Ohio State: Buckeyes need major running back boost in 2020 class

On3 imageby:Jeremy Birmingham01/24/19


Have a question about Ohio State recruiting? This is the place for you, five days a week. Submit your questions on Twitter or on the Lettermen Row forums. Check in daily to see what’s on the mind of Buckeyes fans all over the country. Thursday’s question asks about the future of the ‘Cadillac position’ in college sports — the Ohio State running back.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

The Buckeyes have a running back committed in 2020 with Arizona’s Darvon Hubbard, but there’s been very little communication between the two sides in months. Why? That’s anyone’s guess, really. But Hubbard recently transferred out of Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, and if you’re keeping track at home, you may be better off considering the position unfilled while things get sorted out from here.

With the recent departure of Brian Snead and uncertainty around exactly what position the versatile and talented Steele Chambers ends up playing, the need a major influx of talent at the running back position is vital for Ohio State in the Class of 2020.

The country’s top-two running backs in that class are each interested in the Buckeyes to varying degrees. It could be extremely different to lure a player like Zachary Evans away from Houston or Kendall Milton from California, but Tony Alford and Ohio State are working to do that. Milton has spoken at length about his interest in the Buckeyes, but he hasn’t been able to set up his initial visit to the school yet — that’s something that has to happen before it can be real at all.

At present, there have been 21 offers extended by Ohio State to running backs in next year’s class, and a handful of them are prospects that have already been to campus.

Dallas 4-star E.J. Smith, the son of former Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith, has been to town multiple times. Dublin Coffman 4-star Mike Drennen II lives just moments away from Ohio State and has been on campus too many times to count. Fairfield 3-star Jutahn McClain, Ohio’s eighth-ranked prospect in 2020, has an offer and has been getting familiar with the coaching staff. The Buckeyes hosted Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.) 4-star running back Sam Adams II in October, have made the Pacific Northwest a major recruiting priority in the 2020 cycle and already have a commitment from Adams’ teammate, wide receiver Gee Scott.

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Sam Adams II (left) on campus with Buckeyes commit Gee Scott in October. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State has been closely linked to Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep star Jalen Berger for months and continues to be a major force in the Garden State. And the Buckeyes have offered and focused on Kentucky’s Landen Bartleson, though he’s likely to play defensive back at the next level.

Two big-time talents Ohio State would like to get on campus soon are Arizona’s Bijan Robinson and Lakeland (Fla.) 4-star Demarkcus Bowman.

Then there’s Hubbard. The Canton native worked hard for his Ohio State offer and wasted little time committing to the program last summer, but it remains to be seen where things go from here with his recruitment.

With the need for at least two commitments in 2020, the Buckeyes are no doubt making recruiting the running back spot a high priority in Ryan Day’s first full recruiting class.

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