In a move reminiscent of the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Ohio State went back to back by landing commitments from wide receivers Carnell Tate, Brandon Inniss and Noah Rogers on consecutive days this week.
It was the perfect end to the cycle for wide receivers coach Brian Hartline, who was targeting those three – along with Zephyrhills (Fla.) Wiregrass Ranch four-star Bryson Rodgers – from the very beginning. To go into the Southeast and pluck a player of Rogers’ caliber was no easy feat, either, as he long felt destined to play in the ACC.
Ohio State now holds commitments from the No. 2, No. 3, No. 9 and No. 32 wide receivers in the class of 2023, and the last one is due for a bump in the consensus rankings after strong performances on the 7-on-7 circuit this spring. The same goes for Hartline’s salary, even though he just received a $350,000 raise and the title of passing game coordinator.
After all, the Buckeyes have now secured commitments from a whopping 14 top-100 wide receivers since he was named the interim coach in 2018, a tag that was removed after that record-breaking season.
That includes Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams in the class of 2019; Julian Fleming, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Gee Scott and Mookie Cooper in 2020; Emeka Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jayden Ballard in 2021; Kaleb Brown and Kyion Grayes in 2022; and Inniss, Tate and Rogers this cycle.
For reference, Alabama is second in the nation with seven top-100 receivers during that same span. Frankly, it’s an absurd run, and one that doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon, as Ohio State is among the early favorites for Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna Prep five-star Jeremiah Smith and Miami Central five-star Joshisa Trader in class of 2024.
That said, the Buckeyes were supposed to welcome Folsom, Calif., four-star wide receiver Rico Flores to campus for his official visit this coming weekend, but with every spot in the class now filled, he’ll likely commit to Notre Dame on July 3.
Meanwhile, Hartline and offensive quality control coach Keenan Bailey – who doesn’t get enough credit for his role in Ohio State’s recruiting efforts – can shift their focus to the next cycle.
As for what Rogers brings to the class, there are a lot of similarities between him and Tate. The 6-foot-2 and 180-pounder uses his size, speed and route-running ability to overwhelm defensive backs, particularly when they’re lined up in man coverage.
Rogers also has some of the strongest hands in his class, perhaps trailing only Inniss nationally, which allow him to make contested catches in the red zone. He doesn’t exactly shy away from those types of situations, and his overall athleticism helps him win more often than not.
Rogers put those skills on display time and time again during his junior season at Rolesville, as he caught 70 passes for 1,432 yards and 22 touchdowns while leading the Rams to the state semifinals last fall. However, he'll need bulk up a little bit in order to have the same impact at the next level.
The one thing to like about this group of receivers is their overall versatility, but Rogers and Tate appear to have futures on the outside, whereas Inniss and Rodgers will command attention in the short and intermediate routes. No matter where they line up, though, all four have the physical talent to be first-round picks.
Now it’s just a matter of being developed, and who better to do that than Hartline and company?
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