COLUMBUS – Findlay’s Luke Montgomery, one of seven recruits ranked in the top 100 nationally who signed with Ohio State on Wednesday, could play any offensive line position but will begin his college career at tackle, Ryan Day said.
Day said Montgomery “has kind of been like the leader” of the 19 recruits who made it official they will become Buckeyes on Wednesday, the first day high school football players in the 2023 recruiting class could sign national letters of intent.
“He’s very, very talented. You can see on the basketball court how he moves his feet. He’s got toughness and physicality. He could play all five (offensive line) positions,” the OSU coach said. “He’s got a great personality. He and his family have been unbelievable during this process.”
The 6-5, 295-pound Montgomery is a 4-star recruit who is ranked No. 52 nationally in 247sports.com’s composite rankings of the 2023 recruiting class.
Ohio State’s other top 100 recruits are: wide receiver Brandon Inniss (No. 29), wide receiver Noah Rogers (No. 45), wide receiver Carnell Tate (No. 61), defensive lineman Jason Moore (No. 65), cornerback Calvin Simpson-Hunt (No. 79) and tight end Jelani Thurman (No. 99).
Inniss is the only 5-star recruit Ohio State signed Wednesday.
With both starting offensive tackles, Paris Johnson and Dawand Jones, likely to enter the NFL draft, Ohio State will have some openings on its offensive line.
Asked if Montgomery could challenge for a starting spot in his first season, Day said, “I don’t know if I want to put that all on him but we’re excited to have him.
“The fact that he is coming in mid-year is even more exciting. I talked to him today about it and his mind is already going there. We’ll see. It’s a challenge for a young guy. We’re looking forward to getting him in here and getting to work.” he said.
Seven of the 19 athletes who signed Wednesday are from Ohio. Day said that is a significant factor with things like name, image and likeness money and the transfer portal influencing recruits’ decisions.
“I think it is more important than ever to make sure we have guys from Ohio. We’re evaluating all the guys in Ohio at a high level. Loyalty and understanding what it is to be a Buckeye is very important,” he said.
One of those seven Ohioans is 4-star defensive lineman Will Smith Jr., of Dublin Coffman High School. His late father, Will Smith, was one of the leaders of OSU’s 2002 national championship team at defensive end.
“Everyone knows the story with his dad. Does that matter? Yes, it does. But that wasn’t the only reason we offered him a scholarship. Will, in the last year has just absolutely poured it on. He has put on about 40 pounds and played with an unbelievable motor,” Day said.
“The way he played this season, if you talk to anybody who watched him play, he played physical, he played like his hair was on fire and he just had a lot of production. He’s coming in early and we think he has a chance to be a very, very good player for us.”
Players also have another signing period in February available to them.
Ohio State’s 19 signees:
Luke Montgomery (Findlay), 6-5, 295, offensive line, 4 stars; Austin Siereveld, (Lakota East), 6-5, 330, offensive line, 4 stars; Josh Padilla (Huber Heights Wayne), offensive line, 6-4, 285, 4 stars; Brandon Inniss, (Plantation, Fla.) 6-0, 190, wide receiver, 5 stars; Noah Rogers (Rolesville, N.C.), 6-2, 195, wide receiver, 4 star; Bryson Rodgers (Zephyrhills, Fla.), 6-1, 175, wide receiver, 4 stars; Mike Walker (Greenwich, Conn.), 6-6, 285, offensive line, 3 stars; Jelani Thurman (Fairburn, Ga.), 6-6, 225, tight end, 4-stars; Carnell Tate (IMG Academy), 6-2, 180, wide receiver, 4 stars.; Lincoln Keinholz (Pierre, S.D.), 6-3, 185, quarterback, 4 stars.
Malik Hartford (Lakota West), 6-3, 175, safety, 4 stars; Kayden McDonald (Suwanee, Ga.), 6-3, 310, defensive tackle, 4 stars; Will Smith Jr. (Dublin Coffman), 6-3, 285, defensive lineman, 4 stars; Jermaine Mathews (Cincinnati Winton Woods), Jason Moore (Hyattsville, Md.), 6-6, 260, defensive lineman, 4 stars; Arvell Reese (Cleveland Glenville), 6-4, 225, linebacker, 4 stars; Calvin Simpson-Hunt (Waxahachie, Tex.), 6-0, 175, cornerback, 4-stars; Joshua Mickens (Indianapolis, Ind.), 6-5, 225, defensive end, 4 stars; Cedrick Hawkins (Cocoa, Fla.), 6-0, 175, safety, 4 stars