Offensive Grades for Ohio State Football Recruiting Class of 2021 on Early National Signing Day

Here's how we think the Buckeyes did bringing in a wildly talented offensive group.
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Ohio State is not quite done yet, but most of its 2021 recruiting class is now signed. That means it is time to hand out grades for the Buckeyes class. Grades are based on a combination of meeting numbers needs, impact talent, scheme fit and how well players at each position complement each other.

If you missed the defensive grades, check them out here. Here's what we think about the offensive guys.

QUARTERBACK

Grade: A-

Signee: Kyle McCord

After signing two quarterbacks in the 2020 class, Ohio State only needed one passer in the 2021 class, so it certainly met its numbers needs. To make this position a success the Buckeyes needed a signal caller that could push Jack Miller and CJ Stroud, and a quarterback with the tools to be a championship caliber quarter.

Kyle McCord certainly fits that bill.

SI99 ranks McCord as the No. 57 overall player in the country, and his all-around skillset is outstanding. McCord has the combination of moxey, arm talent, mobility and production to thrive in the Ohio State offense. The St. Joseph’s standout was a winner in high school and he plays with the kind of attitude you want in a top-level quarterback.

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McCord possesses a quick release, he is accurate, he can push the ball down the field, he is decisive and he is aggressive. Combined with his pocket mobility, McCord fits perfectly into the Ohio State offense. The fact Ryan Day and the Buckeye staff targeted him so early shows how highly they view him as a fit.

RUNNING BACK

Grade: A+

Signees: TreVeyon Henderson, Evan Pryor

There was a need for a strong running back class in 2021, and position coach Tony Alford hit a grand slam, walk off home run by signing Henderson and Pryor.

TreVeyon Henderson is ranked by SI All-American as the nation’s top back and the No. 8 overall player, and both ESPN and 247Sports also ranks him as the nation’s top runner. The Hopewell standout is truly the complete package at running back. He has elite speed, his agility and footwork grades out as elite and he is a tough runner.

Give him the smallest crease and you can get ready to strike up the band and put six points on the scoreboard. Beyond the physical tools, Henderson also displays top-notch vision, second level anticipation and decisiveness. He’s also a tremendous student, and to top it all off, if he decided he was tired of being hit and wanted to do the hitting, he could easily move to defense and be an All-Big Ten caliber safety.

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Henderson is the kind of talent that can make an impact the moment he steps foot on campus, and at a place like Ohio State that is hard to do.

Evan Pryor would be the top back in the class for almost every other team in the country. He’s the fourth-ranked running back and No. 52 overall player according to SI All-American. While Henderson is sudden and explosive, Pryor is smooth and fluid. He makes good reads, is effective in space and he had well over 1,000 receiving yards during his prep career.

WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END

Grade: A

Signees: Jayden Ballard, Emeka Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr., Sam Hart (TE)

There isn’t a program in the country that had the two-year success recruiting wideouts that Ohio State has had. After landing arguably the nation’s best haul of receivers in 2020 the Buckeyes followed that up with another outstanding three-man group.

Washington native Emeka Egbuka is the nation’s top ranked wideout and No. 10 overall player in the country according to SI All-American. That means the Buckeyes landed the nation’s top overall running back and top wideout.

Don’t get me wrong, Egbuka is a quality athlete. He possesses good long speed, well above average agility and strong leaping ability. What stands out to me on film, however, is his advanced feel for the wide receiver position. Egbuka is already a strong route runner, and his feel for finding open spots is tremendous. Egbuka also shows excellent ball skills and impeccable timing when playing the ball in the air.

Like Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr. is also an advanced route runner, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise. He does damage after the catch in high school, but projecting to the next level his downfield ability, size and ability to work the tough zones are what make him such a top prospect.

Harrison has impressive body control, and he’s more smooth than he is explosive, but I do like his long speed quite a bit. Harrison snatches the ball out of the air with ease, his hands are strong and his ability to win contested throws should make him a top red zone weapon at the next level.

Every coach likes athletes, but it’s obvious that Ohio State receivers coach Brian Hartline prefers players that have advanced wide receiver skills. That is true of Egbuka and Harrison, and it’s also true of Jayden Ballard. The Massillon (Ohio) Washington star is a smooth athlete that thrives at getting open, and his length and ball skills make him hard to defend.

All three of these wideouts are advanced pass catchers, and while all three have the traits to make an early impact, each still has plenty of room to add strength and explosiveness. As that happens this group could become a dominant unit, and it is certainly in the conversation for the nation’s best wide receiver class.

Sam Hart fits the mold of what Ohio State likes at tight end. He’s got a strong frame and could eventually grow into an inline type of player, but he can also move around and work the middle of the field. Hart is a possession type of tight end that complements the dynamic pass catchers Ohio State will have on the field the next few seasons.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Grade: B+

Signees: Ben Christman, Donovan Jackson, Zen Michalski

After signing 10 offensive linemen in the previous two classes the Buckeyes could focus more on impact talent than numbers in the 2021 group. It is a strong group, but it’s not quite on the level of the other offensive positions.

Ohio State did land one potential star in Houston native Donovan Jackson, the nation’s No. 31 overall player according to SI All-American. Jackson isn’t the biggest offensive lineman, but what he lacks in height and girth he makes up for with well above average length and elite physicality.

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Jackson has impressive movement skills that fit perfectly into the Ohio State blocking scheme, which requires physicality, the ability to work the second level, the skills to work in space and the ability to pull and trap at a high level. Jackson plays with an angry demeanor and top notch leg drive, and he has the combination of traits that project him as both an outside and inside player.

Richfield (Ohio) Revere blocker Ben Christman is a quality pickup that adds size and depth to the roster. Christman is strong and physical at the point of attack and shows good short-area movement skills. I am not sure he has the foot quickness and in-space skills to play on the edge in college, but his athletic skills project quite well to guard.

Floyd Knobs (Ind.) Central big man Zen Michalski is more of a developmental player, which drags down his current grade a bit. Michalski’s game improved quite a bit as a senior, and his size and foot quickness on the edge is impressive. He’ll need a lot of technique and weight room work, but his raw tools are impressive.

GRADE KEY

A — Elite / College Football Playoff caliber
B — Outstanding / Top 15 caliber
C — Solid / Borderline Top 25 caliber
D — Subpar / Not good enough
F — Disaster

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