Five Observations from Ohio State's First One-Day Summer Camp

By Taylor Lehman on June 6, 2019 at 10:06 pm
Paris Johnson Jr. and Darrion Henry
Paris Johnson Jr. and Darrion Henry

Ohio State hosted its first One-day camp of the summer Thursday. These are five notable takeaways from the event that could determine the rest of the Buckeyes' summer plans.

A.J. Kirk, Jordan Dingle receive offers

There usually aren’t many prospects that leave camps with offers. Usually, coaching staffs take around 24 hours to decide whether or not they’d like to extend offers to certain recruits, as is the case for 2020 tight ends Luke Lachey and Joe Royer following Thursday’s camp. But the Buckeyes extended two offers immediately after the camp.

The first offer was to Dublin Coffman standout safety A.J. Kirk, who is the brother of former Buckeye safety Mike Doss. Kirk is rated by 247Sports as the No. 6 prospect out of Ohio and the No. 5 safety in the 2021 class.

Kirk is a legitimate option for the bullet position, and he said Ohio State sees him playing there if he were to choose to play in Columbus.

“When you go out there, there are like a thousand people out here grinding for the same thing,” Kirk said about his Ohio State offer.

Kikr called his brother immediately after discovering he had gotten the Ohio State offer.

“He got a little teary-eyed,” Kirk said about Doss. “He just said, ‘A.J., that just means that you’ve got to work harder every day.’”

Kirk said that the summer camp was mostly all he had planned for the summer, and the Ohio State staff wants Kirk to return to campus June 21, and he said he plans on making the trip.

Ohio State also extended an offer to Kentucky 2021 tight end Jordan Dingle, who is rated by 247Sports as the No. 4 Kentucky prospect in his class. Dingle looked solid in run blocking and receiving, making the 6-foot-4, 230-pound tight end one of the most balanced recruits at the position Thursday.

Paris Johnson Jr., Darrion Henry attend camp

Ohio State commit Paris Johnson and Princeton teammate Darrion Henry were both at the Big Man camp Thursday afternoon. Johnson didn’t participate in the drills, but Henry did.

Henry has been battling a minor lower-leg injury, so he appeared to be more stiff than usual but still looked strong in most of the reps he earned with the top defensive linemen working with Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson.

Johnson hung around the fields as the camp occurred, talking to various coaches, current Buckeye players and other people within the program. Johnson also had a brief conversation with Ryan Day near the fields before the camp began.

Luke Lachey, Joe Royer must wait longer for offers

In-state tight ends Luke Lachey and Joe Royer have been patient on their offers from Ohio State. Now they’ll need to wait another 24 hours, they were told. The Buckeye staff still has more deciding to do surrounding its tight end position in 2020, and now it needs to do it quickly.

Lachey, the No. 20 2020 tight end, proved to be a bit behind in terms of blocking, while Royer showed a balanced skillset between blocking and receiving but didn’t blow away the coaches enough to earn the offer at the camp Thursday.

Lachey found it difficult to get into his break at the top of routes when being jammed by defensive backs but did show hints of elusiveness in the passing attack. Royer seemed to be a bit more effective in his route-running.

While both tight ends would likely commit shortly after receiving the offer, particularly Lachey, Ohio State needs to consider the timing of the offers if it would like to bring in just one tight end in the class.

While Jordan Dingle was good enough to earn the offer from Ohio State, he is still a year younger than Lachey and Royer. Both 2020 tight ends appeared to be the best current talent at the position Thursday.

Lachey and Royer had never met before Thursday, but they both worked out together exclusively and spent nearly all of the time together before and after the camp as well.

Gavin Blackwell grabs Brian Hartline's attention

North Carolina wideout Gavin Blackwell came into Ohio State’s first camp of the summer already touting an Ohio State offer, but as the camp continued on, Blackwell proved to grab Brian Hartline’s attention.

On multiple occasions, Blackwell went back-to-back with star Massillon wide receiver Jayden Ballard and proved to be the second-best receiver at the camp.

Hartline raved about Blackwell’s consistency during the drills, and when it was time for individual positions to combine into competition drills between receivers and cornerbacks, offensive quality control coach Keenan Bailey took Blackwell to a separate field to work on technical route-running tactics at the advice of Hartline.

Following the first of the two camps Thursday, Blackwell stayed for the Big Man camp to spend time with Hartline and Bailey.

Hartline showed an obvious affinity for Blackwell which could carry into the 2021 cycle, though Blackwell did mention to Eleven Warriors that he has been looking into committing early. The likelihood is slim, though.

Priority wide receivers and defensive linemen

There are typically standouts within each position at summer camps, which demand the attention and more one-on-one time from the position coaches, but two positions where clear standouts were determined were wide receivers and defensive linemen.

Hartline grabbed a handful of receivers and worked with them away from the larger group, showing them how to make their routes more crisp and how to use their hips when going in and out of breaks. He also acted as the quarterback.

The receivers in that group included four-star 2021 receiver Jayden Ballard, four-star 2021 receiver Gavin Blackwell, three-star 2020 receiver Chris Scott and 2020 Ohio commit Keegan Wilburn.

Hartline spent the majority of his time with those recruits, though the group did reconvene for route-running, during which Hartline continued to work heavily with the same receivers, particularly Blackwell.

Before the Big Man camp began, Larry Johnson took a small group of defensive linemen out to the field to get a head start. Included in that group were Darrion Henry, five-star 2021 commit Jack Sawyer, three-star defensive end Gage Keys, four-star 2021 defensive end Najee Story, three-star Pickerington Central defensive end Ty Hamilton and 2021 Walnut Ridge defensive end Jamarius Dinkins, who recorded 11 tackles for loss and five sacks as a sophomore in 2018.

Johnson worked solely with those defensive linemen, using Sawyer as the leader for each drill. Sawyer appeared to be on another level, physically, than all of the other prospects, with more speed, strength and agility than any of the others.

View 33 Comments