As we've written countless times, we feel pretty strongly that Chandler (Arizona) receiver Kyion Grayes will eventually lock his name into the Buckeyes' 2022 class at some point this winter or spring.
If and when he does commit to Ohio State – we feel it's only a matter of time, though Oregon is making a strong push – his head coach at Chandler High School believes the Buckeyes would be getting one of the most talented and hardest-working players he has ever coached.
“I’m trying to picture him as a senior in high school and his skill level,” Rick Garretson told Eleven Warriors. “Because he’s got the ability to go deep. He’s got the ability with the ball in his hands to make things happen, and he’s a big-time route runner. Not everybody in high school is like that.”
Grayes works with former NFL player and Washington State receiver Chad Carpenter, who trains quarterbacks and receivers. Working hand-in-hand with a former receiver who knows the position well has done wonders for Grayes.
“He knows his craft so Kyion knows how to get off press coverage, he knows how to stem, he knows how to shake people. ... I'll be shocked if he doesn't contribute early in his (college) career,” Garretson said. “He can play inside or outside. We do that a lot with him in our attack. Obviously, you like it when safeties try to cover guys like that because safeties generally aren’t great cover guys. They’re usually run supporters.
“But he’s multiple enough and diversified to play in the slot or to play outside. He understands leverage. He understands space and how to go ahead and set things up. He has a very high football IQ as a junior in high school.”
The versatility he brings to the table is part of what would make him a great fit at Ohio State. So, too, is his attitude about where he wants to play. It doesn't matter to him. Wherever he goes, he says he's moldable and will do what it takes to get on the field at any spot.
“Anywhere. I’ll go anywhere. If you need me to play slot, Coach, I’m there. If you need me to play outside, I’m there. I’ll go wherever you need me to be,” Grayes said. “It just depends. I kind of like the slot because I get to work against the linebackers, but at the same time I like to go deep so I like being on the outside.”
Grayes finished with a team-best 10 receiving touchdowns to tag with 28 catches for 556 yards in helping Chandler go 10-0 and win a state championship this season. Despite those stats, however, Grayes' recruiting ranking has not shot up as we expected. He is still ranked just outside the top 300 overall and is No. 45 at receiver in the 2022 class.
Why is Grayes still underrated? That remains a bit of a mystery.
“I don’t know,” Garretson said. “Sometimes, you only know what you know. You can’t know every kid in the country. Sometimes Arizona doesn’t get the recognition. But go look around the country at some of the kids playing from Arizona – a bunch of quarterbacks, a bunch of skill guys.
“Bijan Robinson at Texas, we were playing him in the semifinals last year. Watching that dude run for 200 yards his last time out and I’m going, ‘Oh, God. One year ago, we were defending that guy.’ So you have a bunch of talent coming out of Arizona, but sometimes you don’t get the respect. … I’m not saying we’re IMG (Academy) or Mater Dei, but we’ve got players. Not everybody goes to Notre Dame and Ohio State.”
Once Ohio State jumped on board of his recruitment, Grayes' reputation in the college ranks went up as Texas, Penn State, Oregon and Miami (to name a few) all started reaching out.
“Let’s face it, any time Ohio State makes an offer, that is a huge deal,” Garretson said. “It just is. And then a lot of times people are gonna fall in line where it’s all of a sudden like, ‘Oh, shoot, I’ve gotta take a look at this kid.’
“They’re a machine. They’re a recruiting machine and a football machine. No question.”
No matter the ranking, whatever college eventually lands Grayes will be getting a solid player and an even better person, Garretson says.
“He’s a phenomenal player. But as good of a football player as he is, he’s also an unbelievable kid,” Garretson said. “They use that word all the time ‘grinder,’ but that kid is. He really loves football. Not everybody does, but he does. And he really works at it, and you can see the production and the results in his play.
“He’s embraced by his teammates, and he embraces his other teammates’ successes. He’s just one of those guys, and it comes across so clear when coaches meet him and get to start knowing him. ... He’s got a great family situation and family life. He’s a really grounded guy, and not everyone’s like that. They’re not. He’s a privilege to coach. I’m happy to be a part of his young life here in high school.”
And when it comes to those rankings, they are likely to continue ascending during this offseason and during his senior season at Chandler. By the time he signs with a team at the end of the cycle, he won't be outside of the top 300 overall or outside the top 40 at his position.
And by the time he does get to college and is a year or two into the program, Garretson expects his standout wideout to make a major impact as he grows throughout his career.
“You don’t wanna be that guy who never got better from their junior season in high school,” Garretson said. “Kyion’s not a 19-year-old guy. He doesn’t have facial hair on him. But when he develops and gets to be a 19- or 20-year-old kid, he’s gonna be a problem for whatever defenses he faces in college.”