Could Michigan and Penn State prevent the 2023 Ohio State football roster from achieving “super team” status?


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State football program is set to have a “great team” in 2023.

It will be a roster made up of a plethora of five-star talent, players considered to be the best players in their positions coming out of high school, and plenty of depth behind them. It’s a team that could dominate the college football landscape for six months and then steal the show in the NFL Draft in the spring.

One version of this has been the description of Alabama and LSU as the last two national title games and could be the determining factor every year from now on. But even these teams face their challenge at some point of the year.

For the Tigers in 2019, it was games against Texas and the Crimson Tide. For Saban’s 2020 roster, it was Texas A&M and an SEC game against Florida. The Buckeyes won’t be immune to these challenges when it comes time for them to clearly be the favorites.

It’s early, very early. But the arms race towards this season has already started in the 2020 and 2021 recruiting cycles. These kids will be third and fourth year players as the backbone of the 2023 rosters. Then there’s the 2022 class, who will be second year players ready to be beginners and contributors.

These three cycles have been bountiful for the state of Ohio, but other programs on its schedule are having applauded results. They might not be able to beat the Buckeyes, but they won’t just roll either.

A fight with a Nittany Lion

Penn State dropped the ball in 2021, leaving the country to have a free-for-all in their state. That included OSU touchdown quarterback Kyle McCord and wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., both of Philadelphia, but PSU bounced back in 2022.

The Nittany Lions are doing in the recruiting class of 2022 what most Big Ten East teams should try to do by raiding the Buckeyes’ backyard within reason.

OSU plans to make the most of Ohio every cycle, but there has been an increase in talent in recent years that is more than enough for everyone to benefit. Kaden Saunders is probably a Buckeye five years ago. He is the No. 114 player in the country and the No. 15 receiver in the country. His name would have been Demario McCall or Jaelen Gill as state talents tailor-made for the role of H-Back. Except now the world’s Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Caleb Burtons fill that role.

However, every other team in the conference should be fighting for him, and the same can be said of Drew Allar of Medina High School. If it was in 2007, he is the future holder of OSU. But when you get kids with perfect grades, that means you’re not taking the top 150 quarterbacks in the state.

Allar is the nation’s No.142 player and No.11 quarterback as Mike Yurcich’s first successful recruit as PSU’s offensive coordinator and QB coach. It is also part of the Elite Class 11 2021 alongside OSU engage Quinn Ewers, which means something. He came out in Los Angeles, appeared in The Opening, and continued to elevate the worldview towards him. A rating hike could follow, even though he’s already the highest-rated Penn State quarterback since Christian Hackenberg in 2013.

The two Ohio kids are headlining a Penn State class that is currently the nation’s third and recently added a qualifying quality to Nicholas Singleton.

For a while, recruiting the No.98 player and the No.6 running back seemed like a battle between staying home or coming to Columbus until OSU focused on Dallan Hayden. He is now James Franklin’s first top 100 running back since Devyn Ford in 2019 and Penn State’s sixth in the modern era.

The Penn State class will not retain this # 3 ranking until signing day. There are a lot of national powers like Alabama, Georgia and Clemson that have yet to make their commitments. But it’s the kind of class that Nittany Lions fans should expect.

It’s a future team capable of pushing Ohio State – even a great team – to the limit with a quarterback who can play the spoiler.

Five stars in Ann Arbor

Michigan could officially be the Big Ten’s biggest “What if” game this season. That’s because JJ McCarthy signed with the Wolverines as the nation’s No.24 ranked five-star and No.4 quarterback.

He could also be the Michigan quarterback Michigan needs to turn the tide in what has been a one-sided rivalry with Ohio State for the past 20 years. He’s not the Buckeyes’ biggest fan just because Ryan Day chose McCord over him. At worst, he’ll be starting for two years by the time this game is played on November 25, which is a lot of experience. He won’t be alone either.

Michigan found its version of TreVeyon Henderson in backstate Donovan Edwards. The country’s No.41 player and No. 4 running back were also an OSU target and could be the Wolverines’ only starter by the end of his first season.

Class 2022 provides quality players in their sophomore year, like five-star cornerback Will Johnson as Michigan Legacy who has at least flirted with the idea of ​​being a Buckeye at one point. Wide receiver Tyler Morris gives McCarthy a quality goal as the top 100 rookies.

Whether Jim Harbaugh is still in Ann Arbor or not, Wolverine’s projected 2023 roster has an advantage. They also have a schedule that could see them go undefeated before the final week of the regular season. Then they will have the advantage of being at home.

The idea that Michigan will eventually become an Ohio State team again has been spelled out time and time again without any real sign that there should be any belief in it. In three games with Ryan Day as the caller, the Buckeyes beat the Wolverines 149-86, and the 2020 edition would have been just as lopsided had it been played.

But with a quarterback with plenty of potential and quality players in game-changing positions, that could be the game when things finally change. Or at the very least be a way to shine OSU’s season.

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