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.
Burton seized his moment at Ohio State one-day camp
Heading into his sophomore season, four-star offensive guard Jager Burton attended a one-day camp at Ohio State in the summer of 2018, and he got to see the Buckeyes' facilities for the first time.
Outside of a brief conversation with offensive line coach Greg Studrawa, however, he didn't get much attention from the coaching staff.
Things changed 180 degrees almost exactly a year later.
Burton was sitting in his English class at Fredrick Douglass (Ky.) High School about a week or so before he was set to return to Columbus for another summer one-day camp when his principal pulled him out of class. When Burton asked why he was being pulled out of class, the principal was vague, and Burton believed he was in trouble as they walked into his head coach's office. But this was far from a disciplinary moment.
“They said ‘Ohio State’s gonna offer you.’ (The Ohio State coaches) couldn’t tell me because I was too young, but it was just a roller coaster of emotions for me,” Burton told Eleven Warriors earlier this year. “I thought I was in trouble and then went on to get the biggest offer – one of the biggest offers – you can get.”
Maybe it was the extra juice of knowing that he already had the Buckeye offer in hand and him wanting to put on a show, but Burton put on a show.
“I don’t think I lost a single one-on-one rep when I was there,” Burton said. “That was probably the best camp I’d ever done. I think (Studrawa and Ryan Day) both kind of realized that I was legit and that they would really want me to go there.”
Studrawa had seen Burton's impressive game tape from a standout sophomore campaign, but he wanted to see it up close. The two had an extensive conversation prior to the camp starting, and Studrawa let Burton know that he would be watching, and Day wound up tagging along in Burton's drill group.
“The first thing we did, I remember, was this three-hop drill. Like three broad jumps, starting from the goal line, but it’s one after the other,” Burton said. “(Studrawa) said eight yards is a good benchmark. Ten yards is what NFL guys do at this stage, and I was like, ‘Well, I’m gonna get 10 yards.’ I did it, and I got 10 yards. He was like, ‘Do that again real quick.’”
So ... Burton ran back to the goal line and did it again. And again he impressed. At the perfect time.
“That was my first real interaction with Coach Stud, and I was just showing off my athleticism and all that, and then we went through the drills with Coach Day watching – which was obviously very nerve-racking,” Burton said. “I did good in that, and then in one-on-ones, I didn’t lose a rep.
“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 on. 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 have had more opportunities to impress throughout his junior season. But right in front of the Buckeyes' offensive line coach and in front of the head coach? That strong performance helped serve as a momentous point in his recruitment.
“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.”– Ohio State Target Jager Burton on his one-day camp performance in columbus in the summer of 2019
Fast forward all this time later and he's now one of Ohio State's highest-priority targets along the interior of the offensive line in its 2021 class, as the Buckeyes are pitted against Penn State, Oregon, Alabama, Clemson, Texas and, of course, Kentucky.
Burton this week announced on social media that he is planning on making his official visit June 12-14 to Columbus, if the NCAA-mandated recruiting dead period – which was extended through May 31 on Wednesday – is lifted.
Rare talent from Kentucky
Ohio State almost never goes into Kentucky for talent, as former three-star cornerback Rodjay Burns of Louisville signed with the Buckeyes in 2016 before transferring back home to the Cardinals after one season.
But getting a commitment from Burton would give the program a win in the state just to the south.
The Buckeyes never really have to go into Kentucky for recruits, but landing Burton would still serve as a big win for them in a place they rarely go. And they would give one back to Mark Stoops, who has done a tremendous job scouring Ohio for talent that the Buckeyes either don't have room for or that they overlooked.
Since Stoops' first full recruiting class in 2014 (he was hired in November 2012), the Wildcats have had more recruits from Ohio (53) than they have had from Kentucky (23). The last time his program had more commits from Kentucky than Ohio was 2013, when it had four from its own state as opposed to three from the Buckeye State.
Ohio State could potentially even end up with two players from Kentucky this year, as four-star athlete Jantzen Dunn, a defensive back recruit from South Warren High School in Bowling Green, Ky., is still a prime candidate to join Kerry Coombs' defensive backs room. He included Ohio State among his final seven schools in a narrowed list he released last weekend.