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.
Burton staying home
It did not come as any sort of shock, but on Sunday evening four-star Frederick Douglass (Ky.) offensive lineman Jager Burton – the No. 125 overall player, No. 8 offensive guard and No. 1 player in Kentucky's 2021 class – chose to stay home by committing to the Wildcats.
I know that we keep rehashing our visit with Burton in July, but in an extensive interview with Eleven Warriors, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound athlete detailed why Kentucky, Ohio State, Oregon, Alabama and Alabama made his final five. At the time, the Buckeyes still had a shot at landing him, but with the recruiting dead period continuing to push back visits, there was no way Ohio State was going to win out without getting him back to campus.
Instead, Burton chose to stay home, where he has been watching the Wildcats his whole life and will soon enough become one himself.
“You grow up in Kentucky and you see all their games,” Burton said. “I’ve seen the growth with Joker (Phillips) and (Mark) Stoops and all that and how much it’s changing. Where are they gonna be in another five years if they’ve already come this far in two or three? Just think about that and then obviously all my friends are gonna go there. Just staying local.
“I definitely wanna respond to this, too – I’ve never responded to this on Twitter – but everyone will be like, ‘why is Kentucky in this group? Kentucky doesn’t fit in with this group.’ But if you really look at the numbers and you look at the best O-line classes, one of the best O-line classes in the rankings is Kentucky. They’re one of the best O-line schools. If I wasn’t an O-lineman then it’d be different. Kentucky is on the rise, and they’ve been in the top 25 for about three years now. So I just wanted to say something about that.”
The Buckeyes, meanwhile, still have a dynamic one-two punch along the offensive line their 2021 class in five-star guard Donovan Jackson and four-star guard Ben Christman, who provides versatility in being able to play both guard and tackle.
At offensive tackle, five-star Tristan Leigh is the biggest target remaining, and three-star guard Noah Josey is a name I've mentioned in the past as being a player the Buckeyes remain interested in. Five-star offensive tackle Nolan Rucci also remains on the board, though he is probably a long shot at this point.
Buckeyes offer Styles
It didn't take long for Sonny Styles' standout performance on ESPN2 on Sunday to earn him a call from the Buckeyes.
Styles, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound safety in the 2023 class out of Pickerington Central (Ohio) High School, blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown and added an interception in Central's 35-9 win over Pickerington North. Less than two hours later, Styles announced that he had become the second in-state player in his class to be offered by the Buckeyes, joining Mentor defensive end Brenan Vernon.
Styles is the younger brother of Notre Dame receiver commit Lorenzo Styles Jr., and Sonny is an Ohio State legacy. He is the youngest son of former Buckeye linebacker and third-round NFL draft pick Lorenzo Styles.
Thus far, Sonny has just two scholarship offers, as Ohio State joined Indiana in that group. The future appears to be very bright for the youngest Styles.
Sawyer details future to ESPN
Five-star Ohio State defensive end commit Jack Sawyer did not play for Pickerington North in that nationally televised game, as he has opted out of his senior season in order to prepare for the possibility of playing in the spring as a Buckeye.
However, he was still featured in an interview with ESPN2, discussing his plans for the next few months before he officially becomes a Buckeye. It was mostly a rehashing of what Sawyer already told Eleven Warriors last week about his plans – which you can read here – but Sawyer was given a stage to tell more people what the near future holds.
“I'm working out five times a week, doing a lot of cardio, too, trying to stay in shape for a football season,” Sawyer said. “Strictly eating five, six meals a day. Just always trying to eat as cleanly as possible, put a lot of vegetables and a lot of variety of fruits, too. So it's definitely been a complete diet makeover.”
As Sawyer had told us, if there ends up not being a spring season due to a postponement, or if early enrollees wind up not being allowed to play in college games in the spring, he still doesn't believe he made the wrong choice to forgo his senior season of high school football.
“It's definitely been in my head a few times,” Sawyer said. “But I think if that was to happen, if they're not playing spring football, I think they'd definitely let the teams practice and get valuable time. Usually when the early enrollees enroll, it's usually a lot.
“But I definitely think they're going to let us practice, at least. I'll still be getting valuable reps immediately.”
Getting to practice and/or play in the spring with Ohio State would give Sawyer valuable time as he gears up for a career in which he has monster plans.
“Well, I sure as hell don’t plan on going over there and sitting the bench,” Sawyer told Eleven Warriors in July.