The expectations are always high when it comes to wide receiver recruiting at Ohio State and the yearly expectations have only increased under Brian Hartline’s watch. The 2023 class is shaping up to be another very strong group for Hartline and Co. and long-time Buckeye lean Bryson Rodgers got things started this afternoon issuing a verbal commitment.
Below, we’ll take a look at what Rodgers’ commitment means for Ohio State as the 6-foot-2, 180-pound prospect out of Wesley Chapel (Fla.) Wiregrass Ranch made things official on Easter Sunday.
What Ohio State is getting
While there are some exceptions to this, Rodgers seems to be right out of the assembly line of receivers that the Buckeyes have produced recently in that he is capable of doing damage from anywhere, inside or outside. The Buckeyes’ receiving corps has thrived with interchangeable parts, guys like Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Emeka Egbuka, are all players who can be moved around the formation and make plays at all three levels of the passing game.
Rodgers is another prospect who fits that bit in terms of his physical stature and skill set. At about 6-foot-2 and 180-pounds, Rodgers is tough for smaller defensive backs to deal with but he also has a tremendous ability to create separation with his quickness and precise route-running.
Rodgers had a tremendous junior season at Wiregrass Ranch, scoring 17 touchdowns and not too much unlike Smith-Njigba and Kyion Grayes, seemed to jump on Ohio State’s radar before the recruiting rankings started to really catch on.
A comparison to Smith-Njigba knowing what JSN has become in Columbus might be a bit unfair at this point, but Rodgers does remind me quite a bit of Grayes who just continued to improve his stock through his junior and senior seasons and is a do-it-all type of receiver who can work the middle of the field from the slot but also separate and make plays vertically.
I expect Rodgers to follow a similar pattern in terms of his recruiting ranking. The Buckeyes are almost selecting their wide receivers at this point and Hartline, Day, and the rest of the offensive brain trust at Ohio State have picked Rodgers over several more highly ranked possibilities. Given recent history, that should certainly carry some weight.
What it means for recruiting
As has been discussed numerous times in the past, the Buckeyes would ideally like to sign three wide receivers each and every cycle. That would look to be the minimum number for 2023 and it could certainly get pushed to four.
The only problem with wanting to take three every year is as the Buckeyes continue to churn receivers into the NFL Draft, some of whom are only staying in Columbus three years, the attrition is sped up to a point that there will be years when taking four is necessary.
That might be this cycle. Florida star Brandon Inniss and Chicago native Carnell Tate continue to dominate the headlines and continue to be two of the very top priorities for the Buckeyes. But Ohio State has also emerged as a team of note in the recruitment of Texas star Jalen Hale following a very successful unofficial visit recently. The same could be said for California four-star Rico Flores Jr. as well.
My prediction is that this will end up being a four receiver class. As rich as the Buckeyes are in talent at wide receiver, the room is a little light from a numbers perspective and that’s before taking into account that there could be as many as three three-and-done players in the room right now in Smith-Njigba and super sophomores Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka.
It’s a First World Problem, for sure, but as long as Hartline and the Buckeyes continue this torrid run of NFL prospects, they’ll need to continue to restock the pond each and every cycle.