If you’re reading this story, you probably know that Ohio State has the country’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the 2018 cycle.
The Buckeyes have 16 commitments, 14 from players ranked as 4-star or 5-star prospects. Eleven of Ohio State’s 16 verbals are ranked in the Top 100 nationally ,according to the 247Sports composite.
So, everything is going pretty good for Urban Meyer, Mark Pantoni and the Buckeyes’ band of recruiting brothers. But the thing about recruiting is this: It can always be better. There’s always a superstar or two that you just couldn’t land. Either you fell short in your efforts or you never started the conversation, for whatever reason.
What could make the Buckeyes’ class better? With five months to go until signing day, which player could take an already tremendous group and push it over the edge?
To answer that question, I’ve once again turned to two of the voices I trust the most when it comes to breaking down the ins and outs of recruiting.
So, if you were Ohio State and could take any player committed to another Big Ten school and add them to your class, who would it be?
Andrew Ellis, Eleven Warriors:
Ohio State’s biggest remaining needs for the 2018 class are in the trenches and at wide receiver. Right now it’s looking like both of those spots will be filled quite nicely, but that’s not to say that there aren’t other Big Ten commits who would be welcomed with the most open of arms.
While the Buckeyes are likely just a few days from landing their first wide receiver commit, James Franklin and the Nittany Lions already have the conference’s top commit at the position. New Jersey’s Justin Shorter has seen his stock skyrocket throughout the spring and summer, and the country’s No. 3 wideout has been a Penn State pledge for more than a year. Shorter is 6-foot-4 and 213 pounds, and he is the highest-ranked commit in conference — one spot ahead of Taron Vincent.
Urban Meyer and Zach Smith signed three wideouts in 2017 and will likely bring in a pair of receivers (and Jaelen Gill) for the current cycle. L’Christian Smith and Kamryn Babb are two extremely talented wideouts, and the Buckeyes are in a great spot for both. But right now, Shorter would be the one Big Ten pledge I’d choose to add to Ohio State’s ultra-talented class. He may be the best high school wide receiver in the entire country.
Marc Givler, BuckeyeGrove.com:
Ohio State has done an amazing job of churning out cornerbacks in recent years, but the 2018 class needs to add another corner or two, and while the Buckeyes are very much in play for Anthony Cook, the board gets very interesting after that.
The Buckeyes are still in the Tyson Campbell sweepstakes, but certainly there doesn’t seem to be as much momentum there as there was coming out of his spring unofficial visit. Radley-Hiles, who is committed to Nebraska, is a big-time playmaker at the cornerback position and would fill a need in this class. He would allow Ohio State to basically put all of its remaining focus on Cook and Campbell without having to worry about missing on those guys.
Many of the other highly regarded Big Ten commits are playing positions where Ohio State doesn’t need to add anyone.
Jeremy Birmingham, Land of 10:
I’m giving Andrew the nod here and choosing Justin Shorter as well.
After seeing him live in Oregon at The Opening finals this summer, I was sold. He’s a legit 6-foot-4 and a very solidly built 215 pounds. He’s explosive off the line of scrimmage, has strong hands that catch everything and had no problem running by the country’s best cornerbacks.
Yes, Ohio State has a great class already, but Shorter is the type of prospect who can be a difference-maker early in college. His longtime commitment to Penn State has never been in jeopardy, though, and the Buckeyes have been aware of that.
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