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.
Jager Burton has emerged over the last couple of months as one of Ohio State’s highly prized 2021 offensive line targets, and the Buckeyes are showing that in their full-force recruiting of him.
That approach is certainly leaving an impression on Kentucky’s top-ranked junior prospect, an athletic 6-foot-4, 270-pound offensive guard ranked No. 6 nationally at the position and rated as a top-200 recruit in America.
Burton is down to seven schools – Ohio State, Penn State, Oregon, Kentucky, Alabama, Clemson and Texas. All of those programs have been showing plenty of love to Burton, he tells Eleven Warriors, but there’s something about the Buckeyes that’s been different, and it’s making a heavy impact on him.
“Ohio State’s probably the school – or one of the schools – that contacts me the most,” Burton said. “Almost their whole coaching staff texts me every day – Coach (Ryan) Day, Coach (Greg Studrawa), Coach (Kennedy) Cook, Coach (Matt) Barnes – we have full-on conversations like all day while I’m at school.
“I would say I have that type of contact with a lot of schools, especially that seven, but the thing about Ohio State is it’s not just my position coach texting me. It’s not just Coach Stud texting me. Coach Day, Coach Barnes and Coach Cook, all those people text me. That’s just different. Obviously, the head coach of those schools texts me, and I call them sometimes. But it’s not as much every day talking to them. It’s more of a rare thing. But with Coach Day, it’s more of a normal deal.”
There are plenty of other prospects who are receiving similar recruiting treatment from the Buckeyes. That’s one of the reasons this new coaching staff is gaining a strong reputation on the recruiting trail and leaving its mark on so many of the targets whom Eleven Warriors has spoken with over the past few months.
But one of the reasons Day has chosen Burton as one to give the kitchen-sink approach is because of a tremendous value Burton would bring in the Buckeyes’ 2021 class.
Burton camped with Ohio State in June 2018 heading into his sophomore year and barely got any attention. He spoke with the coaching staff very briefly afterward, but he left campus the same way he came in – without an offer. He had yet to be offered by any major program to that point.
But fast forward almost a year later, and Burton got that Ohio State offer shortly before he returned for his second summer camp in Columbus in June 2019. It was there when Burton left a lasting impression on Studrawa, and Burton’s recruitment gained steam.
Studrawa and Day saw the athleticism, lateral quickness and burst that make him a perfect fit for their system.
“I went to camp there in the summer and just seeing the place from more of a recruiting perspective rather than just being there,” Burton said. “And I don’t think I lost a single one-on-one rep when I was there. That was probably the best camp I’d ever done. I think we both kind of realized that I was legit and that they would really want me to go there.
“It was just a really good day for me, and I was really happy. I guess I picked the right day for it to happen. At O-line and D-line, it’s hard to not lose a rep just because you can do everything right and still lose, sometimes, with no pads on. That was one of my favorite camps I went to.”
Burton would be a great piece for Ohio State in this 2021 class that is continuing to build momentum and looks to be heading toward something special. Ben Christman and Donovan Jackson are about as good of a one-two start as you’re going to find in this class, while Burton, JC Latham, Rocco Spindler and Tristan Leigh are all terrific recruits the Buckeyes are pursuing.
At quarterback or running back, spots come at a premium. When a program gets a commitment from a highly ranked player at each position, it often seals the deal as other targets look elsewhere. That’s far from the case at offensive line, and despite Jackson’s commitment on Wednesday, Burton says that decision “doesn’t turn me off from Ohio State. I would say it kind of makes me wanna go there more.
“Ben will probably play tackle, and I can honestly play wherever. Just playing beside those guys would be awesome, especially with a lot of those other linemen that are in the class in front of us – Paris and all those guys. That would be an awesome chance to be able to play with all those guys.”
Christman and Jackson bring versatility to the table, and no matter where he goes, Burton will bring that too. He’ll almost certainly be a guard at the next level, but he’s learning how to snap right now in case a move to center is called for. A move to tackle could also happen, though that would probably require a small growth spurt.
No matter where he plays and for what school, Burton plans to make a decision before the start of his senior year or right at the beginning of it. He plans on making a decision after his official visits are complete. He has four of his five official visits planned right now. He told Eleven Warriors he will be taking one to Ohio State, Penn State, Oregon and Kentucky, and he will eventually make a decision on whether Alabama, Clemson or Texas gets the last one.
April 11 to be big recruiting weekend
Speaking of Latham, yesterday we touched on the announcement of his decision to set a commitment date of April 18.
As with almost all recruitments, Latham will most likely have decided on what school he wants to attend well before that.
But if April hits and he hasn’t decided if he wants to attend Ohio State, LSU or another program that ends up with those two over the next few weeks, the four-star offensive tackle will be afforded one last look at the Buckeyes (if he so chooses, and if he sticks with that commitment date) during the April 11 spring game that was officially announced on Thursday.
As it is every year, that will once again be another huge recruiting weekend for Ohio State, as a number of highly ranked recruits have told Eleven Warriors during the October-December months that they are likely to take an unofficial visit to Columbus for the Buckeyes’ spring game.
As the date approaches, we will look to confirm as many visitors as we can for that weekend, but there’s no doubt it will be a list filled to the brim with top-end high school talent.