Recruiting

The Padilla Impact

Ohio State’s monster recruiting weekend is starting to pay dividends as the Buckeyes picked up a pledge from class of 2023 Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne offensive lineman Joshua Padilla early on Thursday evening. Padilla picked Ohio State over Notre Dame, Penn State, and others, giving the Buckeyes their second commitment in the 2023 recruiting class.

What Ohio State is getting

At the high school level, Padilla is a pretty versatile player who is capable of playing outside or inside, but for Ohio State’s purposes this is likely a center commitment with the possibility to play guard. Padilla won’t be a tackle in Columbus and his build is that of someone like Pat Elflein who ended up having a tremendous career in Columbus after not being a very highly rated prospect coming out of Pickerington (Ohio) North.

Elflein is probably the right comparison in terms of what Ohio State is hoping Padilla will be. While not someone who will overwhelm his opponents with elite size or wow people with sheer athleticism, Padilla wins his battles on toughness, positioning and technique and is a pit-bull in the run game and plays with great leg drive.

Padilla has been playing primarily at right tackle this fall for Wayne and has showed improved feet from a year ago as he continues to get his body in better shape and become a quicker athlete. He has always been a tremendous finisher, whether that is driving his guy until the echo of the whistle or getting out into space and finding someone to hit, Padilla certainly has the toughness that Greg Studrawa wants to see out of an interior line prospect.

What it means for recruiting

It is probably too early to draw any sweeping conclusions about what this means for the outlook of the 2023 offensive line class. The Buckeyes are still trying to put the finishing touches on the 2022 cycle and could add up to two more for a total of five. If that happens, Ohio State can probably be a little more selective than in years past. While you always want to take a good number along the O-Line, 2023 may struggle to get to five and could be looking more in the four-man range barring any unforeseen attrition. However, if the Buckeyes can’t get to five in 2022, you could see the number go up in 2023.

But this was a nice recruiting win over a couple of prime rivals in Notre Dame and Penn State. These two programs have gone toe-to-toe with Ohio State over the years on numerous prospects, especially offensive linemen, so getting a win there is always good for momentum.

This was also a prospect that the Buckeyes identified early on in the process and then watched closely at camp this summer. Clearly Ohio State was comfortable with Padilla and prioritizing him early showed that. This gets them on the board early with an interior offensive linemen and it is likely that future class of 2023 targets will be bigger tackle bodies who can play inside or out.

This could be a very Ohio-centric offensive line class with top tackle target Luke Montgomery looking like a Buckeye lean right now combined with the new in-state offer to Austin Siereveld out of Lakota East over the weekend. Cleaning up in Ohio would really help the Buckeyes go Big Game Hunting out-of-state with the likes of Iowa’s Kadyn Proctor, Florida’s Payton Kirkland, and New Jersey’s Chase Bisontis as early priority targets.