Today’s Topic: Why So Many 2020 Receivers for the Buckeyes?
When 5-star wide receiver Julian Fleming committed to Ohio State last Friday, he gave the Buckeyes three wide receivers committed already in the 2020 recruiting class.
Fleming, the No. 1 receiver in the nation, joined Gee Scott and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, giving OSU an elite class of pass catchers before the calendar even flipped to June.
And yet the Buckeyes aren’t done looking for receivers.
St. Louis slot receiver Mookie Cooper visited Ohio State a couple of weeks ago and yesterday he included OSU in his final group of schools.
Head coach Ryan Day and receivers coach Brian Hartline are looking for a complete receiver class, and in order to get there, they still need a dynamic slot receiver.
Gee Scott is the prototype X receiver. He is big (6-3 207), strong, can muscle cornerbacks, and will make catches in traffic at the first-down marker. Julian Fleming could be an X or a Z. He’s big enough to be an X (6-2 199), but also has the speed to be the deep guy the Buckeyes like at Z. Jaxon Smith-Njigba (6-1 188) put up gigantic numbers last season as a junior with over 1,800 yards receiving. He could end up at Z or even land in the slot like KJ Hill.
They are still looking for the kind of quick and fast slot receiver that poses problems for defenses. The prototype there would be Rondale Moore, but since he’s already lacing them up for Purdue, the Buckeyes have to look elsewhere.
Mookie Cooper would be in that kind of mold. Listed at 5-foot-9 and 193 pounds, he is a running back once he gets the ball. Another possibility is California receiver LV Bunkley-Shelton, who has set his first official visit for Ohio State when they host Penn State.
There are also a few “all-purpose backs” out there like Florida’s Jaylan Knighton, and Ohioans Michael Drennen and Jutahn McClain who could be targeted as slot receivers. With Demario McCall’s move back to running back, however, OSU may be done turning running backs into receivers for now.
So why are the Buckeyes bringing in so many receivers? The number all along has been four, with the possibility of more, if it was the right more.
In looking at who is coming in, you have to look at who is going out. Ohio State lost three fifth-year seniors from last year’s team and will lose four seniors from this year’s team. And that’s not including the transfer of Blue Smith.
The 2017 class featured three receivers — Trevon Grimes, Jaylen Harris, and Ellijah Gardiner. Grimes is now gone, and Harris and Gardiner have yet to make the impact both are capable of making. The 2018 class featured Chris Olave, Jaelen Gill, Blue Smith, and Kamryn Babb. Smith is gone and Babb has now dealt with two knee injuries.
And now with only two receivers in the 2019 class, the 2020 and 2021 classes will have to get the numbers back up to where Day wants them.
Fortunately for the Buckeyes, Brian Hartline seemingly has things under control and is already making moves in the 2021 class, in particular with the recruitment of 4-star Philadelphia prospect Marvin Harrison, Jr.
Expect two big receiver classes in 2020 and 2021 simply because that’s what the numbers call for.