The Hurry-Up: Peyton Woodyard Has “Great Connection” with Perry Eliano, Donovan Johnson and Corian Gipson Pick Up Ohio State Offers

By Garrick Hodge on May 3, 2022 at 5:30 pm
Peyton Woodyard

Two weeks ago, five-star 2024 California safety Peyton Woodyard essentially took a Midwest recruiting tour. 

Over a week's span, he visited Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame. Woodyard made his stop in Columbus on April 22 and told Eleven Warriors he thoroughly enjoyed his time at OSU. It was the first visit for Woodyard to Columbus since last June, though he did spend some time watching two of OSU’s Rose Bowl practices in California last December.

“It was great,” Woodyard said of his recent visit. “I’ve been talking to coach (Perry) Eliano over the phone, and shoot, I have a great connection with him. I just wanted to get out there and I was blown away. I talked to coach (Ryan) Day for a long time and had a great conversation with him. Just really everything about Ohio State I got to go into detail with that I didn’t really get to do last time.”

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Woodyard said his conversation with Day was extensive. 

“He was just letting me know that I’m a priority,” Woodyard said. “Just talking about all the details about Ohio State about what they have to offer as a program. Being able to connect with him and talk with him for what seemed like an hour was just really good.” 

On his visit, Woodyard also met defensive coordinator Jim Knowles for the first time. After listening to him teach his defensive scheme, Woodyard came away impressed with OSU’s new head coach of the defense. 

“That guy, I like him a lot,” Woodyard said. “He really knows what he’s talking about. He was explaining the defense to me and how it works. It's kind of crazy how everything in that defense falls together like puzzle pieces, that’s what he was explaining to me. It really intrigued me about him.” 

Woodyard said the three-safety look Knowles utilizes in his defense certainly intrigues him. The California prospect said OSU considers him playing either free or strong safety at the next level, but more likely free safety because of his ability to blitz, play deep and play man-to-man coverage.  

“I think it’s great,” Woodyard said of the scheme. “It gives, in my opinion, the best position on the field to have three of them at the same time. We kind of do that in our high school right now, we have a four-safety defense pretty much. It works out pretty well. So I like the idea of having three safeties on the field and it seems like a fun defense to play in.” 

Woodyard, who has more than 30 Division I offers, said the biggest factors in his eventual decision will be his connection with a college’s coaching staff and where he feels the most comfortable. Ohio State has certainly done enough to merit consideration in those factors. 

“I think what would be the most appealing thing (about Ohio State) is the new defensive staff,” Woodyard said. “Coach Eliano at Cincinnati put a bunch of dudes out into the league, Jim Knowles and his track record is really good as well. I think that’s the most exciting thing, to see them develop DBs again and get them out to the league like they have been for years.”

Woodyard said he hopes to visit Columbus again sometime in the fall for a game visit. He was supposed to attend the Oregon game last season, but was unable to make the trip due to travel issues.

“(Going to a game) at Ohio State is something I really want to do,” Woodyard said. 

He does not have a specific timeline for when he wants to make a commitment, though he’ll likely start narrowing his focus before his junior year.

“In the summer I’ll probably go down to southern and East Coast schools that I’ve been talking to,” Woodyard said. “After that, I’ll probably start narrowing my list down and watch the teams throughout the season and see how everything plays out.”

Johnson receives OSU offer

Ohio State has offered its second running back of the 2025 class. The Buckeyes extended an offer to Georgia running back Donovan Johnson on Tuesday, giving the rising sophomore 10 Division I scholarship offers thus far. 

Other schools to offer Johnson include Arkansas, Boston College, Coastal Carolina, Florida State, Georgia, Iowa State, South Carolina, UCF and Virginia Tech. He does not yet hold a composite recruiting rating.

In 13 games last season for Calvary Day School (Savannah, Georgia), Johnson ran for 1,336 yards on 170 carries (7.9 yards per carry) and scored 10 rushing touchdowns while averaging 102.8 yards per game. He also caught 14 passes for 129 yards. 

Gipson offered by Buckeyes

On Monday, Ohio State safeties coach Perry Eliano was in Texas to extend an offer to four-star 2024 safety Corian Gipson.

Gipson is ranked as the 157th-best player and the 15th-best safety according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound safety has racked up 22 Division I offers, including Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Florida State, LSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech. 

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