The National Football League has 178 players on active rosters who played their high school football in the great state of Texas. In the 2018 NFL draft, 28 selections, including the first overall pick, played high school football in the Lone Star State. This was the second year in a row a Texas high school football player was the first overall pick. The point is, Texas knows football and out of state football programs take notice. Recruiting never stops, and if you take a day off, you fall behind. This weekend’s Frogs vs. Buckeyes showdown could have huge recruiting implications. It’s no secret that the Buckeyes recent success playing in Arlington, including the 2015 national championship and 2018 Cotton Bowl Classic, has done wonders for their Texas recruiting. They hope to get another leg up this weekend with a win against #16 TCU in the Frogs backyard. This is the Frogs chance to slow down that pipeline, keeping more of these players in the state and at TCU. On Saturday the Ohio State Buckeyes will showcase several of these star players that they cherry-picked from Texas. Let’s take a look.
Star tailback J.K. Dobbins started all 14 games for the Buckeyes as a true freshman last year, earning freshman All American and 2nd team All-Big 10 honors. Dobbins is Texas made, straight out of LaGrange, Texas. The Horned Frogs wanted him.
Current Horned Frogs offensive lineman, Wes Harris, even joined in on the recruiting pitch.
In the end, Dobbins chose the Buckeyes. He is having a good career in Columbus, Ohio, but the Frogs hope to limit his effectiveness on Saturday.
The fastest man in college football in 2018, according to NFL.com, is from Texas (so is #7 and #9 and they are Horned Frogs). He is Buckeyes junior cornerback, Kendall Sheffield, a former 5 star player from Missouri City, Texas. This is his first year as a full-time starter, replacing NFL 4th overall pick, Denzel Ward.
Buckeyes starting middle linebacker, Baron Browning, is the son of former Horned Frogs two-year football letterman, Barry Browning. The former 5-star linebacker and #9 overall player, coming out of high school two years ago, is from Ft. Worth, Texas. Browning played at Kennedale high school. The Frogs were very close to landing this one.
Jeffery Okudah was a five-star player and the #1 cornerback in the nation coming out of Grand Prairie, Texas in 2017. He is currently a reserve for the Buckeyes.
Demetrius Knox is another Buckeye from Cowtown. The 5th year senior offensive lineman was a four-star recruit and Army All American out of All Saints. He started eight games last year and is a veteran leader on the offensive line. Knox is 6’4″, 312 pounds and he currently starts at right guard.
Ellijah Gardiner is a former ESPN top 100 high school football player from Kemp, Texas. He is a redshirt freshman wide receiver. The Buckeyes love those Texas-born players.
Mathew Baldwin is the Buckeyes last Texas high school football player. The four-star freshman quarterback played at Lake Travis in Austin, Texas. The same high school as Baker Mayfield.
Make no mistake, Gary Patterson and company are phenomenal on the recruiting trail. They are the best in the business at finding the nationally underrecruited players and turning them into quality starters and even college football stars. They have also done well in scoring highly touted players, some recent successes are Shawn Robinson, Jaelan Reagor, Justin Rogers, Sewo Olonilua, Wes Harris, Shaun Nixon, Kyle Hicks, Halapoulivaeti Vaitai, Ross Blacklock, Jeremy Kerley, and more. A win on Saturday, over the blue blood Buckeyes, would be a huge feather in the cap for the Frogs on the recruiting trail.
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