The well-oiled machine that is the Ohio State recruiting engine stops for nothing — not for a global pandemic, not for an NCAA dead period, and certainly not for opposing programs. That was proven true once again today, as Ryan Day and his staff have hauled in yet another massive target in the 2022 class.
Five-star wide receiver Caleb Burton has committed to Ohio State. Burton, out of Del Valle High School in Texas, is the No. 1 WR in the country, and the No. 10 prospect overall in the 2022 class.
Brian Hartline offered Burton back in March, when the two of them spoke over the phone. The conversation reportedly went well, and Burton told Eleven Warriors at the time that the direct contact from Hartline meant a lot.
“We talked about my grades, how everything was going with this virus. Talked about how he was making time for his wide receivers and Face-Timing them to watch film while they’re not on campus,” Burton said “My impressions of him was I could tell he wanted to be the best at whatever he did. He’s a funny guy and cool to talk to. He loves the game of football, and he just wants what’s best for his team.”
Ohio State has created one heck of a pipeline for pulling wide receivers out of Texas in the past few years. Garrett Wilson obviously comes to mind as a five-star prospect out of Lake Travis, and Hartline himself has since pulled five-star WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba from Rockwall. The addition of Burton to the 2022 class gives the Buckeyes five-star Texas wideouts in two fo the last three classes, and if they are able to close the deal with Emeka Egbuka in 2021, Hartline could find himself landing the No. 1 WR in three-straight classes.
That relationship with both Hartline and Wilson could have ultimately been what led Burton to OSU. Speaking with Cleveland.com back in June, Burton said he leaned heavily on Garrett Wilson when weighing Ohio State as an option, with the two having worked out together in the past. He was really impressed with what Wilson was able to do as a freshman with the Buckeyes, and will be looking to make a similar impact himself.
“He’s told me it all comes through Coach Hartline and he’s just a really good coach,” Burton said. “He did really good, especially as a true freshman.”
Unfortunately for Burton, he will be unable to take the field for his junior season, as a knee injury sustained in his team’s season opener will sideline him for the rest of the year. Burton was a back-to-back first-team all-district selection as a freshman and sophomore in Texas District 24-6A. In his sophomore campaign in 2019, Burton caught 51 passes for 882 yards and 12 touchdowns.
He has drawn some lofty comparisons, including NFL rookie Jerry Jeudy, and is already believed to be a potential first-round NFL Draft pick. Here is what 247Sports midlands region recruiting analyst Gabe Brooks had to say of Burton’s abilities:
Good frame potential for typical outside receiver prospect. Flashes impressive timing and high-pointing ability on contested throws. Meets the ball at the apex. Adjusts well with encouraging body control. Gets off the line quickly and on top of corners in a hurry. Shows impressive burst and acceleration. Dangerous in catch-and-run situations. Generally a good hands catcher. Good football pedigree. Adequate to above average on-field long speed but can get faster at the top end. Among the top prospects in Texas for the 2022 class. Possesses all-conference potential with long-term NFL Draft ceiling.
Ohio State’s 2022 class is off to a blazing start. Burton becomes the ninth commit early in the junior cycle, and is already the third five-star member of the group, joining QB Quinn Ewers and LB Gabe Powers. The Buckeyes are now well ahead of LSU for the No. 1 class, with five of their nine commits ranking in the top 50 nationally.
Want to see Burton’s skillset on display? Check out these highlights from his sophomore season at Del Valle to get a small glimpse at what he will bring to the table at Ohio State.