The Hurry Up: Ohio State Running Backs Leaving Strong Impression on 2021 Four-star Evan Pryor

By Zack Carpenter on September 23, 2019 at 6:30 pm
Evan Pryor
247 Sports

The Hurry Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.

Pryor likes what he sees

The two biggest recruiting sells that Ohio State offers are future opportunity and past history. 

The Buckeyes own some of the best traditions in college football, and when recruits come onto campus, they immediately become part of something special. Even if the days of Woody Hayes and Archie Griffin were decades ago, the aura is still there. That’s something visiting recruits can feel at Ohio Stadium when they enter. 

And with more than 40 former players now in the NFL, some in starring roles, Columbus is one of the best destinations for 18-year-olds to come and develop their dreams of becoming a pro. 

But let’s not underrate current success. For example, Georgia’s giant win over Notre Dame in an electric environment between the hedges — I mean, that stadium blackout/red-out after the third quarter was straight-up explosive, even a little intimidating to other teams I imagine — came at a perfect time with the number of big-time recruits in attendance.

The success Ohio State has had this season is something one of the Buckeyes’ top 2021 targets has noticed from afar. 

Evan Pryor, the No. 5-ranked junior running back in the nation out of William Amos Hough (N.C.), has seen J.K. Dobbins, Master Teague and Justin Fields tear it up in the ground game. The fourth-ranked North Carolina recruit and 82nd-ranked prospect has been impressed.

“Seeing the Ohio State backs eat is great,” Pryor told Eleven Warriors. “They give me a good sense of how they feel about their backs up in Columbus. It’s very attractive.”

Pryor said Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford is the only coach or player within the Buckeyes' program he has spoken with thus far. 


However, it looks like the Buckeyes will soon get more opportunities to speak with Pryor and get the chance to match the energy and atmosphere of the Georgia-Notre Dame game in regards to making an impression on Pryor. 

Pryor was at the Bulldogs’ victory over the Irish on Saturday, along with fellow running backs Kendall Milton and E.J. Smith, both 2020 recruits.

"It was a party environment with a game going on," Pryor told Kipp Adams of 247 Sports. "What excited me most right now is their depth at all positions. They are locked and loaded."

But the 5-foot-11, 190-pound four-star back’s recruitment is just starting to ratchet up, as he says he’s enjoying the recruiting process and seeing all the teams on his list play.

Pryor says he’s hoping to visit Columbus for the Penn State game the weekend of Nov. 22, but it’s not set in stone. The environment during that game figures to be right up there with the tilt against Wisconsin as the most electric at the Shoe this season. 

“I’m not totally sure, but [the Penn State game] is what I’m aiming for,” Pryor told Eleven Warriors

A commitment seems far off in the distance if it does come, but if it does, that would do wonders for the 2021 class to have a top-notch running back locked down. And, of course, it would ensure the Buckeyes don’t have to worry about scrambling to sign a running back late and settle for a lower-ranked prospect like it seems might happen in 2020. 

Buckeyes in contention for another top linebacker

It’s a preliminary list of a recruitment still in the early stages, but the Buckeyes are in the running of adding another strong inside linebacker to the 2021 class. 

Greg Penn III announced on Twitter Sunday night that Ohio State is in his top 10, along with Alabama, Florida, LSU and his home state school Maryland, among others.


Penn is a four-star recruit ranked No. 6 nationally among inside linebackers, and the product out of DeMatha Catholic — Chase Young's alma mater — is the No. 10 prospect in the state of Maryland. 

Buckeyes coach Larry Johnson, one of the best defensive line coaches in the nation, has a strong reputation in Maryland, so that should help the Buckeyes in their hopes of adding another linebacker to pair with Reid Carrico

Carrico, ranked just above Penn at No. 3, committed to the Buckeyes on Sept. 10. Those two would form a dynamic one-two punch in the 2021 class for Al Washington’s linebacking crew, and Washington — in addition to Johnson — has been at the forefront of why Penn has Columbus on the list of his final potential destinations. 

"I just have a real good relationship with the linebacker coach, Coach Washington," Penn told Ahmed Ghafir of Inside MD Sports. "He talks to me about three times a week. We just have a real good relationship. When I went up there for my visit, it was great."

It looks like Penn isn’t alone in his excitement in joining the Buckeyes. Taizse Johnson, a four-star defensive tackle out of Washington D.C., is the No. 2-ranked prospect in D.C. and is also being recruited by Larry Johnson. 

Penn and Taizse had an incredibly brief talk on Twitter. It almost certainly means nothing. But ... still ... easy to imagine, and get excited about, those two coming over from the East Coast and teaming up on a Buckeyes defense that has the right coaches in place to create sustainability on that side of the ball. 

No. 1 center commits to Clemson

Ryan Linthicum, the No. 1 junior center, committed to Clemson this afternoon, and the Buckeyes will have to look elsewhere to start filling their line for the 2021 class. 

I spoke with a pair of Ohio State commits who said they had been talking to Linthicum and felt good about their chances of swaying him to Columbus, but Linthicum will be headed to South Carolina.

Stellato, Wolfe to visit

The Buckeyes' hopes of adding a pass catcher took another step forward, as Lettermen Row's Jeremy Birmingham reported that both 2021 receiver Troy Stellato and 2021 tight end Hudson Wolfe will be visiting Ohio State soon. 

Stellato, a chiseled junior receiver out of Cardinal Gibbons (Fla.) High School, is set for his third visit to Columbus.

Stellato will have traveled up from Florida three times, he is calling Ohio State "a dream school," and he would have the opportunity of getting coached under one of the best receivers coaches in the country in Brian Hartline, who is gaining a reputation for developing guys just like the three-star Stellato. It's speculation on my part, but that all bodes really well for the Buckeyes' chances at getting their second 2021 receiver. 

If Stellato commits, perhaps he could join Chris Olave as a three-star receiver who develops into one of Ohio State's top weapons in the passing game. 

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