The Hurry-Up: Ryan Day Believes in Recruiting Multi-Sport Athletes, Aamil Wagner Commits to Notre Dame and Walker Lyons Announces Top 11

By Garrick Hodge on November 11, 2021 at 5:34 pm
Ryan Day

In this day and age, more high-level football recruits than ever are hiring personal trainers and specializing in workouts designed for football, rather than competing in winter or spring sports.

While that strategy may work for some recruits, Ryan Day was asked Tuesday if athletes that play multiple sports, specifically basketball, are coveted at Ohio State. Day responded that seeing an athlete compete in a non-football sport can tell you a lot about a player.

“I love multiple sport guys,” Day said. “My son was in fifth grade when a coach told him ‘You need to decide what sport you want to play.’ I almost jumped through the phone. I think the more sports you play, the healthier it is. You’re learning how to compete, you’re learning how to lose, how to get better, learning about discipline, you’re learning about so many things. And you’re learning different skillsets. Spacial awareness, hand-eye coordination, foot quickness, all those things in basketball are tremendous. I look at it a lot. 

“When we were on the road before COVID in December and January, we’d go to see underclassmen we couldn’t have contact with. We like to see a guy compete, you get to see how he’s coached, see that he lost by 20, so what’s his attitude? Is he kicking stuff and yelling at his coach, or is he encouraging his teammates about running back on defense and trying to take a charge in the fourth quarter down by 15? You just learn so much about people in those environments. You get a good snapshot into who they are.”   

There’s plenty of examples of multi-sport athletes on the current roster. Dawand Jones, Garrett Wilson, C.J. Stroud, Jack Sawyer and J.T. Tuimoloau – who talked to Chris Holtmann during his recruitment about potentially even joining the Ohio State basketball team – are among the Ohio State football players who were also prolific basketball players. Emeka Egbuka recently told the Columbus Dispatch that he had offers to play college baseball.

Offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Kevin Wilson, who was Indiana’s head coach from 2011 to 2016, has a special appreciation for basketball players after spending time in the Hoosier State.

“Having coached in the state of Indiana, every time I saw a 6-foot-5 kid that didn’t play basketball, I asked ‘Well, what’s wrong with you?’” Wilson said. “Personally, I know there’s a lot of great trainers, a lot of kids train year-round, but the competitive environment of having to make a free throw when the game’s on the line or stepping into a batter’s box, not having a false start on a 100-meter run is important. To put stress on yourself, to learn how to compete. If you can play as a defensive back or wide receiver at Ohio State, you can play high school basketball. In my room, I love tight ends that play multiple sports, I think it helps them become better players and it helps round them out as a person.”  

Wagner commits to Notre Dame

In-state 2023 offensive tackle Aamil Wagner sent some shockwaves through recruiting circles Thursday afternoon. On Tuesday, On3 reported the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Wayne offensive tackle was expected to choose between Penn State and Kentucky, the latter being the school where his brother played for two seasons and is a graduate coach. 

Wagner, who had Ohio State in his final five schools, picked Notre Dame instead, giving the Fighting Irish three commits total for 2023. 

"I chose Notre Dame because the coaches made the university feel like home and I felt that Notre Dame can not only provide me with a great football career but can put me in the best position for life after football," Wagner told 247Sports

While joining the Irish comes as a bit of a shock, it’s been no secret that Wagner has trended away from the Buckeyes for months. There was a thought Wagner has a frame better suited to play defensive end than he does to play offensive line. Once in-state offensive lineman Avery Henry became the third commit of Ohio State’s 2022 class on Oct. 20, that put the nail in the proverbial coffin of Wagner’s chances of joining the Buckeyes, who are now focused on Earnest Greene and Carson Hinzman as options to round out their offensive line class.

Wagner is ranked as the sixth-best prospect in Ohio, the 12th-best offensive tackle and the 134th-best overall prospect in the 2022 class. 2023 offensive lineman Joshua Padilla, who committed to Ohio State last week, is Wagner’s teammate at Wayne High School.

Lyons announces top 11

An Ohio State tight end target in the class of 2023, Walker Lyons, announced his top 11 schools Thursday afternoon. Ohio State, Ole Miss, USC, Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Michigan, Alabama, Oregon, BYU and Texas all made the cut. 

Lyons, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound tight end from California, is ranked as the 69th-best player and the third-best tight end in the 2023 class. He currently has one 247Sports Crystal Ball projection of Ole Miss. OSU already has one tight end committed for the 2023 class in Ty Lockwood, though the Buckeyes could take two tight ends in the cycle. 

Branch wears scarlet gloves

It was just a normal Thursday on Twitter. Then C.J. “Captain Buckeye” Hicks turned himself into the fashion police when it came to tracking the gloves of 2023 Ohio State wideout target Zachariah Branch.

While Branch wearing what appear to be Ohio State gloves may get some Buckeye fans riled up, it should be remembered that the 5-foot-9, 172-pound standout has also been seen this season decked out in USC gear while warming up for games.

There’s no denying there’s been some momentum with the Branches and OSU, though. Zachariah’s older brother, Zion, is a top priority safety target for 2022 and is rumored to be leaning toward the Buckeyes, especially considering the coaching turnover at USC. If Zion commits to Ohio State, that could eventually lead Zachariah to follow suit.

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