Warren Easton (La.) High School cornerback Jyaire Brown gave Ohio State its first commitment in the 2022 class on Wednesday night and its first recruiting win in the state of Louisiana in more than 15 years.
With the recent hot run that Kerry Coombs has been on over the past five weeks, it's fitting that the Buckeyes' first sophomore pledge was a defensive back recruit.
Let's take a look at what Brown brings to the Buckeyes on and off the field:
On the field
Earlier this month, Ohio State director of player personnel Mark Pantoni said that the Buckeyes were starting to get out ahead in the film evaluation process of 2022 athletes. That included a funny anecdote about Coombs, whom Pantoni said was not impressed.
“I was talking to Kerry (Coombs) yesterday and, joking, he said, ‘These guys aren’t very good,’” Pantoni said. “And I was like, ‘I know, Kerry. They’re 14 or 15 years old.’”
Clearly, that evaluation was not about Brown.
Immediately what stands out about Brown, already one of the more impressive prospects in the 2022 cycle, is that he fits the exact mold of the pure cornerbacks the Buckeyes like to have on their roster. Brown is a physical corner who can play man press coverage, using his length to keep receivers off balance and disrupt the timing of their routes.
Brown's footwork is also special for his age, as his ability to play further off receivers and play well in zone coverage is one of the reasons LSU, Alabama and Georgia all came calling.
Coombs, on Wednesday morning, spoke of positional versatility being important for his defensive backs – in other words, being able to play outside, in the slot or at safety – but he also spoke of his cornerback recruits being able to mix it up and be multiple in their coverages.
“You’re looking for guys that are long, can run, they’re not afraid to tackle and be physical and that can cover in both man and zone concepts,” Coombs said.
Brown, a 6-foot, 180-pound rising New Orleans star, already has those traits and had plenty of room to grow in those areas. He has a good shot at becoming one of the highest-ranked corners in his class.
Off the field
When Coombs was discussing the types of players he wants to bring into the program, he said that one of the most crucial aspects he looks at is character fit. He does not want to take players who will not fit well in the locker room.
In addition to players who are versatile, fast and athletic, just as important is “that they fit the culture of the program,” Coombs said.
Brown seems to fit that bill, and as he goes forward in his career, he understands the importance of not remaining complacent as he tries to show that he is worthy of joining an elite program.
“(To keep improving), I need to keep going hard, even with these hard times, trying to perfect my craft to be the best me,” Brown said.
In the class
Typically, the first commitment of the Buckeyes' recruiting classes have come from in-state players to get the ball rolling. That happened most recently in 2021 with Jack Sawyer.
Though we expected the first commitment to be C.J. Hicks – with an outside shot of it being linebacker Gabe Powers, though Powers seems like he is more likely to wait out the process a bit longer – Brown's commitment is about as strong of a bang as the Buckeyes could have gotten to kick start the class with some momentum.
The reason is because of location, as Brown is the first Louisiana high school player to commit to Ohio State since 2004, giving the Buckeyes a very rare win over schools like Alabama and LSU – schools that almost always lands prospects like Brown.
But the connections with Coombs and Cincinnati were very real here, and now the Buckeyes add to their 2021 momentum with a big get in the 2022 cycle.
Three of the Buckeyes' five defensive back commitments in the last five weeks were the result of a group recruiting effort from the staff, in addition to work done by Ryan Day and Coombs. The following assistants were heavily involved in the legwork of those recruitments:
- Johnson: Brian Hartline and Matt Barnes
- Turrentine: Barnes and Tony Alford
- Dunn: Barnes
Smith and Brown, however, were almost exclusively recruited by Coombs, who has now racked up more commitments (five) than he has months worked (four) in his second tenure with Ohio State.
On Wednesday, Coombs discussed the hot run the Buckeyes have been on the recruiting trail over the past several weeks.
“I have just been so excited to watch and be a part of the way business is being done,” Coombs said. “It is a fantastic thing, and I really have never seen anything like it.”