What Jantzen Dunn's Commitment Means for Ohio State’s 2021 Recruiting Class

By Zack Carpenter on April 20, 2020 at 2:40 pm
Jantzen Dunn
Jantzen Dunn (Andrew Ivins, 247Sports)

South Warren (Ky.) High School star athlete Jantzen Dunn earned an Ohio State offer in March, more than three months after his first visit to the Buckeyes' campus in late November. 

The No. 15-ranked athlete, and No. 3-ranked recruit in Kentucky, didn't take long to commit to the Buckeyes, joining Kerry Coombs' group as the fourth member of their 2021 defensive backs class as the 248th-ranked overall player in the class.

What did Ohio State get in its latest commitment? We take a look at what Dunn brings on and off the field.

On the field

Dunn, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound junior, is listed as an athlete on his recruiting profile because it's not clear yet if he is a safety or cornerback.

On film, the long, rangy Dunn looks like he fits the mold of a great cover cornerback because of his size and length that could be utilized on the outside to blanket wideouts. Plus, he has both lateral quickness to change directions and straight-line speed that gives him value as a corner, and his jumping ability only adds to that.

Throughout camp circuits, though, Dunn was often used as a safety since he has the downhill explosiveness and tackling chops to help in the run game. Combine that with what's mentioned above, and he could be a reliable safety as well.

Dunn's offensive skillset goes hand-in-hand with his potential as a good defensive back. He's a standout pass catcher with good ball skills, and he is explosive when he does get that ball in his hands.

Coaches and analysts have raved about Dunn's off the charts athleticism and his blend of speed and cover ability. He possesses a 4.54-second time in the 40, a 4.15 time in the shuttle, a 40.8-inch vertical, can leap 10 feet, 4 inches in the board jump and 22 feet, 1 inch in the long jump.

With the explosiveness and burst he does have, Dunn is a candidate to be utilized in the return game as well, and he could shine there early in his career as he works to get onto the field in his second year.

Bottom line is that Dunn does not yet fit one exact position of corner or safety. That's where missing out on the evaluation period this spring hurts because the Buckeyes would have been able to get more information on him in person to gauge where they saw him fitting best. So now the plan is to bring him into the program, develop him and see which position is best for his future once he has arrived.

Off the field

One of the reasons that Dunn came onto the Buckeyes' radar is because of his friendship with Ryan Watts, a 2020 Ohio State cornerback signee. The two of them spent time playing together with True Buzz Athletics in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Ironically enough, Watts was an Oklahoma commit for months before the Buckeyes flipped him, and Dunn was set to commit to Oklahoma this weekend before a change of heart in the 11th hour.

That time with True Buzz helped shape Dunn into a prospect worthy of offers from Ohio State and all of his other big-time options. Dunn dedicated himself to the nutrition and weight programs there, undergoing a major body transformation nine months later.

So even though Dunn might be ranked low, he clearly has plenty of athleticism and physicality to him that Coombs and Matt Barnes can work with and develop.

In the class

Pure cornerback Jakailin Johnson is the headliner of this class right now, and the Buckeyes have another great one in slot corner/safety Andre Turrentine, in addition to depth provided by corner Devonta Smith.

(As we've mentioned before, Jaylen Johnson should be considered an outside linebacker despite him being listed as a safety.)

With four defensive backs now in the class, it is getting closer and closer to completion as the Buckeyes look for the fifth to round out the class, and a sixth is not out of the question if he is the right fit. We see them gunning for another safety to fit the one-high role (since Turrentine is a slot corner and roaming safety) and possibly another pure cornerback.

Four-star safety Derrick Davis Jr., the nation's No. 2-ranked player at the position, would put a massive cherry on top of Coombs' haul. There is question of whether Davis will be a safety, outside linebacker or a bullet because of his frame and the projection that he could easily tack on a lot of muscle to become an outside linebacker.

But based on what Davis told us – that he wants to play safety, the Buckeyes are mainly recruiting him at safety, Barnes' film session during Davis' last visit being centered around Jordan Fuller and how Davis would fill the Buckeyes' one-high safety role, and that a meeting with Coombs during that visit was something the program made imperative – we believe safety is where the Buckeye staff sees him fitting in best.

As for pure corners, Tony Grimes is the nation's No. 1-ranked cornerback, and the Buckeyes still have an outside shot at him (though they are on the outside looking in until they can get him on campus again), and there continues to be a lot of smoke centered around Mater Dei (Calif.) cornerback Jaylin Davies who has emerged as a real candidate to join the fray.

At this point, Kamar Wilcoxson might be on the outside looking in because of Dunn's commitment today. He had been one of the top candidates to come aboard, but he is very similar to Dunn in the fact that he's a hybrid safety/corner. Wilcoxson has told us that Coombs sees him as a cornerback, though, so Dunn's commitment doesn't necessarily take Wilcoxson out of the class just yet, but we believe he is trending away.

What Ohio State has right now in its four DB commitments is a really good collection of talent and versatility that can be used in multiple ways, and with Coombs in charge of development, it's probable that at least one or two stars will be born from this group.

As for the overall class rankings, the Buckeyes continue stockpiling players earlier than normal, increasing their lead for the No. 1 overall class (294.67 points) over surging North Carolina (230.89) and over Clemson (220.73).

Dunn is the first high school player from Kentucky to commit to the Buckeyes since cornerback Rodjay Burns in 2016, and he will be the 19th player from Kentucky to play at Ohio State, according to research by Eleven Warriors' Matt Gutridge.

The Buckeyes also have their eye on the Bluegrass State's Jager Burton, a priority offensive guard, and receiver Dekel Crowdus, Burton's teammate at Fredrick Douglass High School, is another they have a bit of interest in – though with receivers Emeka Egbuka and Troy Stellato higher up the board, Crowdus joining the scarlet and gray is unlikely.

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