Whether they have been committed for a couple years or a couple months, the entire recruiting process will officially come to an end for those in Ohio State’s 2021 class who are putting pen to paper during the early signing period that runs from December 16-18.
We got the opportunity to speak with several of those future Buckeyes, and over the next two weeks we're previewing those players’ journeys as they fax their national letters of intent to Mark Pantoni and Co. and officially join the program.
- Jack Sawyer: “I'm more explosive and faster than I've ever been in my life.”
- TreVeyon Henderson: Shaking off Ezekiel Elliott, J.K. Dobbins comparisons
- Donovan Jackson: Unable to enroll early, Jackson set to follow Marrotti's plan in offseason
McCord ready to run NFL schemes and concepts in Day's offense
The story of what sparked Kyle McCord’s eventual commitment to Ohio State has been told a million times.
When he visited for the Buckeyes’ battle against Penn State in Happy Valley in September 2018, he saw the way then-offensive coordinator Ryan Day utilized Dwayne Haskins in his scheme, highlighted by Haskins throwing a pair of touchdown passes in the final seven minutes en route to a 27-26 victory after trailing by 12 points in the fourth quarter.
He was offered by Ohio State the following January, and he committed the following spring. On Wednesday, McCord will become the program’s first composite five-star quarterback signee since Braxton Miller in the 2011 class, which follows up a borderline five-star quarterback signee (C.J. Stroud) from the 2020 cycle.
McCord, ranked No. 25 overall and No. 3 at pro-style quarterback in the 2021 class, is set to become the next in line to build on one of Day’s biggest visions for the program since he took over. He wants to build the program into QBU, and that’s something McCord says the Buckeyes’ second-year head coach talked about with him during his recruitment.
“Definitely, when he was recruiting me, the success they had with J.T. (Barrett) and then Dwayne had a spectacular year and then getting ready for Justin’s (Fields) first year in Columbus,” McCord told Eleven Warriors. “So it was kind of the beginning of it. But seeing what he’s done with Justin these last two years is really solidifying his case for (QBU). I really think it’s a competition between us and Oklahoma for QBU right now.”
The McCord File
- Class: 2021
- Size: 6-foot-3/215 lbs
- Pos: QB
- School: St. Joseph's Prep (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★★
- Composite Rank: 25
As for how Day’s quarterback development and his offensive scheme can help take McCord’s game to the next level, there are a number of things that he says stand out about what Day offers – notably the NFL preparedness McCord will have coming out of his system.
“For Coach Day’s development, everywhere he’s gone, whether it’s college or the pros, he’s had successful quarterbacks,” McCord said. “As far as his offense goes, a lot of the plays they run are the same type of plays you see run on Sundays in the NFL. That’s extremely attractive to know that I’ll be running a lot of NFL schemes and NFL concepts once I get to school. Hopefully that’ll prepare me for the next level. But like I said, everywhere Coach Day’s been he’s had great success with the quarterbacks. In college, he’s helped them get to the league so I think that’s two things that have really stuck out to me – the offensive scheme and just his coaching.”
McCord will be one of Ohio State’s 14 early enrollees once he hits campus in January to begin his college career.
He wants to hit the ground running and “master the playbook as fast as possible” as he tries to get as good of a hold on it as early as he can. From there, the goals are putting on some muscle and getting faster under Mickey Marotti so that he can try to gain as much ground as he can on Stroud and Jack Miller in the race to become QB1 for the 2021 season.
“I think I’m obviously walking into a really unique situation with Justin probably going into the draft, so it’ll be an open quarterback battle,” McCord said. “Just trying to do everything that I can to be the best at the position, and whatever the team needs me to do I’ll do it. If that means being the starting quarterback, I’ll do that to the best of my abilities. If that means running scout team, I’ll do that to the best of my abilities. Whatever the team needs me to do, I’m gonna attack it 110 percent and do it the best that I can.”
McCord will have the chance to get a year up on the Buckeyes’ next five-star quarterback commit in Texas’ Quinn Ewers, who this week became the highest-ranked recruit in Ohio State history. Ewers is the next star passer who is set to play in Day’s offense, signaling yet another step toward that QBU title.
When Day and Co. were able to bring Ewers into the class, McCord says he wasn’t thrown off because of the nature of the program he’s headed into.
“I mean, going to a school like Ohio State you expect to compete at every single position so I wasn’t really surprised,” McCord said.
Final look at Egbuka decision
After a bit of waffling back and forth on my own part and some pessimism flipping to optimism over the course of less than an hour, my final call on five-star receiver Emeka Egbuka’s college destination is coming up scarlet and gray.
Egbuka, the No. 8 overall player and No. 1 receiver in the 2021 class, is announcing his commitment at 8 p.m. tonight. He is choosing between Ohio State, Oklahoma and Washington.
Official early enrollee list
After giving you guys a not-completely-confirmed list of Ohio State’s early enrollees on Thursday night, here is my final list that I have compiled for those enrolling early and those who will be arriving in June. The 14 early enrollees ties the program record set by the 2020 class for the most such signees.
Early enrollees: Jack Sawyer, TreVeyon Henderson, Kyle McCord, Jayden Ballard, Evan Pryor, Reid Carrico, Marvin Harrison Jr., Ben Christman, Tyleik Williams, Denzel Burke, Jantzen Dunn, Zen Michalski, Sam Hart, Jesse Mirco
Enrolling in June: Donovan Jackson, Mike Hall, Jakailin Johnson, Jordan Hancock, Andre Turrentine, Jaylen Johnson