Everybody knows Ohio State is a national brand and one of the biggest when it comes to collegiate athletics — and of course when it comes specifically to football. On the recruiting front, because of their brand, the Buckeyes have always been able to recruit nationally and have a ton of success doing so.
However, it’s a well-known fact that the program also prioritizes in-state Ohio kids and trying to keep the other Midwest powers from poaching their homegrown talents. Every year the Buckeyes bring in Ohio targets, and while some classes may be bigger than others, the goal of building a wall around the state borders is still a common theme.
It’s not an automatic that Ohio State keeps every in-state target they want, but certainly more times than not the coaches are able to keep their Ohio natives in Columbus for their college careers. In the current class, the Buckeyes only have four commits, but looking at that total, two of those early commits are from Ohio, with several more hopefully to follow suit.
Again, not every Ohio State offered target in Ohio ends up committing to the Buckeyes, as yesterday was further proof to that being the case after running back, Jordan Marshall decided to commit to Ohio State’s biggest rival.
The Cincinnati Moeller product was down to Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Tennessee, but this latest in-state prospect to leave the Ohio borders is exactly why this piece addresses how important it is to not let your top in-state targets get away. Though the staff is still in great position for other 2024 running backs, like Texas native James Peoples, it still stings when an Ohio high school prospect chooses against the home team.
That said, many times Ohio products who leave the state are not always players that were offered by the Buckeyes, so sometimes it’s not a “loss” if being blunt. If the coaching staff is able to get out-of-state players that they believe are a better fit, then surely that’s the go-to move. However, looking directly at competing against a rival like Michigan, this program just can’t allow the Wolverines to land players who didn’t have an Ohio State offer and end up using that as motivation for wanting to beat the Buckeyes down the road.
It may not be in every recruiting cycle, but over the years, players who would have loved to play for the Buckeyes have gone elsewhere because of never earning an Ohio State offer. In this case, this looks directly at who the coaches should offer in the current 2024 class right in their own backyard.
The reasoning can be for a number of aspects, but for this specific candidate, it’s due to the talent, upside, and keeping him away from a rival program where it can come back to bite the Buckeyes in the end.
Brian Robinson — Defensive End
There’s arguably not a better example of who the Buckeyes should offer in this current class than Brian Robinson. A 6-foot-5, 255 pound edge rusher, Robinson is currently the No. 123 player nationally, the ninth best player at his position, and the fourth best prospect in Ohio per the 247Sports Composite in the 2024 class. The Youngstown product you would think would be a shoe in for Ohio State with that kind of ranking, but with nearly 40 offers to his name, the Buckeyes are not yet one of them.
Linking back to the aforementioned Marshall, Ohio State was very much in the mix, making his top four list of schools. But in reality, the Buckeyes may have been a little late to the party, and to Michigan’s advantage, the Wolverines were in on him from the start. Could that be the difference in why Marshall chose to go into enemy territory? Certainly possible looking at it now.
Looking at Robinson, the Buckeyes not even offering yet is interesting. Maybe they have a different outlook on his stock and what he brings to the table, but with the 247Sports Crystal Ball pointing towards Michigan again, this recruitment sort of feels like one that could come back to bite the Buckeyes. Maybe that’s going too far, but when you look at the defensive line as a whole, it’s puzzling.
The Buckeyes have not been bad on the defensive line, but Larry Johnson has set a standard that is that high for a reason. The truth is, the production could be better and needs to be better. Offering an in-state four-star prospect with 36 offers to his name doesn’t really seem like taking a “chance” on the kid, especially with him being from Ohio and being linked to — once again — your rival who you haven’t beat in two consecutive tries. In my mind, that’s a kid you offer.
I’ll leave it at this. You be the judge and ask yourself after watching the tape if this is a player Ohio State should be more interested in. The sting of Marshall may be getting the best of the emotions here, but in this rivalry, everything feels more important.
If Robinson does in fact choose the Wolverines, Ohio State wouldn’t be ‘losing’ him due to not offering, but knowing the need at defensive end and wanting to keep that border around Ohio strong, this recruitment is one I feel the Buckeyes need to enter.