Analyzing top in-state prospects for Buckeyes in Class of 2021

Lorenzo Styles by Birm/Lettermen Row

Have a question about Ohio State recruiting? This is the place for you, five days a week. Submit your questions on Twitter or on the Lettermen Row forums. Check-in daily to see what’s on the mind of Buckeyes fans all over the country. Wednesday’s question is about the in-state prospects Ohio State is recruiting in the Class of 2021 and where they stand with the Buckeyes.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

At this point, I’m not going to give any sort of list of my personal choices for the top Ohio prospects. The fact is that I’ve just not seen enough of the guys around the state to make an informed decision when it comes to evaluating talent and stuff like that not. It’s not really my bag.

What I can do, though, is take the top junior players in Ohio that are currently uncommitted and provide some idea of what their recruitments may have in store. If we’re looking at the rankings for 2021 prospects, Ohio State currently has four of the top five players in the state committed, so there is some developing clarity on where things can and will go from here.

Here are the state’s top-10 players:

  1. Jack Sawyer, DE, Pickerington North, Committed to Ohio State
  2. Ben Christman, OL, Richfield Revere, Committed to Ohio State
  3. Jayden Ballard, WR, Massillon Washington, Committed to Ohio State
  4. Lorenzo Styles, WR, Pickerington Central, Uncommitted
  5. Reid Carrico, LB, Ironton, Committed to Ohio State
  6. Najee Story, DE, Solon, Uncommitted
  7. Corey Kiner, RB, Cincinnati Roger Bacon, Uncommitted
  8. Jaylen Anderson, RB, Perry, Uncommitted
  9. A.J. Kirk, DB, Dublin Coffman, Uncommitted
  10. Marquael Parks, ATH, Orrville, Uncommitted

Now, again, those rankings aren’t mine. They’re also not necessarily how the Buckeyes see things, but it’s a good starting point with a few notable exceptions. The state’s 11th-ranked prospect is Cincinnati La Salle defensive back Jaylen Johnson, and he has a Buckeyes offer and is a major target for them. He could probably be inserted into the top group, and I think ultimately he ends up playing his college football at Ohio State.

I wouldn’t say that about Jaylen Anderson and Marquael Parks right now, though they’re both intriguing talents — especially Parks who is electric with the football. But there are different reasons for Ohio State to play things a bit slower.

Anderson is a very talented running back, but had a major knee injury that cost him his sophomore year. He’s working back from that and is still a player who Ohio State come around on if he’s able to show he’s back to full-go.

A.J. Kirk remains very interested in schools like Florida. But Ohio State has offered, and as the younger brother of former Buckeyes All-American Mike Doss, it would be fair to expect that things end up with him staying home. It’s not a recruitment where anything can just be assumed or taken for granted, though. Kirk is a natural fit for the Buckeyes bullet position. Exactly where he sits on the Ohio State big board is the biggest question.

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AJ Kirk was offered by Ohio State in June. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Working backward here, I think Corey Kiner is still favoring Michigan a little bit in his recruitment. But the Buckeyes have been getting more and more involved and are building a relationship with him that has solid footing. Right now, the Wolverines seem to be making him a bit more of a priority, and we’ll see if that continues.

Najee Story was offered a scholarship early by Ohio State. He’s a big-time defensive end talent who would be a good complement to Jack Sawyer. Like Anderson, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Story missed most of his sophomore year with a leg injury, but he’s been able to get back to work and camped for Larry Johnson over the summer. There’s no rush here on either side, but as long as the development continues and Story stays healthy, he’ll almost certainly end up at Ohio State.

Finally, there’s Lorenzo Styles. There is no doubt that this Buckeyes legacy is worthy of the offer he has had for a while now. But what is in doubt is exactly how he’d fit into the 2021 recruiting class, because it seems more and more that the Buckeyes believe he’s better suited to play defense in college. Styles seems to be coming around on this idea himself, but Notre Dame and others are still recruiting him as a wide receiver. There’s no doubt that he favors that outcome right now.

Styles recruitment is one that, the longer it goes, the better it may be for Ohio State right now.

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