Landon Pace has no shortage of connections to Ohio State.
His father, Orlando Pace, is one of the all-time great players in Ohio State history. A two-time unanimous All-American as the Buckeyes’ starting left tackle, Orlando Pace became a scarlet and gray legend while making the word pancake synonymous with a knockdown block.
Landon’s older brother, Jalen Pace, has already followed in his father’s footsteps. Jalen joined the Buckeyes in 2021 as a walk-on linebacker and is entering his second year at Ohio State.
Now, Landon is hoping he’ll get the chance to continue his family’s legacy in Columbus.
The younger Pace was in Columbus on Tuesday to participate in Ohio State’s third high school football camp of 2022. A tight end in the recruiting class of 2025, Pace felt he was able to put his size, strength, hands and athleticism on display as he went through more than two hours of drill work with Ohio State offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson on Tuesday.
“I think I did pretty well,” Pace said after his workout. “Still, there's always room for improvement.”
Pace, who measured in at 6-foot-2 and 216 pounds and ran a 5.1-second 40-yard dash on Tuesday, did not leave the camp with an Ohio State offer. But it’s possible he could earn one in the future, especially considering his family connections.
Going into just his sophomore year at St. Louis University High School, Pace already has a trio of FBS offers from Boston College, Connecticut and West Virginia. And he’s already been in communication with Wilson for about three months.
“We have a pretty good bond right now. It's only gonna get stronger from here,” Pace said of Wilson. “He really cares about the athlete or the football player. So I really like that about him.”
Pace plays on both sides of the ball at SLUH and earned second-team Freshman All-American honors as a linebacker from MaxPreps last year. He worked out exclusively as a tight end on Tuesday, however, and says he likes everything about playing that position.
As you might expect from the son of a Hall of Fame offensive lineman, Pace takes particular pride in his blocking.
“It's always good to get better at that,” Pace said. “That’s always my highlight.”
Given that, it doesn’t bother Pace that Ohio State’s tight ends block far more often than they catch passes. But Pace said the biggest thing he’ll take away from Tuesday’s camp was the pass-catching techniques he learned.
“How to use my hands more when I'm on the receiving end getting passes. That's what I learned a lot today,” Pace said.
Because of his family’s history with the Buckeyes, he feels sentimental value even in just camping at Ohio State.
“It means a lot to me,” Pace said when asked what Ohio State means to him. “Growing up here going to games like that, so just to be out here and to compete is a blessing.”
Pace would feel honored if an Ohio State offer eventually comes his way.
“That'd be awesome to me. That’d mean the world,” Pace said. “That'd be great.”
Pace does not currently have plans to visit any other schools this summer. With three more years of high school still to go, Pace is in no rush to make any decisions with his recruitment any time soon.
He was at Ohio State’s spring game in April, though, and is planning to be back at Ohio Stadium for the season opener against Notre Dame on Sept. 3.
As he prepares for his second year of high school, Pace wants to get bigger, stronger and faster. And he’s grateful to have a father who can pass along his own football knowledge from his illustrious careers both at Ohio State and in the NFL.
While Pace said his father has stayed mostly hands-off with his recruitment – ”he’s not a big tech guy,” Pace said – the younger Pace has soaked up his father’s advice on the field.
“He has a big impact on my career,” Pace said. “He always teaches me certain stuff. So it’s always a blessing to have him as a father.”