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.
Grayes talks decommitment, Olave comp
If you've been following along in our analysis of Chandler (Arizona) receiver Kyion Grayes, you're well aware how similar the recruiting profiles and physical profiles of Grayes and former three-star California receiver Chris Olave line up. We dove into that early last month, as Grayes could be following a similar path and similar trajectory as the Buckeye star.
But we didn't get the chance to ask Grayes himself about that comparison until Wednesday night, and the now-four-star 2022 prospect – who was boosted with a ratings bump last week – was way ahead of us. He believes that comparison to Olave is spot on, as Brian Hartline has detailed to Grayes that he sees a lot of No. 2 in No. 7 (Grayes' number during a junior season in which he popped off for 556 yards receiving and a team-high 10 touchdowns on 28 catches for the state champion Wolves).
So Grayes checked out Olave on film and has watched his play as a second-team All-Big Ten receiver this season. He instantly saw why Hartline believes that.
“Really, it was just crazy to think because I had never looked at him like that,” Grayes told Eleven Warriors. “I knew who he was, but I didn’t really know he was like that. So when I looked him up, me and him are like the exact same kid, the exact same person. So it’s crazy to think about seeing him in that system.
“I looked at his 247 (profile), I looked at his film and his high school film, I looked at all of it and was like, ‘Dang, this is me. It’s just like me.’”
Luckily for Hartline and the Buckeyes, Grayes is now back on the market and could potentially get his shot at becoming the next Olave in Columbus. It's certainly trending for Grayes to wind up in Ohio State's 2022 class, and I would put my personal Crystal Ball in for that to happen, though the timeline remains uncertain.
What we do know for certain is that Grayes is no longer part of Arizona's recruiting class. Having been committed to the Wildcats since August 11, Grayes broke off his pledge on Monday by decommitting following the firing of Kevin Sumlin. He detailed to us some of the reasons why he made that decision.
“Right now, with the whole situation it’s different,” Grayes said. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen down there. I don’t know who their coach is gonna be, what their coaching staff is gonna be like. I don’t know what’s about to happen. Just everything going on there right now, I just don’t know so I wanted to open it up and play my cards right and continue to observe my options.”
In the days before and after that decommitment, Grayes has been receiving a large amount of attention from standout programs across the country, as his stock is exploding throughout the nation in his recruiting class. Since getting his offer from Ohio State, he's also received offers from LSU, Oregon, Texas and Penn State.
He was under the radar for a while, but he's gotten more attention since the Buckeyes started pursuing him, though he's trying to keep that from getting to his head.
“Really, just handling it. I mean, I’m kind of a level-headed kid so I don’t let none of that get to me so I just focus on myself and continue to do what I do and just work,” Grayes said. “I block all that stuff out.”
Grayes says he is hopeful to make a visit to Columbus around February to get a chance to check out the city and get a feel for campus, even though the dead period remains in place through mid-April.
Tuimoloau's final five
Amid the craziness of yesterday's jam-packed but drama-free early signing day for the Buckeyes, there dropped from the tip top of the Christmas tree a little early gift for Ohio State fans hoping to get one last massive star (in size, stature and skill) on top of a class that is already going to be fighting for the title of “best Buckeye recruiting class ever” when we look back on it years from now. (Holy smokes, sorry for the run-on sentence.)
Five-star defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau, the No. 3 overall player in the country, cut his list from seven down to a final five during an interview with CBS Sports, and Larry Johnson's crew is included on the list.
Tuimoloau is down to Ohio State, Alabama, Oregon, USC and Washington, a group of five that includes no real surprises.
“With Ohio State, getting a chance to talk to Coach Day and especially with Coach Larry Johnson and his history of putting D-linemen into the league,” Tuimoloau said on CBS Sports HQ when asked to detail why the Buckeyes made his list.
Behind a like-minded personality in Johnson and the longtime defensive line coach's propensity for developing his players into NFL draft picks and successful pros, the Buckeyes were already standing in a good position. They also had a good leg-up with former Eastside Catholic teammate Gee Scott Jr., the first Buckeye signee in the modern recruiting era from the state of Washington, giving Tuimoloau some proof there is a pathway to success for players from the state to go to Columbus.
And now, with Emeka Egbuka in the class, there is yet another Washington player set to head to Ohio for Tuimoloau to get feedback from.
“Now my role as a commit is to go after some other guys with J.T. being the main one since he lives in my state and we've been friends since like sixth grade, so I'm definitely gonna be on him heavy to come join Ohio State,” Egbuka said on CBS Sports HQ. “You've just gotta stay on him heavy. I've been calling him, FaceTiming since I committed. We're good friends so we joke around about it and make it a good time. But I definitely want him to come play for us and just help the Buckeyes grow.”
Egbuka to enroll early
As a last little tidbit, I was able to confirm Jeremy Birmingham of Lettermen Row's initial report that Egbuka will, in fact, be enrolling early at Ohio State.
As I've said all week, that was what I strongly suspected the five-star receiver would eventually choose to do, and now we have our definitive answer.
“I do think that for him to compete for a starting position right away, he probably needs to be in spring ball,” Colby Davies, Egbuka's head coach at Steilacoom High School, told us last week. “That’s gonna make it really difficult to compete right away if he’s not in spring ball. If he’s not an early enrollee, it would make it a lot more difficult for sure.”
Well, Egbuka is now going to get that chance, and he will give Ohio State a program record of 15 early enrollees, breaking the mark of 14 set by the 2020 cycle.
Header photo: Kyion Grayes – Eli Imadali/USA Today