Ohio State quickly identified 2023 Texas cornerback Calvin Simpson-Hunt as a player it had to have last spring.
The four-star prospect had just finished a breakout junior season and picked up a plethora of offers in the spring, including Alabama, LSU, Baylor, Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas and USC. Problem was, he was already committed to Texas Tech and had been since November.
That didn’t stop the Buckeyes from putting a full-court press on Simpson-Hunt anyway. The Texas prospect only took two official visits this summer, one to Ohio State and one to Texas Tech. In the end, Tim Walton and the rest of Ohio State’s coaching staff did enough to sell him on becoming a Buckeye and officially flipped him from the Red Raiders on Thursday.
With Simpson-Hunt in the fold, the Buckeyes have added a speedy, physical cornerback to their 2023 cornerback corps.
On The Field
Simpson-Hunt may be a star football player, but he’s also an excellent track athlete. From watching his film, the 6-foot, 175-pound cornerback’s speed is evident, as he officially recorded a time of 10.67 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 21.77 seconds in the 200-meter dash last March. He also recorded a mark of six feet in the high jump and has run a 4.38-second 40-yard dash.
In Simpson-Hunt’s junior season, he was named a Texas District 11-6A first-team selection for Waxahachie High School (Waxahachie, Texas). Last year, Simpson Hunt racked up 29 tackles (5 for loss), one sack, one quarterback hurry, one interception and two pass deflections in 10 games, while also returning a blocked field goal for a touchdown.
Simpson-Hunt excels at guarding a top opposing wideout lined up on the outside and is efficient with using his length to press him and disrupt his burst off the line of scrimmage, even knocking some of them to the ground before they even truly go through their route progression. He’s equally adept at shedding blocks on run plays. He shows excellent ball skills in defending jump balls, and is hardly ever going to get beat deep by a wideout as evident by his elite speed.
While in zone coverage, Simpson-Hunt displays enough awareness to react to plays in front of him and the physicality needed to break up wide receiver screens. In occasional situations, Simpson-Hunt can add to a team’s pass rush when asked to blitz in an exotic pass-rush scheme. Simpson-Hunt is never afraid to be a special teams contributor, as he played on Waxahachie’s kickoff and field goal block teams and returned punts.
In The Class
Ohio State surpassed Notre Dame for the No. 1 overall spot in the 247Sports national recruiting when Kayin Lee committed to OSU Monday, but then the Fighting Irish picked up two more commitments this week and re-took the lead. Simpson-Hunt's commitment regave OSU the lead in that department, and it could be a fun arms race between the two programs this summer. The Buckeyes appear likely to finish with yet another top-five class when all is said and done at the bare minimum if this recruiting success continues.
The Buckeyes are almost done recruiting cornerbacks in the current cycle, but are still in search of one final piece to the puzzle. Simpson-Hunt became the 15th commitment in OSU’s 2023 class in total and its third cornerback in the class, joining four-star Florida cornerback Dijon Johnson and Lee. The Buckeyes will add one more cornerback in 2023, and it will likely be one of either Jermaine Mathews and Daniel Harris. And that will be sorted out this week.
Mathews has already included Ohio State on his recently released top six and has set a commitment date for 2 p.m. Friday. Meanwhile, Harris put the Buckeyes in his top four and is also announcing his college choice Friday.
OSU is the heavy favorite in the recruiting industry to land Mathews, while Georgia is perceived as the favorite for Harris.
Simpson-Hunt is the first player from Texas to give his verbal to OSU in the 2023 class. OSU has successfully landed multiple players from the Lone Star state in previous recruiting cycles, including Omari Abor and Caleb Burton in 2022, Quinn Ewers and Donovan Jackson in 2021 and Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Ryan Watts in 2020.