football Edit

Take Two: Can Buckeyes land top four prospects in Ohio?

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

Darrion Henry
Darrion Henry (

MORE TAKE TWO: Will lack of in-state five-stars sting Alabama in 2020?

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and an expert from the network.


Former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was an excellent recruiter for the Buckeyes, regularly dominating the Big Ten team recruiting rankings and having his team among the best nationally every recruiting cycle.

Meyer is one of the best recruiters in the history of college football. But there is one thing Meyer never accomplished at Ohio State and that was he never signed the top four players from the state of Ohio in one recruiting class.

Ohio State definitely targeted top in-state prospects during his tenure in Columbus and he landed a lot of them, but the Buckeyes never got all four during Meyer’s run - whether because that was the plan or because some of the best recruits headed elsewhere.

This could be the year - and it could happen in coach Ryan Day’s first full recruiting class. The biggest piece - five-star offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr., is already committed to the Buckeyes.

Four-star defensive end Darrion Henry, four-star all-purpose back Michael Drennen II and four-star linebacker Jaheim Thomas are the next three. Henry looks like Ohio State leads in his recruitment, Drennen is a toss-up especially since Ohio State is working some different angles at running back and Thomas might be the biggest question mark since he has more than 20 offers but not one from Ohio State yet.

Still, chances are good that Ohio State could clean up with in-state standouts in the 2020 class. Can Day land all four?


“Day definitely wants to have an in-state focus. The 2020 class in Ohio is top heavy, so there isn’t a lot of depth. In 2021 is where you’re really going to see the increased intensity in Ohio because there is a lot of depth already, there are eight or 10 guys that could be Ohio State-caliber that have already put great sophomore years together.

“This year is going to be more of a focus on that very top group. There’s a chance they could do it, but first they have to offer Thomas. If they offer Thomas, they would get him and Henry and I do think they’re going to keep Paris Johnson. Drennen is an interesting one because there are so many irons in the fire at running back and how that’s going to shake out and how long is he going to wait to make a decision? I would make the case they lead for all four of those guys right now.”


“That is going to be his approach starting in the home state and then work your way out. Urban was a very good national recruiter and Day can do that as well, especially with the Ohio State brand, but the most important thing for a new coach is to take care of the in-state kids.

“A lot of the history of not signing the top four in-state guys is that sometimes Ohio State didn’t want the top four guys in the state. They had already filled that position or just weren’t as high on a guy even under Jim Tressel. They could have done it by now if they wanted to. Day is definitely going to focus on Ohio first and then branch out after that.”