Tony Alford and Ryan Day Have a Pair of Top Running Back Options in the Mix to Join Evan Pryor in the Backfield

By Andrew Ellis on March 17, 2020 at 12:30 pm
Tony Alford struck back on Monday with the commitment from Evan Pryor.

Tony Alford got some great news on Monday.

A year ago, we were all of the belief that Ohio State's running back recruiting would be done and over with by the end of summer. We don't have to dive into it once again, but Tony Alford and the Buckeyes weren't able to win the battles for Bijan Robinson, Kendall Milton, and Jaylan Knighton despite having at least two of them seemingly locked up in the summer months.

J.K. Dobbins rushed for over 2,000 yards and is now set to be an early NFL Draft pick, so Ohio State's struggles on the trail were more than a little bit perplexing. That is why yesterday's commitment from one of the country's very best for the Class of 2021 was such a big deal for Tony Alford and Ryan Day. 

Now, in the midst of an NCAA-mandated recruiting dead period, Alford and Day have resorted to text messaging and FaceTime to keep up with their top targets. Thus far it's certainly working as the Buckeyes have already added four commitments over the last three days and extended their lead over Clemson atop the national recruiting rankings

With Evan Pryor now in the fold at running back, Ohio State will continue its search to add another one of the nation's best to help bolster a depleted backfield. The spring visit flurry isn't taking place, but it appears the race is coming down to a pair of long-time top targets at the position.

The hottest topic of the next few weeks and months is likely to focus on TreVeyon Henderson and Donavon Edwards and which of the talented tailbacks will be the pick to close out the 2021 backfield. Henderson is a human highlight reel who's listed as a five-star and the country's No. 2 back. Edwards checks in as the third-best back and landing the West Bloomfield, Michigan talent would lead to all sorts of sorrow up north. 

Grabbing either of the two talents to go along with Pryor would be a needed grand slam for Tony Alford. So which one makes the most sense? Both are listed at 5-foot-11 and around 190-195 pounds, but Henderson looks to have hit a bit of a growth spurt and certainly appears to be taller and bulkier than his counterpart. Edwards has been to Ohio State's campus at least a half-dozen times while Henderson has yet to visit. 

You're really splitting hairs when trying to decide between the two. Some folks have asked if the Buckeyes could potentially even take three running backs, but landing three of the country's top-six players at the position is probably nothing more than a pipe dream. 

Henderson has also been a star at cornerback, and Clemson actually made the mistake of initially recruiting him on the defensive side of the ball. The Tigers were thought to be the early favorite, but Dabo didn't even make Henderson's list of his final nine schools that he just unveiled yesterday evening. Now, it could be a Buckeyes vs. Sooners battle.

As a junior, he totaled 3,193 yards and scored 53 touchdowns. He's also a track star and has recorded a 10.94 in the 100. His highlights show quick feet, shiftiness, and the ability to outrun everyone on the field. The Virginia native led the Hopewell Blue Devils to an undefeated 15-0 season and state championship. Henderson was awarded the state's player of the year honors shortly after capturing the title.

The recruitment of Donovan Edwards seems destined to come down to Ohio State, Michigan, and Georgia. Viewed as an early Michigan lean, the tide recently seemed to turn when 247 Sports' Steve Wiltfong and Allen Trieu pegged the four-star to Columbus. Edwards then made a return trip to Ohio State's campus in early March, right before the recruiting world shut down.

Edwards is listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, but his highlights show a physical style and a complete tailback. He can catch the ball out of the backfield and even lines up at receiver from time to time. His 247 Sports profile lists Alvin Kamara as the player comparison.

Landing the No. 2 player in Michigan and perhaps the Wolverines' top overall target would certainly be a big win, but Jim Harbaugh may actually be running third in this race. If Henderson were to pop for the Buckeyes in the near future, then many would likely have Edwards heading to Athens. He's planning on making a decision sometime this summer, but we'll have to see what impact the unexpected dead period may have. 

The Buckeyes have several options to fill the remaining running back spot, but TreVeyon Henderson and Donovan Edwards are at the top of the board as the most likely candidates to join Evan Pryor in what will surely be a nice turnaround for Tony Alford.

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