COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State football has encountered its fair share of problems during the 2023 recruiting cycle, but its border lockdown is not one of them.
Ohio is home to seven players ranked in the top 300 nationally, most of whom are in positions of need in this cycle. All but one chose to stay home. Arvell Reese is the last and last piece of this puzzle in condition for this cycle. Even though he’s the lowest rated of the bunch, his decision may be the most important in the long run.
Jim Tressel built one of the best programs in the country during the 2000s, doing so with mostly local products. Many of those impact players came from Glenville High School, which produced Big Ten-level players every year in its heyday. Troy Smith, Ted Ginn Jr., Cardale Jones, and Marshon Lattimore highlight the list of actors in this pipeline, though they aren’t the only names on it.
But that pipeline has been non-existent for much of the past decade since Lattimore and Erik Smith ran in 2014. That’s partly because OSU took a more national approach to recruiting under Urban Meyer, but also because the talent was not the same. . That could start to change in future cycles, starting with Reese and 2024 target defensive back Bryce West.
“We’re definitely proud of that,” West told cleveland.com. “We all want to receive the same offers. We all grind the same way. We push each other. We’re trying to rebuild a pipeline between Glenville and the state of Ohio.
This idea is about what the future holds for OSU. Reese’s immediate solution is the first linebacker commitment of the Knowles era.
Knowles has always been known more as a schemer than a recruiter, but that doesn’t take away from how linebacker recruiting went in 2023. Ohio State lost top 100 recruits Troy Bowles and Tackett Curtis last month after the two took official visits in June. Bowles choosing Georgia was no surprise, but Curtis chose USC. His relationship with Knowles dates back to his time at Oklahoma State, and for much of the past six months, it seemed only a matter of time before he closed the deal.
Instead, OSU found itself without a linebacker commitment in late July, pointing out that even though Reese’s recruiting started to explode, he still ended up in Columbus. That job was done, landing a player with a potentially high ceiling but still considered raw talent.
Credit must also be given to running backs coach Tony Alford and senior adviser and analyst Matt Guerrieri, who also played a role in the signing.
Switching to a 4-2-5 defensive scheme means the Buckeyes can take fewer linebackers each year. Plus, the future of the hall is always bright no matter what happens in this class, with Reid Carrico, CJ Hicks and Gabe Powers all in their freshman or sophomore year on campus. But Reese’s landing means two important things for the program.
First, it turns a supposed victory into an indefinite victory. Second, it potentially kickstarts a restart of a pipeline with a school that has brought a lot of fortune to the program over the past 20 years.
To see Ohio State’s full recruiting class of 2023, click here.
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