The Hurry-Up: Ryan Day Believes Hero Kanu Has A “Really High” Ceiling, Preferred Walk-On Linebacker Jaylon Stoker Commits to Ohio State

By Garrick Hodge on January 31, 2022 at 6:30 pm
Hero Kanu

When four-star defensive tackle Hero Kanu announced his decision to commit to Ohio State on Jan. 8 at the All-American Bowl, the German-born standout told the public what Ryan Day and the Buckeyes had already known for a few weeks. 

Kanu, who has lived in California for a little over two years and played for Santa Margarita Catholic (Rancho Santa Margarita, California), silently signed during the early signing period but waited a few weeks to make the official announcement. Using hindsight as a benefit, it was easy to see why Day was so confident at his press conference on Dec. 15 that Ohio State would an impact defensive tackle. On Monday, Day addressed the media for the first time since Kanu announced his Ohio State signing, and Day lauded the potential the 6-foot-5, 293-pound man in the defensive trenches brings to the Buckeyes. 

“We’re very excited Hero is coming,” Day said. “Very unique situation coming over from Germany, but he plays for a really good program coming from Santa Margarita Catholic. I think as he starts to play more and more football, his ceiling is going to be really high. He was just here this past weekend and he’s excited to get going.” 

As Day said, Kanu just visited OSU this past weekend, mostly to get more familiar with his soon-to-be new home and bond with some of his future teammates. He will officially enroll at Ohio State in June. 

“His personality is excellent,” Day said. “His work ethic is excellent, he never had a bad day. I think he’s a joy to work with. But he’s a little raw because he’s still learning how to play the position. So when you see his gifts and how unique his background was, it’s just exciting to think about the potential that might be there.” 

While Ohio State knew for sure it was landing Kanu weeks ago, the German standout knew much sooner than that Columbus was the place for him. Kanu first visited Columbus in June as part of Premier Players International’s DreamChasers tour, and loved Larry Johnson’s coaching technique and the campus so much that he asked if he could spend another day in Columbus. When he went on a visit to Notre Dame in late July, he heard OSU was hosting a BBQ around the same time, so Kanu asked Brandon Collier, the organizer of the DreamChasers tour, if they could make a stop at Ohio State the next day.  

“I would say in July at that BBQ (I knew he was going to Ohio State),” Collier, a Cleveland native, told Eleven Warriors right after Kanu’s commitment on Jan. 8. “We weren’t supposed to go to Ohio State in July because we were at Notre Dame, so he was going to fly home the next day, but Ohio State had something the next day we didn’t know about. I thought ‘We’re just four hours away, let’s do it.’ I would say the smile on his face he had after that visit, it was just like ‘OK, this is where I want to be.’”

Like Day, Collier is bullish on the future of Kanu, who is ranked as the 128th-best prospect in the 2022 class per 247Sports’ composite rankings.  

“I know I’m going out on a limb, but I think he’s a top three defensive tackle in the country,” Collier said. “Just his upside and potential. I think they’re getting a kid that’s going to play three years and out. With the element of coach Mick, Larry Johnson and Ryan Day, I think they’re going to tap the untapped potential from him that could be very special. 

“He’s not a finished product at all, he didn’t play in Texas or Ohio where he got all the coaching or stuff like that, he played one-and-a-half years in California. But he has the most upside of any kid in this class. I guarantee in two years when they do updated rankings of where the kids should have been, he’ll be in the top 10 easily. The sky's the limit for the kid.” 

Stoker commits to OSU as PWO

Over the weekend, Ohio State landed a preferred walk-on commit from 2022 Dublin Coffman quarterback Mason Maggs. On Monday, the Buckeyes landed another PWO commitment for the 2022 class as Cincinnati linebacker Jaylon Stoker gave his verbal commitment to OSU. 

Stoker joins an in-state linebacker class of 2022 that also includes C.J. Hicks and Gabe Powers as well as Sonny Styles, a linebacker/safety hybrid. Stoker, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound All-Conference selection for Princeton High School, will add depth to the Buckeyes’ linebacking corps in 2022 and hope to make a contribution down the line.

Webb leaves OSU out of Top 11

Four-star 2023 running back Treyaun Webb has announced a top 11 school list, the first notable recruitment announcement he’s made since decommitting from Oklahoma in late November. Somewhat surprisingly, Ohio State was not listed among the 11 finalists. 

The Buckeyes were one of Webb’s top schools prior to his Oklahoma commitment last summer, so Ohio State’s omission from the list could mean the Buckeyes have backed off of recruiting Webb and like where they stand with their top 2023 running back target, five-star Richard Young, and the other six running backs they’ve offered besides Young and Webb. The Buckeyes would like to take two running backs in 2023. 

Washington commits to Alabama

One of Ohio State’s 2023 safety targets is off the board. Four-star 2023 Florida safety Elliot Washington announced his commitment to Alabama on Monday. 

Washington’s choice to commit to Alabama isn’t all that surprising, considering his father played basketball for the Crimson Tide. Ohio State already has one safety committed in the cycle in Cedrick Hawkins and remains interested in Caleb Downs, Joenel Aguero and R.J. Jones as some of their other top targets at the safety position.

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