What Kaleb Brown's Commitment Means for Ohio State's 2022 Recruiting Class

By Dan Hope on June 7, 2021 at 8:10 pm
Kaleb Brown

Brian Hartline just landed yet another top-100 wide receiver.

With his commitment to Ohio State on Monday, Kaleb Brown joins Caleb Burton as the second wide receiver ranked among the top 100 overall prospects in the class of 2022 who is now committed to play for the Buckeyes, and is now set to become the 11th top-100 wide receiver to sign with Ohio State since 2019.

Ohio State was already going to be loaded at the wide receiver position for years to come, but Brown – the No. 6 wide receiver and 63rd-ranked overall prospect in the 2022 class – brings a different skill set than most of the other receivers Ohio State has signed in recent years, which could make him a dynamic future weapon out of the slot for the Buckeyes.

On the Field

At 5-foot-11 and 177 pounds with experience playing both running back and wide receiver at Chicago’s St. Rita High School, Brown fits the H-back mold that was a staple of many of Urban Meyer’s offenses at Ohio State.

As a running back during his sophomore season in 2019, Brown rushed for 1,967 yards and 28 touchdowns. He was an Illinois all-state wide receiver in his junior season, which was played in the spring and shortened to only six games, but most of his touches still came as a runner, as he gained 537 yards on just 52 carries while catching eight passes for 125 yards, with four of those eight catches going for touchdowns.

With another season of high school football still to play, Brown is already a two-time most valuable player of the Chicago Catholic League.

Brown has been a consistent big-play threat for the Mustangs, with breakaway speed – he also runs track and has clocked a 10.84-second 100-meter dash and a 22.17-second 200-meter dash – and good quickness to make defenders miss in the open field and separate as a route-runner.

If either Jaxon Smith-Njigba or Emeka Egbuka moves outside next year, Brown could potentially compete for an immediate spot on the two-deep at slot receiver as a true freshman.

The Buckeyes have mostly gone away from using hybrid players in the slot in recent years, and recent Ohio State recruits with similar skill sets to Brown – Mookie Cooper, Jaelen Gill and Demario McCall – never found a consistent role in the Buckeyes’ offense. Bringing in Brown, though, suggests that Ohio State would like to once again have a running threat from the slot receiver position in the future.

In The Class

Brown becomes the third wide receiver in Ohio State’s recruiting class of 2022, joining Burton and Kyion Grayes. All three of them are ranked among the top 150 prospects in the 2022 class; Burton is the No. 4 wide receiver and 35th-ranked overall prospect, while Grayes is the No. 19 wide receiver and 146th-ranked overall prospect.

All of them should complement each other well, as Burton projects as an X receiver while Grayes projects as a Z receiver in Ohio State’s offense.

Adding that trio to a receiver room that will also include 2020 five-star recruits Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Julian Fleming and 2021 top-100 recruits Emeka Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jayden Ballard, among others, gives Buckeye fans many reasons to be excited about the future of Ohio State’s wide receiver room even with the likelihood that Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson will both be in the NFL a year from now.

The Buckeyes have room to add one more receiver to the class, too, after Jameson Williams transferred to Alabama and Gee Scott Jr. moved to the tight end room. Ohio State is expected to continue recruiting four-star wide receivers C.J. Williams and Kojo Antwi, either of whom would add yet another top-100 prospect to the receiver room. As of now, however, they’re the only two receivers with offers from Ohio State who remain uncommitted, and it’s unlikely the Buckeyes will hand out many more offers at the position considering the talent they’ve already landed.

Brown becomes the first player from Illinois to commit to the Buckeyes since Tuf Borland signed with Ohio State in 2016. His commitment could potentially help the Buckeyes land another receiver from Chicago, though, as Carnell Tate is one of Ohio State’s top wide receiver targets for the recruiting class of 2023.

With Brown’s pledge, Ohio State now has 13 total commitments for the recruiting class of 2022, including five of the class’ top 63 prospects and 11 prospects who are either four- or five-star composite recruits. With Brown’s commitment coming just hours after Georgia lost a commitment from five-star defensive tackle Bear Alexander, Ohio State has regained the lead in the 2022 class rankings, with a team score of 249.88.

Brown’s commitment to the Buckeyes also marks another recruiting win for Ohio State over Michigan, who was at one time considered the frontrunner to land Brown but ultimately fell behind the Buckeyes in Brown’s recruitment.

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