The Buckeyes bolstered their offensive line recruiting in a big way before the Spring Game when 4-star offensive tackle Max Wray out of Franklin, Tennessee committed to Ohio State over the likes of Alabama and in-state Tennessee. The Buckeyes made a significant impression on him during his visit to campus two weeks ago and it was enough to get him to make his pledge only a week later.
What kind of impact will Wray’s commitment have on Ohio State now and going forward?
Wray is a 6-foot-6 289-pound offensive tackle from Franklin, Tennessee. He is rated as the No. 4 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 3 prospect from the state of Tennessee. He is the sixth commitment in Ohio State's class of 2017, with each of them ranking inside the top 100 nationally.
Wray, once a Georgia commitment, seemed to be down to Alabama, LSU, and Tennessee, however he made a visit to Columbus two weeks ago and fell in love with the coaches and the facilities while there. The crystal balls started to roll in for him to the Buckeyes and on Saturday he made it official.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not good at comparing offensive linemen, but as a tackle he shows me a little of Taylor Decker and a little Jack Mewhort. Decker struggled early in his Ohio State career, but left as one of the best to play the tackle position before being drafted in the first round in 2015. Mewhort played early at Ohio State but really came into his own during his junior and senior years helping lead Ohio State to an all-time high 6.8 yards per carry on the ground.
Wray is more in line size wise with Mewhort, but looks to have the work ethic and determination of Decker. He helped lead his high school team to the state quarterfinals last year, while combining with the rest of the offensive line to average over 230 yards per game on the ground.
Depending on where Josh Myers ends up, Thayer Munford may have been the only tackle signed by Ohio State in the 2017 class, and he is likely a year or two away from any meaningful playing time. Other tackles on next year's roster should be returning starter Isaiah Prince, converted defensive lineman Joshua Alabi, last year’s sixth man Branden Bowen, and redshirt sophomore Kevin Feder. Malcolm Pridgeon, the highly-recruited JUCO offensive tackle is also looking to crack the two-deep somewhere this fall.
Wray would look great as a bookend tackle along with 5-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman out of Fairfield, Ohio, however that recruitment doesn’t seem close to ending. If the Buckeyes are able to land Carman to go along with Wray, they will have landed the No. 1 and No. 4 offensive tackles in the country and would likely be done with the position for 2018.
The Depth Chart
With Jamarco Jones vacating the left tackle spot after this season, and Isaiah Prince only having one more season of eligibility left, the Buckeyes are going to be looking for able replacements in the next couple of seasons. We haven’t seen a lot from the guys who have been recruited in the last few seasons, and we know that Urban Meyer hasn’t been happy with the development of the offensive line. With three-fifths of the offensive line set to return next season, the Buckeyes should have ample time to work Wray into the mix.
While I don’t think he sees the field much during his freshman season at Ohio State, his size and ability will allow him to make a pretty immediate impact once he does see the field. Depending on how the offensive line situation sifts itself out over the next few seasons, Wray could find himself starting by his second year in Columbus.
Wray is the first in what could be a star-studded offensive line recruiting class for 2018. The Buckeyes hope to add in-state star Jackson Carman as well as a few other pieces to go along with Wray before all is said and done. With the guys that they brought in last year to go along with the class of 2018 kids, the Buckeyes are building their offensive line stockpile into the team’s strength going forward. They know that they need the offensive line to arguably be the top unit on the team to allow for the offense to do what it needs to do.
If Wray is able to come in and contribute meaningful snaps between his freshman and sophomore seasons, then the Decker comparison could be apt. With his size and ability, he should fit right into what coach Greg Studrawa is looking for along the offensive front for the Buckeyes. We all know how important the tackle position is in protecting the quarterback, and Wray looks primed to be the next in a long line of Ohio State tackles to make a name for himself.