The Hurry-Up: Ohio State Still Expects to Stay at 85 Scholarships Next Fall, Priority 2022 Targets Caden Curry and Xavier Nwankpa Net Major Offers

By Zack Carpenter on November 9, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Caden Curry

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.

Ohio State projects to stay at 85 scholarships moving forward

The effects of the NCAA's blanket waiver that gives players an extra year of eligibility are going to be fascinating to watch unfold over the course of the 2021 and 2022 recruiting cycles. It could affect the size of the class that many programs across the country will wind up taking. It's sure to affect how aggressively some programs will recruit and will affect which players become takes early in the recruiting cycles.

Not at Ohio State, it appears.

About a month ago, when prompted about his thoughts on how the program is planning on handling recruiting and the scholarship numbers going forward due to the NCAA’s new rule, Ryan Day called the rule and navigating the ongoing process a “confusing” endeavor.

“There’s a process. It’s a long process. … It took me about three hours to sit down with Mark Pantoni and figure it all out,” Day said in early October.

Flash forward to today, and after more time to dissect the process and strategize things out, Day is continuing to stand by the Buckeyes’ scholarship projections as we head into the early signing period from Dec. 16-18.

“As we project it out, we actually don’t think we’ll be over 85 next fall with guys moving onto the NFL, with different guys graduating,” Day said. “I think we’re gonna be in a good place. I think we’ve got a good handle on it. There’s a little bit of unknown there as some guys may try to come back, some guys may not. That’s a little bit imperfect, but I think for the most part we have a good handle on it. I don’t think we’ll be much over 85 going into the fall. Could be wrong, but that’s what we’re planning and forecasting out.”

Curry, Nwankpa net major offers

Based on what Day said there, it appears that Ohio State is going to take exactly the size of the class that it wants to in 2021 and 2022, and it looks like the number is going to continue to be at 23 players in 2021 as we have been projecting for a while now.

In 2022, it remains to be seen, though we can probably expect it to again be in the mid-20s.

And that's where we transition into the next piece of major news on the recruiting trail in regards to Ohio State.

No matter the size of the class, two of the most highly sought after targets in the 2022 class are four-star Indiana defensive lineman Caden Curry, the No. 87 overall player and No. 8 DT, and four-star Iowa safety Xavier Nwankpa, the No. 110 overall player and No. 10 safety, whom I believe Ohio State will take at any point in the cycle, regardless of numbers.

Both Curry and Nwankpa's recruitments got a lot more interesting this weekend, however, as they each netted a major offer.

Following Notre Dame's gigantic win over Clemson on Saturday, Curry announced that the Fighting Irish came calling with an offer on Sunday.

Seeing the big win made an impact on Curry, he told 247Sports' Steve Wiltfong:

“It definitely shows how they can play in big games and how they can finish,” Curry said. “It definitely gives you something to look into a little bit.

Growing up in central Indiana, Curry is plenty familiar with the program, and Notre Dame entering the Curry sweepstakes is certainly no small deal.

“It’s always a school you see playing on TV. I’ve been watching them since I’ve been growing up.”

Nwankpa, on the other hand, saw Clemson enter the race, as the Tigers offered and now have to be looked at as one of the Buckeyes' biggest competitors in his recruitment, if not the biggest.

Nwankpa talked briefly with 247Sports' Allen Trieu about the offer:

"It means a lot," Nwankpa said. "They’re a great school and program who is a contender every year. Honestly I am blessed to be in the spot I am."

Buckeyes make top 12 for NFL legacy

Another name to monitor in the 2022 class is NFL legacy Cristian Driver, the son of former Green Bay Packers Pro Bowl receiver Donald Driver.

Driver, the No. 202 overall player, No. 12 safety and No. 29 player in Texas' 2022 class, released a top 12 over the weekend that included Ohio State, Alabama, LSU, Wisconsin, Michigan and Penn State.

Though there are a couple more safeties I believe are higher up the board than Driver, this is certainly another recruitment to keep an eye on.

Harrison in record books

Another NFL legacy made some state history over the weekend.

Marvin Harrison Jr., a 2021 four-star Buckeye receiver commit, cemented himself in the Philadelphia Catholic League record books, becoming the conference's all-time leader in career receiving yards in St. Joseph Prep's (Pennsylvania) 42-0 win over Roman Catholic.

Harrison (2,467 yards) surpassed the previous mark of current Houston Texans receiver Will Fuller (2,380), as Harrison finished his most recent game with 97 yards and a touchdown. He also tied the mark of La Salle's Jimmy Herron with 33 career receiving touchdowns for the most in Catholic League history.

“I had no idea, until I came off the sideline and one of my coaches told me,” Harrison told Eastern PA Football's Joseph Santoliquito. “I didn’t even hear the announcement, either. The goal is the same, too, winning a third straight state championship. This season was a little scary. We didn’t think we were going to have a season.

“If I look back on this year, I’ll remember the obstacles we overcame. We didn’t even have a place to practice because of the (COVID-19 pandemic protocols). We want to do something no other Prep has done and that’s win three-straight state titles.”

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