The offensive line is a big area of focus for Ohio State in their 2023 recruiting class. The Buckeyes did “OK” but fell a little short on some top prospects in the 2022 cycle, leaving new position coach Justin Frye with a tall task of restocking the room in this upcoming cycle.
Frye, Ryan Day, and the program took a big step forward in accomplishing that goal just a few moments ago, as Findlay (OH) offensive lineman Luke Montgomery announced his pledge to the Scarlet and Gray over Notre Dame, Michigan, Clemson, Penn State, and many others. The 6-foot-5, 268-pound Montgomery spoke with Buckeye Scoop prior to his public announcement about his decision.
“It feels great,” Montgomery said of making his pledge. “This opportunity is a blessing and is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I know it took me a while, but I just wanted to take things slow and make sure I was making the right choice at the end of the day.”
So, when push came to shove, why was it Ohio State?
“I grew up a Buckeyes fan,” he shared. “I was actually born in Columbus. I wasn’t a die-hard fan like many are, but I still loved watching them on TV growing up. But it really wasn’t a decision I made until a couple of weeks ago. It came down to every time I would go someplace else on a visit, I always compared it to Ohio State, because that is where I wanted to go initially. But it just hit me a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to go and commit. I told my parents there was no reason to wait. It’s in my backyard, 1 hour and 40 minutes away. I can come see my family members and my little siblings while I’m in college. And it’s the best college for football, right here close to home. That’s why I made this decision.”
While Montgomery had a strong relationship (and still does) with former OL coach Greg Studrawa, it was his interactions with Justin Frye thus far that helped push him over the edge when it came to a commitment.
“When I really, really had the feeling (that I wanted to commit), it was after my first meeting with Coach Frye,” he detailed. “I was in awe of him after my first (virtual) meeting with him in January. He had basically gone through all of my film and he had just gotten off the plane from Los Angeles a few days before. It was crazy to me that he already had my film broken down. He was showing me a two-hour film session of me and then his former players from UCLA and what he’s looking for. That is what ultimately sealed the deal for me, was Coach Frye. And that was something I wasn’t sure of at first, because he was a new coach there. I wasn’t thinking I’d make a decision for a couple months, but after speaking with him I knew I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity have him as my O-line coach and I wanted to jump on that opportunity and become a Buckeye.”
Kevin Wilson, OSU’s offensive coordinator, coached Montgomery’s father Mike years ago at Miami (OH). The relationship between Wilson and the Montgomery family certainly played a role in making the talented lineman feel comfortable in Columbus.
“Coach Wilson, we’ve had a relationship since I was in eighth grade,” Montgomery said. “I went down to Ohio State for a spring practice as he invited my dad, my brother, and I down. I wasn’t really a recruit at the time, so we just went down there to see what it was like. Our relationship has really grown from there. I’m actually really close with his son Toby and I have hung out with him multiple times when I’ve gone down to Ohio State. He’s a great kid. They’re pretty much family to us.”
There has been a lot of speculation that Montgomery is being recruited for either guard or center, but from what he has been told, he will begin his career with the Buckeyes on the outside.
“Coach Frye has told me my footwork is amazing,” Luke shared. “They want to start me out at either left tackle or right tackle, on the outside and see how I do there. I really think I can play tackle. I know some people think I can’t, but I really think I can play tackle, I really do. If it doesn’t work out, then I will go to the interior o-line. I’ve played left guard and center a bit in high school as well, so I wouldn’t have a problem with that. Any of the five positions on the line are up for grabs and that obviously helps me get on the field as fast as I can.”
Montgomery, a former tight end and defensive end, is fairly new to the offensive line position, so he is still raw, but with a ton of upside. He’ll work on his craft over the next year but will be enrolling early in order to work with the staff to add weight to his frame and develop his game as fast as possible. He spoke about what he currently does well as a lineman, and where there is room for improvement.
“One of the things I do well is pass protection,” he responded when asked. “I think that’s an advantage for me because of my footwork, as I can get out of my stance really quickly. The run game, I can be great at sometimes, but when I get fatigued that’s something I definitely notice on film. The one thing I definitely need to work on is pad level. I have so many things to learn, it’s all technique on the offensive line. I’m just a pup right now and have so much to learn. Coach Frye will be sending me some things to work on and I’ll be working out with him during the camp season whenever I can.”
Finally, Montgomery shared his personal and team goals for his time with the Buckeyes.
“The biggest personal goal for is to become a team captain,” he told Buckeye Scoop. “I’ve always thought that would be awesome. To earn that honor at The Ohio State University, nothing is better than that. For team goals, it’s beating the Team Up North every year and winning national championships, which I think we can do with our 2023 class, the 2022 class, and the other classes as well.”
To hear everything Luke Montgomery had to say about becoming a Buckeye, check out the video featured in the article above, or check out SPREAKER, APPLE PODCASTS, or SPOTIFY to listen to the podcast version of this week’s edition of Around The Oval presented by Todd Pennington with Revolution Mortgage.
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