Breaking down Buckeyes, Clemson recruiting battles

On3 imageby:Jeremy Birmingham03/10/20


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. Today’s question asks about the numerous 2021 recruiting battles between Ohio State and Clemson.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

If we’re going to be totally honest, yes, there’s something to be alarmed about: Clemson is aggressively recruiting a handful of players Ohio State really wants in its 2021 recruiting class.

And the last few years, on and off the field, Clemson has sort of done whatever they wanted, handpicking its recruiting classes as Dabo Swinney sees fit.

So, there’s reason to be on guard at Ohio State as it chases for upper-crust targets like TreVeyon Henderson, Troy Stellato, Emeka Egbuka, Tristan Leigh, Barrett Carter, Jordan Hancock, Jakailin Johnson, Tony Grimes and Derrick Davis.

Would any of those guys, individually, make or break the Ohio State class of 2021? Certainly not. But with 10 commitments already and the Buckeyes on their way to a potentially historic group, the last thing they want to do is surrender any more momentum to what Clemson has already done in the last few recruiting cycles. This group, if even five of them were to end up committing to Ohio State, could go a long way toward cementing the program’s place as the country’s best class when next February rolls around.

But that’s a long way down the road. What’s right in front of Ohio State is the need to survive the next few days without losing any of those players to the Tigers. Swinney hosted Stellato, Carter, Hancock and Johnson last weekend. The last time Clemson had one of their major junior day weekends, it ended with Clemson collecting a commitment from the country’s No. 1-ranked player, Korey Foreman, and a top Buckeyes target at wide receiver, Beaux Collins.

So far, so good. It’s now Tuesday and none of those players have committed. TreVeyon Henderson was supposed to visit the Tigers — but it didn’t happen. The Clemson plan for him initially had him on defense, and the country’s No. 1-ranked running back doesn’t want to be a defensive back. That combination of events worked out pretty well for the Buckeyes back in 2013 when Alabama and others were recruiting Ezekiel Elliott to play defense.

I went on record and gave my opinion on three of the players listed above (Stellato, Hancock and Johnson) in the most recent episode of Talking Stuff — see below — but I’ll wrap this up by quickly giving my thoughts on the group of nine players listed above.

  • RB TreVeyon Henderson: Not Ohio State right now, but not Clemson either.
  • WR Troy Stellato: I think he’ll end up picking the Buckeyes
  • WR Emeka Egbuka: I think the Buckeyes are the team to beat, but there’s a long way to go.
  • OL Tristan Leigh: I don’t think he’s leaning toward Ohio State right now, but don’t believe he’s a done deal to Clemson.
  • LB Barrett Carter: Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson and many more are making him the top priority at linebacker, I think Georgia is the frontrunner.
  • DB Jordan Hancock: I believe Hancock will end up at Ohio State.
  • DB Jakailin Johnson: I think the Buckeyes will receive a commitment from Johnson.
  • DB Tony Grimes: The Buckeyes aren’t in a great position here yet, but it’s improving.
  • DB Derrick Davis: I think Ohio State is the team to beat, but Clemson and Penn State aren’t out of it by a long shot.

Bottom line? Don’t freak out too much about Clemson and these top targets yet. But understand when the Tigers are involved, there’s no room to take anything for granted.

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