As high school football teams throughout the state of Ohio begin their 2020 seasons, eight Buckeye commits will be among those taking the field on Friday night.
Four members of Ohio State’s recruiting class of 2021 – Massillon Washington wide receiver Jayden Ballard, Ironton linebacker Reid Carrico, Streetsboro defensive tackle Mike Hall and La Salle safety Jaylen Johnson – will be on the field Friday night for their first games of the year. So, too, will all four of Ohio State’s in-state commits in the recruiting class of 2022: Marysville linebacker Gabe Powers, Archbishop Alter linebacker C.J. Hicks and the Lakota West duo of cornerback Jyaire Brown and offensive tackle Tegra Tshabola.
|WR JAYDEN BALLARD (2021)
|LB REID CARRICO (2021)
|DT MIKE HALL (2021)
|S JAYLEN JOHNSON (2021)
|CB JYAIRE BROWN (2022)
|LB C.J. HICKS (2022)
|LB GABE POWERS (2022)
|OT TEGRA TSHABOLA (2022)
Notable Week 1 matchups for those Buckeye commits include Powers and the Monarchs facing off against Hilliard Bradley and Wisconsin tight end commit Jack Pugh, Ballard and the Tigers hosting perennial Cleveland power St. Edward and Johnson and his Lancers traveling to Elder for a battle between two of Cincinnati’s top teams.
There’s a chance Ohio high school football games won’t be able to be played as scheduled on Friday, and not because of COVID-19; thunderstorms are forecast throughout the state on Friday night, which could force weather delays or postponements. As long as those games are able to kick off, though, those eight future Buckeyes will be the first Ohio State commits to see game action this year, as many of the Buckeyes’ other commits have either had the starts of their seasons delayed or won’t play at all this fall due to the pandemic.
Among the 10 in-state players currently committed to Ohio State, the only one who won’t be playing this fall is Pickerington North defensive end Jack Sawyer, who opted out of his senior season to prepare for the possibility to play in Ohio State’s postponed season this spring. Revere offensive tackle Ben Christman won’t play his first official game of the season until next Friday, though his Minutemen are set to scrimmage against Highland High School on Saturday morning.
All five of Ohio State’s current commits for the class of 2022 are set to play this fall, with Blue Valley North (Kansas) linebacker Dasan McCullough set to begin his junior season next Friday. 2021 defensive back commits Jantzen Dunn (South Warren – Kentucky) and Andre Turrentine (Ensworth – Tennessee) are set to play their season openers on Sept. 11.
Most of Ohio State’s out-of-state 2021 commits, however, either won’t play this fall or are still facing uncertainty whether they’ll get to play their senior season.
Running backs TreVeyon Henderson (Virginia) and Evan Pryor (North Carolina), tight end Sam Hart (Colorado) and the Buckeyes’ newest commit, Tyleik Williams (Virginia), are all in states that postponed their high school football seasons to the spring. Like Sawyer, Henderson, Pryor and Hart are all planning to enroll early at Ohio State, so their high school careers are officially over.
While Georgia is playing high school football this fall, cornerback commit Jordan Hancock opted out of his senior season to decrease his risk of contracting COVID-19 and transmitting the virus to his parents, who are both at higher risk of serious complications due to medical conditions.
For five other 2021 Ohio State commits, their senior seasons are still up in the air.
Quarterback Kyle McCord and wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. are facing the possibility of being unable to play this fall after the Philadelphia Catholic League postponed its fall sports season to the spring, though St. Joseph’s Prep could still possibly play this fall as an independent. Offensive lineman Donovan Jackson and his Episcopal High School (Bellaire, Texas) team is expected to play as an independent this fall after the Southwest Preparatory Conference canceled its fall sports season, but their new schedule has not yet been released.
Cornerback Jakailin Johnson and his De Smet (St. Louis, Missouri) team are preparing to play this fall, but if and when their season will begin remains to be determined, as St. Louis County is currently not allowing high school football games to be played. Denzel Burke and his Saguaro High School team are still awaiting a final decision from the Arizona Interscholastic Association, which is expected to come next week, on whether their state will play high school football this fall.
Much like with college football, decisions about whether to proceed forward with high school football have varied all over the country, and as a result, the vast majority of Ohio State’s in-state commits will be playing high school football this fall even though many high school players in other states – and the current Buckeyes – won’t be.
That said, Eleven Warriors will be increasing its coverage of the high school football seasons of the Ohio State commits and other Buckeye targets who do play this fall, so stay tuned for updates from their games over the course of the season.
I’ll be at Marysville on Friday night to watch Powers’ season opener, Zack Carpenter will be in Portsmouth to watch Carrico play on the road and Colin Hass-Hill will be at Medina High School to watch 2023 Ohio State defensive end target Brenan Vernon and his Mentor squad face Medina and 2022 three-star quarterback Drew Allar.