The Pain Scale: J.C. Latham

If you’ve ever gone to the doctor, you may have been asked to rate your pain on a scale from 1-10. Your favorite team missing on a recruit may bring those same types of feelings, which is why we’re here to help with ‘The Pain Scale’.

When Ohio State misses on a key recruiting target, we’ll help you diagnose the level of pain that should be felt and what the Buckeyes need to do to provide some relief.

The Buckeyes took a hit on the recruiting trail on Friday when a top target in Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy offensive tackle J.C. Latham committed to Alabama over the Buckeyes, LSU, Oklahoma, and many others.

Pain Scale Rating: 8.5 (Very severe)

Why the rating isn’t higher:

You’re going to be hard-pressed to see me ever go to a 10 on this scale and even 9’s are going to be extremely rare. My philosophy is always that one recruit doesn’t make or break a program and that has held true over the years for Ohio State.

Helping to cushion the blow here is that Ohio State has two very good offensive linemen committed right now who could play tackle if needed. They also have some promising young tackles on the roster right now in Nick Petit-Frere, Dawand Jones, and Paris Johnson Jr., so the roster isn’t depleted at this position by any stretch.

Why the rating isn’t lower:

This was a player that Ohio State held the lead for for quite some time and, despite having a guy like Johnson Jr. on the roster, you can never have too many elite tackle prospects. This is a big-time recruit at a premium position who looked to be a good bet to be in this class not too long ago.

Furthermore, while the Buckeyes didn’t lose Latham to a divisional foe like Michigan or Penn State, Alabama has become one of the biggest competitors for the Buckeyes on the recruiting trail. These two teams have locked horns on several national recruiting battles over the years and there is certainly a chance that any recruit that is lost to Alabama could come back to face them in a playoff scenario as both programs are loaded for the near future.

Where the Buckeyes go now to relieve the pain:

It’s going to be interesting to see where things go now for the Buckeyes at offensive tackle. Tristan Leigh is maybe the one guy that Ohio State can improve its situation with over losing Latham as Leigh and Latham had some overlap on their lists and the odds of them ending up at the same school are virtually zero.

So in the mean time, the Buckeyes will look to recapture some momentum in that recruitment while also taking a closer look at Michigan standout Rayshaun Benny.

The state of Ohio has some interesting offensive line prospects in 2021 in guys like Massillon’s Terrence Rankl, Brunswick’s Tomas Rimac and Mason’s Paul Rodriguez, but these are all guys who are committed elsewhere and will need to be evaluated this fall. There is also Wadsworth’s Mitchell Evans who is a TE/OT prospect and with the Buckeyes looking to take both positions to round out this class, he could see an increase in interest as well.

Ohio State will also continue to recruit Garrett Dellinger and Nolan Rucci, but Dellinger is slated to decide on June 24th and all indications are that it won’t be Ohio State if he goes through with that date. Rucci continues to be a huge long shot and a player that the Buckeyes have struggled to gain real traction with over the past year.