Ohio State Recruiting Outlook - Wide Receivers

Ohio State Recruiting Outlook - Wide Receivers

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Ohio State Recruiting Outlook - Wide Receivers

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Through eight games this season, in my opinion the wide receivers at Ohio State have been the position that has not played up to a championship level.  The Buckeyes lost Devin Smith and Michael Thomas to the NFL over the past two seasons, and their loss is 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 so far this season their stats would say otherwise. The Buckeyes four top 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 have 19 catches in 8 games with only one touchdown between them.

Would the Buckeye offense look any different with Torrance Gibson playing wide receiver this season? That is an unknown we won’t know until possibly next year as Gibson was suspended for the season for an off the field incident before the season got under way. Will the young guys like Binjimin Victor and Austin Mack 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 James Clark due to eligibility, and he has not played a pivotal role for the Buckeyes since he has been here.

Photo via Cleveland.com

Tyjon Lindsey Photo via Cleveland.com

The Buckeyes welcome two of the highest rated wide receiver recruits they have gotten under Urban Meyer in Trevon Grimes and Tyjon Lindsey, who announced their intentions in a well crafted video. Grimes is coming off an ACL injury and Lindsey is nursing an injury of his own, so hopefully they can get back to playing condition by the time that fall camp comes around. Grimes looks to provide the downfield target that the Buckeyes need at 6′ 3″, to replicate what they are missing with the loss of Devin Smith. Lindsey is a smaller wide out 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.

Ohio State is not done recruiting at the wide receiver position it seems as they are heavily involved in a couple of big time players still. Donovan Peoples-Jones is the #1 wide receiver in the country per 247 sports and recently announced his top 5, including the Buckeyes among Florida State, Florida, Michigan State and Michigan. While it is likely that he ends up at Michigan, the fact that the Buckeyes are still in it is a good sign. The other target that is still out there is 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. If both he and Peoples-Jones wanted in, I think it might become a little more difficult to find room for Harris. When all is said and done though, I think Harris picks the Buckeyes over Tennessee and Michigan State and the Buckeyes have a dynamic trio of wide receivers coming in next season.

2017 Depth Chart

Commitments Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Trevon Grimes
Tyjon Lindsey
Binjimen Victor
Austin Mack
Alex Stump (RS)
K.J. Hill (RS)
Torrance Gibson (RS)
Terry McLaurin (RS)
Johnnie Dixon (RS)
Parris Campbell (RS)
Noah Brown (RS)
L'Christian Smith Photo via Huber Heights Courier

L’Christian Smith Photo via Huber Heights Courier

The Buckeyes do not currently have a commitment from the class of 2018 at the wide receiver position, but with the likely departure of the four seniors above as well as the unknown status of Torrance Gibson going forward, the Buckeyes will likely be looking for two to three guys in this class as well. The most likely guy 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 want to play both sports at the next level, and if he does will Ohio State honor that request? Smith will be visiting Kentucky again this weekend as well as Alabama next weekend before making a stop in Columbus when the Buckeyes take on Michigan.

Some other names 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, Xavier Williams out of Florida and Brian Hightower also out of Florida.

Jermaine Eskridge out of Tampa, Florida currently has a 43% crystal ball projection to the Buckeyes, however he has also been committed to two programs already in Kentucky and South Florida. Eskridge will be on hand this weekend as the Buckeyes play the Cornhuskers.

2018 Depth Chart

Commitments Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior
Trevon Grimes
Tyjon Lindsey
Binjimen Victor
Austin Mack
Alex Stump (RS)
K.J. Hill (RS)
Torrance Gibson (RS)

As you can see the Buckeyes will be short on wide receivers on the 2018 depth chart until we receive another 2017 or 2018 verbal. Expect that to have at least 3-4 more names on it by the time camp opens in August of 2018. The Buckeyes have three early offers out for the class of 2019 and they are Jadon Haselwood from Georgia, Jordan Whittington from Texas, and Dominick Blaylock also from Georgia.

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 a la Devin Smith going forward and the addition of Trevon Grimes next year certainly helps. Hopefully there will be continuous growth at the position for the rest of this 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 and the ability to not only earn an education at Ohio State, but also the high likelihood that they will be playing on Sundays.

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