A big emphasis for Ohio State’s 2022 recruiting class will be on the offensive line, especially tackle bodies. The Buckeyes signed three tremendous players in the 2021 class but would have liked to have added another tackle to the mix. The 2022 board is very promising early on for Ohio State with a good mix of regional and national talent.
Here’s a look at our first installment of the Big Board series. As always, these lists are compiled using three criteria; The ability of the player, how hard Ohio State is recruiting him, and Ohio State’s chances of landing the player.
1. Kiyaunta Goodwin – 6’8 310 pounds – Charlestown (IN)
You almost have to consider Goodwin an in-state prospect for the Buckeyes. The massive tackle grew up an Ohio State fan and resides roughly three hours from campus. Goodwin is becoming a priority for lot of major programs, including Michigan, but Ohio State is still the team to beat here. While Goodwin’s offer list is a national one, this has more of a feel of a regional battle with schools like Kentucky and Louisville heavily involved as well.
Goodwin has also struck up a friendship with Ohio State incoming freshman offensive lineman Zen Michalski over the past year, which won’t make or break the Buckeyes’ chances but does help things out.
2. Zach Rice – 6’6 285 pounds – Lynchburg (VA) Liberty Christian
Ohio State is very much in the mix for Rice, a five-star prospect and perhaps the nation’s top offensive tackle. While Rice has teased that a decision could come any day now, it seems more likely that this recruitment will continue for at least a few more months and that some visits are taken in the spring. Ohio State, Notre Dame and North Carolina appear to be the top contenders right now. Taking “The Field” over Ohio State would probably be the safe play as things stand right now, but visits could change the landscape significantly.
3. Tyler Booker – 6’4 315 pounds – Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy
Booker does not get as much hype as the Rice’s, Dewberry’s, and Givens’ of the world, but the Buckeyes are definitely in play here and Booker is probably higher on the Ohio State wish list than he is given credit for. A native Northeasterner, the distance factor isn’t in play quite as much here, though Booker’s list of top schools does have a very heavy SEC flavor.
In addition to SEC powers like Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and LSU, the Buckeyes and Penn State are also in the running early on.
4. Kam Dewberry – 6’4 310 pounds – Humble (TX) Atascocita
Dewberry is one of the nation’s premier talents and someone who has grown up very impressed with the Ohio State program. The Buckeyes’ recent run in the state of Texas also helps their odds here. With that said, Ohio State is a total outlier on Dewberry’s list of top schools. The list is very Big 12/SEC heavy, which lines up with the notion that Ohio State might be the only program with the cachet to pull the five-star prospect out of his region.
Safe bet here would be that Dewberry ends up closer to home, perhaps at Texas A&M, but Ohio State has his attention and if a visit is made this spring/summer it could be game on at that point.
5. Gunner Givens – 6’6 275 pounds – Daleville (VA) Lord Botetourt
Givens is an extremely talented prospect with five-star type of potential, but his place on this list is determined more by the likelihood of him ending up at Ohio State. Of the five prospects listed here, Givens is probably the longest shot of the group. Clemson and Virginia Tech, are two to watch closely for Givens, but he is also a national prospect at this point with more than 40 offers.
There is room for at least two players on this list, and probably three if the Buckeyes could find a way to land them. Tegra Tshabola is the only offensive lineman currently committed in this class and he could potentially slide down to guard at the next level.
For a class that should total at least four offensive linemen, it would be reasonable to assume that at least three of them will be tackle bodies.
There are also two Ohioans worth mentioning in this group as well. Both Huber Heights Wayne product Aamil Wagner and Olentangy Liberty’s Carter Smith have had communication with the Buckeyes. Both are guys who are playing on the lighter side right now and the Buckeyes might need to see some weight gains here as well as an evaluation opportunity either during the spring or summer.
Wisconsin’s Joe Brunner is another highly-rated prospect that the Buckeyes have offered and like quite a bit, but it would be a major upset if the four-star talent doesn’t stay home with the Badgers.