The Hurry-Up: Ohio State “At the Top” of Keith Sampson Jr.’s List, Ohio High School Playoffs Continue and More Reactions from Penn State Visitors

By Garrick Hodge on November 1, 2021 at 5:30 pm
Keith Sampson Jr.
Keith Sampson Jr.

Ohio State made a big impression on many recruits that visited Saturday for the Penn State game.

That was certainly the case for four-star 2023 defensive tackle Keith Sampson Jr. The 6-foot-3, 285-pound North Carolina defensive standout went as far to say Ohio State is “at the top” of his list right now, though he doesn’t yet have a set commitment date in mind.

Sampson Jr. camped with Ohio State in June and certainly wasn’t disappointed in his return visit.

“The visit was really good,” Sampson Jr. told Eleven Warriors. “The boys played really good, they struggled at first but then they came together and were able to win.” 

Sampson Jr., ranked as the 217th-best overall prospect and the 33rd-best defensive lineman in his class per 247Sports’ composite rankings, talked to defensive line coach Larry Johnson and other members of the OSU coaching staff during his visit on Saturday. 

“They were all saying I was the type of person that they wanted at their school and my film looked really good this year,” said Sampson Jr., who visited OSU with his father. 

Sampson Jr. has 17 Division I offers to this point, including Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and his hometown school North Carolina. 

First-round Ohio playoff results

The first round of the Ohio high school football playoffs are in the books. One of the biggest upsets from the opening round involved multiple Ohio State targets. In Division 1, Region 2, No. 3 seed Wayne was upset 27-24 by No. 14 Dublin Coffman on a last-second Hail Mary. 

That’s a really tough way for Ohio State offensive line targets Aamil Wagner and Joshua Padilla to have their season end, but the budding Cinderella story of 2023 defensive lineman Will Smith Jr., the son of former Ohio State defensive end Will Smith, lives on to fight for another week. Smith Jr. and Dublin Coffman will face No. 6 Findlay, including Ohio State targets Luke and Ryan Montgomery, on Friday. 

A look at how Ohio State’s in-state targets and commits fared in the first round of the playoffs:

  • Lakota West 49, West Clermont 14: OSU 2022 commits Tegra Tshabola and Jyaire Brown led No. 3 Lakota West over No. 14 West Clermont 49-14 in Division 1, Region 4. They will face No. 6 Milford on Friday. 
  • Pickerington Central 48, Grove City 7: OSU 2023 target Sonny Styles led ​​No. 2 Pickerington Central over No. 15 Grove City 48-7 in Division 1, Region 3. Pickerington Central will face No. 7 Hilliard Bradley on Friday. 
  • Marysville 49, Delaware Hayes 7: The 2022 OSU commit Gabe Powers-led No. 1 Marysville football team crushed No. 16 Delaware Hayes 49-7 in Division 1, Region 2. Marysville hosts No. 8 Perrysburg on Friday. 
  • Sycamore 19, Lakota East 0: New 2023 OSU offensive line offer Austin Siereveld saw his season come to an end Friday night, with No. 5 Lakota East getting upset 19-0 by No. 12 Sycamore in Division 1, Region 4. No, not Bishop Sycamore, a real team. 
  • Findlay 28, Miamisburg 26: The Montgomery brothers tandem of Luke (2023 OL target) and Ryan (2025 QB target) helped No. 6 Findlay defeat No. 11 Miamisburg in a tightly-contested 28-26 affair in Division 1, Region 2. As stated above, the Montgomerys are set up for a showdown with Smith Jr. and No. 14 Dublin Coffman on Friday. 
  • Massillon 76, Columbus Independence 22: While 2023 running back target Willtrell Hartson didn’t play last Friday due to injury, his No. 4 Massillon Tigers didn’t need him, taking down No. 13 Columbus Independence 76-22 in Division 2, Region 7. Massillon will play No. 5 Westerville South on Friday.
  • Archbishop Alter 10, Monroe 7: You didn’t think Captain Buckeye was going to let his senior season end so abruptly, did you? The C.J. Hicks-led No. 15 Archbishop Alter upset No. 2 Monroe 10-7 on Friday in Division 3, Region 12 and will play Tippecanoe on Friday. 
  • St. Clairsville 55, Newark Licking Valley 38: New OSU 2022 commit Avery Henry and No. 2 St. Clairsville won a shootout over No. 15 Newark Licking Valley 55-38 on Friday in Division 4, Region 15. St. Clairsville will face No. 7 Carrollton on Friday.  

More recruiting reaction from weekend

As we wrote about Sunday night, there’s been a ton of buzz on social media from various recruits after about 50 prospects visited Columbus for the Penn State game. 

More reactions from the visitors continued to roll in on Monday.

Adrian Posse, one of three quarterbacks Ohio State has offered in the 2024 class (and all of whom were at Saturday’s game), enjoyed his visit to The Shoe.

“I loved the atmosphere at Ohio Stadium,” Posse told Eleven Warriors. “I got a chance to meet a lot of passionate fans. I think the Buckeyes played a great game. They started off rough but they came out of the second half as a different team.” 

Five-star defensive end Omari Abor continued his Twitter flirtation with OSU on Monday. 

Abor, who picked up a Crystal Ball in the Buckeyes' favor Sunday, pinned that tweet to the top of his Twitter profile, for what it's worth. Ohio State commits C.J. Hicks and Kenyatta Jackson Jr. continued their recruitment of Abor as well.

Speaking of priority 2022 targets, safety Xavier Nwankpa also liked what he saw in Columbus. Nwankpa hung around fellow 2022 safety target Zion Branch and his younger brother, 2023 wideout target Zachariah Branch, for most of the evening. 

Naturally, the usual suspects are doing their part to try to recruit Nwankpa to Columbus, too.

Vincent Shavers, a rising 2024 linebacker recruit from Florida, also took to social media to laud his trip. Shavers told Eleven Warriors his trip “was great” and that he met with OSU linebackers coach Al Washington on Saturday. Shavers is teammates at Monsignor Pace (Miami Gardens, Florida) with Ohio State offers Posse and wideout Joshisa Trader, who also made the trip. 

Chris Culliver, a 2023 wide receiver from North Carolina, enjoyed his time with the Buckeyes on Saturday. 

While 2022 defensive tackle Hero Kanu was the priority international recruit for Ohio State on Saturday, he wasn’t the only German prospect in town, as offensive tackle Moritz Oberhofer also made the trek to Columbus and got some face time with Greg Studrawa.

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