Payton Kirkland didn’t get a chance to see Ohio State’s campus in June.
But his multi-day visit to Columbus last week while attending the Buckeye Bash & BBQ was well worth it for the 2023 four-star offensive lineman.
“I loved it. It definitely exceeded my expectations, I’ll say that,” Kirkland said. “My mom loved it, my little cousin loved it, it was a great time.”
Kirkland, who spent the first 11 years of his life in Chicago before moving to Florida, added he was impressed with how modern OSU’s campus was, admitting he thought it would look older since “it’s a pretty old school.”
Ranked the 125th-best player in the 2023 class and the 11th highest-rated tackle prospect by 247Sports' composite rankings, Kirkland had already built a strong rapport with offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and running backs coach Tony Alford. Last week, he had a productive conversation with head coach Ryan Day.
“He told me it’s really just a big family up there,” Kirkland said. “They expect a lot out of their players and expect a lot out of their coaches.”
Having experienced the visit, Kirkland has already made a plan to attend the Buckeyes' home opener this fall. But it will be a mad dash for the 6-foot-5, 330-pound tackle to make it to Columbus from Orlando on time after Kirkland finishes his high school game for Dr. Phillips High School that Friday in September.
“I plan on going to the Oregon game, but it’ll be a tight race playing on Friday night and then having a noon kickoff.”
Wedin enjoys Columbus visit
Making his first-ever visit to Columbus last week, 2023 offensive lineman Clay Wedin wasn’t disappointed.
“I really loved all of it,” Wedin said, who attended the BBQ along with Kirkland and a host of other OSU targets/commits. “Experiencing the culture in the Big Ten is a lot different than the SEC. So, this was my first big visit experience, and everything I saw with tradition and culture was very impressive.”
Arrived at Columbus, ready for some BBQ! pic.twitter.com/HcvJZVnOwV— Clay Wedin (@ClayWedin) July 29, 2021
While the 6-foot-6, 295-pound Wedin isn’t rated in 247Sports’ composite rankings, 247Sports ranks him as a three-star recruit and the 19th-best interior lineman in 2023. The Tampa, Florida resident first met Alford in February of 2020 and was later offered by the Buckeyes later that summer.
“Ever since then, the contact started to grow a little larger, enough to when I finally got to visit them,” Wedin said.
Wedin said he has high NFL aspirations and would like to attend a school that can boost his development enough to get him there. He believes that could be Studrawa and the OSU strength and conditioning staff.
“When it comes to coach Stud and the strength staff, their versatility of their offensive line is amazing,” Wedin said. “Some schools just run, some just pass, but they do everything. My goal is to get into the NFL for a long term career, I feel like Ohio State is a successful school for doing that. Plus the academics are good, the support staff is great, and they’re always playing in big games. I always want to play at the highest level.”
Wedin, who also visited Michigan last week and holds offers from schools like Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Penn State and LSU, said he will return for a game this fall, though what game is yet to be determined.
“Definitely, I’d love to see how the schedule works out for high school and if we have a bye week that fits or not,” he said. “But I’d love to go to a home game.”
As for a commitment timeline, that’s still completely up in the air.
“I don’t have any set date,” Wedin said. “I don’t have a top 10 or 20 or whatever. I would say a perfect time for committing is in between next spring or summer. But if there isn’t a perfect fit, I’ll wait.”
MaxPreps announces All-America team
In two of last week’s Hurry-Ups, we linked MaxPreps’ sophomore and junior Preseason All-America teams, both of which had plenty of OSU ties to them. Over the weekend, Max Preps released its Preseason All-American team with all players regardless of class.
With the obvious caveat that Quinn Ewers no longer applies to this list for obvious reasons, there’s plenty of OSU commits or targets on the list, including Earnest Greene, Lebbeus Overton, Marvin Jones Jr., Xavier Nwankpa and more.
The full team can be found here.