The Hurry-Up: Kyion Grayes Excited for Brian Hartline’s Coaching and Potential Matchups With Will Johnson, Kojo Antwi Leaves OSU Off Final List

By Zack Carpenter on March 2, 2021 at 6:30 pm
Brian Hartline

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 excited about Hartline’s coaching, matching up with Johnson

In case you haven’t heard, Ohio State’s latest receiver commitment, Kyion Grayes, has been compared to Chris Olave. Pretty confident we’ve hammered that point home by now.

And so has Grayes, whose comparison to Olave is legitimate, and it’s one that he fully embraces.

“I would basically be, I wouldn’t say I would duplicate what Chris Olave does, but I would try to do that and up it to another level,” Grayes told Eleven Warriors. “Because I know he’s good player, but that’s really the only thing I can do because that’s one person I can really look at and simulate my game to.”

As far as the fluidity to his game, crisp route-running ability and just the overall smoothness of his receiving ability (which has mostly come out of the slot of late, in contrast to Olave’s third season at Ohio State), he absolutely stacks up with Olave. Those are three things that jump off the page when watching Olave, and those are reasons that he’s expected to be a first-round NFL draft pick when he decides to finally throw his hat into that ring.

That’s certainly the ceiling that the 6-foot-2, 170-pound Grayes can hit, and he knows that. He also knows that he will only get to that point with the help of a top-level receivers coach, and that’s exactly what he’s going to get in Brian Hartline.

Hartline’s ability to take Grayes’ game to the next level is not lost on the young wideout. That has been on display over the past three years in the evolution of Olave’s game, and Grayes is ecstatic about getting that level of coaching.

“Just the talent I’ve seen him produce, it’s phenomenal,” Grayes said of Hartline. “So just being able to do that and being able to work with someone like him will just be crazy.”

Grayes made his big announcement of where he was going to continue his football career during an announcement on Sunday morning. That came as more of a surprise in the fact that he dropped his commitment without announcing a time and place for it (save for the tweet he sent out while boarding his flight back to Arizona, of course).

That is in contrast to that of five-star cornerback Will Johnson, whose commitment to Michigan fans knew to watch out for more than a week in advance.

Since Johnson’s commitment time was already known when we spoke with Grayes, we asked the four-star receiver about the juxtaposition of his announcement that he would join the Buckeye offense on the same day that Johnson was joining the Michigan defense. Eventually, those two are likely to match up with one another (perhaps in one-on-one coverage down the field, though Grayes is likely to line up in the slot during his Big Ten career while Johnson is an outside corner), and that’s what made it really cool that they committed within hours of each other.

We’ll surely be talking about that for a long time. At the very least, you’re certain to hear it on TV broadcasts as announcers use it as a fun fact down the road if the two find themselves squaring up one-on-one someday on the last Saturday of November.

“I’ve talked to him, I’ve never really met him, but I know who he is,” Grayes said of Johnson, admitting the novelty of two players committing to opposite teams of the biggest rivalry in college football as a pretty cool fact thrown into each of their recruitments. “It would be kind of a big show for both those schools. It’ll give both schools hype in a sense. It would be great (to play in that matchup), it would just help make you even more great. It’s nice. I didn’t even think about that. It’s crazy.”

Antwi leaves Buckeyes off final list

In keeping with the theme of highly prized 2022 receiver targets, Lambert (Georgia) four-star receiver Kojo Antwi is set to make his decision soon, and the Buckeyes are no longer part of the process.

Instead, the No. 94 overall player and No. 13 receiver who was moved into the top 100 last week, tells 247Sports' Rusty Mansell that he is down to Georgia, Alabama and Texas A&M in his final three and that he will be coming to a decision in the near future:

“I think I am down to three, Georgia, Alabama and Texas A&M,” Antwi said. “Just the relationship with the receiver coaches at those three schools, we all talk constantly , just really showed me they want me and I feel comfortable with them.”

Texas A&M seems to have quite a bit of momentum here, which is surprising considering his proximity to the Bulldogs and the fact that they have done a tremendous job in his recruitment. Having a brother very close to College Station, though, is making an impact as is the Aggies having him as their No. 1 receiver target on their board.

For Ohio State, C.J. Williams would likely take the top spot on its board with Kaleb Brown also there. Alternatively, the Buckeyes may elect to stick with two receivers in the class (though they would ideally like to land three in each class) or wait for another receiver target to pop up during the spring and summer camp/7-on-7 circuit.

Either way, it looks like Brian Hartline has clearly lost his recruiting touch.

Penn State enters Hayden race

Tennessee legacy Dallan Hayden hails from Memphis and has a family history with the Volunteers after his dad played as a running back there a couple decades ago. You can check out our previous interview with Hayden here.

The four-star running back, who received a ratings bump into fringe top-200 overall range and No. 22 at his position, already has a top four of Ohio State, Tennessee, Oregon and Notre Dame. However, Notre Dame picked up a running back commitment from Jadarian Price recently, and now Penn State has entered the Hayden sweepstakes with an offer.

This could be a significant offer either in the fact that Penn State now believes it is slipping with in-state running back Nicholas Singleton of Governor Mifflin (Pennsylvania) or perhaps it is trying to give Singleton a bit of a push in the Nittany Lions' direction.

Singleton is one of Tony Alford's top-three targets at running back in the 2022 cycle, right up there with Hayden and Georgia's Damari Alston. Singleton thus far is the only one of those three who has visited Ohio State.

Alston and Hayden have both told Eleven Warriors that they are looking to make a trip to Columbus as soon as they can, and if it weren't for the extension of the dead period through May 31, those visits may have already happened.

Campbell's top eight

Jihaad Campbell, a three-star prospect in 2022, has narrowed list down to eight schools with the Buckeyes up against Georgia, Oklahoma, Clemson and a host of others.

Campbell was offered by his top two recruiters, Larry Johnson and Matt Barnes, in mid-November, and the Buckeyes have stayed in contact ever since and have become one of the top teams he has his eyes on.

Ohio State, he says, likes him as a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker who could help its defense: "They think I have great ball skills and that I am a versatile player," he told Eleven Warriors.

He is only ranked as the No. 388 overall player, No. 20 weakside defensive end and No. 52 player in Florida. You can expect those to rise, but he doesn't pay attention to them anyway.

“Rankings never really meant anything to me,” Campbell said. “I just go out there and play the sport I love and go 100 percent at it.”

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