Commitment Watch: Six Class of 2021 and 2022 Prospects The Buckeyes Could Land in the Coming Months

By Andrew Ellis on January 28, 2020 at 10:10 am
Kerry is looking for his first big boom since arriving back in Columbus.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Business may soon be booming on the recruiting trail.

Ryan Day and the Ohio State coaching staff are still looking to put the finishing touches on the 2020 recruiting class, but those efforts are almost entirely focused on four-star commitment Cameron Martinez. The state of Michigan's Player of the Year is set to sign on Feb. 5, and with no upcoming visits scheduled, things continue to look positive for the Saginaw star. 

The rest of the staff's recruiting focus has switched over to the Class of 2021. Four-star guard Donovan Jackson and Cincinnati's Jaylen Johnson hopped on board earlier this month and helped to boost what is now the nation's No. 2 recruiting class

Ohio State held the top spot for a lengthy period of time until Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers made some big moves this past weekend during their junior day event. That included four new commitments with each one being of the four- or five-star variety. The Buckeyes and Tigers are just about neck and neck with each program having nine pledges in the mix.

Official visits begin in April and the Ohio State spring game always makes for a pivotal weekend, but the Buckeyes don't have any type of junior day event planned in the near future. Still, there are a handful of prospects to keep a close eye on over the coming weeks and months even if no official commitment dates have been set. 

Jakailin Johnson • Cornerback • St. Louis, MO • ★★★★

Adding a trio of cornerbacks is going to be one of the top priorities for the 2021 class, and Ohio State is in a great spot for yet another St. Louis product. Rated as the nation's No. 5 corner, Jakailin Johnson and his family haven't been shy about their affinity for Kerry Coombs, and he's clearly a major priority of the Buckeyes' staff. 

How big of a priority? Brian Hartline was just in St. Louis last week and Coombs made a trip just yesterday. Notre Dame is the other top contender, but there's no decision date set at this point. I get the vibe that Coombs is going to want to make a quick splash on the recruiting trail and Johnson is certainly a top candidate. The biggest question may be whether or not he wants to get back to Columbus before making any sort of decision.

Michael Hall • Defensive Tackle • Streetsboro, Ohio • ★★★★

The Buckeyes are once again doing a fine job within the state of Ohio, and there's plenty more to come for 2021. Defensive tackle is an interesting position because a lot of the need is going to depend on 2020 signees like Jacolbe Cowan and Ty Hamilton. The thought is that they're likely to move inside, but we'll see what Larry Johnson elects to do.

Streetsboro's Michael Hall could be the next domino to fall from within the Buckeye State, and the 6-foot-3, 290-pounder holds offers from the likes of Florida State, Penn State, and Michigan State. The four-star is planning to announce his decision in June, but it wouldn't be a shock if things came to an end a bit sooner. Ohio State may already have an insurmountable lead in this one. 

Troy Stellato • Wide Receiver • Fort Lauderdale, FL • ★★★

Brian Hartline has the luxury of being picky at the wide receiver position, but Florida's Troy Stellato is a guy the Buckeyes – and really every other team in the country – would love to have in the mix. Don't let the three stars fool you. This is perhaps the biggest 2021 riser of the last few months as the speedster now has offers from Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama, and most of the national powers. 

It once looked like he was on the verge of a decision, and that almost assuredly would have favored Ohio State. The Tigers have made things very interesting, though, as Hartline looks to land the speedy slot wideout. Stellato would be a very nice addition to a 2021 receiver group that already includes Jayden Ballard and Marvin Harrison Jr.

Jager Burton • Guard • Lexington, KY • ★★★★

Ohio State is likely to take four offensive linemen in 2021, and Greg Studrawa already has two in the fold with four-star tackle Ben Christman and four-star guard Donovan Jackson. We look for the class to end up with at least two tackles and a pair of interior prospects as well.

The Buckeyes are battling Clemson, Alabama, and Kentucky for Jager Burton, but there's no question that he's one of the top prospects on the board at the moment. Though the Wildcats are the home team, it sure feels like Clemson could be the stiffest competition. Burton's teammate and close friend – four-star 2020 tackle Walker Parks – signed with the Tigers last month. Ohio State will get one of the official visits, but there's no timeline for a decision.

Evan Pryor • Running Back • Cornelius, NC • ★★★★

We've spent plenty of time discussing Tony Alford and Ohio State's struggles at the position, and running back is the team's biggest need for the 2021 class. The Buckeyes need at least a pair of backs, and there's a long list of candidates at this point. I get the vibe that North Carolina's Evan Pryor is near the top of the list and could be in the class before summer rolls around. 

The four-star wants to make a decision before his senior year starts, and Ohio State is battling some stiff competition in the form of Georgia, Penn State, LSU, and others. A trip to Athens is always a concern, but Alford and the Buckeyes could get the job done this spring. Ranked as the nation's No. 6 tailback, Pryor was in Columbus for the Nov. 23 matchup with the Nittany Lions.

Tegra Tshabola • Offensive Tackle • West Chester, Ohio • Class of 2022

The only 2022 prospect to make the list, West Chester's Tegra Tshabola may be the state's top prospect in his class. It's always a tricky spot when dealing with a player who's only a sophomore all the while still trying to fill the class that's ahead of him, but the 6-foot-6, 300-pounder may be too good to turn down. 

The Lakota West tackle is probably a solid bet to become the first 2022 pledge at some point. If Greg Studrawa and the Buckeyes can pull off a three-year in-state run with Paris Johnson Jr., Ben Christman, and Tegra Tshabola, that would be quite the little stretch at offensive tackle.

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