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Ohio State making early impressions on a handful of 2022 standouts

The Buckeyes continue to build off the early momentum in next year’s cycle.

Four-star dual-threat QB Jacurri Brown
Andrew Ivins, 247Sports

Last Tuesday began the official contact period for the 2022 recruiting class, and Ohio State’s coaching staff wasted no time reaching out to some of their top early targets in the cycle. Ryan Day seems to be pretty darn good at this whole recruiting thing, and he understands that to secure the nation’s top talents, you have to get in there early and make a good first impression.

That work continued over the holiday weekend, as Labor Day provided no breaks for the Buckeyes’ staff who are looking to secure the top group in the country in back-to-back years. They’ve gotten off to a blazing start in 2022, with their six-man class ranking second behind only LSU, and this has gotten the attention of a number of guys who would be great additions to the already stacked group.

Ohio State has seemingly picked up a ton of steam lately with four-star dual-threat QB Jacurri Brown. As Caleb discussed in his State Secrets on Friday, Brown appears to be near the top of the Buckeyes’ big board when it comes to the quarterback position. OSU officially reached out to the Georgia native on Wednesday, according to his post on Twitter, and he has since retweeted a number of edits of him donning the Scarlet and Gray.

Brown, the No. 6 dual-threat QB in the class and the No. 122 player overall, is still waiting on his official Ohio State offer. He has already amassed over 20 different scholarship offers, including the likes of Auburn, Florida, Miami and Tennessee. There is clearly a high level of mutual interest between Brown and the Buckeyes, and so I would be shocked if that OSU over doesn’t come within the next few days. Ryan Day has been the QB whisperer at Ohio State, and Brown could very well become his next prodigy.

The Buckeyes reached out to yet another talent from the South before the three-day weekend began, getting in touch with four-star defensive end Kenyatta Jackson on Thursday.

Jackson, out of Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Florida, is the No. 5 WDE in the 2022 class and a top-60 player overall. Ohio State offered the 6-foot-4.5, 215-pound edge rusher back at the end of May, and Jackson has since ran his total official offer list to almost 30 schools. With Larry Johnson listed as his primary recruiter, the Buckeyes are currently one of three teams the junior is “warm” on, according to 247Sports — those being Clemson, Oregon and OSU. Defensive end will be an important position in 2022, so I would keep a close eye on Jackson moving forward.

The staff continued making their phone calls and reaching out to their targets on Friday, this time getting in touch with four-star wide receiver C.J. Williams.

A California product, Williams is the No. 5 WR in the class, and the No. 35 player overall in 2022. The 6-foot-2, 193-pound pass-catcher is a hot commodity already, racking up a whopping 44 offers as he begins his junior year of high school. Ohio State offered Williams back in April, and he will certainly be one of the central focuses for Brian Hartline, who has made a habit of bringing top wide receiver talent to Columbus. 247Sports currently lists Alabama and OSU as the two programs he is warm on, and so look for Hartline and Day to continue building their relationship with the West Coast stud.

Finally, one of the latest 2022 prospects Ohio State has made official contact with is four-star athlete Dallan Hayden.

Hayden’s stock really began to rise about two weeks ago — about the time when Ohio State’s offer came in — and he now sits at around 25 official offers. Playing both sides of the ball for Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, Hayden is currently rated the No. 18 athlete in the country and the No. 300 player in the class overall, but expect those numbers to get a bump in the coming months.

A Tennessee legacy, as his father Aaron Hayden played for the Vols, his lone Crystal Ball prediction is in favor of the in-state program. However, don't count the Buckeyes out just yet, as they were the first team to contact him at midnight once the new NCAA window opened on Sept. 1. The 5-foot-11, 192-pound junior has already rushed for 690 yards and nine TDs this season through only 10 quarters of football thus far, and with the ability to also play defensive back, he could become a Cameron Martinez-type target for OSU.

Quick Hits

  • Ohio State is one of the first five programs to offer 2023 offensive tackle Aidan Leigh — notably the younger brother of five-star 2021 OT Tristan Leigh, whom the Buckeyes are very much still trying to land. The younger Leigh has now received offers from Maryland, Ohio State, LSU, Florida and Oklahoma, in that order. The staff is likely hoping to land both of the Virginia natives, as while Aidan is not yet rated, Tristan is the No. 11 player in the country.
  • Jesse Mirco has become the first official member of Ohio State’s 2021 class, as the Australian punter signed with the program on Saturday. Coming out of ProKick Australia, the same program that produced former Buckeye punter Cameron Johnston, Mirco is allowed to sign his LOI earlier than his 2021 peers, as he is already 23 years old. The rest of the group will have to wait until the early signing period begins on Dec. 16.