The Eleven Warriors staff was out in full force on Friday night, covering Ohio State prospects across the state.
At Pickerington Central, Zack Carpenter saw recent Ohio State offer Sonny Styles and his Tiger teammates pick apart Central Crossing from the very first play, cruising to a 47-0 victory with a running clock.
And Colin Hass-Hill trekked over to Richfield to check on Ohio State 2021 offensive line commit Ben Christman and his Revere team, which also enjoyed a (relatively) stress-free night in a 33-0 triumph over its own.
As always, we will have more on these Ohio State prospects throughout the week and all season long at Eleven Warriors.
PICKERINGTON – After having played just one game at the high school level (he suffered a season-ending injury before the 2019 season began), Pickerington Central 2023 safety Sonny Styles earned an Ohio State offer on Aug. 30.
Heading into Friday night's Week 3 game against Central Crossing, there was no other major reason to attend other than to see whether or not the hype surrounding Styles was real or not. Telling people you were there to see what Styles was all about brought forth some rave reviews about him being the real deal, so there were some major expectations.
He showcased that talent – and his impressive physical traits – from the jump.
On the very first play from scrimmage, Styles – standing at an impressive and athletic 6-foot-4, 205 pounds – took two steps to his right from his perch as the Tigers' one-high safety. He knew exactly where the ball was going, and he pounced on it, snagging his third interception of the season. Styles returned the ball inside the 10-yard line where his brother, 2021 Notre Dame receiver commit Lorenzo Styles Jr., punched in a 7-yard rushing touchdown on a jet sweep less than two minutes into the game.
Two minutes later, the Tigers were up 14-0. Before the end of the first quarter, it was 28-0. By halftime, Central Crossing had not moved the ball past its own 35-yard line, and Pickerington Central had a 41-point lead, a running clock the entire second half and an easy 47-0 win to move to 3-0 on its quest to repeat as Division I state champions.
It all started with that tone-setting pick from Sonny Styles who, of course, wasn't satisfied with that play.
“Their QB was staring at the slant so I just jumped it,” Styles told Eleven Warriors. “I feel like I should’ve took it back for six, honestly, but I guess the interception’s good enough. I just took the wrong route. I should’ve stayed outside to the sideline.”
It wasn't a star turn in which Styles scored multiple touchdowns or rushed for 200 yards (he doesn't play on offense, either as a running back or a receiver), but what Styles showcased throughout the night, not just on that one play, was real nonetheless.
And another Styles tackle that leads to a second straight three-and-our for Central Crossing pic.twitter.com/TL5ASWmQkJ— Zack Carpenter (@Zack_Carp) September 11, 2020
- He flashed his ability to patrol the passing game as a center fielder.
- A willingness and clear desire to fly up into the middle of the field to put his nose into a play and lay down some hits.
- Some smooth footwork and pass/run play recognition.
- Length that allows him to cover ground all over the field.
- Athleticism and a big vertical leap, as he came within inches of blocking his second punt of the season as he came flying off the edge, which forced Central Crossing to double team him on their punts the rest of the night.
Styles, who is being targeted by Ohio State as a player who could play either outside linebacker or safety (perhaps the hybrid bullet position), looked like the real deal. And he has three more regular-season games to keep proving it before the Tigers hit the postseason.
“We wanna go undefeated for the season,” Styles said. “In every game, we’re just preparing ourselves for the playoffs. We feel like we can go all the way. We just have to stay focused and do everything we’re supposed to do.
“I’m really out here for my seniors. It’s their last go-around so we’re doing it for them. But things I think I need to work on is the little stuff, just being locked in every play and just being real vocal and being a leader.”
Jyaire Brown, Tegra Tshabola
CINCINNATI – After I watched Lakota West cruise to a 33-0 victory at Sycamore on Friday night, my first question to Brown was, “Do you ever get bored out there?”
Except when he was fielding punts or kickoffs as a returner, the ball rarely went Brown's way on Friday, as the Aviators almost entirely avoided throwing passes in his direction.
“Man, all the time,” Brown responded. “I don't get no action. But I just gotta stay focused, do my job every play, that's all. It's a good thing. It's a sign of respect. That's how I take it, it's a sign of respect, that's all.”
Brown, who transferred to Lakota West this year after starting his high school career in Louisiana, has led a dominant Firebirds defense that has pitched two shutouts in its first three games. Playing opposite fellow class of 2022 cornerback Alex Afari, who also his share of early offers from Big Ten schools, Brown says his first season at Lakota West – who is now 3-0 to start the year – has been everything he envisioned so far.
“It's looking real good, so that's really exciting,” Brown said. “It's a blessing that we're playing, because if I was in New Orleans, I wouldn't be playing right now; the season was delayed.”
On the other side of the ball, Tshabola stands out on his size alone as Lakota West's 6-foot-5, 340-pound left tackle. He didn't have to do anything particularly extraordinary against an overmatched opponent, but it's easy to see why Ohio State didn't waste time bringing him into its 2022 class. He has impressive quickness for his size, and whenever he connected soundly with his punch, the crack of the opponent's pads was clearly audible in a partially-filled Sycamore Stadium.
Tegra Tshabola sticks his block, and the play goes the other way for a touchdown. Lakota West up 20-0 before halftime. pic.twitter.com/IcywtXIhnA— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) September 11, 2020
Tshabola said after the game, though, that he recognizes he has to keep working on his technique and get better over the next two years before he begins his career as a Buckeye.
“Improvement-wise, I think I'm not exactly where I need to be, but I'm still grinding, I'm still watching film, I'm still doing my training to be the player that I know I can be,” Tshabola said. “Things that I see that I still need to do better is definitely working on my footwork, making sure my eyes are up, knowing what position we are in the game, understanding the game better.”
RICHFIELD – Choose any offensive play in Revere’s 33-0 rout of Cuyahoga Falls on Friday and you likely would have found Ben Christman either burying somebody in the ground or pushing a defender out of a play. Against an overmatched team that’s winless through two games this season and went 2-8 last year, the four-star offensive lineman had his way.
I wasn’t taking an unofficial pancake count, but without going up against anybody else on the other team his size, it surely was in double-digits, which is what you’d expect from someone with his status as an Ohio State commit. Christman loves to pummel defenders. He’ll bring a noticeable nasty streak with him to Columbus.
“I try to be one of the best players in America, and I feel like I'm trying to set that tone,” Christman told Eleven Warriors. “I feel like we can be one of the best teams in the state. We've just got to keep going. I just work my tail off every single day, and so do these guys in this locker room.”
And then he paused.
“Well, we’re not in our locker room because of COVID. But this is the greatest game in the world,” he said.
Welcome to 2020.
Either way, Christman and his Minutemen teammates got the job done to improve to 1-1 – after a season-opening loss to Aurora – with a road game against Twinsburg looming. The Buckeyes pledge goes both ways for Revere, which uses him to plug the interior as a defensive tackle. Intentionally, Cuyahoga Falls tried to keep the ball away from him, often using multiple players to block him.
“I think I've done really good (in the) run game and defensively,” Christman said. “We're not throwing the ball as much as we used to before, but I still have got to work on everything. There's so much room for improvement and everything. I've got a lot of things to work on.”
Other Buckeye prospects
The following is a rundown of the game results for all 11 Ohio State commits who played on Friday night. Three-star tight end commit Bennett Christian and his Allatoona (Ga.) teammates had their game against Denmark canceled hours before kickoff, as Denmark principal Heather Gordy said the cancellation was due to “COVID exposure quarantines and injuries,” she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
|Player (Class)||Team||Opponent||Result (Record)|
|WR JAYDEN BALLARD (2021)||MASSILLON WASHINGTON||WARREN G. HARDING||W, 24-0 (2-1)|
|LB REID CARRICO (2021)||IRONTON||DAWSON-BRYANT||W, 71-0 (3-0)|
|DT MIKE HALL (2021)||STREETSBORO||WOODRIDGE||W, 72-13 (3-0)|
|S JAYLEN JOHNSON (2021)||LA SALLE||@ LAKOTA EAST||W, 35-13 (2-1)|
|OG BEN CHRISTMAN (2021)||REVERE||CUYAHOGA FALLS||W, 33-0 (1-1)|
|S/CB ANDRE TURRENTINE (2021)||ENSWORTH (TENN.)||@ CHRISTIAN PRESBYTERIAN ACADEMY||L, 28-6 (0-1)|
|S JANTZEN DUNN (2021)||SOUTH WARREN (KY.)||@ WARREN EAST||W, 40-0 (1-0)|
|CB JYAIRE BROWN (2022)||LAKOTA WEST||@ SYCAMORE||W, 33-0 (3-0)|
|LB C.J. HICKS (2022)||ARCHBISHOP ALTER||BISHOP FENWICK||W, 49-13 (1-2)|
|LB GABE POWERS (2022)||MARYSVILLE||DUBLIN JEROME||W, 31-12 (2-1)|
|OT TEGRA TSHABOLA (2022)||LAKOTA WEST||@ SYCAMORE||W, 33-0 (3-0)|
|TE BENNETT CHRISTIAN (2022)||ALLATOONA (GA.)||DENMARK||CANCELED|