The Hurry-Up: Defensive Tackle Recruiting in 2022 Continues with Nick James Offer, Blue-Chip RB Jaydon Blue a Great Character Fit But a Longshot

By Zack Carpenter on May 26, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Nick James

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.

James offer continues 2022 DT recruiting

Ohio State’s search for at least three defensive linemen in the 2022 class – though it’s possible the Buckeyes try and take four – is something Eleven Warriors wrote about last Tuesday.

Whether that number is three or four, we believe they will be looking to land a pair of defensive tackles, as the numbers are projected to be thin at that position on the roster heading into the 2022 season. Whether those guys are listed as defensive tackles on their recruiting profiles matters little. As we’ve seen in the past recruitments of guys like Darrion Henry-Young, Jacolbe Cowan and Tunmise Adeleye, the Buckeyes love bringing in versatility along the defensive line with players who can kick inside depending on how they develop.

Caden Curry, for instance, is listed as a defensive tackle but looks to have the body type and playing style of a defensive end, and he’s a player you should be very excited about if the Buckeyes continue to progress with his recruitment. 

The other three players who are listed as defensive tackles with Buckeye offers in the 2022 class, though, are projected to be purely tackles at the next level. (Billy Schrauth is listed as a DT, but if he plays at Ohio State, he will be an offensive lineman. That’s the spot he’s told us the Buckeyes are exclusively recruiting him for.)

Dallas’ Bear Alexander, North Carolina’s Travis Shaw and the latest to receive an Ohio State offer, Dominick James, are each being recruited by Larry Johnson and Co. to be 3-techs. 

James was offered by Johnson on Thursday, and the Buckeyes have already made some headway with the young star over the past several conversations. 

“We talk through FaceTime and Zoom, and we been building a relationship for almost three weeks now,” James told Eleven Warriors. “They (have) different programs they have to better the student athletes. They not only just about football. It’s life after football. To me, the best part (of the call) was when Coach (Ryan) Day said he is gonna offer me a scholarship.

“It’s very impactful (to get an Ohio State offer) because recently I just moved to IMG Academy so now really realizing there is football outside of Alabama.”

James is a 6-foot-2, 270-pound junior-to-be at IMG (Fla.) Academy, where he will spend his first season there following a move from Alabama. He is ranked right now as the No. 8 defensive tackle in America, the No. 169th-ranked overall player and the No. 24-ranked player in the state of Florida.

The former Prattville (Ala.) High School standout will soon team up with Ohio State commit Adeleye once sports start back up, and he will go up against Buckeye targets JC Latham and running back Kaytron Allen

Those experiences should help James continue raising his level of play after he racked up 48 total tackles, 10 tackles-for-loss, three sacks and two pass breakups as an Alabama sophomore, helping pave the way for offers to Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee and Texas A&M. It also aided in grabbing the attention of the best collegiate defensive line coach in America.

“I liked Coach Johnson’s honesty on things I can fix,” said James, who is likely to visit Ohio State at some point in the future whenever he is able. “He likes my get off and hustle to the ball.”

Blue a good character fit but a longshot for Buckeyes

Two Saturdays ago, we introduced the five latest players to receive an offer from Ohio State, and that introduction included a lengthy rundown of Klein Cain (Texas) High School running back Jaydon Blue.

Blue, a 5-foot-9, 190-pound junior-to-be, is an elusive four-star prospect ranked No. 80 overall, No. 7 at running back and No. 11 in the state of Texas. We spent the whole time in his section discussing what Blue brings to the field – which included 247Sports analyst Gabe Brooks’ evaluation that Blue has “adequate size with an above average build. Flashes great initial burst and acceleration. Hits the hole hard and gets downhill in a hurry.”

But in addition to Blue’s on-field prowess, which has attracted offers from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma and Texas after he rushed for 1,600 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore, the Klein Cain product is also apparently a good character fit for whichever program he ends up at, according to his head coach, James Clancy.

“Jaydon is a great kid who not only excels on the field and track, but also in the classroom,” Clancy told Eleven Warriors. “He has been working extremely hard this offseason to help our program reach its goals this fall. We are excited for the opportunities he has earned.”

I believe Ohio State has a lot of ground to make up in Blue's recruitment over programs such as LSU and Oklahoma. It's still very early in the process, of course, but right now I would say it's a longshot, especially with the projected logjam of talent the Buckeyes might have at running back entering the 2022 season with six projected scholarship running backs on the roster and the impressive job other local programs have done with Blue thus far.

That's one reason I suspect an in-state player like Cincinnati La Salle's Gi’Bran Payne – whom we discussed on Sunday – to be a likelier option at running back if and when he gets an offer.

Nick James photo courtesy of Jason Caldwell/247Sports

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