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.
Ballard vs. Johnson highlights playoff preview
As we careen toward the end of the Ohio high school football season, a pair of familiar teams remains in the hunt to bring home a state championship trophy.
In 2019, Ohio State defensive back/linebacker commit Jaylen Johnson and the Cincinnati La Salle Lancers took home a 34-17 win over a fellow Buckeye commit in receiver Jayden Ballard and the Massillon Washington Tigers. That was La Salle's fourth state championship in the past six seasons.
On Friday night, the path to a fifth will once again go through Ballard and the Tigers, as the two programs square off once again at 7 p.m. on a neutral field at Marysville High School in the Division II state semifinals. The winner will move on to face either Avon or Akron Archbishop Hoban in the state title game at Fortress Obetz.
It will be fascinating to see how Johnson is used this time around, as he was utilized all over the field in last season's matchup to help cover Ballard and West Virginia receiver commit Andrew Wilson-Lamp – perhaps the best high school receiver duo in the state.
“They didn’t try me,” Johnson told Eleven Warriors following La Salle's victory over the Tigers. “They didn’t come to my side at all. They had me playing a free man, just roaming the field everywhere. They had me playing free man for the state championship because their run game was good. They wanted me in the box, and they knew if they caught us in our base defense, we wouldn’t be able to stop the run. Most of the teams we play are passing teams.
“When we play against the run(-heavy) teams, we go to our stack formation, and I just roam the field and play me.”
We could be in for a hell of a game Friday night.
Carrico and Carter, Hicks and Shepard in action
Another of the weekend's highlight games comes in the form of 2021 linebacker commit Reid Carrico and 2023 target Trevor Carter's Ironton squad squaring off with LSU running back commit and former 2021 target Corey Kiner and Roger Bacon.
Ironton and Roger Bacon will meet a 7 p.m. Saturday at London High School in the Division IV state semifinals. The winner will move on to face the winner of Kirtland and Tontogany Otsego in the state championship game at Fortress Obetz. Ironton fell to Kirtland, 14-7, in last season's state title matchup.
“We got up there and got a little bit blinded by the bright lights, and we didn’t show up til the second half. It cost us a state championship ring,” Carrico told Eleven Warriors earlier this season. “That’s 100 percent the goal is to get back to Canton. We say ‘Finish the Job,’ and that’s what it’s all about right now is getting back to Canton and winning a state title, but we’ve got some work to do before we expect to get back to Canton.
“(‘Finish the Job’) is in the weight room, we’ve got it on a wristband, it’s a hashtag. It’s the saying for this year. It definitely (left a bad taste in our mouths). You can be sitting around all the time and laying up in bed in night, you can’t really sleep. What else do you have to think about? Then you think about how you could be having a state championship ring sitting on your dresser. And we didn’t do it. We didn’t get it done. I’ve been up late a lot of nights thinking about it. I’m just thankful I’ve got one more shot to fix things.”
Also in action this weekend will be 2022 linebacker commit C.J. Hicks and 2022 defensive tackle target Derrick Shepard. Their Archbishop Alter squad will be facing St. Francis De Sales in the Division III state semifinals at 7 p.m. Friday at London High School. The winner will face either Tiffan Columbian or Chardon in the state title game at Fortress Obetz.
Other commits set to play
Here is the full rundown of Ohio State commits in the 2021 and 2022 combined recruiting classes who are either in action this weekend, had their seasons wrap up, opted out of their senior season or had it postponed to the spring.
|Player (Class)||Team||Opponent||Day, Time (Record)|
|SDE JACK SAWYER (2021)||PICKERINGTON NORTH||SAWYER OPTED OUT|
|OG DONOVAN JACKSON||EPISCOPAL (TEXAS)||SEASON FINISHED||FINAL RECORD: 2-4|
|RB TREVEYON HENDERSON||HOPEWELL (VA.)||SEASON PPD UNTIL SPRING|
|QB KYLE MCCORD||ST. JOSEPH'S PREP (PA.)||(4-0)|
|CB JAKAILIN JOHNSON||DE SMET (MO.)||HOWELL||Friday, 6 p.m. (4-0)*|
|WR JAYDEN BALLARD||MASSILLON WASHINGTON||CINCINNATI LA SALLE (@Marysville)||Friday, 7 p.m. (9-1)*|
|DT MIKE HALL||STREETSBORO||SEASON FINISHED||FINAL RECORD: 8-1|
|CB JORDAN HANCOCK||NORTH GWINNETT (GA.)||IDLE||(7-3)|
|LB REID CARRICO||IRONTON||ROGER BACON (@London)||Saturday, 7 p.m. (10-0)*|
|RB EVAN PRYOR||WILLIAM AMOS HOUGH (N.C.)||SEASON PPD UNTIL SPRING|
|WR MARVIN HARRISON JR.||ST. JOSEPH'S PREP (PA.)||(4-0)|
|OG BEN CHRISTMAN||REVERE||SEASON FINISHED||FINAL RECORD: 4-3|
|S/CB ANDRE TURRENTINE||ENSWORTH (TENN.)||SEASON FINISHED||FINAL RECORD: 2-7|
|DT TYLEIK WILLIAMS||UNITY REED (VA.)||SEASON PPD UNTIL SPRING|
|ATH DENZEL BURKE||SAGUARO (ARIZ.)||@ HORIZON||Friday, 7 p.m. (3-1)|
|S JANTZEN DUNN||SOUTH WARREN (KY.)||CHRISTIAN COUNTY||Friday, 7 p.m. (5-0)|
|S/LB JAYLEN JOHNSON||CINCINNATI LA SALLE||MASSILLON WASHINGTON (@Marysville)||Friday, 6 p.m. (8-2)*|
|TE SAM HART||CHEROKEE TRAIL (CO.)||@ OVERLAND||Friday, 7 p.m. (3-2)|
|OT ZEN MICHALSKI||FLOYD CENTRAL (IND.)||SEASON FINISHED||FINAL RECORD: 7-3|
|P JESSE MIRCO||PROKICK AUSTRALIA||SIGNED WITH OHIO STATE|
|LB GABE POWERS (2022)||MARYSVILLE||SEASON FINISHED||FINAL RECORD: 6-2|
|ATH DASAN MCCULLOUGH||BLUE VALLEY NORTH (KAN.)||@ SHAWNEE MISSION NORTHWEST||Friday, 7 p.m. (5-2)*|
|LB C.J. HICKS||ARCHBISHOP ALTER||ST. FRANCIES DESALES (@London)||Friday, 7 p.m. (8-2)*|
|CB JYAIRE BROWN||LAKOTA WEST||SEASON FINISHED||FINAL RECORD: 8-1|
|OT TEGRA TSHABOLA||LAKOTA WEST||SEASON FINISHED||FINAL RECORD: 8-1|
|TE BENJI GOSNELL||EAST SURRY (N.C.)||SEASON PPD UNTIL SPRING|
|TE BENNETT CHRISTIAN||ALLATOONA (GA.)||@ LASSITER||Friday, 7:30 p.m. (7-0)|
*Denotes playoff game
Header photo: Jayden Ballard and Jaylen Johnson