Cause for concern with the Class of 2023 Ohio State? Mail bag recruiting

Recruitment never stops. Nor your questions.

And if we haven’t addressed your question, don’t be discouraged! We’ll be addressing some on “Stars Matter,” our weekly employment podcast, which can be found in our “The Andy Staples Show” feed. Check out new episodes every Thursday morning.

Note: Submitted questions have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Earlier in the season, you expressed concern about the Ohio State class and its potential. Is it still there? The Buckeyes didn’t seem in a good position to finish the game strong. – Alexander S.

I’m not sure what time of day I sent this question on Monday, but Ohio State is the biggest recruiting story of the week. Four-star linebacker Brock Glenn of Memphis (Tennessee) Lausanne Collegiate School flipped from Ohio State to Florida State Monday night. Glenn isn’t rated enough — he’s No. 378 overall and No. 22 QB at 247 Sports Composite — to really affect the Buckeyes’ rating or average player rating. But it doesn’t hurt because there are no more committed quarterbacks in this cycle.

Ohio State offered four star quarterback Lincoln Kinnholz from Pierre (SD) T.F. Riggs in response. Kienholz, ranked No. 404 overall and No. 24 quarterback in the 2023 tournament, is committed to Washington but will pay a state visit to Ohio State this weekend for the Michigan game.

Glenn’s turn came less than a week after Ohio State lost a commitment from running back Mark Fletcher of Fort Lauderdale (FL), American Heritage, the 261st player overall in the country. Fletcher now thinks highly of Florida and Miami.

The Ohio State class now has 19 commitments and ranks sixth nationally, behind Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame, LSU and Texas. But the players’ average rating is 93.51, third only to Alabama (94.10) and Georgia (93.54). A lower ranking is more an indicator of class size than quality, as the Buckeyes are the only team in the top six with fewer than 20 commitments.

Is there cause for concern?

I’m not sure if you’re ready to hit the panic button yet, but it’s fair to admit that this group isn’t as loaded as some of my previous classes at Ohio State. Of those 19 commitments, only one is a five-star prospect and five are top-100 players. When compared to Alabama (five-star prospects) and Georgia (nine commitments in the top 110), they’re not quite on the same level in terms of upside. You can prove that the Ohio floor is higher.

So while Ohio State’s season is very good, the Buckeyes’ standard is signing seasons that go toe-to-toe with Alabama. That means four or five five-star players and 10 or more top-100 players. Less than a month into the early signing period, it will be an uphill battle to get there.

Ohio State is partnering with a slew of high-end prospects such as five-star racers Damon Wilson of Venice (FL), Con Kelly of Tampa (FL), Berkeley Prep and Matthew Oyagalele of Bellflower (California)-St. John Bosco. The Buckeyes are also preparing to host five-star offensive tackle Samson Okunlola from Brockton (Mass.) Thayer along with Wilson for the Michigan game. Four-star linebacker Arion Carter, from Smyrna (Tennessee), paid a visit to Ohio State.

The tricky thing about evaluating Ohio State’s chapter is that so many of them met so early. The Ryan Day Show hasn’t really been involved in a lot of hiring drama over the past few months as it has been so hung up on with what it has been. But that doesn’t mean the Buckeyes can’t finish this cycle with a bang. Even if they don’t and end up with a smaller class, the average player rating is more indicative than the final class rating.

As things stand now, it’s not a major championship for the class. But it’s not a cause for concern either, especially with a month to go before the early signing period.

deep breath. Things will be okay.

I’m with you that the stars are important, but what are your thoughts on the factors of experience and development? For example, I don’t think 247Sports’ composite Team Talent Index factors into the experience. I noticed that day 21 of the 22 starters at TCU are upperclassmen. Is college football becoming more like college basketball, with highly experienced rosters competing with inexperienced rosters equipped with super chips? – Jm

You have to keep in mind the ages of most of these football players when they commit to their university programs. Most of the time, their bodies are still developing even when they get to campus. Add a better diet and college strength and conditioning programs into the mix, and you’ll have a much more developed body by year 2 or 3 than it was by year one. Add the factor of experience—knowing the rules of the game, dealing with adversity, all of that—and there’s absolutely no doubt about its importance.

This year in college football, it seems as though there is only one great team (Georgia) and a bunch of others trying to make the College Football playoff. There seems to be more parity this year than we usually get, which is why we may struggle to find four teams in the playoffs at the end of the season.

why is that?

Part of it should be the transport gate. The programs ability to instantly fill in the gaps in their rosters with experienced college players makes all the difference. But part of it is the extra eligibility season due to the COVID-19 year and teams get to get old and stay old. This is a very physical game, and sometimes the senior is a man and the five-star freshman is a boy.

Experience and development are crucial when it comes to the players we see on the field on Saturday.

The thing that gets me enlisted is to point out that five star prospects are also not developing. Sure, you could compare a three-star senior who started for three years against a five-star freshman who took the biggest three stars. I can join with that. But when it comes to loading your roster with five-star prospects, they also come across as young and (sometimes) physically developed seniors. Being good at developing players is no substitute for being a good recruit. It is necessary for everyone.

Anyone who says that development and experience are irrelevant is either a liar or an ignoramus or both.

If a large portion of Texas A&M’s standard recruiting class from last year ends up transferring this year, regardless of whether or not there is a coaching change, are we going to be extra careful in pumping out an incredible recruiting class that seems to be paid for nothing until actually remain and produced in the future? – Chris F.

What does it mean to exercise more caution?

Anyone who’s read anything I’ve written about Texas A&M or listened to our 100 podcasts with the Aggies as a story has always known exactly where I stand. Yes, I bought a lot of stock in Texas A&M Football because it signed 18 top 100 players a year ago. To me, it was a sign of what could happen on the road in three years if Jimbo Fisher could somehow keep the train on the tracks.

But I never said Texas A&M would win the SEC this year. What I’ve said over and over is that it was one of the best seasons I’ve ever seen – but for the Aggies to beat the Alabamas and Georgias in the world, they had to do it two or three more times. You can be very complementary to a recruiting class while also maintaining that job isn’t done. And after the Aggies signed that class for the 2022 tournament, there was absolutely no reason to expect that Fisher wouldn’t be able to follow that up with a top-five class in 2023.

Fisher didn’t follow through, so the stock is down. Nobody saw this coming. Things at Texas A&M fell apart so quickly, I admit I still had a hard time processing it. People have called me a homer from Texas A&M—which is funny considering I was the Aggies’ Public Enemy No. 1 a couple of years ago—but I really thought they had the resources, the NIL and the right kind of motivation to put together such an Alabama roster.

So, if I were to take extra care, would that mean not analyzing and discussing a superclass when it happened, and only praising the recruiting job in three years once a team won a national title?

Hype is an incredible product of recruitment. Why do we want to stifle the hype? This is what makes college football fun. Texas A&M literally signed nearly 20 percent of the top 100 prospects in the class. Noise is the by-product of that.

It’s a shame for Texas A&M that this class appears to be in danger of crashing through the transfer gate. Because to this day, it is still very hard to believe that one program can sign so many players at the elite level in a given year.

(Photo by Ryan Day: Michael Reeves/Getty Images)

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