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.
Week 3 FNL preview
There are two additions to the list of Ohio State commits who will be suiting up this week, as South Warren (Ky.) safety Jantzen Dunn and Ensworth (Tenn.) safety/cornerback Andre Turrentine are making their season debuts on Friday night, giving the Buckeyes 12 combined commits in the 2021 and 2022 cycles who will be in action.
Seven members of the 2021 class – Dunn, Turrentine, Massillon Washington receiver Jayden Ballard, Ironton linebacker Reid Carrico, Streetsboro defensive tackle Mike Hall, La Salle safety Jaylen Johnson and Revere offensive lineman Ben Christman – will be back on the gridiron.
Five members of Ohio State's 2022 class will be on the field as well, with in-state commits in Marysville linebacker Gabe Powers, Archbishop Alter linebacker C.J. Hicks, the Lakota West duo of cornerback Jyaire Brown and offensive tackle Tegra Tshabola and Allatoona (Ga.) High School's Bennett Christian.
Blue Valley North (Ks.) athlete Dasan McCullough was supposed to make his season debut last week, but McCullough told Eleven Warriors that the Mustangs' first game is now set for Sept. 18.
|WR JAYDEN BALLARD (2021)||MASSILLON WASHINGTON||WARREN G. HARDING||7:30 p.m.|
|LB REID CARRICO (2021)||IRONTON||DAWSON-BRYANT||7 p.m.|
|DT MIKE HALL (2021)||STREETSBORO||WOODRIDGE||7 p.m.|
|S JAYLEN JOHNSON (2021)||LA SALLE||@ LAKOTA EAST||7 p.m.|
|OG BEN CHRISTMAN (2021)||REVERE||CUYAHOGA FALLS||7 p.m.|
|S/CB ANDRE TURRENTINE (2021)||ENSWORTH (TENN.)||@ CHRISTIAN PRESBYTERIAN ACADEMY||7 p.m.|
|S JANTZEN DUNN (2021)||SOUTH WARREN (KY.)||@ WARREN EAST||7 p.m.|
|CB JYAIRE BROWN (2022)||LAKOTA WEST||@ SYCAMORE||7 p.m.|
|LB C.J. HICKS (2022)||ARCHBISHOP ALTER||BISHOP FENWICK||7 p.m.|
|LB GABE POWERS (2022)||MARYSVILLE||DUBLIN JEROME||7 p.m.|
|OT TEGRA TSHABOLA (2022)||LAKOTA WEST||@ SYCAMORE||7 p.m.|
|TE BENNETT CHRISTIAN (2022)||ALLATOONA (GA.)||DENMARK||7:30 p.m.|
Our team at Eleven Warriors is planning to be on the road once again on Friday, as I will be headed over to Pickerington Central to watch newly offered defensive back Sonny Styles and Co. host Central Crossing.
Pickerington North five-star defensive end Jack Sawyer is the lone in-state commit who will not be in action, as he has opted out of his senior season to prepare for the potential to play at Ohio State in the spring.
Ohio State's two running back commits in 2021, TreVeyon Henderson (Virginia) and Evan Pryor (North Carolina), and tight end commit Sam Hart (Colorado) have opted out of their senior seasons as well, with each of their states pushing football back to February. Defensive tackle commit Tyleik Williams (Virginia) will also not be in action due to the state's postponements, while cornerback Jordan Hancock (Georgia) has opted out of his senior season despite his state moving forward with a fall season.
Five other 2021 Ohio State commits' 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. McCord told Eleven Warriors that it's looking optimistic that St. Joseph’s Prep is going to be able to move forward with a fall season as an independent.
“Right now, we just have to get our plan approved so there’s still a lot to get done,” McCord said. “But right now our plan is to try and get our first game in for Sept. 18 and then play anywhere from 8-10 regular season games and then be eligible for the state playoffs for another three or four games.
“It’s definitely interesting. Our first game is two weeks away, and you’re preparing for an opponent you don’t even know. Right now, we’re just trying to focus on ourselves and get better each day. The offense has been going at it with the defense every day and getting better, so whoever we play and whenever we play we’ll be ready.”
Offensive lineman Donovan Jackson and his Episcopal (Texas) team are expected to play as an independent this fall after the Southwest Preparatory Conference canceled its fall sports season, but their new schedule has still 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. De Smet head coach Robert Steeples told Eleven Warriors that it's looking like an October start for them.
Denzel Burke and his Saguaro (Ariz.) teammates began practice Monday with games in the state starting on Sept. 30.
Hicks excited about Christian, others to follow
When we first met with Hicks in October of 2019, he wasn't timid, but he wasn't the most outgoing or talkative player we've talked to, either. That's all changed now, as he has become comfortable and more mature, and he's taken on the lead peer recruiter role.
He was one of the first commits to establish a relationship with Christian, and he's excited about the Buckeyes bringing the Georgia standout into the fold.
“I was really excited, ’cause now on Rivals, we’re the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation,” HIcks told Eleven Warriors. “We’re trying to be better than 2021, that’s our goal, that’s going to continue to be our goal, and hopefully we can have more commitments than them.”
Derrick Shepard (50) at right tackle opens the hole for a long run by C.J. Hicks. pic.twitter.com/sG0ySVxuA9— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) September 5, 2020
Hicks rattled off a number of names who he hopes he can bring into Ohio State's class, including five-star cornerbacks Will Johnson and Domani Jackson, five-star linebacker Shawn Murphy, five-star offensive tackle Zach Rice, four-star receivers C.J. Williams and Darrius Clemons and four-star defensive tackle teammate Derrick Shepard.
(Getting those seven commits, for what it's worth, would give the Buckeyes a composite score of 269.35 points, which would currently rank as the No. 5 class in the 2021 cycle. Very impressive considering that seven-man haul isn't quite out of the question, with Jackson being the hardest pull as we sit here on Sept. 11.)
Shepard continues communication with OSU, others
Shepard is a player we have profiled heavily at Eleven Warriors and will continue to do so as he hopes to have a breakout junior season.
On the field, he still has things to prove in order to earn offers from programs like Ohio State and Alabama – two schools showing heavy interest in him – but off the field he continues to maintain relationships with the Buckeye staff.
Derrick Shepard, one of the players his Archbishop Alter teammate C.J. Hicks wants to join him at Ohio State, says he has heard from Ohio State coaches including Kevin Wilson and Larry Johnson every day since they were allowed to start contacting juniors directly on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/oOCqF6kPxU— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) September 5, 2020
“Since Sept. 1, I’ve talked to them every day between Coach (Kevin) Wilson, Coach (Tim) Hinton, Coach (Nick) Sebastian and Coach (Larry) Johnson,” Shepard told Eleven Warriors. “Coach Wilson, we definitely have a good relationship, just as the same with Coach Johnson. I know that Coach Johnson will keep it real with me no matter what.”