What Miles Lockhart’s commitment means to Ohio State football: Buckeyes Recruiting

Published Jul. 06, 2023, 3:20 p.m. By Stephen Means, COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Assistant coach Tim Walton just added another player to Ohio State’s cornerback room, and now he’s halfway toward the goal for the 2024 recruiting class. Four has been the magic number for the Buckeyes when it came to 2024 cornerback recruiting, while knowing that it could accomplish most of that without leaving the state border. Four-star Bryce West kicked that off as Ohio’s top player, making his decision while sitting in front of the entire coaching staff on an official visit. It was a significant pickup. Miles Lockhart has been considered an OSU lean for over a year despite being from Arizona, and now he’s brought his recruitment to a close. Ohio State’s four-cornerback goal was partially built on the premise that not all of them would end up on the outside. The Buckeyes play a three-safety defense, which includes a nickel spot that is at times tasked with covering slot wide receivers. Tanner McCalister manned that role having strictly a safety background, while his backup was Cam Martinez who’d repped all over the place in the secondary. Then Jyaire Brown and Ryan Turner spent the spring repping at it as second-year cornerbacks. Lockhart represents what the future of the nickel safety position may look like in Columbus as the first player coming in from Day 1 with that position in mind. There will still be safeties recruited on a yearly basis who are brought in to play it as well. It’s why the Buckeyes signed Cedrick Hawkins in their 2023 recruiting class. But recruiting cornerbacks to play it provides safeties coach Perry Eliano with options on how he chooses to approach that spot on a given snap. Need a cover guy to shut down a quality slot receiver? You probably want the guy with a cornerback background on the field. More worried about stopping the run? Maybe you go with the safety background. Obviously what you really want on the field is a guy who does both so well that you don’t have to take him off the field. It’s what Shaun Wade was as a slot cornerback in 2019 and what McCalister displayed at times in 2022 as a fifth-year senior who knew Jim Knowles’ system like the back of his hand. That’s a best-case scenario. In the meantime, you bring in guys from different backgrounds hoping to develop them into a finished product. Ohio State wanted four cornerbacks in this class, with one giving you the option of moving him inside. One week into July and it’s already halfway toward its goal.

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