Even though he’s only entering his sophomore year of high school, Ohio State is already making 2024 quarterback recruit Jadyn Davis feel wanted.
Davis was the only quarterback recruit at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Thursday, when Ohio State hosted top prospects in the 2022, 2023 and 2024 recruiting classes for its Buckeye Bash & BBQ, and that made an impression on the rising sophomore signal-caller from South Carolina.
“I’ll be honest, a lot,” Davis said when asked if Ohio State was making him feel like a priority. “Being up there and being the only quarterback recruit up there meant a lot to me.”
Ohio State’s interest in Davis – and Davis’ interest in Ohio State – has been apparent ever since he participated in the Buckeyes’ high school football camp on June 22. On a day where the Buckeyes hosted some of their top targets in the recruiting class of 2023 and numerous other quarterbacks with Power 5 offers, Davis’ ability to sling the ball stood out, and he became one of just two quarterbacks from the 2024 class – along with Adrian Posse – to receive an offer from the Buckeyes this summer.
Two more top quarterbacks at Ohio State today: 2023 Colorado four-star Brayden Dorman and 2024 South Carolina quarterback Jadyn Davis. pic.twitter.com/1Dk6PZztTb— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) June 22, 2021
Just over one month later, Davis and his father returned to Ohio State to spend more time with Ryan Day, Corey Dennis, the rest of the Buckeyes’ coaching staff and some of the other prospects the Buckeyes are recruiting, and Davis told Eleven Warriors that he “truly had a blast.”
“It was great,” Davis said. “Just being able to get my dad up there and just meeting with the coaches and just being in Columbus in general was a good time.”
Davis said his relationship with Day and Dennis has “been growing great” as he’s had more and more interactions with Ohio State’s head coach and quarterbacks coach. He’s starting to build the connection with them that he believes a quarterback needs to have with his coaches.
“Sometimes, we don’t even talk about recruiting, we just talk about life, catch up, stuff like that,” Davis said. “So it’s always a good time when you’re talking to them.”
He said Ohio State made a positive impression on his father, too.
“I think going up there really opened his eyes to see how Columbus and Ohio State treats people, and he was really impressed,” Davis said.
Davis also made visits to Penn State and Tennessee over the past week, but is now shifting his focus to preparing for his sophomore season at Catawba Ridge High School in Fort Mill, South Carolina, where he has his sights set on winning a state championship after losing in the state semifinals last season. He says that will remain his primary focus throughout the fall, not the recruiting process – though he is planning to attend an Ohio State game this season when he can fit it into his schedule.
“Everybody I talk to says the Oregon game, being that that’ll be the first home game back at full capacity, so they said that’ll be jumping, but if my schedule doesn’t work out, then I’ll find another game,” Davis said. “But I’ll be back in Columbus for sure this season.”
Given that he is just a high school sophomore, Davis is in no rush to make a college decision any time soon. Yet Ohio State appears to be recruiting him as hard as just about any other quarterback in any class right now. And regardless of whether Quinn Ewers reclassifies to the class of 2021 or stays in the class of 2022, landing a top quarterback in the class of 2024 will be a major priority for the Buckeyes.
If Ewers reclassifies, the door could potentially be wide open for a quarterback like Davis to come in and compete for the starting job as a true freshman in 2024. Even if Ewers stays in the 2022 class, though, any quarterback that Ohio State signs in 2024 will likely have the opportunity to compete for the starting job by their second year on campus, and that’s something Day and the Buckeyes have already been using as a sales pitch to Davis.
“They brought Quinn up, but it wasn’t about the reclass,” Davis said. “If he ends up staying for high school, he’ll be ‘22 so I’ll just sit behind him for a year and then I’ll compete for the job.”
Davis, who's expected to be one of the top-ranked quarterbacks in the 2024 class once recruiting services begin publishing rankings for that class, does not lack confidence in himself, and that’s something that’s already made an impression on Ohio State.
“I feel like I was born for the bright lights, and that’s actually one of the things Coach Day said, he said, ‘I can just see it in your eyes, you’re cut different.’ And I said, ‘I am cut different,’” Davis said. “He was like, ‘You want to go to the Heisman?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to win three Heismans.’ I think that took him aback, but that’s just the kind of kid I am at the end of the day. I want to push myself to excellence.”
With the ability to make plays as both a passer and a runner, Davis says Ohio State’s coaching staff believes he can be a similar player to Justin Fields. That said, Davis also knows he still has a long way to go in his development, so finding a college where he believes the coaching staff can help him maximize his ability will be a major factor in his decision. While he wants to have a chance to play early, he says it’s more important to know the school he goes to will develop him the right way – and he believes Ohio State could do that.
“One of the questions my father had was how do they tailor the offense to the quarterback, or do they?” Davis said. “Some schools, they just, the quarterback has to learn the system. But like, Braxton Miller for instance, they had a RPO but it really wasn’t a RPO, it’d be like a read option pretty much where they’d just read the end because he was a scramble guy and a running guy. Whereas Dwayne Haskins, he was more of a pocket passer type guy to where they made it a true RPO where he read the ‘backer, but he wouldn’t run the ball. But with Justin, he could do both, and they said they could see me doing both as well.”
Perhaps most importantly for Ohio State’s chances of eventually landing Davis, he feels like he can trust Day to be honest and transparent with him. Davis wants to take his time with the recruiting process to ensure he makes the right choice, and even though Ohio State has made him feel wanted, he says they haven’t put any pressure on him to make a decision any time soon.
“Coach Day, I’m paraphrasing a little bit but he said, ‘We will never pressure a kid to commit to us, because if we pressure you to commit to us, you’ll always be able to say that they made me go here,’” Davis said. “He said, ‘We’re never gonna do that with a kid. We want you to want to be here, because if you’re here, then you’ll make everything happen.’
“So really, his message to me was just find someone that I’ve built a good relationship with, that I can trust and that knows how to develop a quarterback.”
He’s also confident Day will have his best interests in mind if he eventually chooses to become a Buckeye.
“Certain schools, I’ve talked to a lot of players where they’ve been recruited, but then they get to the school and it’s like they never wanted them. But every player that I’ve talked to that I know that’s at Ohio State, they say it’s nothing like that. It’s a brotherhood,” Davis said. “And him being transparent lets me know that I’ll always have a fair opportunity with him, if I do go to Ohio State, competing for a starting job or stuff like that.
“But I don’t want a coach to tell me what I want to hear, I want him to keep it real with me ... I don’t want them to have any hidden agenda, and Ohio State doesn’t have that at all.”