The Hurry-Up: Taking a Look at Ohio State’s Different Scenarios for Filling Final 2021 Spots, Buckeye Target Jaylin Davies Sets Commit Date

By Zack Carpenter on June 4, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Christian Leary

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.

Taking a look at spots to fill

This has been a continually evolving and fluid situation, but following the commitment of Denzel Burke, I reported that Jaylin Davies would not fall off Ohio State’s radar and that communication would remain there over the next couple months if he stayed uncommitted.

Davies is set to come off the board two weeks from Friday, announcing a commitment date of June 19, and he will be choosing between Arizona State, Oregon and USC. The Buckeyes are no longer in the mix there, and it sounds like there is further momentum that Oregon – previously running in fourth place among those options just two weeks ago – is the team to beat.

Even though Davies will no longer be an option for Kerry Coombs and crew, the Buckeyes staying open to the idea of bringing him into the class down the road serves up an important point for the 2021 class numbers – as it stands, there is at least one defensive back spot remaining. (With the caveat that Ohio State is not going to be looking to add a defensive back just for the sake of filling the spot.)

Even with five already in the fold, plus Jaylen Johnson, adding an extra defensive back would be a good move after the Buckeyes landed just two in 2019 (safeties Ronnie Hickman and Bryson Shaw) and four in 2020 (safety Lathan Ransom and cornerbacks Lejond Cavazos, Ryan Watts III, Cameron Martinez).

Ohio State could be down to just five non-true freshman scholarship cornerbacks with the departure of Marcus Williamson, Shaun Wade being a near-lock to leave for the NFL draft and the potential for Sevyn Banks or Cam Brown to leave early if one of them has a breakout season. 

That would leave Cavazos, Watts, Martinez, yet-to-prove-his-ranking Tyreke Johnson and either Banks or Brown left at corner. Safety looks thin as well, with Josh Proctor and Marcus Hooker complemented by a pair of current redshirt freshmen (Shaw, Hickman) and a true freshman (Ransom).

So it’s very possible we see at least one more defensive back, possibly even two, added to the class, even when Davies comes off the board. That’s where the following scenarios come into play.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote that I believed the seven spots remaining that Ohio State looked to fill were: 1 WR, 1 TE, 2 OL, 2 DL, 1 DB (plus Derrick Davis Jr. if he wants in as an eighth commit)

As it stands today, though, there looks to be some real momentum for Jager Burton to wind up with Kentucky and for Hudson Wolfe to wind up with Tennessee. 

So, as we continue to wait patiently for both Burton and Wolfe to make decisions, with Burton’s possibly not coming until August, let’s take a look at the different scenarios remaining for the Buckeyes’ class numbers depending on how those recruitments play out. Burton and Wolfe are the main focus areas because 1) They could be the next targets (other than Davies) to make a decision. 2) They play positions that are the most intriguing in terms of after their decisions, what spots does Ohio State look at next?

As a caveat, I believe Davis Jr. is a take no matter what. In other words, if the Buckeyes were able to land Tony Grimes or flip Jordan Hancock (neither of which I believe will happen) to fill the defensive back spot, Davis Jr. would still be taken in any of the following scenarios. 

  • Scenario 1: Burton and Wolfe commit to Ohio State

Remaining positions to target: 1 WR, 1 OL, 2 DL, 1 DB (26 commits)

  • Scenario 2: Burton commits elsewhere, Wolfe commits to Ohio State

Remaining positions to target: 1 WR, 1 OL, 2 DL, 2 DB (26 commits)

  • Scenario 3: Burton commits to Ohio State, Wolfe commits elsewhere

Remaining positions to target: 1 WR, 1 OL, 2 DL, 2 DB (26 commits)

  • Scenario 4: Burton commits elsewhere, Wolfe commits elsewhere

Remaining positions to target: 2 WR, 1 OL, 2 DL, 2 DB (26 commits)

If Scenario 1 hits, it’s business as usual for the Buckeyes.

If Scenario 2 or 3 hits, it opens up a couple different possibilities. If Burton does not commit to Ohio State, I don’t believe the Buckeyes will be seeking to add any other linemen besides JC Latham. And if Wolfe does not commit to Ohio State, it's unlikely that Ohio State will pursue another tight end in this class. It's looking more likely that it will add an additional defensive back in the 2021 class with the available scholarship spot and possibly look to add two tight ends in the 2022 class.

But in either Scenario 2 or 3, another possibility is adding two more receivers to this class instead of two more defensive backs. 

If Scenario 4 hits, it opens things up to where the Buckeyes could pursue two more receivers and two more defensive backs.

Adding two more receivers is the most interesting possibility here. 

Christian Leary, a possible Oklahoma lean with a June 6 commit date, pushed back his commitment, and there seems to be smoke that he could end up with Alabama or Ohio State.

On the called-off commitment that was supposed to happen on Saturday, his mother’s birthday, Leary told 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong that his mom “didn’t want me to rush nothing.”

He also told Wiltfong that Ohio State was one of the offers he had long been hoping to receive – which he did earn late in the process on March 24 – and referenced Johnnie Dixon and Braxton Miller as Buckeye slot receivers who excelled in the past. 

Just like fellow Floridian receiver Troy Stellato over the past year, Leary is another slot guy who has seen a substantial rise through the rankings. He’s jumped from No. 327 overall in February to No. 130 in May.

If he does want to join the Buckeyes, Leary would likely have to await the decision of Emeka Egbuka and others, like Burton and Wolfe, to see if they have enough room to take him.

Stellato commitment coming

Speaking of Stellato, the Cardinal Gibbons star announced on Thursday evening that his recruitment will be coming to an end at noon on Friday.

This has officially been down to an Ohio State vs. Clemson battle since mid-March. The Tigers received the last visit from Stellato, in early March, before the recruiting dead period was put in place. No matter if it's the Buckeyes or Tigers, likely the latter, we will find out soon.

Christian Leary photo courtesy of Andrew Ivins/247Sports

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