The second (and final) signing day in college football is next Wednesday, but the Buckeyes are not expected to add any new faces to a 2023 recruiting class that once again finished in the top five nationally.
Ohio State signed 20 players, with 11 of those signees already on campus and participating in winter workouts. Three of those 11 early enrollees are part of OSU’s ballyhooed four-man wide receiver class.
The Buckeyes signed three of the top 10 receivers in the nation in Brandon Inniss (No. 5), Noah Rogers (No. 8), and Carnell Tate (No. 9). The outlier of the group is Bryson Rodgers, who is the No. 49 receiver in the nation. Don’t let that ranking cloud your judgment, however. Keep in mind that when Jaxon Smith-Njigba committed to the Buckeyes, he was ranked the No. 59 receiver in his class.
Rodgers, out of Zephyhills, Florida, was somebody that Ohio State receivers coach Brian Hartline targeted pretty early. In fact, the Buckeyes offered Rodgers (6-1 175) one year ago yesterday. He committed in April, and stayed that way throughout.
“Bryson had a big-time season this year,” OSU head coach Ryan Day said back in December. “His family has ties up here in Ohio, the Warren area. From early on he jumped on this thing and was a Buckeye all the way. And his loyalty during this whole thing has been excellent. I think he’s gonna have a really bright future here.”
Rodgers’ recruitment didn’t have all that much drama to it, but that was not the case for the other three. Carnell Tate was rumored to have been targeted by Tennessee’s NIL vultures, while Noah Rogers was being pulled to stay in his home state of North Carolina. And Brandon Inniss only became an option after decommitting from Oklahoma.
But now all four are Buckeyes, and Day is excited about each of their respective futures.
“Well, you look at all four of these guys, you look at Brandon, Carnell, Noah and Bryson Rodgers, I think all four of these guys are gonna be really good players for us,” Day said. “And all four of them are looking to come in and make an impact.”
Tate is a Midwestern guy, originally from Chicago, but played at IMG Academy in Florida. At 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, he has already drawn some comparisons to former Buckeyes like Michael Thomas. He averaged nearly 100 yards receiving per game this past season for a team loaded with talent.
“Carnell, that was quite a recruiting process,” Day said. “I thought Brian and everybody did a great job there. But I think he always knew he wanted to be a Buckeye as well. He’s got a chance to be an impact player for us.”
Tate is going to be one to watch this spring. The Buckeyes don’t have many bigger receivers, which could have him in the mix to play right away. He isn’t completely alone, however, because Noah Rogers (6-2 195) is right there with him.
Rogers is from Rolesville, North Carolina, and the allure to stay home was real. He was offered a little over a year ago as well, but there was a connection from the outset.
“Noah from down in North Carolina, again, from the jump, there was a couple twists and turns along the way, but he was pretty loyal, and he had a big-time season,” Day said. “I think you’re really gonna like him and just his personality and makeup.”
There are some who will confidently tell you that Rogers is the best of the bunch. His 3,200 yards receiving in high school and routine posterizations of defenders can back up these claims.
But the highest-rated of the receivers is also the one that Buckeye fans are going to have to wait the longest to see.
Five-star Floridian Brandon Inniss (6-0 190) is still finishing up his senior year of high school and won’t be on campus until June. This past fall at American Heritage, Inniss caught 73 passes for 1,336 yards and 15 touchdowns. As a junior, he was forced into action as a quarterback and didn’t look all that out of place.
Inniss may be the last to arrive, but the expectation is that he will be worth the wait.
“Brandon, from early on he just had a presence about him, he had a leadership early on,” Day said. “His play this season, bringing them all the way to the state championship again, after the year before playing quarterback, you could just tell he was a competitor. And now you see what he did this year, he can do so many things. He can play inside, he can play outside, he’s a dynamic player and has leadership ability. He was a big catalyst for this class.”
The Buckeyes return 1,000-yard receivers Marvin Harrison, Jr. and Emeka Egbuka in 2023, as well as 999 of the other 1,058 yards produced by wide receivers in 2022.