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Ohio State looking at their neighbors to the south for a pair of prospects

The Buckeyes are doing work in the Bluegrass State

Four-star athlete Jantzen Dunn
via @JantzenDunn on Twitter

Tomorrow the Buckeyes should be wrapping up their spring ball season with the annual spring game at the Horseshoe in front of Buckeye Nation, but with the current times, that obviously isn’t going to happen. It’s unfortunate to say the least, and of course it’s not ideal, but getting a college football season at all at this point is all anyone is hoping for. With nothing set in stone, Ohio State’s staff and players are still preparing to the best of their ability for the 2020 season.

In the mean time, the Buckeyes have been putting in work on the recruiting trail. It’s no secret how well Ohio State is doing on their 2021 class. As they pursue the ever so coveted “recruiting title” for top overall class, it’s looking more and more possible that the Buckeyes will in fact run away with the nation’s best group. Coming off another Big Ten Championship season and CFP appearance, the Ohio State football program is in a great spot. Kudos to you, Ryan Day and staff!

Doing work in the Bluegrass State

It’s pretty common for the state of Kentucky to go after Ohio high school football prospects due to the abundance of talent and top notch programs within the borders. Programs like Kentucky and Louisville use Ohio’s fertile recruiting grounds year in and year out. Having that many DI-caliber players just hours away makes for an easy way to evaluate and recruit, and gets both Power 5 schools players that they need to compete.

More times than not it’s the Buckeye State helping out their neighbors to the south, but in the 2021 class, Ryan Day and Ohio State are hoping to steal not only one, but two Kentucky natives.

Jager Burton (Lexington, Kentucky/Frederick Douglass) is the top overall prospect in Kentucky for the current 2021 cycle. A 6-foot-4, 270-pound offensive guard, Burton checks in as the country’s eighth-best guard in the class and a top-160 player in the class overall. With over 20 offers from many of the nation’s best programs, Burton is a player the Buckeyes would love to add to the fold.

This past New Years Eve, Burton released a top-seven schools list that included Ohio State as well as Clemson, Oregon, Penn State, Alabama, Texas, and Kentucky. As things stand now, it seems as if the Buckeyes, Ducks, and Wildcats are the three teams that are the most likely to see a pledge in their favor. If all goes according to plan, Burton is slated to have his official visit to Ohio State on June 12-14.

The key factor right now is getting Burton back on campus the first chance that comes available. The good news is that the Buckeyes are very much in it, and according to 247Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong, Ohio State has the inside track, and right now are the pick for his Crystal Ball forecast.

The Buckeyes will be doing their best until the end in regards to Burton, and while they’ve had to resort to a screen and phone to do their recruiting, it’s never ending. Mark Pantoni and other members of the staff were in contact with Burton this week thanks to a Zoom video call, doing all they can to continue building the relationship with a Kentucky native they really want to bring north.

As stated, Kentucky and Oregon are still major players in this recruitment, but Ohio State is in a good spot. Fighting off the other two programs will likely be the last remaining task. For now, you can try to decipher what his tweets may mean. Depending on how you read it, it could be telling. Kids today are savvy and this is one that is highly coveted.

Kentucky pt. 2

Staying in Kentucky, the only thing better than landing one of the state’s studs is landing two. The Buckeyes are targeting another top player from the state in Jantzen Dunn. A 6-foot-2, 180 pound athlete, Dunn is a playmaker on both sides of the ball, and Ohio State would definitely love to add his abilities to their 2021 class. Dunn owns nearly 30 offers from several top schools, but it looks as if OSU and Oklahoma are the top two programs vying for his services, with Louisville and Tennessee trying to play a little bit of catch up.

Grading out as the No. 22 athlete in the class and the third-best prospect in Kentucky in the 247Sports Composite, Dunn has been a prospect that continues to see his stock rise. It definitely wouldn’t be a surprise to see his rankings continue to increase too, knowing how well he has been evaluated by many even since his last season.

Dunn was able to earn his Buckeye offer on his unofficial visit just last month, but getting him back on campus again could be the key to securing their place as the clear leader in his recruitment. Battling the Sooners will likely be the biggest objective the rest of the way. At any rate, yet again for a Kentucky stud, Ohio State is in a great position.

Quick Hits:

  • Four-star offensive tackle JC Latham of IMG Academy, the No. 6 offensive tackle in the class, had originally planned to announce his commitment on April 18, but in an interview with Jeremy Birmingham of Lettermen Row, Latham made it clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed his plans. The Buckeyes are in a two-team race with LSU, but nearly all signs point towards Ohio State landing yet another elite target to their 2021 class.