What Jayden Bonsu’s Commitment Means for Ohio State's 2023 Recruiting Class

By Garrick Hodge on August 14, 2022 at 4:13 pm
Jayden Bonsu

When four-star New Jersey safety Jayden Bonsu scheduled his commitment for July 20, there wasn’t much optimism at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. If he would have made a college decision then, it was almost certainly going to be Miami. 

But after Bonsu delayed his commitment for three weeks, Ohio State was able to regain momentum in his recruitment. His relationship with OSU safeties coach Perry Eliano and Ryan Day, along with the three-safety scheme Jim Knowles utilizes at Ohio State, was enough to convince Bonsu to become a Buckeye instead of a Hurricane.

“It was really close," Bonsu said of his decision during his announcement. "But me and my family re-evaluated it and came down to a decision ... My relationship with coach Eliano and coach Day was second to none. Being in Columbus felt like home to me.”

Bonsu’s commitment continues a resurge in momentum on the defensive side of the ball for Ohio State, who landed commitments from Bonsu and linebacker Arvell Reese in back-to-back weekends after numerous misses on the defensive side of the ball in July.

On The Field

Two things immediately stick out about Bonsu’s game. 

No. 1: He hits like a truck. 

No. 2: He’s one of the more versatile prospects in Ohio State’s 2023 recruiting class. 

Bonsu has played three different safety spots in St. Peters Prep’s (Hillside, New Jersey) defense, lining up at both deep safety spots and also playing nickel. His junior season turned him into a nationally coveted recruit, as he picked up nearly 20 Division I offers after racking up 62 total tackles (7.5 for loss), 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and eight pass deflections last fall.

“He’s big and physical, but he can still run really well,” Saint Peter’s coach Rich Hansen told Eleven Warriors of Bonsu. “Everybody is looking for those guys that kind of have the best of both worlds in terms of length and physicality but still have those unique types of skill sets.” 

Bonsu will begin his college career at safety. But some in the recruiting industry have predicted he could move to linebacker, considering his frame already sits at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds. If he continues to grow, he could be effective playing in the box. At the least, Knowles could create packages where Bonsu plays in the box to help stop the run.

“He definitely does have a skill set to do both,” Hansen said. “He did play a lot of nickel snaps last year and a lot of snaps really close to the box. So there’s no doubt in my mind that he could do that. But a lot of safeties are used in those types of roles, so I’m not sure if it’s a matter of what position he plays primarily or solely. It’s just a skill set to do multiple things.” 

Should Ohio State ask Bonsu to play linebacker one day, it would probably be something he’s open to. 

“I’d do anything to help the teams that I play for,” Bonsu told Eleven Warriors in May of potentially playing linebacker in college. 

Nevertheless, Bonsu has the speed, agility and frame to thrive at safety, and that’s where OSU plans to utilize his talents, at least initially.

In The Class

Barring an unlikely flip from Caleb Downs, Ohio State may have completed its safety recruiting in 2023 with Bonsu’s commitment. 

Ohio State now has three safeties, the other two being Malik Hartford and Cedrick Hawkins, among its 20 commits in the 2023 class.

Bonsu is the lone player in the class from New Jersey, but the Buckeyes have certainly had success recruiting the state in recent cycles. Other recent signees from New Jersey include fellow St. Peter’s alumnus Cody Simon (2020), center Luke Wypler (2020) and safety Ronnie Hickman (2019).

Hansen believes Bonsu and Hickman are comparable players because of their ability to play as both deep safeties and in the box.

Ohio State’s 2023 recruiting class remains fourth in the national rankings, two points behind Texas for the No. 3 ranking, after Bonsu’s commitment.

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