The Hurry-Up: In-State Target Josh Padilla Talks “Shocking” Ohio State Offer, Nasty Streak, How Wrestling Career Has Paid Off in Football

By Zack Carpenter on March 24, 2021 at 6:30 pm
Josh Padilla

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.

Padilla talks OSU offer, wrestling career

The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind for Wayne (Ohio) High School offensive lineman Josh Padilla. But first, let’s take you back to about two weeks ago.

Padilla, a 2023 riser out of the Huber Heights program, got a Twitter notification on March 7 that Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson had retweeted one of Padilla’s wrestling highlights after he won his district championship in the 285-pound class.

“That’s when I knew Ohio State was looking at me,” Padilla told Eleven Warriors this week. “They’ve seen my wrestling and been following my wrestling career. Coach Wilson and Coach (Kennedy) Cook started following me, I think after they saw that. They started looking more into me.”

About four weeks ago is when Greg Studrawa and the rest of the Buckeye staff told Padilla they started digging more into his sophomore year film, and “they’ve been following me ever since.”

That led to Ohio State speaking with Padilla’s coaches and doing some homework on the 6-foot-4, 265-pound offensive tackle. On Monday, a month-long process led to Padilla getting that potentially life-changing call from his home-state program – a call that had a twist ending.

“I’m just sitting in bed on my phone, and my coach sent me Coach Wilson’s contact (information), and I knew right away it was Ohio State,” Padilla said. “I was super shocked. I called him, and I didn’t know I was gonna get offered. I thought he was just saving my contact and getting in touch with me.

“Then he put Coach Stud on the phone, and I knew something was up. I was talking to Coach Stud for a while, and he offered me at the end. He told me this should make me grind harder and everything. I was speechless. It was super shocking.”

Padilla’s name is one that quickly came onto the scene over the past few days, just two weeks after his teammate and offensive line trenchmate, Aamil Wagner, was offered by the Buckeyes.

The reasons for why Wagner was finally extended that Ohio State offer are obvious:

“He’s crazy athletic,” Padilla said. “Aamil, he can get to the second level super quick, and his outside run game is beyond top level. I feel like he can just manhandle kids in the outside zone runs better than anyone in the nation.”

But what about Padilla? Why did Ohio State decide to dish out its fourth offer to an in-state 2023 prospect to him? It’s pretty simple: he exudes the nasty streak the Buckeyes love in their offensive line recruits.

“I was talking to Coach Stud and he said, ‘We can teach technique, but we can’t teach mental toughness and dominance. He said that’s what I have,” Padilla said. “They said that I just get after it. That’s what they love about me, that I just go for it every single play. They haven’t really talked about (offensive lineman techniques with me), they were just telling me how dominant I was.”

So much of that nastiness and toughness comes back to his wrestling background. He’s a lifelong wrestler who won eighth place in state this year after district and sectional titles, and he has been able to harness that ability on the mat and translate it to the football field.

“I think wrestling helps me a lot, especially as an offensive lineman because it’s one-on-one,” Padilla said. “Basically, when you’re playing offensive line you’re going one-on-one almost every single time. It helps you prepare to dominate and keeps your mentality super strong. It just allows you to dominate people and have that advantage over everyone.”

Padilla plays at right tackle, opposite of Wagner, on the Warriors’ line. Padilla, however, is almost certainly going to play on the interior at the next level – likely at guard, but Padilla says he could probably play center, too.

It’s still very early in Padilla’s career, so his position could change, but a move inside seems pretty clear already.

What also seems clear is Ohio State has firmly entrenched itself as the top school in the running for the in-state prospect. But Padilla is steadfast in saying he will take his time and remain patient with the process. There really is no reason to rush, after all.

“It’s my home team, I grew up around Ohio State. Once I get to start having relationships with coaches I’ll start narrowing my decision on the schools that’ll be in my top five,” Padilla said. “I think that just seeing everything straight (is important in this process). Making sure you have the relationships with the coaches, making sure you look at the school and the facilities, talk to the coaches and see their personalities. Just making a connection with every team that offers me.”

For now, and over the course of the spring, summer and fall, he can focus on helping Wayne continue to raise its ceiling – along with Wagner – and reach the heights he believes they can hit.

“Our offensive line coach always tells us to be the best offensive tackle tandem in the nation, dominate everyone, put people into the ground and just overall be the best offensive linemen in the state of Ohio,” Padilla said.

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