Welcome to Buckeyes Crootin’ 2022 Class-In-Review, with me, Shane Bailey — or as many of you may know me @BuckeyesCrootin on Twitter. In this series I will be discussing and highlighting the strengths of all of the 2022 Ohio State football commitments, along with what to expect when they get to Columbus. If you missed last weeks article, I covered RB Dallan Hayden and you can find that right here.
Current 2022 Offensive Commits
Quarterback: None, with Quinn Ewers’ reclassification to 2021, I can see Ohio State maybe kicking the tires on a few 2022 recruits, but mainly putting their focus on the big fish in 2023. If they do bring in a new QB in 2022, it would likely be a veteran via the transfer portal if one or two of the current crop end up departing.
Kaleb Brown - St. Rita HS, Chicago Illinois - 5-foot-11, 177 lbs
Moving our way to another position group this week, today’s write up is about the talented athlete from Chicago, Ill., Kaleb Brown. A recruitment win for Brian Hartline made even sweeter by the fact he chose Ohio State over That Team Up North. It never gets old seeing Ryan Day beat Michigan for elite prospects that later we get to watch beat up on the Wolverines.
Kaleb Brown is a wide receiver/running back for St. Rita High School in Chicago, Ill. He is ranked as the 67th best player nationally, the eighth best wide receiver prospect, and the second best player from the state of Illinois per the 247 Composite Rankings.
This past spring he gained 790 all-purpose yards and scored six touchdowns in only six games. He is also a very talented track athlete, running a 10.84 second time in the 100-meter dash. This speed shows in his footwork and explosiveness. This of course is something very valuable in the wide receiver skill set to have in order to separate and shed your man off the line of scrimmage. 247Sports’ Allen Trieu has his NFL comparison as former Texas A&M and current Arizona Cardinal Christian Kirk, and I can definitely see why when comparing their abilities to use speed in space.
Most of his film at the high school level can be found at the RB position, where he is seen often times leaving defenders wondering how he got from point A to point B, and in the end zone before they could even blink. Most of the wide receiver footage we have on him is in seven-on-seven competition, and sometimes it can be tough to judge potential off of just that alone.
Not for Kaleb Brown. The effortless cuts that he makes on his breaks while route-running are smooth as silk. Once he has the defensive backs’ hips flipped, his routes have them spinning around trying to keep up with what direction he's going next.
There is clip after clip of incredible one handed catches made by Kaleb Brown in different 7v7 settings. Not just wide open ones either, most of them involved out maneuvering the DB while tracking the ball mid-flight. His ability to find the ball quickly after turning his head back to the quarterback is key for these catches to happen. His talent to track the ball all the way into his hands will no doubt leave him with few drops on his resume in his collegiate career.
What you will notice immediately when seeing his 7v7 highlights is the short area quickness that he possesses when he and the DB are coming in and out of the breaks on his routes. A less glamorized but still critical area of the game is getting off press coverage and separation from the defensive back. Brown has very quick feet and the ability to change direction quickly in his route running, and coupling that with the fast-twitch ability to explode into the rest of the route after his cuts really shows his All-American potential.
His versatility is what makes him such an intriguing prospect for the Buckeyes in the future, with the ability to play the slot or on the outside. The added flexibility to line him up in the back field to run jet sweeps and handoffs is reminiscent of the H-Back position Urban Meyer had used; reminiscent Curtis Samuel or Jalin Marshall in that regard.
Brown’s rare ability to play the slot or on the outside is one many head coach’s dream of having at their disposal. Day loves adding more dimensions to the offense with position flexibility and the unique formations that spawn from having players who can fill multiple roles. Position flexibility aside, Brown has the potential to be an absolutely elite slot WR.
He may not be the largest recruit Ohio State has coming into Zone 6 this cycle at 5-foot-11 and 177 pounds, but the strength that he shows when running after the catch is still quite impressive. This is evidenced by a few well placed stiff arms in his tape and the ability to easily run through any arm tackles being attempted.
Hartline is only going to help him improve on his route running and technique and I am very excited to see what more time spent solely dedicating himself to a learning the craft of the wide receiver will do for his career.
Ohio State continues to stack elite prospect after elite prospect the WR position, but what makes it all work in harmony is the type of person that Hartline recruits. The character of these young men has become just as important in their recruitments as their talent. A room that continues to push each other to be their best selves and players, embodied by the mentality of iron sharpens iron. As shown with the fact Kamryn Babb was voted team captain by his peers, what you do off the field is just as important as what you do on it.
Kaleb Brown will be a fantastic fit not only for the Xs and Os drawn up on paper, but in the locker room as well. We all should come to appreciate the caliber of person as well as athlete Hartline and all the Buckeyes coaches keep bringing into Columbus.
The future of the wide receiver position for the Buckeyes is very bright and dare I say it, the title of WRU better be ready for a new owner once Hartline gets his guys to the NFL.