The good news finally came.
Early on Monday morning, North Carolina 2023 three-star running back Daylan Smothers was contacted by his high school football coach. Smothers was told OSU running backs coach Tony Alford had liked what he saw from the 5-foot-11, 182-pound prospect and was going to get an offer from Ohio State on Monday.
Smothers is ranked the 326th-best prospect and the 19th-best running back in the 2023 cycle, according to 247Sports. He has offers from 23 Division I schools including Florida State, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State. Smothers, who also runs track at Julius L. Chambers High School (Charlotte, North Carolina), runs a 4.42-second 40-yard dash. He has a quick burst in his game and gets to the second level with ease.
H3udini pic.twitter.com/Yq8WbN6sqd— Daylan Smothers (@h3llywood) November 24, 2021
It’s no secret Ohio State would like to sign two running backs in 2023, with top-ranked five-star running back Richard Young being the Buckeyes’ first choice. Four-star Justice Haynes may be their second choice, but the offer to Smothers says a lot about how much potential they believe he has.
OSU hits the road
In a bit of an unexpected twist, last week’s loss to Michigan left Ohio State without a game to prepare for this week. While the defeat continues to sting, the now-open week left the Buckeyes’ coaches free time to hit the road as in-home recruiting visits begin this week.
At least five important 2022 prospects are going to receive in-home visits this week, according to 247Sports.
Four-star quarterback Devin Brown is meeting with the Buckeyes on Monday, while four-star safety Zion Branch and four-star defensive tackle Hero Kanu will get in-home visits from OSU on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Buckeyes will turn their attention to four-star safety Xavier Nwankpa and offensive lineman Carson Hinzman.
It makes sense why OSU would prioritize all five of those prospects before the early signing period on Dec. 15. Sunday’s news of Lincoln Riley departing Oklahoma for USC could directly impact Brown, Branch and Kanu.
Brown, who visited Ohio State on Nov. 20, just decommitted from USC last week before the Trojans hired Riley. Considering both the crowded OSU quarterback room and the success Riley has had developing quarterbacks, it would be easy to see why he may want to rethink his decommitment. On the other hand, it’s uncertain whether Riley will pursue Brown, which could depend on whether Sooners quarterback Caleb Williams joins Riley at USC and if the Trojans can flip 2023 quarterback Malachi Nelson, who decommitted from Oklahoma on Sunday evening.
Branch has been trending toward OSU for nearly a month now and 16 days may not be enough for the USC staff to get the 6-foot-2, 195-pound safety to change his mind. But, USC has been the biggest competition for Branch and his younger brother Zachariah, a four-star 2023 wide receiver prospect. Maybe OSU will remind the elder Branch on the in-home visit about the struggles the Buckeyes’ safeties had in 2018 when Alex Grinch, who is following Riley from Oklahoma to become USC’s defensive coordinator, was Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach.
Kanu still has one official visit remaining because he canceled his scheduled official visit to LSU after the firing of Ed Orgeron, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Kanu uses that visit on USC, considering he resides in California and was heavily recruited by Riley and his staff at Oklahoma.
Regarding Nwankpa, OSU is locked in a battle with his home state school Iowa for his commitment. Hinzman is also deciding between his home state school (Wisconsin) and the Buckeyes.
With signing day just over two weeks away, this week’s visit will be crucial to the Buckeyes’ efforts to round out their recruiting class of 2022.
OSU offers PWO safety
Ohio State offered Bryce Llewellyn, a senior safety from Indianapolis powerhouse Cathedral High School, a preferred walk-on opportunity on Sunday evening.
Thank you, @OhioStateFB @ryandaytime @CoachKee @JustinPerez_OSU for the PWO offer! Im truly blessed & honored for the opportunity! Go, Bucks ! @KyleNeddenriep @Bryan_Ault @SWiltfong247 @Coachpeebs @CoachABarth @CathedralFBall pic.twitter.com/hUmg7vqu62— Bryce Llewellyn (@LlewellynBryce) November 28, 2021
Llewellyn, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound senior, has scholarship offers from Dayton and Marian and also has a preferred walk-on offer from Notre Dame. The safety is a team captain and had a team-high 52 tackles, four interceptions and five pass breakups this season for Cathedral, the alma mater of former Ohio State standouts Pete Werner and Terry McLaurin.