Center Grove High School/Greenwood, Indiana - 6-foot-3, 250 lbs - Defensive Line
Caden Curry is a player that the Buckeyes have been after for the better part of two years now, so you can imagine the relief when he told the staff he will be coming to play his college ball in Columbus. Curry has helped lead Center Grove High School to a 28-0 record and two state titles the past two seasons in the state of Indiana, and will look to bring that same level of success to Ohio State.
The first word that comes to mind when watching him play out there is disruptive. He just knows how to wreck a play, to be an absolute wrecking ball. It is yet to be seen where he will spend the majority of his time on the defensive line in the new Jim Knowles era for the Buckeyes (an era I for one cannot wait to see get under way) but wherever he finds a home at, he will no doubt still be that same wrecking ball.
A common theme among the Buckeyes’ defensive line prospects in the class of 2022 is their ability to get off the snap quickly. The first few seconds after the ball is snapped are so important for a defensive lineman. It determines everything — positioning, leverage, where the line of scrimmage is pushed to, etc. Curry has a jolting first step and punch towards the offensive lineman. He shows not only quickness, but an unexpected amount of power. He comes out of his stance like a bull charging a red cape, with the red cape being the opposing quarterback. This really allows him the luxury of being able to line up at any spot on the defensive line. I talk a lot about positional flexibility in these articles, but it is a common theme in the Buckeyes’ recruiting approach, as Curry also can play in more than one spot.
Coach Larry Johnson will be able to hone in his pass rushing technique, but even now he shows a lot of promise. You can tell he knows how to use his hands to keep the offensive lineman off of him. He breaks their contact with his jersey using the hand fighting techniques we have all come to know and love being taught to Buckeye defensive lineman. Curry seems to have a good idea already that keeping those heavy-handed offensive linemen off of his jersey as much as possible is the best way to generate pressure in the backfield on run or pass plays. He seems to take every play personally in that he charges himself with the task to not give the offense a single blade of grass in forward progress. I love the attitude he plays with and it's something we could use more of in Columbus.
He lines up all over the place in his high schools defense as well, some plays being used as a defensive end and others even being thrown in as a nose tackle. No matter where they line him up on the defensive front, it seems he has a different tool he pulls out of his bag of tricks.
Versatility and adaptability are two of his strong points. He never gives up on a play, and his pursuit of the ball carrier is excellent. Even if the offense thinks they blocked him out of a run play to the opposite side or throw double team at him on a pass attempt, his motor keeps running. We saw many times this season in Columbus there were some plays that defenders just gave up on or didn't put their all into chasing down ball carriers. I have a very tough time believing we will ever see that from Curry. There are many instances on film of him being relentless in his pursuit of ball carriers, even well on the opposite side of the field, making a few tackles chasing ball carriers down from behind, which in itself is pretty impressive for a defensive lineman.
The mentality to be great is also one that is not a common gift in some players, but Curry is a proven winner. Helping his team to two-straight state championship titles after undefeated seasons is no small chore. You have to actively choose every day that you are going to be great and to be better than the day before, and that is exactly the mentality Curry showed at the All American practices and during the game itself. He sought out the best lineman to go against in one on one drills, and to be honest nearly won damn near all of them.
Caden Curry executes a bull rush. pic.twitter.com/TdgdsCPYxs— Garrick Hodge (@Garrick_Hodge) January 5, 2022
Above you can see Curry beat the lineman with a pure bull rush move, easily pushing him back to the objective as if the lineman is only 100 LBs. To show some of his versatility as I mentioned earlier as well, this next clip he executes a perfect spin move to put pressure on the QB — in this case his future Buckeye teammate, Devin Brown.
11-on-11s have started. As a continuing trend from yesterday, Ohio State DL signee Caden Curry is out here wrecking people. pic.twitter.com/fDPuqCpBJ2— Garrick Hodge (@Garrick_Hodge) January 5, 2022
Perfectly executed spin move, proving he has more in his bag of tricks than power rush technique. As I said, his motor will be the reason he makes a lot of huge plays for the Buckeyes in the future. Non-stop effort is something that can create a lot of chaos for an offense. You cannot take a single play off trying to contain or stop him, or he will wreck an offensive game plan. We even got to see some Buckeye on Buckeye crime as Tegra Tshabola and Curry had some battles, each winning and losing their fair share against one another.
Iron sharpens iron as they say, and there is plenty of iron in Columbus ready to mold Caden Curry into one hell of a defensive prospect. His battles with Tegra at Under Armour practices are only the beginning in that regard, as he has some very talented offensive line teammates coming in to go up against every day.
I know I said it already, but Ohio State really was after him for the better part of two or three years, so finally being able to call him a Buckeye is something the coaching staff and you reading this should absolutely ecstatic about. Curry chose the Buckeyes over Alabama, Clemson, Oregon, Notre Dame and hometown Indiana. Anytime you gain an elite player and keep an elite player from other top programs (and Notre Dame) it is a big win for your team.
I am very excited to see what Curry is going to accomplish in his time as a Buckeye, but one thing is for sure: you will never see a lack of effort or heart from him, and I can see a future Buckeye captain and leader of men being made here. Every team needs heart and drive. Curry can be the spark plug this defensive room always needs. I'm sure Jim Knowles and Ryan Day are glad he's going to be supercharging their defense instead of someone else's.