More times than not, the leader in a program’s recruiting class is at the quarterback position. Sure, other players on both sides of the ball may step up and be the vocal leaders of the group, but the quarterback spot being the most important on the field certainly plays a massive role in recruiting classes around the country. Maybe because of the importance of their position alone or who those players are on the national stage, quarterbacks ideally help build the class with talent around them, and Ohio State continues to fit that mold in how its classes are shaped.
Especially under Ryan Day, the Buckeyes have been able to bring in elite signal callers, and that alone has had a direct correlation in how successful these cycles have gone. Since Day has been in Columbus, the QB recruiting has been off the charts, and certainly that makes things easier for bringing in other elite talent to fill the roster — particularly on offense.
It makes sense that the best players want to play with the best quarterbacks, and when you look at the receiver position success the Buckeyes have had, it’s a perfect match for why the best pass-catchers in the nation end up in Scarlet and Gray. Sure, having Brian Hartline is a huge factor in most occasions, but having that elite talent under center is the other part of the equation, and Ohio State has had both.
Though the current cycle is still the 2023 class, when looking at the next big leader under center for Ohio State, Dylan Raiola checks every box for what Ohio State is looking for both on and off the field.
Talent alone can many times be a deciding factor for why quarterbacks are the vocal leaders of a recruiting class. Top national recruits want to play with a guy who can get the job done at the highest level, and Raiola’s long list of accolades confirms he has every ability to surround himself with a loaded list of stars prior to arriving on campus.
The top 2024 player in the 247Sports Composite rankings, Raiola’s ranking already has guys interested in playing alongside of him. Similar to what Ohio State fans have seen in the last few classes, the Chandler, Arizona should have no trouble in appealing to other top offensive weapons around the country. In addition, the new and improved defensive staff has the other side of the ball on an upward trajectory as well.
Where Raiola can and likely will separate himself is his ability to prove his worth on the field. Seeing him throw the rock is just as impressive as his ranking, and while many have already taken notice of that, it shouldn’t be long before the 2024 class for the Buckeyes adds more players alongside Raiola.
Beyond talent, quarterbacks have to be able to peer recruit. Ohio State’s staff knows that they need their commits to help out with doing some recruiting of their own. When the Buckeyes are at or near the top of the country in the recruiting class rankings, they have players who dominate on the trail with their peers. Fortunately, that happens more times than not for Ohio State.
Looking at 2024, Raiola is a perfect example of an effective peer recruiter, and while there’s tons of work still to do, he’s off to a great start. Whether it be on Twitter or other various social media outlets, Raiola is seen constantly reaching out to other top players and pitching the Buckeyes.
This weekend was also no different, as Raiola was of course in attendance for the Notre Dame contest and did everything he could to be in the ears of the highly touted players that were also on campus. It’s not by coincidence that Dylan spent ample time with both Jeremiah Smith and Joshisa “JoJo” Trader, who are the No. 10 and No. 3 players nationally per the 247Sports Composite grades, and just happen to both play the receiver position.
Being that both Smith and Trader play at the same prep program, Raiola has waisted no time in doing his best to build a relationship with the duo. Fortunately, the Buckeyes already look to be in great position with Smith on the 247Sports Crystal Ball, and would love nothing more than to get heavily in the mix for his prep teammate.
Buckeye fans what y’all thinking? pic.twitter.com/ItSq7bqDeX— Jeremiah Smith ✞ (@Jermiah_Smith1) September 4, 2022
Of course most of the work Raiola is putting in right now is on the offensive side of the ball, but as mentioned, the defensive players too are impacted by who the quarterback of their class is. Like he did with his offensive targets, Raiola put in the work in peer recruiting defensive players as well, because he knows that side of the ball is just as important as his when it comes to building the class as a whole.
Taking time to bond with safety Peyton Woodyard, the leader of this class made sure he took the time to get in his ear about why playing for the Buckeyes at the next level is the right move. The No. 25 player nationally, Woodyard is the second ranked safety in the class and the third best player from California for the 2024 class per the 247Sports Composite.
A big time target for the Buckeyes, this wasn’t Woodyard’s first trip to Columbus, but he came away very impressed with Ohio State’s new-look defense, and made it very clear how happy he was with his visit. Shortly after, you can see how much of a plyer Raiola will be in his recruitment going forward as a major peer recruiter.
Thank you @OhioStateFB for the great visit! @RaiolaDylan This the move? pic.twitter.com/aRIZxVunC1— Peyton Woodyard (@peypey_wood) September 5, 2022
The list of examples could go on and on, but the fact remains true: Raiola is taking the peer recruiting responsibility very seriously, and that’s a must if the Buckeyes are going to have the best possible 2024 class. Add his ability to appeal to other top prospects to his own personal talent, and you have the perfect combo for a great class leader.