Brian Hartline’s Honest Admission About NFL Future May Create Pause For Top-Tier Ohio State Recruits

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Ohio State football has had an unbelievable streak at wide receiver over the last few years and Brian Hartline has been a big part of that success. The former Buckeyes pass-catcher and seven-year NFL veteran joined the staff at his alma mater in 2017— but may will not be there forever.

Hartline, who played an integral role in Ohio State’s 2008 BCS National Championship appearance, knows what it takes to reach the next level after playing in Columbus. And by all accounts, he is a fantastic leader and all-around good guy.

Here is a breakdown of Hartline’s recruiting successes since taking over as receivers coach in 2018:

  • 2019 —
    • Garrett Wilson, five-star recruit, No. 10 overall draft pick
    • Jameson Williams, four-star recruit, No. 12 overall draft pick
  • 2020 —
    • Julian Fleming, five-star recruit
    • Jaxon Smith-Njigba, five-star recruit, projected first round draft pick in 2023
    • Gee Scott Jr., four-star recruit
    • Mookie Cooper, four-star recruit
  • 2021 —
    • Emeka Egbuka, five-star recruit
    • Marvin Harrison Jr., four-star recruit, projected first round pick in 2024
    • Jayden Ballard, four-star recruit
  • 2022 —
    • Kaleb Brown, four-star recruit
    • Kyion Grayes, four-star recruit
    • Caleb Burton, four-star recruit
    • Kojo Antwi, four-star recruit
  • 2023 —
    • Brandon Inniss, five-star recruit
    • Carnell Tate, five-star recruit
    • Noah Rogers, four-star recruit
    • Bryson Rodgers, four-star recruit
  • 2024 (verbal commits) —
    • Jeremiah Smith, five-star recruit
    • Mylan Graham, five-star recruit

Top pass-catchers wants to play for Brian Hartline.

However, there is some hesitation regarding the future at Ohio State.

Jeremiah Smith, who would be the Buckeyes’ fifth-best signee in school history if he puts the pen to paper and makes his commitment official, is keeping his options open. He is a hard, verbal commit to Ryan Day and Hartline. But he isn’t closing out other programs— except for Miami.

If Smith is all-in on Ohio State, why is he visiting and listening to other schools? He doesn’t know whether Hartline will be there by the time he gets to campus.

You never know what could happen at Ohio State. Coach Hartline gets fired, coaching changes, coach Hartline might get a job offer in the NFL, he might take it, so I got to keep that relationship open with all the coaches. So I ain’t really going to cut nobody off.

— Jeremiah Smith, via BuckeyesNow

Hartline’s honest admission to Taylor Lewan and Will Compton on ‘Bussin’ with the Boys’ speaks to Smith’s uncertainty. His thoughts are valid.

In my soul, I’m an NFL guy. It is the all-star league of college football. I don’t care where you’re from, or what school, small or big, there are no better players in the world. So I love that. I love the degree of separation being so small. I love that, and I love my alma mater, here at Ohio State.

— Brian Hartline, via Bussin’ with the Boys

It sounds like a matter of when, not if, Hartline will leave Columbus for an NFL job. Only the timeline is up in the air at this point.

But my heart is in the NFL, and I think one day I would want to coach there. That’s the reality of it. When will that be? I don’t know. My in-laws and my wife are from Columbus, so there has been a big foundation that has been built here.

— Brian Hartline, via Bussin’ with the Boys

Nobody has recruited the receiver position like Hartline in recent years, but his new recruits can sense that he may not be at Ohio State forever. He said so himself.

Could Hartline’s comments effect the Buckeyes’ ability to land top pass-catchers moving forward? Perhaps. If Smith is showing some hesitation, others might feel similarly.

Fortunately for Hartline, the transfer portal is more prominent than ever. If he gets a five-star recruit in the scarlet and grey, and then leaves, the receiver could pack up and find a new program.

Still, though, Hartline’s desire to one day get to the NFL may factor into the equation moving forward. It already is!

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.

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