Scarlet Sunrise: Buckeyes commits dominate first day of The Opening

Spencer Holbrook3 months
Xavier-Nwankpa-Kyion-Grayes-CJ-HIcks-by-Birm-Lettermen-Row
C.J. Hicks and Kyion Grayes were among the most impressive players at The Opening. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

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Buckeyes commits dominate first day of The Opening

Ohio State commitments are taking over The Opening in Southern California.

Just a day into the gathering of the country’s top recruits, Ohio State pledges are already standing out.

Linebacker commit and Ohio native CJ Hicks, a five-star player and the leader of the class, was one of the top performers in the first day of The Opening. His rare combination of size, speed and coverage ability, mixed with his twitch and instinct, make him a can’t-miss prospect, and he showed why on Friday.

Buckeyes wide receiver commit Kyion Grayes was another standout performer. The No. 21-ranked receiver in the class, Grayes was impressive during drills and was one of the most polished route-runners of the receiver group present. Plenty of other Buckeyes pledges and targets were also on hand, including five-star quarterback commit Quinn Ewers.

But Friday, Hicks and Grayes stood out.

Zach Boren breaks down Jack Sawyer

It’s probably no surprise that five-star prospect Jack Sawyer, who spent his high-school summers learning from Larry Johnson in camp settings, showed up and turned heads at Ohio State. But it’s still unusual for the Buckeyes to so openly talk about a role for an early enrollee during his first month of practices on campus, though his eye-popping in the spring game offered validation that the hype was real.

Sawyer went to work right away in the spring game proving that he could supply some of that help for the Buckeyes, and it’s hard to imagine the Pickerington product not being a factor right away in some capacity.

How expansive can that role become? There’s still work to be done in training camp, of course — but a strong spring has Sawyer well on his way already.

What can Jack Sawyer bring to Ohio State as a freshman? How much will the five-star freshman impact the Buckeyes right away? Where will the toughest parts of the transition pop up for Sawyer? Former Ohio State captain Zach Boren was back in the Lettermen Row film lab to answer those questions and more in the latest episode of BuckIQ.

Roll the tape!

Buckeyes top safety target provides update on recruitment

Ohio State is recruiting the top safety prospect in the country. And Xavier Nwankpa has the Buckeyes among the leading schools in his recruitment. Lettermen Row’s Birm caught up with him to get an update on his recruitment.

Part of that can be found here:

Things have happened which has made things harder for the Buckeyes, too. Ohio State has been the presumptive leader in the battle for the 6-foot-2, 190-pound safety for a while. That means every other school chasing Xavier Nwankpa has their sights set on the Buckeyes. With five defensive backs committed, Kerry Coombs and Matt Barnes have given plenty of ammunition to schools recruiting against them. The messaging is simple: Ohio State has four cornerbacks and a safety committed and one of those cornerbacks is probably going to be used as a safety.

Nwankpa has heard that from other schools. He’s also heard from Ohio State that it’s not the plan. He heard that during his official visit to Columbus, actually. There’s been no deviation in the plan from the Buckeyes side and the top-ranked player in Iowa says he trusts what he’s been told. One of the reasons for that trust? Ohio State has told Nwankpa that his spot will be there for him no matter when he wants to decide. There’s no rush, no pressure to “get in before someone else” or anything like that.

READ: Xavier Nwankpa trusting Ohio State coaches, own instincts as recruitment grows tighter

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