Established October 31, 1996
Advertisements Disabled
Advertisements Disabled

More Football

Popular Links

Ozone Links
Looking Forward: Buckeye Receivers in 2017 and Beyond
By Ben van Ooyen

(You can follow Ben van Ooyen on Twitter at @BuckeyeBVO.)

It was evident this season that the Buckeyes lacked playmakers at the wide receiver position. Outside of Noah Brown’s great game in Norman, the true wide receivers on this team did not produce as in years past. The Buckeyes lost Devin Smith and Michael Thomas to the NFL over the past two seasons, and their loss was evident in the lack of a downfield passing game.

It was thought that guys like Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin would step up and fill the gap left by those two, but their stats this season would say otherwise. The Buckeyes' top four receivers are two H-Backs in Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson, a tight end in Marcus Baugh, and one true wide receiver in Noah Brown. Campbell and McLaurin between them caught 23 passes for the entire season. K.J. Hill came on late to provide a spark which should carry over to next season.

Would things have looked any differently had Torrance Gibson not been suspended? That will remain an unknown, and an unfortunate chapter in the 2016 season. There is still young talent on hand, and guys like Binjimen Victor and Austin Mack will need to step up next season and become reliable targets for whoever is manning the quarterback position.

You have to believe that one of the two, if not both, will become viable in the offense next year. The Buckeyes only lose Corey Smith due to eligibility, and he has not played a pivotal role for the Buckeyes since he has been in Columbus.

The Buckeyes welcome two of the highest-rated wide receiver recruits that OSU has landed under Urban Meyer in Trevon Grimes and Tyjon Lindsey. Lindsey is a smaller wideout at 5-foot-9 and will likely line up in the slot and provide that over the middle target on short and intermediate routes with the capability to go deep as well.

Grimes is coming off an ACL injury and Lindsey is nursing a knee injury of his own, but both are expected to be back to playing condition by the time that fall camp rolls around. Grimes looks to provide the downfield target that the Buckeyes need at 6-foot-3 to replicate what they are missing with the loss of Devin Smith.

Ohio State does not seem to be done with its wide receiver recruiting despite losing out to Michigan for 5-star prospect Donovan Peoples-Jones recently. The Buckeyes will now focus their attention on in-state target Jaylen Harris out of Cleveland, Ohio. At one time it was thought that it was a foregone conclusion that Harris would be a Buckeye, but with dwindling scholarship numbers and a pretty full class, it looked like he might end up elsewhere.

Harris has been quoted as saying that if he wants to be a Buckeye, that the coaching staff has assured him that they will make room for him. I think now that we are getting a little bit closer to signing day, and there are less uncommitted players the Buckeyes are chasing, Harris should have no problem finding himself in this class when he decides. Other schools to watch for Harris are Tennessee and Michigan State who he has visited since his visit to Ohio State on November 26.

As for tight end recruiting in 2017, there isn’t much to write about here. Marcus Baugh may test the draft waters after the season leaving the Buckeyes very young at tight end with only A.J. Alexander having received any meaningful playing time. After that you have three freshmen in Kierre Hawkins, Jake Hausmann and Luke Farrell. The Buckeyes had a few offers out to some top tier tight ends for the class of 2017, but those kids chose other schools and the Buckeyes used their limited scholarship numbers on more pressing positions.

2017 Depth Chart

Wide Receivers

Commitments

Freshman

Sophomore

Junior

Senior

Trevon Grimes
Tyjon Lindsey

Alex Stump (RS)
K.J. Hill (RS)

Binjimen Victor
Austin Mack

Terry McLaurin (RS)
Johnnie Dixon (RS)
Parris Campbell (RS)
Noah Brown (RS)

James Clark (RS)

 

Tight Ends

Commitments

Freshman

Sophomore

Junior

Senior


Kierre Hawkins (RS)

Jake Hausmann (RS)

Luke Farrell (RS)

A.J. Alexander (RS)



Marcus Baugh (RS)

The Buckeyes do not currently have a commitment from the class of 2018 at the wide receiver position, but with the possible departure of Noah Brown to the NFL and James Clark due to eligibility, they will likely be looking for two to three guys in this class as well.

The receiver most likely to end up in this class is L'Christian Smith out of Huber Heights, Ohio. Smith is a two-sport star, playing both football and basketball for Wayne. It is uncertain if he will play both sports at the next level, and if he does will Ohio State honor that request? The offer is on the table to play both sports at Kentucky and has been discussed with the coaching staff at Michigan State as well. He will be deciding on which sport he wants to commit to in January and hopes to make a final college decision in September.

Another name to keep an eye on for the Buckeyes on the wide receiver recruiting front are Jaelen Hall out of Southern California. While it is likely he stays out west and attends USC, the Buckeyes are hoping to lure him east for a visit before a decision is made. Other names to watch closely that have offers from Ohio State are Jahan Dotson out of New Jersey, Kamryn Babb out of Missouri, and Brian Hightower out of Florida.

Unlike 2017, the Buckeyes will look to add probably at least two tight ends to this class as Marcus Baugh will have departed by 2018. The Buckeyes have offers out to quite a few of the top targets in 2018 including the No. 3 tight end in Jeremy Ruckert out of Lindenhurst, New York. Ruckert has visited Ohio State twice and seems to be pretty high on Ohio State right now. He has 26 offers to date from most of the country’s major programs, and released a top 13 back in August that included the Buckeyes along with Rutgers, Tennessee and Alabama amongst others.

A couple of other high-profile targets are Mustapha Muhammad out of Texas and Trenton Gillison from Pickerington, Ohio. Muhammad visited the Buckeyes for the Michigan game, but stealing him from Texas got a little harder with Tom Herman at the helm of the Longhorns. Gillison does not hold a Buckeye offer right now, but that could change if a few of the top kids decide to head elsewhere. He is a 4-star recruit with 14 offers, and I imagine if the Buckeyes offered he would end up at Ohio State.

2018 Depth Chart

Wide Receivers

Commitments

Freshman

Sophomore

Junior

Senior

Trevon Grimes
Tyjon Lindsey

Alex Stump (RS)
K.J. Hill (RS)

Binjimen Victor
Austin Mack

Terry McLaurin (RS)
Johnnie Dixon (RS)
Parris Campbell (RS)
Noah Brown (RS)

(For the purposes of this chart I am assuming Grimes and Lindsey do not redshirt.)

Tight Ends

Commitments

Freshman

Sophomore

Junior

Senior

Kierre Hawkins (RS)

Jake Hausmann (RS)

Luke Farrell (RS)

A.J. Alexander (RS)


Depending on how the 2017 class finishes and what the Buckeyes can expect to land in the class of 2018, they will certainly always be looking for playmakers at the wide receiver position. The depth chart above looks good if everyone is healthy and productive, but with any fall off Ohio State could see some similar results to the 2016 season.

The Buckeyes have four early offers out for the class of 2019 and they are Jashawn Sheffield, Dominick Blaylock, and Jaylin Simpson from Georgia, and Trey Knox out of Tennessee. There are no early offers out for tight ends in the class of 2019, but depending on what happens with the class of 2018, the Buckeyes should be looking for at least one in 2019.

The Buckeye wide receiver room is always full of talent, but this year we have seen a drop off on big plays from the group. Urban Meyer and Zach Smith will look to recruit more options going forward to provide that long down-the-field threat going forward and the addition of Trevon Grimes next year certainly helps.

For the Buckeyes' sake, hopefully there will be continuous growth at the position during bowl prep and into next season, and the young guys coming in can push the veterans next year to produce more or risk getting passed by. There is a reason that Zach Smith is ranked so highly in the recruiting rankings, and it is because he has the ability to sell kids on Ohio State football with the ability to gain a quality education and develop talent for the next level.

Player profiles relevant to story:
Recruit - Trevon Grimes | 9 - Victor, Binjimen | 11 - Mack, Austin | 14 - Hill, K.J.
* * * * *
To Contribute by mail Make checks and mail to:
Ozone Communications, LLC
1351 King Avenue, Ste 100B
Columbus, Ohio 43212

Help us bring you more Buckeye coverage. Contribute to the-Ozone.

(c) 1996-2020 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, rebroadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Advertisements Disabled