per the 247Sports Composite.
Committing on February 17th at 3 pm est on CBS and will be live on Instagram (lukemonty_). This will be held at Findlay High school in the gym. Anyone is welcomed!— Luke Montgomery (@lukeMonty8) February 7, 2022
A “must-have” for Ohio State in 2023
Make no mistake about it: Montgomery is far and away one of the top priorities in the entire 2023 cycle for the Buckeyes regardless of position. Not only with his in-state status, but thanks to his overall athleticism and versatility on the field, Montgomery will be a major pick-up for the school he decides on.
Having seen the top player in Ohio, Brenan Vernon, already being committed to Notre Dame, there’s extra importance on landing Luke for the Buckeyes. Sure, thanks to the re-classification of Sonny Styles to the 2022 class, Vernon was bumped to the top spot, but the theme still remains. Ryan Day and Ohio State are committed to keeping their best in-state players at home, and next in line is Luke Montgomery. Thankfully, the Buckeyes look to have a great shot at making that the case in the coming weeks.
Montgomery from the start has appreciated all Ohio State can give him, and the staff now waits and hopes that their efforts pay off. It appears things are looking pretty good for them, as Director of Recruiting for 247Sports, Steve Wiltfong, submitted his Crystal Ball prediction in favor of the Buckeyes on Monday shortly after Luke announced his timeline, and that typically sheds a pretty good light on where the recruitment is headed.
All that Montgomery brings to the table
What Montgomery brings to the table from a football standpoint is elite. A 6-foot-5, 260 pound offensive tackle, Luke originally was projected to play defensive line at the next level and still can, but of course with his growth and frame offensive tackle looks to be the perfect position for him. For Ohio State, that’s music to their ears, as they haven’t exactly struggled to recruit top tier guys, but certainly under Justin Frye will want to see a boost in the recruiting efforts on the offensive line. Michigan, Clemson, and Notre Dame are certainly in the mix, but Ohio State looks strong right now.
In terms of what sets Montgomery apart, his athleticism is coveted by every program in the country. Having the ability to play on both sides of the ball is one thing, but when you consider his experience playing a multitude of positions in the trenches and his basketball background, you see the footwork, strength, and spatial awareness that can make a star when it comes to the next great offensive tackle at the next level.
Power and Strength
Offensive linemen need to have strength and power in order to command the line of scrimmage, and Montgomery fits every bit of that narrative. Maybe the greatest aspect of Luke, he is far from a finished product. Having only played along the offensive line for so long, there’s still a lot to be learned in terms of technique. Still, the physicality he shows on the field is a major reason as to why he is so highly sought after. He’s also got a great motor, constantly displaying some of the highest effort on the field every snap of the game.
In the clip below, Montgomery is lined up at left tackle. First off, his “get off” should give a glimpse into his athleticism. Having a big-body frame like his and still being able to power off the ball is a major advantage on the offensive line. In addition, he shows tremendous effort here. His legs and hands continue to drive the defender, and while his pad level is too high, the power is there. When he perfects his technique, the sky is the limit.
Here is another clip that shows the raw strength Montgomery is bringing to the field every snap. In this regard, this is a play that is a designed double team with the left guard. Montgomery blocks down ,and the most interesting part is that the left guard falls down. Clearly it doesn’t matter, as Luke wins his hands inside, owns leverage over the defender and drives him for an easy 10 yards before throwing him down. Another very impressive rep that shows the nastiness every college football offensive line coach desires.
Footwork and Length
In addition to strength, a trait nearly every elite offensive tackle has is length. A 6-foot-5 frame, Montgomery certainly has the length, but what really makes him a special prospect is the footwork to go along with it. A solid basketball player too, Luke’s agility and experience on the hardwood directly correlate to the gridiron and allow him to stay in front of defensive ends getting to the quarterback.
Likewise, with his experience playing defensive line, the knowledge of moves being used as well as the ability to work through hand-combat translates to Montgomery holding his own in the trenches.
In this clip below, every intangible is shown by Montgomery in pass protection. His kick-step off the ball allows him to win the edge, but more importantly, he keeps the defender in the middle of his body, not allowing him to pressure the quarterback. In addition, his finish once again shows the intensity that he plays with. Snaps like this show the caliber of player Montgomery is and the non-stop effort he plays with as he makes it a point to bury his opponents.
Simply put, Ohio State desperately wants to add Luke Montgomery to their 2023 class. As a player for sure, but also as an in-state leader who can help peer recruit and further assist in building this class as a whole. While only about a week remains in the balance before he makes his commitment, the Buckeyes won’t stop their pursuit of the second best in-state player.
Until then, you should check out his entire film below for a great look at what he could bring the Buckeyes if he chooses to stay home and suit up for the Scarlet and Gray.