The Hurry-Up: Donovan Johnson Building Relationship with Tony Alford, Peyton Joseph Picks Up Ohio State Offer, Samson Okunlola May Take Official Visit to Columbus

By Garrick Hodge on May 11, 2022 at 5:30 pm
Donovan Johnson

Until recently, 2025 Georgia running back Donovan Johnson only vaguely knew of Ohio State’s interest in him. 

OSU running backs coach Tony Alford had followed Johnson on Twitter beforehand, an early sign a college coach is at least somewhat interested in you. 

Then on May 3, Alford showed up at Calvary Day School (Savannah, Georgia) to present Johnson with a scholarship offer to Ohio State.  

“I knew they were interested because (coach Alford) followed me on Twitter, but I didn’t know Ohio State was actually looking at me,” Johnson told Eleven Warriors. “Because it’s THE Ohio State University. So it was pretty great to find that out.” 

Upon receiving the offer, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Johnson was ecstatic. 

“It was fantastic,” Johnson said. “Coach Alford came down to see me, and it was really awesome. Instantly, we connected. I called him later that evening and we talked about building our relationship and even outside of sports. Being on a relationship level outside of sports academic wise just makes you feel way closer to a coach.” 

Alford didn’t get too much into what he liked about Johnson as a prospect while on the phone or in person, but he did offer a small glimpse of why OSU is interested in the talented freshman. 

“He said for my size, as big and as tall as I am, how fast I am is phenomenal,” Johnson said. 

Johnson definitely burst onto the national recruiting scene with a prolific freshman season, running for 1,336 yards on 170 carries (7.9 yards per carry) and scoring 10 rushing touchdowns while averaging 102.8 yards per game. He also caught 14 passes for 129 yards. His standout season led to more than 10 Division I scholarship offers very early in his recruitment process.

“It was great,” Johnson said of his big year. “My line helped me out a lot and my quarterback threw me some great passes. Without them I couldn’t have been as successful as I was this year. I’m truly blessed to have them, and I’m truly blessed to do what I did this year. I put in the work in the offseason and I’m dedicated to my craft in practice.” 

Johnson isn’t satisfied with only one successful high school season, though, and continues to work on molding himself into a complete running back. 

“I can be anything, I’m pretty versatile. I like to catch out of the backfield and I’m pretty fast, too,” Johnson said. “In the 100-meter dash, I’m trying to get my time down to 10.3 (seconds). Right now, I’m running 10.5. Me being a bigger back as well, I hope to be pretty big my senior year, around 225 pounds. Really, I can be any type of running back, being a first down guy to being someone capable of scoring at any time.” 

Where Ohio State is concerned, Johnson said he’d be intrigued by joining a program that has produced plenty of highly-successful tailbacks. 

“A lot of great running backs came through there,” Johnson said. “J.K. Dobbins, Ezekiel Elliott, Eddie George, all these great running backs came out of there. They’ve been tremendous, and they have a great coaching staff and seeing what they’ve done in past years is really great.”

The Georgia standout says he’ll “most definitely” visit OSU this summer, but doesn’t have an exact date set yet. 

Joseph picks up OSU offer

Ohio State has offered its third offensive tackle of the 2025 class. Georgia prospect Peyton Joseph announced he had picked up an offer from the Buckeyes on Tuesday via his Twitter account. 

The 6-foot-4, 280-pound Joseph has racked up eight Division I offers, a list that includes Buffalo, Colorado, Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ole Miss and Troy. He does not yet hold a composite ranking. 

Okunlola may take official visit to OSU

It’s no secret OSU continues to search for a premier offensive tackle to anchor its 2023 class. While five-star Massachusetts product Samson Okunlola told Eleven Warriors in the winter he hoped to make an official visit to Columbus sometime this spring, but that never materialized, even though the 6-foot-6, 295-pound product took visits to other schools in the Midwest.

Nevertheless, Okunlola told 247Sports recently he’s still considering taking an official visit to OSU, although he has not specified any school or date for an official visit yet. Contenders to earn an official visit from Okunlola include OSU, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, Michigan State, Oregon, Penn State, and perhaps a few others. 

Okunlola told the recruiting network he’ll take either three or four officials in the summer, and save either one or two of his official visits for sometime during the fall. 

"I think of another big-time program," Okunlola told 247Sports of Ohio State. "They just need a little more linemen in there."

Okunlola says he will release an updated top schools list on June 2. 

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