Evan Pryor builds bond with Buckeyes, Jager Burton schedules visit

On3 imageby:Jeremy Birmingham09/18/19



Stay in touch or be left out because Ohio State recruiting is a 24-hour, seven-day-per-week obsession. What’s the latest news as the Buckeyes build for the future? Get that and more Sunday through Thursday on Lettermen Row. Wednesday’s notebook catches up with North Carolina running back Evan Pryor and a pair of 2021 offensive line prospects with Ohio State interest.

Ohio State growing relationship with Evan Pryor

After a summertime visit to Ohio State, the bond between North Carolina 4-star tailback Evan Pryor and running backs coach Tony Alford has continued to take off.

“Our relationship is better than most,” Pryor, the country’s fifth-ranked 2021 running back, told Lettermen Row. “I don’t really know why. We just had a great vibe when we first met. We talk frequently, and we’re trying to figure out a great time to get back up there.

“It’s pretty far for after a game [on Fridays], but I see myself getting up there soon.”

This weekend, the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Pryor will visit Georgia for its game against Notre Dame. There’s no thought in the young prospect’s mind about an early commitment, but certainly schools closer to home have a little advantage because of the matter of distance. That space between Pryor and Ohio State, though, isn’t a concern for him or his family when it comes to a final decision for him. Getting to games is a good thing but not a dealbreaker for his family, because they have no problem with him leaving home for college.

“It’s important, but not too important,” Pryor said. “It’s great to see a stadium on game day, but it’s not big enough for it to have an impact on the final decision. You can get a sense of what places are like on TV. My family is not concerned at all with the distance when it comes to Ohio State.

“Other than my sister at Penn State, she dreads it.”

With almost 30 offers to his name already, Pryor is one of the country’s most sought-after junior prospects. He’s trying to break down his choices between a number of the nation’s most prolific programs, and ultimately what matters to him is the vibe he gets from within the program.

“I really just want a group of people who are willing to do what it takes to win,” Pryor said. “People who are forming a strong brotherhood in their program.”

Jager Burton talks to Ohio State more than any other school

It’s hard to know exactly what players are legitimately major targets for a program like Ohio State this early in a recruiting cycle, because there are numerous names to know, listen to and watch. But there’s one fairly consistent barometer when it comes to deciphering the code: Are the Buckeyes really reaching out?

They appear to be reaching out quite a bit to Lexington (Ky.) Frederick Douglass 4-star offensive guard Jager Burton. We last talked about the top-ranked prospect in the Bluegrass State about a month ago, and he said then he’ll return to Ohio State for a visit in November when the Buckeyes host Penn State. That remains the case, but the relationship between Burton and the coaching staff in Columbus has taken off.

“We talk almost every day,” the 6-foot-3, 275-pound Burton told Lettermen Row. “Me, [offensive line coach Greg] Studrawa, [wide receivers coach Brian] Hartline, [assistant offensive line coach Kennedy] Cook and Ryan Day. I would say I talk to Ohio State more than any other school right now.”

It’s not just Burton hearing from the Buckeyes, either. His family is talking to the Ohio State staff also.

“My dad talks to them too, and so does my mom sometimes,” Burton said. “It’s really awesome how much they reach out. They definitely make me feel important.”

Burton has offers from 18 schools at this point, including Alabama and Clemson. He’s visited the Tigers and hometown Kentucky already this season, and he is set to trip to Penn State in early October.

Caleb Tiernan adjusting to life as a big-time recruit

In Tuesday’s edition of Dotting the ‘Eyes, we talked about a recent rash of scholarship offers extended by Ohio State, with a Monday offer to Detroit (Mich.) Country Day offensive lineman Caleb Tiernan among them.

A 6-foot-7, 270-pound lineman, Tiernan’s relationship with Ohio State is still pretty new. But he’s excited by the offer.

“One of their offensive graduate assistants had texted last week and was just asking how I’m doing and stuff like that,” Tiernan told Lettermen Row. “Then, yesterday he was like ‘Give me a call tonight.’ So, we talked and then he told me to call Coach Cook. He put me through to Coach Day and he offered me.

“All they really said was they liked how I played. I remember the Ohio State coaches being at the Best of the Midwest camp, so they had a chance to see me there.”

As might be expected for a player growing up in Michigan, Tiernan’s loyalties as a fan have always been slanted towards the Buckeyes biggest rival. Michigan has offered, and he admits there’s a definite pull to stay home for college — but that he’s also trying to separate his life as a fan versus his future as a recruit and football player.

“Just walking through school and going to my little brother’s football games,” Tiernan said. “All people do is ask me: Are you going to Michigan? Stuff like that. So, yeah it can be a little tough. But in the end, I’m going to do what’s best for me. I’m at the point now where I would like to start thinking deep about what I’m looking for in a college and what’s the best fit for me.

“I’m starting to forget about what teams I’m a fan of and really focusing on what I need in a college.”

As far as a potential match between Tiernan and Ohio State? That’s just getting started. The first conversation between Tiernan and Day left an impression on the Michigan prospect.

“We only talked for a little bit, but he seems like he really cares about the program and disliking Michigan,” Tiernan joked. “I plan on going to a game [at Ohio State] as soon as I can.”

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