The Hurry-Up: Denzel Burke Commitment Does Not Signify End to Jaylin Davies Recruitment, Gi’Bran Payne Progressing Toward Ohio State Offer

By Zack Carpenter on May 24, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Jaylin Davies

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.

Davies still a target

Following today's commitment of Saguaro (Ariz.) High School cornerback Denzel Burke, Ohio State now has what would be a complete haul at defensive back for the 2021 class if it did not land any more commitments.

But there is at least one more defensive back the Buckeyes would absolutely take in the class – Gateway (Pa.) High School four-star safety Derrick Davis Jr., ranked No. 55 overall – to tack onto the three pure cornerbacks (Burke, Jakailin JohnsonDevonta Smith), slot cornerback/safety (Andre Turrentine) and safety (Jantzen Dunn) they have accumulated. (Jaylen Johnson is listed as a safety but is likely to move to outside linebacker at Ohio State.)

I also don't believe Burke's commitment means that the Buckeyes' recruitment of Mater Dei (Calif.) cornerback Jaylin Davies is over just yet. On the contrary, one source I've spoken with says Davies will continue to be recruited by Ohio State. 

I said last week that I believe Ohio State is in the driver's seat for Davies and that he would end up in the Buckeyes' class if they decided they didn't need a visit from him. I still believe that to be true.

This will be a continually evolving and fluid situation, but I don't expect Davies to fall off Ohio State's radar in the immediate future and believe contact will continue there even following Burke's commitment. In the ever-evolving and fluid world of recruiting, it appears Ohio State is open to the idea of adding another cornerback (in addition to Davis Jr., who is a take no matter what if he wants in the class) in Davies.

However, the fact that Ohio State was willing to accept Burke's commitment before Davies' commitment is telling of how the program views Burke's potential and that it still needs to be 100 percent certain on Davies. For the time being, a visit from Davies is still needed for Ohio State to be comfortable accepting his commitment.

Still, the Buckeyes remain in the driver's seat for Davies, which speaks a lot to Coombs' reputation as a cornerback developer and the respect Day continues to gain with recruits and their inner circles. 

I think it most likely that Davies ends up with Herm Edwards at Arizona State or with Clay Helton at USC (with Mario Cristobal and Oregon a distant No. 3), but if Ohio State decides it wants to take him, I believe Davies would end up with the Buckeyes.

Communication with Payne increasing

As we discussed on Thursday, there is a four-man group of players who could have benefitted greatly from Ohio State holding its annual summer camps. 

That includes three of the top-seven ranked players in the state of Ohio's 2022 class who do not yet have Ohio State offers but are prime candidates to earn one – Westerville South receiver Kaden Saunders (No. 4 in Ohio), Canal Winchester running back Stephan Byrd (No. 5) and Cincinnati La Salle running back Gi’Bran Payne (No. 7). 

An offer to Saunders, ranked No. 166 overall and No. 16 as an athlete, is possibly contingent on the young slot receiver's willingness to play on the defensive side of the ball as a defensive back, as the Buckeyes have told him in the past that's where they project him best. Saunders, however, has been adamant that he wants to play on offense, which is where the majority of the 13 schools who have offered (including Penn State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Minnesota and Arizona State) like him to play.

An offer to Byrd, we believe, could have gained some momentum if Byrd had impressed the Buckeyes at camps this summer. Last summer, the No. 167-ranked overall player and No. 19-ranked running back in the country flashed skills that impressed Tony Alford, but Byrd is still yet to receive an offer.

In speaking with Byrd – whose 11-offer list is highlighted by Cincinnati, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa State and Tennessee – he's maintained an impressive amount of patience and understanding even though he hasn't yet been offered by Alford and Co. 

Out of those three players, an offer to Payne, ranked No. 206 overall and No. 24 at running back, might be the closest to happening. Payne is confident an offer could come at any time.

The relationship between Payne and Alford is continuing to build, and Payne's recruitment to Ohio State is “still progressing as we had been before,” he told Eleven Warriors.

Payne's offer sheet right now is at 13, and there has been some momentum building between him and Ohio State.

Payne was offered by Iowa last Thursday and Wisconsin last Friday, bringing him to eight offers from Big Ten programs, including Penn State, Michigan and Minnesota. If Payne gets an offer from Ohio State, I think he ends up in the Buckeyes' 2022 class as an eventual four-star composite running back and possible top-150 overall prospect.

If he does get offered by Ohio State, Payne told Eleven Warriors “I’m going to still look at all my options and decide” instead of committing right away – even though his good friends Jaylen Johnson and Devonta Smith (who are his teammates at La Salle) and C.J. Hicks are already committed to the Buckeyes.

After landing TreVeyon Henderson and Evan Pryor in the 2021 class, running back might not be a major need for the 2022 cycle, but the position is always one in which the Buckeyes (like most programs) want to bring in a high-caliber talent, so there will be no shortage of moves made by Alford and crew to make that happen. 

Ohio State projects to have six running backs on scholarship heading into the 2022 season right now (Master Teague, Marcus Crowley, Steele Chambers, Miyan Williams, Henderson and Pryor), but will still add one more from the 2022 cycle – perhaps that number could jump to two, and I like Payne to be that second back if so.

Jaylin Davies photo courtesy of Patrick Yew/247Sports

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