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Building Ohio State's #Supreme18: The Backfield
By Ben van Ooyen

As we finish looking forward in the 2018 recruiting class by positional groups, we finish up with the skill positions of Quarterback and Running Back. Ohio State has been graced with great play from both positions over the past few seasons under Urban Meyer, and with the way they have been recruiting both positions it doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon.

Last year the Buckeyes landed Tate Martell out of Bishop Gorman High School and J.K. Dobbins out of LaGrange, Texas as their lone quarterback and running back in the 2017 class. At one point they had Danny Clark and Todd Sibley committed, but both decommitted and Clark ended up at Kentucky while Sibley ended up at Pittsburgh. Martell and Dobbins have both enrolled early at Ohio State and they showed off their skill set last weekend in the spring game.

The Buckeyes are off to a great start so far in the 2018 recruiting class, having garnered the verbal of 4-star quarterback Emory Jones out of Georgia to go along with Brian Snead and Jaelen Gill at the running back position. Jones is ranked as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country and committed to the Buckeyes last summer. His commitment was a bit in flux when Tim Beck decided to join Tom Herman at Texas, but it appears that the dust has settled and Jones will likely stick with the Buckeyes until February.

Brian Snead committed to the Buckeyes during Friday Night Lights last year and came as a huge surprise as most people were not expecting him to commit that early. Snead is ranked as the No. 4 running back in the class of 2018, and is a true between-the-tackles running back. There is some concern that Snead will not stay committed since he hasn’t been back on campus since, so it will be important to watch to see if he makes any visits between now and the end of the season.

The other back that has committed is Jaelen Gill out of Westerville South High School, which is about 20 minutes away from Ohio Stadium. Gill was always a strong lean to the Buckeyes, having visited many times over the past few seasons, however he scared a few people when he picked UCLA in his commitment ceremony before revealing an Ohio State shirt. Gill is ranked as the No. 2 all-purpose back in the class of 2018 and his future is likely at the H-back role while in Columbus.

While I think the Buckeyes are done at quarterback for this class, I don’t think the same can be said for the running back position. Ohio State has two of the most-talented backs in the country committed right now, but with only four on scholarship entering this year, the Buckeyes need to add some depth. With the possibility that Mike Weber bolts for the NFL after a solid sophomore season, the Buckeyes could be looking at having only three backs on scholarship entering the 2018 season (not including Snead and Gill).

Let’s look at who sits on the Buckeye Big Board at quarterback and running back and see who has committed elsewhere thus far.

Zamir White – 5-Star – RB – Laurinburg, North Carolina

The Buckeyes have been hoping that they could lure in the top back in the country to join their ranks, as Zamir White out of North Carolina looks to be one of the next great college backs. While it is a long stretch that White will end up in Columbus, it won’t be for a lack of trying by the coaching staff. White has made a couple of visits to campus, including last weekend for the Spring Game. While we didn’t hear much about the visit, it shows that his interest is at least piqued by the Buckeyes. It is expected that when a decision is made on June 27, White will select either Georgia or Clemson. White has 24 offers to date, and is the No. 4 overall prospect in the country according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

Maurice Washington – 4-Star – RB – San Jose, California

A name that many probably won’t recognize is that of 4-star running back Maurice Washington out of California. He is ranked as the No. 11 running back in the country, but right now only has four offers to his name, with the Buckeyes being one of them. He has maintained that the Buckeyes are his top school, but insists that a decision will likely not come until signing day or close to it. I am not sure that when it is time for him to make a decision that the Buckeyes will have any room left in the class, but he is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Tavion Thomas – 4-Star – RB – Dayton, Ohio

Perhaps the most likely remaining target to end up in the 2018 recruiting class is that of 4-star Tavion Thomas out of Dayton Dunbar High School. Thomas has seen his stock blow up over the past few months going from a handful of offers to now 28 and counting. The Buckeyes were a little late to offer Thomas, but it appears that it is a non-factor in his recruitment. He has made a few trips to Columbus since the offer and seems to be getting close with the recruits and coaching staff. He and wide receiver teammate Joseph Scates have mentioned that they are a package deal, but with Scates not having an Ohio State offer I don’t see that happening. Right now Thomas has a 100% crystal ball projection to the Buckeyes and I believe that when he ultimately makes that decision it will be for Ohio State.

Other Players with Offers:

Jalen Mayden – 4-Star – QB - Sachse, Texas
Keaontay Ingram – 4-Star – RB - Carthage, Texas
Kyler McMichael – 4-Star – RB - Atlanta, Georgia

Other Names to Watch:

Master Teague – 3-Star – RB – Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Ohio Players without an Offer:

Ryan Montgomery – 3-Star – RB – Franklin, Ohio
Chase Wolf – 3-Star – QB – Cincinnati, Ohio
Raveion Hargrove – 3-Star – RB – Dayton, Ohio

Committed Elsewhere with an Ohio State Offer:

Phil Jurkovec – 4-Star – QB - Gibsonia, Pennsylvania (Committed to Notre Dame)
Artur Sitkowski – 4-Star – QB - Bradenton, Florida (Committed to Miami)
Casey Thompson – 4-Star – QB - Moore, Oklahoma (Committed to Texas)
Lorenzo Lingard – 5-Star – RB - Orange City, Florida (Committed to Miami)
James Cook – 5-Star – RB - Miami, Florida (Committed to Florida State)
Ricky Slade – 4-Star – RB - Woodbridge, Virginia (Committed to Penn State)
T.J. Pledger – 4-Star – RB - Bradenton, Florida (Committed to Oklahoma)
Iverson Clement – 4-Star – RB - Mount Holly, New Jersey (Committed to Florida)

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