Running back dominoes fall, Ohio State changing tune at tight end

On3 imageby:Jeremy Birmingham06/27/19


Stay in touch or be left out because Ohio State recruiting is a 24-hour, seven-day-per-week obsession. What’s the latest news as the Buckeyes build for the future? Get that and more Sunday through Thursday on Lettermen Row. Thursday’s notebook breaks down some running back decisions and talks tight end in 2020, which could soon have some clarity as well.

DeaMonte Trayanum, Blake Corum commit elsewhere

Ohio State landed a big commitment on Wednesday night when 2021 offensive linemen Ben Christman picked it over a slew of the country’s biggest and best programs.

In some ways the celebration was short for the Buckeyes, though.

About an hour after Christman’s announcement, another Northeast Ohio star, Akron Archbishop Hoban 4-star running back DeaMonte Trayanum, committed to Arizona State, ending any suspense about whether or not the Buckeyes would still be his choice. Lettermen Row weighed in on that possibility about a week ago following Trayanum’s official visit with the Buckeyes as the Sun Devils emerged as a real spoiler in his recruitment.

Sometimes, despite everyone’s best intentions, things don’t go to plan and recruits go elsewhere. Trayanum is a tremendous young man and the Buckeyes should root for him to excel in the Pac-12.

Then on Thursday afternoon, Baltimore 4-star running back Blake Corum committed to Michigan, two weeks after taking an official visit to Ohio State.

Just like that the picture at running back for the 2020 class is getting either a lot more clear — or Ohio State is weeks away from being forced to completely reassess at the position.

Ohio State sources continue to feel the program has become the leader in the recruitment of 5-star running back Bijan Robinson, and a number of those same sources feel their position has strengthened in the days since the tailback’s official visit to Texas ended. That optimism is good for Ohio State, obviously, but there are people close to both the Texas and USC programs who feel similarly about their own position with the Tuscon (Ariz.) Salpointe Catholic star.

The Buckeyes are also the only threat to pull 4-star tailback Jaylan Knighton out of Florida and away from Florida State at this time. We haven’t spoken much about the country’s third-ranked all-purpose back here because he plays his recruitment very close to the vest, but Ohio State has Knighton valued very high on its board. He’s a real, iron-clad priority for the Buckeyes coaching staff. There is a growing sense of cautious optimism with regard to Knighton and this one definitely bears watching closely for Ohio State fans as well.

Stay tuned.

Could Ohio State be changing tune on 2020 tight end recruiting?

For months the Buckeyes have told potential targets at tight end that they expected to sign a pair of tight ends in the Class of 2020.

According to some people in the know, that could be changing. Ohio State may now be wanting to land only one tight end in this cycle, and the hope is that someone takes that spot in the very near future – with Cincinnati Elder tight end Joe Royer being at the top of the list,.

Joe Royer-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State recruiting

Joe Royer is a top target for the Buckeyes in 2020 and could be the lone tight end in the class. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Royer was only offered by the Buckeyes in earlier this month. But sources close to the Ohio State program have indicated for months that the primary delay in offering him was a desire to see him perform at camp in Columbus to evaluate his physical development and capabilities as an in-line tight end, because his skills as a receiver were obvious and known.

When Royer camped at Ohio State this month, he excelled and left no doubt that he was the right choice for the program. He also saw a radical ratings bump in the weeks that followed, with now ranking him as the state of Ohio’s second-ranked player in the Class of 2020 behind only 5-star tackle Paris Johnson.

Royer made his official visit to Ohio State during the recent massive recruiting weekend and has not yet scheduled any other visits. But as Lettermen Row said on Monday, there has been some real speculation that Arizona State could prove to be an unexpected wrinkle.

The Buckeyes want Royer in their class, and there’s some speculation that this potential adjustment to the tight end number in 2020 could help tip the scales in their favor sooner than previously expected.

Ohio State still hopeful to land Josh Fryar

Though his recruitment has been under-the-radar a bit, make no mistake: Ohio State would love to add Beech Grove (Ind.) offensive lineman Josh Fryar to its 2020 recruiting class.

Listed as the country’s seventh-ranked center, Fryar is a player that the Buckeyes and a host of other schools see as a utility-type lineman capable of playing anywhere up front. That’s what makes him a priority for Ohio State and why he’s been to campus half-a-dozen times in the last year, including for an official visit to Columbus last weekend.

“My Ohio State relationships are really great,” Fryar told Lettermen Row. “Me and [offensive line coach Greg] Studrawa talk daily, and [tight ends coach Kevin] Wilson, too. Occasionally, maybe once a week, [Ryan Day] texts me and sees how I’m doing.

“Personally, I think all the coaches are recruiting me to play all five positions on the offensive line. I am comfortable playing tackle and I’m comfortable playing guard or center, so it doesn’t really matter to me.”

The Buckeyes are trying to find out what does matter to Indiana’s second-ranked prospect, and last weekend’s official visit helped. Fryar wants to get into broadcasting at the end of his playing career, and there was a focus on showing him the tools Ohio State has in place to help him accomplish that.

Though some believe that Fryar is leaning towards staying home and playing at Indiana, other sources close to his recruitment have indicated that the Buckeyes, along with Penn State, remain very much in the mix with a potential decision coming in the next few weeks.

Again, stay tuned.

Dotting the ‘Eyes will be back on Monday

In case you are worried about my well being when Dotting the ‘Eyes isn’t here on Sunday afternoon, rest assured: I’ll be back on Monday.

With the recruiting dead period upon us, I’m taking a wee vacation over the weekend and hoping to focus on life and family for a few hours rather than staring at my computer screen.

This weekend will still have some fireworks, though. Recruiting never stops, remember?

Need more Ohio State recruiting #Stuff? Check out the Lettermen Row forums and let us know what’s on your mind. Don’t forget to sign up for the tri-weekly recruiting newsletter, just in case there’s anything you’ve missed during the week.

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