Brian Hartline is the best in the game at coaching wide receivers. That’s it. End of discussion. His development is on a whole other level right now, and the Buckeyes are reaping the benefits of his dominance both on and off the field. Hartline is landing five-star receivers like it’s just another day at the office, and Tuesday was yet another case-and-point kind of day.
Reeling in the latest elite target, the Buckeyes added the eighth member of their 2024 class thanks to Mylan Graham when the Twittersphere went haywire over the latest news. Picking Ohio State over Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, Notre Dame, and 20 other schools, Graham is the second five-star in the fold alongside Jeremiah Smith but is also the second in the class at the position.
Looking at the current roster, the Buckeyes will surely lose Marvin Harrison Jr. at the end of the 2023 season. Add potential departures from both Emeka Egbuka and Julian Fleming, and that leaves the Buckeyes with some major roster turnover. But that’s hardly an issue with not only how Ohio State has faired recently in recruiting, but also over the last couple of years thanks to Hartline’s stellar results.
Looking at the young guys, Ohio State has a bevy of dudes who can step up in the 2024 season with the likes of Kojo Antwi, Jayden Ballard, Kaleb Brown, Kyion Grayes, and more. The best part is that doesn’t even include the guys from the 2023 class like Carnell Tate, Brandon Inniss, and Noah Rogers.
You could stop here and that alone would be enough to further prove Hartline as the best in the business, but all this is said to show because of the elite depth, there’s probably only one spot remaining in the current 2024 cycle for another receiver. Who that will be though remains to be seen...
Who is next in line?
The likely candidate to join the Buckeyes as the third receiver in the class is Missouri native, Jeremiah McClellan. The No. 177 player nationally, McClellan is the 26th-best receiver in the country and the fifth-best prospect from the Show Me State per the 247Sports Composite. For a few reasons, this just makes sense for the two parties to join forces, but none more than familiarity.
Knowing Ohio State’s success not only in Missouri on the recruiting trail but specifically at Jeremiah’s high school, Christian Brothers College Prep — the same program that produced Kamryn Babb and Cam Brown — the Buckeyes going right back to the well wouldn’t be much of a surprise at all.
It was Monday of this week that McClellan released a top 12 schools list, and of course, Ohio State was included. The sentiments he’s hinted to over the past few weeks and really his entire recruitment have been very much positive for the Buckeyes. Having already visited campus multiple times, with one just being two weekends ago now, McClellan can’t see much more than he already has when it comes to Ohio State and all they have to offer.
The biggest factor here though is Hartline. Like the others before him and certainly after him too, the development and first-hand NFL experience he has is the greatest asset to his recruiting success. Churning out multiple NFL first-round picks and looking to keep that trend going in the near future, these high-profile targets know what they’ll be getting if they choose Ohio State, and that’s a legitimate opportunity to play on Sundays.
The Buckeyes will have a bit of a battle still for McClellan, but if the momentum continues, it looks like it’s Scarlet and Gray for this recruitment. It’s no coincidence that the same day he released his top schools list that Director of Recruiting for 247Sports Steve Wiltfong submitted his Crystal Ball prediction in favor of Ohio State for McClellan. As stated, this all just makes too much sense not to happen.
Playing devil’s advocate here, maybe Ohio State doesn’t take only three at the receiver position in 2024. Stranger things have happened, but the Buckeyes have shown year after year that they only take in 20-25 guys in each class. Add in the fact that they’ve also brought in four receivers in the past two recruiting classes in both 2022 and 2023, and you see why three is the probable number here.
Certainly, if another elite five-star wanted in the fold the Buckeyes would likely listen, but knowing the need for numbers at other positions of importance such as defensive line and defensive back, the focus should be elsewhere without question. There’s a long way to go in this current recruiting class, but the good news looks to be continued as smoke in the air points toward even more Ohio State commitments.
The worries of a slow start look to be all but over now.