COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State football faced its fair share of challenges during the 2023 recruiting cycle, but locking down the boundaries wasn’t one of them.
Ohio has seven players ranked in the top 300 nationally, most of whom will play positions of interest this cycle. All but one chose to stay home. Arvell Reese is the last and final piece of that state puzzle. For this cycle. While he’s the most underrated of the team, his decision could be the most important long-term.
Jim Tressel built one of the nation’s best programs in the 2000s, and he did so largely from homegrown products. Many of the impact players come from Glenville High School, which has been troubling Big Ten ranked players every year. Troy Smith, Ted Ginn Jr., Cardale Jones and Marshawn Lattimore highlight the list of players on that pipeline, though the names on it are rare.
But that pipeline led to Lattimore and Eric Smith in 2015. Since its appearance in 2014, it has been absent for almost a decade. Some of that is because OSU took a more national approach to recruiting under Urban Meyer, but also because the talent isn’t the same. . That could start to change in the coming cycles, starting with Reese and 2024 defensive back target Brice West.
“We’re definitely proud.” West told cleveland.com.. “We all want to get the same deals. We all grind the same. We push each other. We’re trying to rebuild the pipeline between Glenville and Ohio State.”
That thought is about OSU’s future. The immediate solution Reese brings is the first linebacker term of the Knowles era.
Knowledge has always been there. Known as plaster instead of hiringBut that doesn’t take away from how the linebacker recruiting went in 2023. Ohio State lost Troy Bowles and Tackett Curtis from the top 100 after both took official visits last month. Bowles choosing Georgia wasn’t much of a surprise, but Curtis choosing USC was. His relationship with Knowles dates back to his time at Oklahoma State, and over the past six months, he’s only felt the need to close the deal.
Instead, OSU went without committing any linebackers in late July, even as Reese’s recruitment began to explode, still emphasizing that he was done in Columbus. That work done, a player with a high ceiling is still considered a raw talent.
Credit must also be given to running backs coach Tony Alford and senior consultant and analyst Matt Geary who played a role in this recruitment.
Switching to a 4-2-5 defensive scheme means the Buckeyes can take fewer linebackers each year. Additionally, the future of the class is still bright no matter what happens in this class, with Reid Carrico, CJ Hicks and Gabe Powers all in their first or second year on campus. But landing Reese means two important things to the program.
First, it turns a supposed victory into an indefinite one. Second, it could get the ball rolling on restarting the pipeline with a school that has brought so much wealth to the program over the past 20 years.
To view Ohio State’s entire 2023 recruiting class, Click here.
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