The ink is barely dry after signing arguably the top class in Ohio State history, but it is never too early to look forward. The class of 2018 won’t sign on the dotted line for a whole year, and things will change drastically between now and then in these players’ minds. There will be commitments, decommitments, and more along the way between now and then.
However, if you follow and love recruiting, you are always wondering what is next. Well, I have you covered, because we are taking a way too early look at who I think will form the 2018 class of Ohio State Buckeyes. With 12 seniors leaving after the season, plus more likely NFL departures and transfers I expect the Buckeyes to sign a full class of 22-25 next February. While they only have two commitments so far in the class, things will start to ramp up now that the 2017 class is in the bag.
Let’s dive in and see what I think Ohio State gets next year.
Assuming that Emory Jones (6-2 193) stays with the Buckeyes then they would be done with the quarterback position for this recruiting cycle.
Prediction: Emory Jones
Running Back (2-3)
The Buckeyes only signed one back this recruiting cycle in J.K. Dobbins and a have a somewhat scant backfield entering the 2017 season. They will need to rectify that by signing 2-3 backs in the next recruiting class as Mike Weber may bolt for the NFL after this season.
They already have the surprise commitment of Brian Snead (5-11 200) out of Florida, which should still be a recruitment to watch as keeping Florida kids committed for over a year can always be tough. Another guy to keep an eye on is Jaelen Gill (6-1 182) out of Westerville, who I believe will eventually end up in the Buckeye class. He doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to shut down his recruitment, but when all is said and done he should be a Buckeye.
If they take a third back in the class there are plenty of names that have Ohio State at or near the top of their lists. Iverson Clement (6-0 190) is probably the leader in the clubhouse at this point to be the third back if there is one. He has visited in the past, and although he wasn’t able to make it up for Junior Day, he still has Ohio State near the top of his list. Lorenzo Lingard (6-0 180) out of Florida has said Ohio State is his leader but again landing the No.2 overall running back out of Florida will be a challenge. They will go after the No.1 back Zamir White (5-11 195), but I think he ends up at Clemson.
Prediction: Brian Snead, Jaelen Gill, Iverson Clement
Wide Receiver (2-3)
The Buckeyes added three true receivers in the class of 2017, and their wide receiver corps in general is very young with only James Clark as the lone senior on the roster. I believe that the Buckeyes will grab two wide outs for the class of 2018. They have offers out to 11 current uncommitted prospects and they are going hard after Jahan Dotson (6-0 160) out of New Jersey and Kamryn Babb (6-1 189) out of Missouri. L’Christian Smith (6-6 205) is an interesting case out of Huber Heights, Ohio. He has the opportunity to play both football and basketball at multiple schools, but I believe he will end up playing football at Ohio State. They will also chase the No. 1 prospect Jalen Hall (6-4 192) out of California and No. 4 prospect Brian Hightower (6-3 195) out of the IMG Academy in Florida.
Prediction: Jahan Dotson, Kamryn Babb, L’Christian Smith
Tight End (2)
With the Buckeyes choosing to not take a tight end in the class of 2017, they will certainly be on the lookout for a couple in this recruiting cycle. The most likely of the kids being recruited to end up at Ohio State is 4-star Jeremy Ruckert (6-6 230) out of New York. Ruckert has made a couple of visits to Ohio State and has a top five of Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida State.
While he is likely to play defense in college, Leonard Taylor (6-4 250) out of Springfield could also end up at tight end. He committed to Michigan last year and then reopened his recruitment and has been a frequent visitor at Ohio State. The Buckeyes have offered Brevin Jordan (6-3 240) out of Bishop Gorman, former teammates of current Buckeyes Haskell Garrett and Tate Martell. They also have an offer out to Mustapha Muhammad (6-5 235) out of Texas. The Buckeyes could have had Trenton Gillison out of Pickerington, but without an offer he chose Michigan State.
Prediction: Jeremy Ruckert, Leonard Taylor
Offensive Line (3-4)
After next year the Buckeyes will lose two of their best offensive linemen in Billy Price and Jamarco Jones. They will have brought in Josh Myers, Wyatt Davis and Thayer Munford in the 2017 cycle and will look to probably add 3-4 more in the 2018 cycle. Leading off, the likeliest to commit to the Buckeyes is Jackson Carman (6-6 290) who is the No. 1 rated offensive tackle out of Fairfield, Ohio. 4-Star Verdis Brown (6-3 294) out of IMG Academy is another guy that is high on Ohio State right now, and right now I have him in the class. I also see Matt Jones (6-4 305) out of Erasmus Hall in New Jersey (Curtis Samuel’s high school) being a part of this class. While he could play either offense or defense, I see him more on the offensive line with his size.
Prediction: Jackson Carman, Verdis Brown, Matthew Jones