For the fourth time since Sunday, and the third time in as many days, Ohio State has picked up a commitment. Dwan Mathis kicked off the party on Sunday, Lejond Cavazos kept it going on Wednesday, Paris Johnson Jr. joined the bunch last night, and now, Jordan Battle ended his recruitment and committed to the Buckeyes.
Battle, a long time Buckeye target, had been on commitment watch for months. There was a time, back around Ohio State’s spring game, where it felt like he was about to commit, but when he cancelled his trip to Columbus—instead heading to Miami’s spring game—it felt like the two sides had moved on.
However, Ohio State was too interested in Battle to let him slip away. They pushed for a visit in June, Battle made that visit this past weekend for FNL, and that was all he needed. After thinking it over and coming to the conclusion that Ohio State was the best place for him, Battle made his commitment on Twitter today.
Despite his recent trip to Columbus being his first, Battle and Ohio State have been very familiar for a while now. The Buckeyes offered him back in February, but because of their connection with St. Thomas Aquinas, they’ve been aware of him for several years. He’s been a huge target for Urban Meyer, Alex Grinch and Greg Schiano in the 2019 class, and they’re extremely excited to have him. It’s not hard to see why. Let’s take a look at what he brings to Columbus.
On the field
If you had to design a safety to play in the modern era of college football, he’d probably look and play a lot like Jordan Battle. At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, Jordan runs a 4.58 40-time, and looks every bit as fast as that on film. That speed, size, and Jordan’s ability to jump make him an interception waiting to happen.
That was a big part of his game as a junior. He tormented quarterbacks consistently, and seemed nearly unbeatable on deep balls. He’s great at tracking those high lob passes, and almost looks like a center fielder doing it. He’s got great hands, and turns 50/50 balls into 70/30 balls with his anticipation and vertical ability.
His most impressive skill isn’t his speed, range, length or hands. It’s his body control. It shows up on interceptions, with his ability to put himself in between the quarterback and receivers to make plays, while still staying in bounds. He looks and plays a lot like a receiver and that makes him extremely dangerous in the defensive backfield.
With that body control comes tackling, and despite his lack of weight, Jordan Battle can absolutely crush receivers, running backs and quarterbacks when he gets the chance. Whether it’s in the backfield, across the middle, down the sidelines or in the flats, Battle is an extremely willing hitter, and a surprisingly sound tackler for a high school defensive back.
St. Thomas Aquinas has fantastic coaches, and it’s obvious that Battle has learned his tackling methods from a coach that knows what he’s doing. He wraps up, doesn’t lead with his head, and will fit right in with Ohio State’s approach to tackling. He’ll need to bulk up a bit to be able to handle D1 running backs, but it’s not anything I’m too worried about.
The other main concern in Battle’s game is that he doesn’t seem super comfortable in man coverage, but that’s nothing Greg Schiano and Alex Grinch can’t manage. I think Battle has what may be the highest floor of any defensive back in this class. I don’t see any way he’s not a future starter at the least in Columbus.
In the class
Jordan is the 13th member of Ohio State’s 2019 class, and the third safety, joining Bryson Shaw and Craig Young. This isn’t going to be a huge class for defensive backs because Ohio State took a ton each of the last two recruiting cycles, but these three safeties, along with Ronnie Hickman and at least one more cornerback (my guess is Peyton Powell) will make for a great class.
This commitment is a big one, because it moves Ohio State to fifth in the 247Sports team rankings, back above Michigan, who briefly led the Big Ten earlier this week. Battle, ranked No. 171 nationally and No. 12 among safeties, is only going to keep moving up the rankings. he already jumped from the 400s up to his current spot in the past few months, and after his senior season he could very easily see a move into the top 100s.
Battle picked Ohio State over 25 offers, from LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Miami, Clemson, Florida and Georgia, among others. While the two Florida schools seemed like the biggest threats here, Battle was always going to be a Buckeye as long as the Buckeyes wanted him. Miami had a shot for a while, but when Ohio State pushed for Battle’s commitment, it was all over.
You can view Battle’s highlights below, and read his commitment piece here.