Once Kayin Lee decommitted from Georgia in February, Ohio State knew it had a chance to reconnect with its former priority cornerback target.
Although Lee’s primary OSU recruiter, Kerry Coombs, was no longer on the coaching staff, Lee had always been intrigued by the Buckeyes even while committed to Georgia. It was only a matter of time before the Georgia cornerback gave his verbal to Ohio State, and finally pulled the trigger on Monday.
After Lee officially became back on the market, it didn’t take long for him and cornerbacks coach Tim Walton to connect. Also deserving of a big assist in the recruitment of Lee is defensive quality control coach Miguel Patrick, who coached Lee at Cedar Grove High School (Ellenwood, Georgia).
With Lee in the class, Ohio State has finally converted on a longtime target, one that figures to have a chance to have an immediate impact on the Buckeyes down the road.
On The Field
Lee’s junior year statistics speak for themselves. He was a complete ballhawk for Cedar Grove, picking off seven passes in total, two of which came in a 56-26 win against Carver High School in the Georgia Class AAA state championship game. In his sophomore year, he picked off three passes and recorded 27 tackles in just eight games.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound cornerback is an exceptional tackler, rarely if ever missing any open-field tackles. His frame isn’t the biggest for a cornerback, but it should be able to expand as he goes through a college conditioning program. Lee could be either an outside or inside cornerback at the collegiate level, but he displays a ballhawking aggressive style that could be better suited for guarding a slot receiver.
Lee is never afraid of contact and is adept at squaring up his hips while running with a receiver. He shows decent speed, capable of running with most upper echelon wideouts.
In The Class
After Lee committed to Ohio State, the Buckeyes officially became the number one ranked 2023 recruiting class in the nation according to 247Sports’ national rankings, surpassing Notre Dame. While this speaks volumes to how successful the last two weeks of official visits have been for OSU, there’s a long way to go before the Buckeyes can cement themselves atop the 2023 national rankings permanently. Regardless of what place they end up in by the second signing period in February, all signs point to the Buckeyes finishing with yet another top-five class when all is said and done.
Ohio State’s cornerback recruiting is also winding down with Lee’s commitment, but there is still some work to be done. On Monday, Lee became the 14th commitment in OSU’s 2023 class in total and their second cornerback in the class, joining four-star Florida cornerback Dijon Johnson. The Buckeyes would like to take up to four cornerbacks in the current cycle, and the remaining two corners will likely be two players from a group of Calvin Simpson-Hunt, Jermaine Mathews and Daniel Harris.
Mathews has already included Ohio State on his recently released top six and has set a commitment date for 2 p.m. Friday. Considering OSU is viewed as a front runner by many in the recruiting industry for Mathews, there may only be one available cornerback spot left for OSU to fill after this week. Simpson-Hunt has just finished official visits to both Texas Tech and Ohio State this month and is expected to make a decision soon as well.
Lee is the first recruit from Georgia in Ohio State’s 2023 cycle. The Buckeyes landed commits from Georgia in the past few cycles, with Bennett Christian and Kojo Antwi in 2022 and Jordan Hancock in 2021. He is considered the 145th-best player in the 2023 cycle and the 18th-best cornerback per 247Sports’ composite rankings.