The Hurry-Up: Garrett Dellinger Comes Off the Board, Ohio State Cracks Top Six for Tyleik Williams, Eyes on In-State Cornerback Alex Afari

By Zack Carpenter on June 24, 2020 at 6:31 pm
Alex Afari

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.

Dellinger comes off board

It has been expected for quite some time, but on Wednesday it became official that Clarkston (Mich.) High School offensive lineman Garrett Dellinger is headed to LSU. The Ohio State target – ranked No. 79 overall, No. 12 at offensive tackle and No. 5 in Michigan – committed to Ed Orgeron's crew over Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, the other three programs in his final four.

Similar to the situation with California cornerback Jaylin Davies choosing Oregon, this is a commitment that doesn't exactly set the Buckeyes back, and it doesn't sting anywhere close to as much as JC Latham and Hudson Wolfe choosing Alabama and Tennessee, respectively. 

But Ohio State will now have to officially look elsewhere, as targets such as Jager Burton, Tristan Leigh, Rayshaun Benny and Dellinger's teammate, Rocco Spindler, will continue to be in focus as potential offensive line additions.

The Buckeyes made it onto Dellinger's final list of considerations for multiple reasons, starting with his relationship with Ryan Day.

“Coach Day is probably the most normal coach there is,” Dellinger said in his commitment video. “When you talk to him, it's really like talking to your dad or a family member. ... Ohio State was my very first camp I went to, and after camp was over, I got a tour of the facilities and all that. When I went to the weight room, my helmet is the same helmet that Michigan uses. So, being Ohio State, they did not like that. They said to go set my helmet outside.”

Added Dellinger's mother, Stephanie, about Day: “And he's a really personable coach. He's had a lot of conversations with Garrett, and he's another coach that really talks to Garrett about more than just football.”

Life after football was also something the Dellinger family considered during their son's recruitment.

“Ohio State has developed things for the student-athletes that, really, we haven't seen at other schools – (like) the Real Life Wednesdays program, where they dedicate their time to just get them job skills,” Dellinger's father, Matthew, said in the commitment video.

OSU in mix for Virginia DT, Florida DE

Virginia defensive tackle Tyleik Williams, a rising senior out of Stonewall Jackson High School, is a player we touched base with in the beginning of April due to the unusual scenario regarding his scholarship offer from the Buckeyes.

Apparently, two months prior to his announcement he had been offered by Ohio State on April 2, Williams had been offered by Larry Johnson over the phone. But due to some miscommunication, Williams was unaware that he had officially been offered. 

Misunderstanding aside, the Buckeyes have done enough in their recruitment of Williams to make a strong impression on him, as they have made the final six list for Williams.

Ohio State is up against Alabama, North Carolina, LSU, South Carolina and Virginia Tech for Williams, who is ranked No. 160 overall, No. 10 at defensive tackle and No. 5 in Virginia.

The Buckeyes also found themselves on a top schools list for Florida defensive end Kenyatta Jackson Jr., who is ranked No. 79 overall, No. 7 at weakside defensive end and No. 8 in Florida in the 2022 class.

Jackson, a 6-foot-5, 230-pounder, is someone the Buckeyes are very intrigued by along the defensive line. He holds two dozen offers, with his top 12 highlighted by Clemson, Florida, Oregon, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Penn State.

Afari in for spectacular season

This week, Eleven Warriors hopped on the phone and touched base with Ohio State's first two commits in the 2022 class, offensive tackle Tegra Tshabola and cornerback Jyaire Brown, to catch up with them on how life has been since each of them committed and how they are feeling about their respective decisions. Be on the lookout for stories on each of them this week as the two gear up for life as teammates at Lakota West (Ohio) High School.

But we gave both Tshabola and Brown a chance to talk about any players who they believe people should be on the lookout for this upcoming season, and each player responded by naming Lakota West teammate Alex Afari – who is listed as a 6-foot-2, 195-pounder and ranked as the No. 66-best athlete in the nation and 23rd-best rising junior in Ohio. 

At this point, Afari appears to be unlikely to earn an Ohio State offer, as he holds just six offers (Akron, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Virginia). But perhaps that could change if he goes on to have a successful junior season and offseason, and his two teammates – who are two of the top three-ranked juniors in the state of Ohio – believe he is headed for a special season.

“He's a 6-3 corner, and he can run like no one else can,” Tshabola said. “I’m expecting him to lead the team in interceptions.”

More interceptions than Jyaire?

“I believe so. That’s gonna be a really good competition,” Tshabola responded. “(Afari) is a great athlete who can play a lot of positions. He’s been playing all kinds of positions ever since he was a kid. He’s one of those kids that just didn’t come off the field. You can be expecting a lot from him.”

Brown has just recently, over the last two months or so, started getting to know Afari and get acquainted with his fellow defensive back's game, but Brown has also been impressed as the two of them will form one of the top cornerback duos in the state in 2020.

“He’s a long and hard-nosed corner,” Brown said. “He’s tall, and I think he’s gonna be able to use his length and mess up a lot of receivers this year. He’s gonna cause a lot of disruptions. He’s gonna be a big-time player on our defense as well.”

Alex Afari photo: Kareem Elgazzar/The Cincinnati Enquirer

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