Ohio State secured a commitment this afternoon from an out-of-state prospect with local ties when Zephyrhills (Fla.) Wiregrass Ranch three-star wide receiver Bryson Rodgers pledged his services to the Buckeyes.
Don’t be fooled by his rankings, though, as anybody good enough to play for wide receivers coach Brian Hartline should be among the top-rated players at the wide receiver position in any given cycle.
Don’t believe me? Just look at where soon-to-be first-round pick Chris Olave and junior Jaxon Smith-Njigba were rated at the time of their commitments. They were considered the 54th- and 59th-best wide receivers in their class, respectively.
Rodgers is sure to follow in their footsteps, as he has all of the physical tools to make an impact on the inside or outside. Those comparisons might be a bit unfair, though, given what Olave did and what Smith-Njigba has done during their time in Columbus.
More appropriately, it’s probably best to think of freshman wide receiver Kyion Grayes, who garnered significant national attention once the Buckeyes got involved in his recruitment. After all, Rodgers’ modest 42 catches for 645 yards during his junior season isn’t something that jumps off the page – though he did score 17 touchdowns for the Bulls last fall.
“He’s grown his overall game and made himself one of the most diversified receivers not only in Florida, but the entire country,” Inside The Knights' Brian Smith said after watching Rodgers and new cornerback commit Dijon Johnson at a 7-on-7 tournament last month. “Speed is a major reason why.”
“Rodgers consistently ran away from defenders during shallow crossing routes, seam routes, slants and any other route one can imagine. His explosiveness allows for chunk-yardage plays that most receivers simply do not have the capability of creating. That’s where the details come into play.
“Rodger’s hands are impressive, then there’s the fun stuff to talk about. Setting up defenders with shake moves or hesitation, then a stop-and-go route to beat a defensive back over the top of the defense. Rodgers is a really talented performer and one that will be big-time at the college level before too long. After seeing Rodgers yet again today, there’s no doubt that he’s a top-100 national talent.”
As for how Rodgers fits into the class, Ohio State will take at least three wide receivers this cycle and could once again push it to four if it’s the right player. Not to mention, the room is currently chock-full of players who will likely head to the NFL after just three years in Columbus, including Smith-Njigba, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egubka, so the cupboard will constantly need restocked.
With that in mind, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy five-star Carnell Tate and Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) American Heritage five-star Brandon Inniss are at the top of the list, but Folsom, Calif., four-star Rico Flores; and Rolesville, N.C., four-star Noah Rogers are worth keeping an eye on, as well.
The Buckeyes also recently made a good impression on Longview, Texas, four-star Jalen Hale during an unofficial visit earlier this month. He plans to take an official in the fall, which could help the staff make a major move for another elite wideout from the Lone Star State.
That said, Rodgers’ pledge further shows Ohio State’s commitment to recruiting the talent-rich state of Florida. He now joins Johnson, Fort Lauderdale American Heritage four-star running back Mark Fletcher and Titusville Cocoa four-star safety Cedrick Hawkins in the class – with potentially more on the way.
Be sure to check out our new message boards, Buckeye Forums. We'd love to have you part of the conversation during the season.
You may also like:
Be sure to stay locked into BuckeyesNow all the time!