The rich get richer as Ohio State signs another elite receiver.
Ohio State will have no shortage of wide receiver talent for the foreseeable future, with seven top-100 players already sitting in the position room and three more joining the fold today.
The Ballard File
- Class: 2021
- Size: 6-foot-2/175 lbs.
- Pos: WR
- School: Massillon Washington (Massillon, OH)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: 51 (5 WR)
But even in a position group stacked with elite players, four-star wide receiver Jayden Ballard out of Massillon, Ohio stands out.
The No. 5 wide receiver and No. 51 overall player in the 2021 recruiting class put pen to paper on Wednesday and officially became a Buckeye with his national letter of intent. With his signing, the Buckeyes landed one of the most electric and explosive receivers in the class.
As a track star as well as a football star, Ballard's speed is notorious. Fellow 2021 wide receiver signee Marvin Harrison called him "the best deep threat in the country," and he's certainly got a case. Ballard is an elite sprinter that and can take the top off the defense and has great body control with the ball in the air. His deep-ball ability has earned him comparisons to another former Massillon-turned-Buckeye star, Devin Smith.
In his four seasons with the Tigers, Ballard totaled 2,636 yards and 37 touchdowns on 141 catches – averaging an eye-popping 18.7 yards per reception thanks to his game-breaking ability.
But Ballard's not just a sprinter – he's the total package. He's a freak athlete with good size, he's a solid route runner, and he's got impeccable ball skills.
"People talk about a 50-50 ball. Is that really a 50-50 ball with Jayden Ballard? Probably not. It’s probably more of a 70-30 ball," Massillon Washington head coach Nate Moore told Eleven Warriors. “What’s really elite about a guy like him – he’s got very good speed, he’s got very good length – but the thing that’s elite about him is his ability to track the ball and his ball skills. He’s really, really good there.”
Still, ith the number of blue-chip, elite receivers Ohio State has brought in the past few years, it's easy for Ballard to be forgotten or lost in the fold as an in-state prospect who's long been committed. But that doesn't mean he won't make a name for himself in Columbus.
“When the national guys talk about the upcoming guys, you don’t hear (his name often),” Moore told Eleven Warriors. “In fact, I remember one specific one that mentioned five or six guys, and they didn’t mention Jayden’s name.
“That’s OK. He’s the in-state guy. Maybe he’s not as glamorous as some of the other guys who, for whatever reason, have higher ratings and what not. But he’s gonna be a really good receiver for Ohio State. If it wasn’t a good fit, that’s a conversation we would have, but I think it’s a great fit.”
For Ballard, this signing is a long time coming. A heavy Buckeye lean since his recruitment blew up his sophomore year of high school, Ballard committed to Ohio State early in the process and never wavered.
Now, he's officially a Buckeye.