The Hurry-Up: Kenyatta Jackson Jr. May Be Nearing Commitment Date, Payton Kirkland Announces His Top 12 List

By Garrick Hodge on September 27, 2021 at 5:30 pm
Kenyatta Jackson Jr.

A decision could be coming sooner rather than later for Kenyatta Jackson Jr.

The 2022 four-star defensive end has been 50-50 on deciding between Oklahoma and Ohio State since July, according to his father, Kenyatta Jackson Sr. Jackson Sr. also said back in July a commitment could come “between tomorrow and the end of the year.” 

On Friday, Jackson Sr. told Eleven Warriors his son could be committed to one of those two schools before November, a timeline that’s contingent on the family getting a chance to attend an Oklahoma game before the month concludes. Whenever Jackson Jr. makes it to Norman to attend a Sooner game, Jackson Sr. estimates he’ll announce a verbal commitment shortly afterward once the family returns home.   

Jackson Jr. had a visit to Oklahoma penciled in for Sept. 11, but the family wasn’t able to make it. The duo are making it a priority to visit Oklahoma a second time before deciding between the Buckeyes and the Sooners. 

The younger Jackson took official visits to both Oklahoma and Ohio State over the summer, but also visited OSU a separate time in an unofficial capacity. 

“I’m trying to make it my business to make (a visit to Oklahoma) happen as soon as possible,” Jackson Sr. said. “We’ve been to Ohio State twice now, so the focus is on trying to catch a game at Oklahoma as soon as possible. Whatever happens after that, happens. Everything is still 50-50.” 

Oklahoma plays at home twice in October: Oct. 16 against TCU and Oct. 30 against Texas Tech. While Oklahoma will likely get the final visit before Jackson Jr. makes a decision, Jackson Sr. emphasized the Sooners are not ahead of the Buckeyes and everything is still at a dead heat.  

The family is in contact with both Oklahoma and Ohio State nearly three to four times a week and Jackson Sr. says there’s no other school in the conversation, even though the last top three Jackson Jr. put out also included Alabama.

“I told him you can only pick one school, you can’t pick two … He’s over here like ‘Man, I don’t know what to do.’ I’m just like ‘Man, go with your gut.’ You can’t go wrong with either one of them,” Jackson Sr. said. 

Jackson Jr., a Hollywood, Florida resident, is the 78th-best prospect and the seventh-best defensive end in the 2022 class according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. OSU doesn’t yet have any defensive line commits in the current recruiting class, and between ends and tackles, the Buckeyes would like to take around five. 

Top defensive line targets for Ohio State in the 2022 class besides Jackson Jr. include Shemar Stewart, Enai White, Omari Abor, Marvin Jones Jr., Caden Curry, Hero Kanu, Chris McClellan and Christen Miller

Kirkland announces top 12

A priority offensive line target for the class of 2023 has narrowed his choice down to 12 schools. Payton Kirkland, a four-star lineman residing in Orlando, Florida, announced a top 12 over the weekend consisting of Ohio State, Penn State, Ole Miss, Texas, Florida, Texas A&M, Clemson, Oregon, UCF, Illinois, Michigan State and Oklahoma. 

Kirkland visited Ohio State twice this summer, as recently as July 28. He planned to attend the Buckeyes’ game against Oregon, but couldn’t make a noon kickoff work with his schedule. He plans to attend another OSU game sometime this fall but is undecided on what game that will be. 

Kirkland is ranked as the 123rd-best prospect nationally and the ninth-best offensive tackle in the 2023 cycle. 

Barnwell picks PSU

A 2023 tight end that held an Ohio State offer has chosen another school, and a school inside the conference at that. Mathias “Mega” Barnwell, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound four-star prospect, announced his commitment to Penn State – where he was previously already committed before decommitting in January – over the weekend.

Barnwell is rated the 223rd-best prospect nationally and the 16th-best tight end in the cycle. He becomes PSU’s third commit of the 2023 class, joining five-star offensive lineman Alex Birchmeier and three-star cornerback Lamont Payne. The lone 2023 commitment OSU has secured is tight end Ty Lockwood, but OSU might take two tight ends in that recruiting cycle. 

Mitchell leaves OSU off top 7

A five-star 2023 cornerback with an Ohio State offer is likely headed elsewhere. After putting the Buckeyes on his top 10 list in August, Tony Mitchell, the second-ranked cornerback in 2023, left OSU off his top seven school list he announced Monday. 

With Mitchell leaving OSU off the list, the Buckeyes have only offered two other cornerbacks in the 2023 cycle: Cormani McClain and AJ Harris. Of those two, Harris is the much likelier option to end up at OSU.

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