Ohio State landed its fourth, and likely final, offensive lineman of the 2022 recruiting cycle on Tuesday evening as Hammond (WI) St. Croix Central product Carson Hinzman gave Ohio State his verbal commitment. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound prospect chose the Buckeyes over the childhood favorite Wisconsin Badgers as Ohio State continues to make some key late additions to its recruiting class.
What Ohio State is getting
Hinzman has been one of Ohio State’s top targets since at least the summer, so it’s always nice when the work pays off and you can land a player that was among your top priorities at a given position.
Hinzman is built like a true interior guy at about 6-foot-4 and 275-pounds and will likely get his first shot at guard but could also see work at center down the road. While Hinzman has played primarily guard at the high school level, he is working at center down in San Antonio at the All-American Game. He actually has never shotgun snapped before this week so he is working on that during practice, including getting plenty of reps with future Buckeye quarterback Devin Brown on the West team.
Obviously the Buckeyes operate primarily out of the shotgun so that is something that would take some time for Hinzman to master before getting the call at center, which is why starting out at guard would seem the most likely scenario at this point.
Hinzman’s two biggest challenges early in his Ohio State career will be weight gain and just the general leap in competition. Getting a look at things this week in San Antonio is a nice step up in competition for him, coming from an area where he isn’t seeing a lot of Division I caliber prospects on Friday nights. But there will be an adjustment phase that is perhaps bigger than the one many of his peers will face.
Hinzman plays the game with great toughness and is an underrated athlete who is currently in the middle of a high school basketball season. The feet, toughness, and attitude are all there and so it will simply be a matter of putting on some good weight and settling in at either guard or center.
His ability to pull and also get out in space to the second level and execute blocks is definitely something that jumps out on his tape. Ohio State doesn’t do a lot in terms of pulling its guards, but Hinzman has the quicks and coordination to be really good in the screen game, which is becoming a bigger part of the offense recently under Ryan Day. As with all high school linemen, you want to see someone who finishes plays on tape and Hinzman does that as well.
Ultimately this is a player that I could see taking a year or two to develop his body and get used to the ramped up speed and athleticism of the college game, but Hinzman might be the safest pick in this four-man offensive line class to blossom into a future starter.
What it means for recruiting
This is a pick up that probably goes beyond just the caliber of prospect that Hinzman is. He’s a really good player, a four-star caliber lineman, but Ohio State really needed this one. The Buckeyes were sitting at just three offensive linemen, which was certainly one below the desired number and maybe even two below and without any real Plan B’s that made sense at this point in the process.
So now the Buckeyes don’t have to scramble to fill this O-Line class out and they avoid said scrambling by picking up a long time priority in Hinzman. While the departure of Joe Rudolph as Wisconsin’s offensive line coach didn’t hurt things, this is still a really good recruiting win for the Buckeyes as pulling home grown talent out of Wisconsin has historically been a very difficult task to accomplish.
Will see what happens this off-season with the transfer portal, as the Buckeyes could still use some depth at tackle, but things should be pretty squared away on the interior of the offensive line until the 2023 class. The 2023 class should be another where Ohio State tries to take 4-5 players with Findlay (Ohio) star Luke Montgomery as the top target at the moment and with four-star Ohioan Joshua Padilla already in the fold.