The Hurry-Up: Ohio State Offers “Future First-Rounder” in Nation's No. 1 CB Tony Mitchell, Kyion Grayes and Other Buckeye Recruits Make Ranking Jumps

By Zack Carpenter on February 24, 2021 at 6:30 pm
Tony Mitchell

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.

More new offers

Ohio State continues to get after it on the recruiting trail in the 2023 class, extending a couple more offers on Tuesday and Wednesday to add to the nine players the Buckeyes have offered in the cycle over the past week.

Tony Mitchell

Since 1999, the start of the modern recruiting era, Ohio State has never signed a high school player from the state of Alabama. In fact, in the 2020, 2021 and 2022 classes combined, the Buckeyes only offered three prospects in tight end Christian Burkhalter and cornerback Ga’Quincy McKinstry, each of whom transferred to IMG (Florida) Academy at one point which helped them get on Ohio State’s radar, and defensive tackle Khurtiss Perry.

The program is hoping to land a big Alabama fish in the 2023 cycle, however, dishing out an offer to the country’s No. 1-ranked cornerback and No. 1-ranked prospect in the state in early five-star candidate Tony Mitchell.

In-state programs Alabama and Auburn were in on Mitchell early and have already made terrific in-roads there, and programs such as Clemson, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Michigan and Texas have also each established good, early relationships that are making an impact.

Ohio State took the next step in that same pursuit, though, on Tuesday night by offering a “very excited” Mitchell, the No. 19 overall player in the country out of Thompson High School.

“Everything!” Mitchell told Eleven Warriors when asked what stands out about the Buckeyes’ program thus far. “Great football team; Coach (Kerry) Coombs has put a lot of defensive backs in the league, and they play to a very high standard. They don’t disappoint.”

On the flip side, the long 6-foot-2, 180-pound Mitchell – who led Thompson with a team-high four interceptions, returning one pick and one fumble for touchdowns in addition to 50 solo tackles and eight tackles-for-loss for the state champions – instantly stood out to the Buckeye staff after watching his sophomore tape. Once again, the message from Coombs – who compared Mitchell to Jeff Okudah – harkens back to something he’s told a vast majority of his cornerback recruits.

“Coach Coombs loved my film and said I have that swagger on the field and that he sees me being a future first-rounder,” Mitchell said. “I can play anywhere in the secondary – (outside) cornerback, safety and nickel. I have good technique and great tackling ability; very good in the open field.

“I love the way they use (their cornerbacks)! A lot of press man and some zone. … (Coombs) loves how I play and sees me fitting great in the system at corner and playing some nickel and safety, too, using my versatility.”

If you want to check out something wild (and who doesn’t wanna check out something wild?), Mitchell’s Warriors were part of a 29-28 win in that state title game over Auburn in which they scored 10 points in the final 30 seconds to pull off an absurd comeback at Bryant-Denny Stadium in December. (The video is less than five minutes long, FYI, not the 18 minutes that it says at the beginning.)

Alex Birchmeier

The nation’s No. 2-ranked offensive tackle and No. 29 overall player, Birchmeier is also the top-ranked player out of Virginia.

Birchmeier is a projected Power-5 starter by 247Sports analyst Brian Dohn, who analyzed the sophomore – who holds offers from Arizona State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State and Virginia – as having the “frame, length to be an offensive tackle in college but can also be dominant guard. Excels as wrestler. Athletic, physical, punishing run blocker. Feisty and flexible. Plays with attitude. Quick feet and very good at pulling.”

Burton back, big moves for Buckeye commits and targets

Ohio State’s five-star receiver commit Caleb Burton out of Del Valle (Texas) missed his junior season while recovering from a knee injury. That time he missed is largely responsible for why Burton fell eight spots down to No. 22 overall (and No. 3 at WR) in the latest 247Sports Composite rankings that were released on Wednesday. (See some more notable player rankings below.)

Burton, however, looks like he’s back on track to making a statement this offseason and during his senior season. He released a video on social media this week in which he was running some fluid routes and looking good while doing it.

He should be shooting back up those rankings over the next few months once he’s back to full strength. He did, however, remain a five-star composite prospect.

Other notable Buckeye commits and targets in the latest composite rankings:

  • Quinn Ewers stayed at No. 1 overall.
  • Jaheim Singletary jumped ahead one spot to No. 9 overall and from No. 5 at cornerback to No. 4 CB – each one spot ahead of Will Johnson, who is likely to announce a commitment to Michigan this weekend.
  • All three linebacker commits dropped: Gabe Powers (-5), C.J. Hicks (-2), Dasan McCullough (-5)
  • Jyaire Brown jumped 11 spots to No. 112 overall while Lakota West (Ohio) teammate Tegra Tshabola dropped four spots.
  • Bennett Christian got a big boost of 94 spots to No. 313 overall while fellow tight end Benji Gosnell dropped four spots. Christian went from a three-star prospect to a four-star recruit, meaning the Buckeyes now have only four- and five-star commits in their 2022 class. That moved their average player rating up to 96.17 from the super, embarrassingly low 96.00 rating it was at previously.
  • Lo and behold, OT Kiyaunta Goodwin finally got some just desserts, making a splash by jumping from No. 102 overall and No. 10 at OT to No. 46 overall and No. 5 at OT. A big move for the big man, to be sure, but he’s certainly not done as he continues to grind toward five-star status and a shot at being the No. 1 OT in his class.
  • WR Kyion Grayes also finally received the big boost we have been waiting for. Grayes went from being ranked No. 313 overall and No. 46 WR to No. 126 overall and No. 17 WR, and he is also now ranked No. 1 in the state of Arizona (as opposed to his previous billing at No. 3). This all comes right ahead of a big four-day self-guided visit to Columbus this weekend that is likely to seal his commitment.
  • WR Kojo Antwi, whom the Buckeyes are a top-three school pitted against Georgia and Alabama, jumped 68 spots all the way up to No. 94 overall.
  • We compared CB Ryan Turner to Jordan Hancock last week as being a fellow Georgia cornerback whom the Buckeyes found and would later soar up the rankings. That proved true today as Turner went from being ranked No. 562 overall and No. 55 at CB as a three-star to No. 358 overall and No. 34 at CB as a four-star.

Header photo: Tony Mitchell – Gene Swindoll/247Sports

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