""A long December and there's reason to believe- Adam Duritz, Counting Crows
Maybe this year will be better than the last""
The Ohio State football team added 20 new players to their roster in the early signing period on December 20th. The Buckeyes were ranked as having the 3rd best overall recruiting class, despite losing a few players who had been verbally committed to Ohio State in the days and weeks leading up to the early signing period.
As it relates to recruiting, I always emphasize that patience is key. So many of these players were truly dominant at their respective high schools, and now the elevation in competition at Ohio State is going to make these players raise their respective games even higher.
Once Ohio State fans begin seeing on social media platforms that players are having their black stripes removed from their helmets, and that is a process that usually begins during fall camp, They get excited.
It is a sign that their peers on the team believe that the player can be counted upon if the player is called upon to perform in-game action - even then, the player usually has a talented player or two ahead of them on the depth chart, so it is crucial for the player to not lose confidence in themselves or the long, arduous process involved in earning playing time.
Below are some quick observations I have as it relates to this 2024 Ohio State recruiting class. It will be interesting to read about how the early enrollees do during the upcoming winter conditioning and spring practices, and I will be anxious to see how many of them do in the upcoming Ohio State Spring Game in April 2024.
1. Trench Warfare Needs To Be A Heavy Focus
Ohio State added six linemen to their recruiting class - four offensive linemen and only two defensive linemen. With the offensive line an area of concern throughout the entire 2023 season, and the overall lack of pass rush by the defensive line, Ohio State needs to make both lines the focus of their 2025 recruiting efforts and beyond, as high school linemen take considerable time to develop.
2. Ohio And The Midwest Need To Be Ohio State's Recruiting Focus
The considerable angst Ohio State's fans and coaches were feeling about their recruiting class was largely around players recruited from the South. Am I suggesting that Ohio State abandon trying to get players from around the country who hail from the Southern part of the United States? Not at all. I would merely redouble the efforts on identifying the top players in Ohio and the Midwest, as the players who made their verbal commitments and stayed firm with them were from those areas, while Ohio State truly was sweating out the results on recruits such as DE Eddrick Houston and WR Jeremiah Smith (although Smith hasn't signed yet). With regard to my first point, perhaps Ohio State can load up their offensive and defensive linemen with Ohio or Midwest players, and then try to supplement them with other talented players from around the country.
3. The Secondary Is The Strength Of This Class
Take a bow, Tim Walton and Perry Eliano. Ohio State landed five players to bolster what was already a strong position group for the Buckeyes. Cornerbacks Bryce West, Miles Lockhart, and Aaron Scott, with safeties Jaylen McClain and Leroy Roker, should be able to come in and contribute in 2024.
Were there disappointments with how this recruiting class finished down the stretch? Absolutely. Perhaps the Ohio State coaching staff will look back at this "long December" and take some lessons learned to make next year's recruiting class "better than the last".