We are still over 18 months away from the early signing period for 2020 recruits, but that hasn’t slowed down the recruiting process for some of the nation’s top players.
We saw evidence of that Thursday night when 5-star Cincinnati tackle Paris Johnson committed to Ohio State. And we’ll see more evidence of it on Sunday when No. 3 pro-style quarterback Jack Miller announces his commitment.
To be fair, Buckeye fans should be excited about all of their recruiting classes, especially now under Urban Meyer.
There are reasons, however, to be a little bit more excited about the possibilities of the 2020 recruiting class.
Ohio State has three 2020 commitments at this point and the class is ranked No. 4 in the nation currently.
Offensive tackle Paris Johnson (No. 8 overall) and defensive back Lejond Cavazos (No. 197) have committed in the past few days, while offensive tackle Jake Wray (No. 165) has been committed for two months now. The Buckeyes also hosted a bunch of top 2020 guys this past weekend for Friday Night Lights.
Even before this past weekend, however, business was picking up for the Buckeyes — and continues to do so.
So why should you be more excited about this class than others? Let’s talk it out.
(Just a note: At this point, the 247Sports 2020 Composite consists of just 247 and Rivals. ESPN will release their 2020 rankings eventually and Scout no longer exists, so the Composite right now isn’t as filtered as it once was or will be soon.)
1. Big-time prospects are very interested.
The Buckeyes are currently the only team with a commitment from one of the top 28 prospects in the 2020 recruiting class. That will obviously change, but possibly not before Ohio State adds to their haul. Michigan offensive guard Justin Rogers is the No. 13 player overall and of the 14 Crystal Ball predictions, the Buckeyes own all 14. Five-star corner R.J. Mickens (No. 36 overall) was at Friday Night Lights and said the Buckeyes were on the “top top” for him.
Then there is also the No. 1 player overall, defensive end Bryan Bresee out of Damascus, Maryland. He released his Top 15 Thursday night and included OSU along with all of the other schools you would expect. Of the six Crystal Ball picks, here is the way things look at the moment.
2. The quarterback could be coming soon.
Depending on the outgoing nature of a commit, they may or may not be likely to recruit other players. If you’re a quarterback, however, you don’t always have that luxury. For Jack Miller, he is more than willing — and actually looking forward to — recruiting prospective teammates.
Much in the same way a quarterback has to lead a team, if you can find a guy that wants to lead a recruiting class, that’s a double bonus. Miller said one week ago that he would be targeting running back Kendall Milton (No. 10 overall) and receiver Julian Fleming (No. 12 overall), among others. So it is clear that he will be swinging for the fences when he finally hits the recruiting trail (for whichever team he ultimately commits to).
3. Players talk.
The nation’s top players spend all summer flying from camp to camp. They room with each other, hang out with each other, and they become friends. They also talk about playing together. It’s not always a serious discussion — and it is certainly not binding — but the seed of thought becomes the fruit of reality. Take this tweet from 5-star Texas cornerback Dwight McGlothern, for instance.
Ask coach can i play on the other side I’m fr https://t.co/ls3mie3kmf
— Dwight McGlothern jrⓂ️ (@DMcglothern2) June 28, 2018
Followed by this response from Derek Wingo, who is the No. 10 outside linebacker out of Bosaville (aka St. Thomas Aquinas).
I’ll be in that box
— W1NG0 (@DerekWingo) June 28, 2018
— W1NG0 (@DerekWingo) June 28, 2018
4. Familiar stomping grounds.
The Darrion Henry mentioned above by Derek Wingo is the No. 4 strongside defensive end and the No. 67 player overall. He is also a Cincinnati prospect. Ohio State has also offered in-state (Dublin Coffman) running back/slot receiver Michael Drennen, who is the No. 159 player overall. Luke Wypler is the No. 3 offensive guard and the No. 75 player in the nation. He is from Montvale, New Jersey and here he is almost a decade ago now.
Then and now!!! ⭕️ pic.twitter.com/kSMdo78Hze
— Wypler (@LukeWypler) June 9, 2018
You’ve also got Miles Brooks, the No. 16 corner in the class, who is from Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. That is the same school that sent corners Shaun Wade and Tyreke Johnson to Columbus. Brooks visited last week. By the way, Trinity is also the home of 5-star corner Fred Davis.
5. Two more years of NFL and RLW data.
I was on a radio show in SEC Country last week and the host asked me how Ohio State is able to get Florida kids to come up to Ohio for college. I told him about the tradition and the facilities and the coaches, but more than anything else, I talked about the impact that Real Life Wednesdays is having.
Players coming up from the South is not new for Ohio State, but what they are talking about when they get here is. In the last two recruiting classes, the early enrollees have been made available to the media on signing day and they all talk about the draw of Real Life Wednesdays. Not only do the players see the positive aspects of it, but so do their parents and coaches. The program is only going to grow and become more effective.
Speaking of growing, there will be another NFL Draft and nearly two NFL seasons before this class signs on the dotted line. They are going to see more Buckeyes being selected in the NFL Draft or heading to the Pro Bowl. Talking with 5-star corner R.J. Mickens a week ago, he said Ohio State’s production of NFL cornerbacks is impossible to ignore.
Bonus: It is still early.
At this point last year, the Buckeyes had no 2019 commitments yet. And at this point two years ago, the Buckeyes had no 2018 commitments yet. The last time Ohio State had a commitment this early was the 2017 class, which Urban Meyer still raves about. While it can be a bit dangerous to load up this far out, it doesn’t appear that the Buckeyes are taking any chances, and the 2017 class didn’t seem to suffer from it.
Bonus: Momentum builds.
— Paris Johnson Jr. (@ParisJohnsonJr) June 29, 2018