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Ohio State is in good, early position to steal another major talent from Michigan

Also, what to expect in terms of recruiting from Saturday’s game against Wisconsin.

Damon Payne

Tomorrow brings to many the most heated match-up to date in the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes’ season. Throw out the hyperbole caused by the loss that the No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers took at the hands of Illinois last weekend, this game is still a crucial contest for the Buckeyes and Ryan Day looks to keep his fast start heading in the right direction as all eyes will be on this high noon kick.

The staff and players alike are saying all of the right things, but this game will really be a telling point to see where the team is more than halfway into the 2019 season. A big win could easily cement Ohio State’s place as one of the elite teams in the country, and — with what they’ve produced so far — a win is what is expected.

As far as recruiting goes, a game between these two programs would normally present a stellar recruiting weekend, but due to the game being set for 12 noon ET, while there will still be recruits on hand, it will be less in both number and star status than it would be if the game was taking place under the lights.

Fortunately, Day’s staff, especially Mark Pantoni who heads up OSU’s recruiting efforts, will use yet another big time home game as the ultimate chance to show top targets exactly why the Buckeyes are the clear choice to make when it comes to the college of choice.

Another prospect to steal from TTUN?

When Urban Meyer came to Ohio State, he and his staff were notorious for their ability to take a blue-chip prospect from the state of Michigan away from the in-state schools. When year after year saw the Buckeyes stealing top Michigan natives, it became almost a tradition to see Ohio State beat TTUN both on the field in The Game, and off the field for prospects.

With Day now at the helm, that lovely tradition looks to be continuing. In the current 2020 class, the Buckeyes have a commitment from not only Michigan’s top-ranked athlete, but one of the best overall athletes in the entire country.

When Cameron Martinez (Muskegon, Mich./Muskegon) chose the Buckeyes this past July, it was another instance in which the Buckeyes were able to fend off their greatest rival and the home-state team in order to secure a commitment from an incredibly talented player.

Looking forward, Day may be able to do that same exact thing in the 2021 class with yet again not only a top Michigan prospect, but one of the best prospects in the entire country. That alone would be the icing on the cake to a recruiting class.

Damon Payne, (Belleville, Michigan/Belleville) is nearly 6-foot-4, 300 pounds and only a high school junior. A defensive tackle, Payne is ranked right now as the sixth-best player at his position in the country, the top prospect in Michigan, and the 39th best player in the nation for 2021. You could end right there with the accolades, but add in the fact that he holds more than 20 offers from many of the top programs in college football, and you can see why everybody would love to have Payne into their 2021 recruiting class.

For Ohio State specifically though, the chatter and recruiting process between the two has started off wonderfully. When you have the track record of Larry Johnson, recruiting defensive line prospects not only comes naturally, but is easy after a while.

All a prospect needs to do is turn on an NFL game and surely there will be a former Buckeye out there wreaking havoc for the opposing offense. When you see that type of development and pay off (literally) the choice almost becomes a given.

When considering Payne though, the Buckeyes have a solid start to the relationship and recruitment. In fact, while early of course, the Buckeyes have the lead on the current 247sports crystal ball predictions. In addition, national recruiting analysts such as Steve Wiltfong have gone on record saying that Ohio State has the lead for his services to date.

When you take into consideration Johnson’s resume, Buckeye DTs in the NFL, Ohio State’s success on and off the field against their most hated rival, it makes sense why the Buckeyes would lead for a prospect like Payne.

If Ohio State can in fact keep and continue this solid relationship with Payne, it will be just another five-star to add to the “Rushmen” group and the 2021 class, which is already shaping up to be one incredible haul.

Quick Hit:

  • Current 2020 commit, Joe Royer (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) made a commitment to play his final prep football game in Hawaii as part of the Polynesian Bowl. The nation’s 16th ranked tight-end in the class, Royer is a prospect that has the grit and tenacity in his play that will fit perfectly once in Columbus. A great honor for him personally, this game has seen Buckeyes have a lot of success.