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11 Ohio State Commits On SI All-American’s Positional Watch Lists

The watch lists acted as a precursor to the annual SI99 preseason recruiting rankings.

With SI All-American unveiling its annual SI99 preseason recruiting rankings this week, BuckeyesNow has decided to take a look back where several Ohio State commits fell in the positional watch lists that were released over the last month and acted as a precursor to the rankings.

The positional rankings, which are listed below, do not include Southlake (Texas) Carroll quarterback Quinn Ewers, who was considered by SI All-American as the No. 2 quarterback in the country but has since announced his intention to reclassify and join the Buckeyes this fall. He is now retroactively considered the No. 1 recruit for the class of 2021.

That said, the remaining Ohio State commits are listed as follows:

Running Back

  • No. 5 - Memphis Christian Brothers running back Dallan Hayden

“Hayden is a classic back with elite between-the-tackle skill,” SI All-American director of recruiting John Garcia said. “With an impressive, compact build, he has one-step-ahead vision and the ability to stop-start while working behind his pads amid traffic. The contact balance is there, the lean is there and the production is certainly there.

“Tennessee’s Mr. Football in 2020, the Ohio State commitment was near impossible to slow down during his 2,000-yard campaign. Hayden has some ability to factor into the passing game beyond blocking roles, an area we will be tracking more closely this fall in the Volunteer State.”

Wide Receiver

  • No. 10 - Chandler, Ariz, wide receiver Kyion Grayes

“There are other Ohio State commits with higher profiles and maybe a bit more explosiveness, but Grayes is the most advanced pass catcher in the class,” Garcia said. “Grayes is a bit of a short strider off the line, and that can mask the speed he does in fact possess. His route-running ability is advanced for his age and he’s a strong pass catcher.

“Grayes has a knack for finding openings in the defense and he has the speed to run away from man coverage. Despite being just 175 pounds he will compete for the ball over the middle and he can win the occasional contested throw. Grayes has clean hands and top-notch focus on the football in traffic. He’s a shift athlete, which adds to his route running skill and makes him effective with the ball in his hands.”

  • No. 14 - Austin (Texas) Lake Travis wide receiver Caleb Burton

“Burton lacks ideal size but he’s the perfect fit for the Ohio State offense,” Garcia said. “He’s arguably the nation’s best route runner thanks to his quick burst off the line, ability to accelerate out of breaks and his elite feel for the game.

“Burton has top-notch ball skills, possessing fast, strong and confident hands. Despite the smaller stature, Burton shows the ability to win contested throws against high school players, and while he isn’t the most dynamic athlete, he can make plays in space from the outside and the slot.”

Slot Receiver

  • No. 4 - Chicago St. Rita wide receiver Kaleb Brown

“Brown is the prototype slot player in the modern game, and that is especially true in the Ohio State offense, which prioritizes playmaking ability with the football,” Garcia said. “Brown could line up outside, but when he’s in the slot he is at his most dangerous. The St. Rita star is an explosive athlete that shows an elite burst, vertical speed and he possesses a strong, athletic build.

“His combination of vertical speed and make-you-miss ability is outstanding, and his ball skills are top notch. Brown turns into a running back once he gets the football, something the Ohio State coaches are going to love.”

  • No. 10 - Suwanee (Ga.) Lambert wide receiver Kojo Antwi

“Antwi could be an outside receiver just as easily as he could play the slot, and that versatility is one of the many traits that stand out about this Ohio State commit,” Garcia said of Antwi, who pledged his services to the Buckeyes earlier this month. “He has the body of a modern spread running back, and that frame and lower body strength makes him highly effective with the ball in his hands.

“He can make plays in traffic and he shows a natural feel as a route runner, and one he gets more polish he’ll be a nightmare in the slot. Antwi explodes off the line and shows the second gear needed to get over the top of the defense. His speed/size combination is scary on crossing routes, which is perfectly suited for the Ohio State offense.”

Offensive Tackle

  • No. 7 - Englewood (Colo.) Cherry Creek offensive tackle George Fitzpatrick

“He's certainly going to need a Power 5 weight room and meal plan, and he will get it at Ohio State. But he has the movement patterns of an elite zone tackle,” Garcia said. “He can reach, pull, and be involved heavily in the screen game. He unzips his feet on the second level well, and despite the weight concerns, shows a strong anchor on tape.

“Ohio State likely won't need him to play early, so he will enjoy the redshirt year and will be north of the 300-pound mark before stepping onto a college field.”


  • No. 1 - Kettering (Ohio) Archbishop Alter linebacker C.J. Hicks

“The Ohioan paces one of the stronger position groups at the top with the combination of elite length, three-phase athleticism and that knack for finding the football,” Garcia said. “Hicks will return punts and make plays on offense, but he is most at home attacking the ball carrier and/or quarterback from depth. The twitch is easy to see on tape and he can finish behind his pads as well.

“As he continues to focus on the intricacies of being a college linebacker, like taking more efficient paths to the football, Hicks has the chance to get a lot better in a relatively short amount of time. 

  • Honorable Mention - Marysville, Ohio, linebacker Gabe Powers

“Powers is another linebacker who worked well with the ball in his hands earlier in his prep career,” Garcia said. “As he became an upperclassman, the Ohio State commitment showed more ability to play outside-in with effectiveness behind the line of scrimmage.

“Good linear speed and plus ball skills will help him develop into a three-down prospect at the next level, but the physique, finishing force and football instincts are there. The in-state star plays behind his pads and flashes some lateral ability, too.”


  • No. 17 - West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West cornerback Jyaire Brown

“(Brown) has long been a known name in the recruiting game and he seems to hold his own in coverage more times than not,” Garcia said. “With a slim, yet long frame, Brown has many strong physical traits and applies them well with the football in flight. Confidence shows up in person and on tape, along with timely play-making and a mature patience and understanding of when to up the aggression.

“On top of all that, there is a strong motor and high football IQ on display with his 2020 tape that makes one think he has what it takes to be the captain of the secondary one day in Columbus.”

  • HM - Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna Prep cornerback Ryan Turner

“(Turner) is one of the better off-man cover corners we’ve evaluated to date in the 2022 cycle,” Garcia said. “He was also under nickel consideration for our staff with his quickness and strength combatting a two-way go.”

Nickel Corner

  • No. 1 - Little Elm, Texas, cornerback Terrance Brooks

“The Buckeye commitment is one of the most physically gifted secondary prospects in the class,” Garcia said. “His tape is littered with plays on the football in tight quarters, often downhill and/or laterally, through contact. It amounts to an elite nickel projection by our staff, near the top of the board thanks to advanced technique in coverage along the way.

“Brooks has the patience and hands to play at the line of scrimmage, grit to help enforce the edge and long speed to run with pass catchers inside and out down the field. His natural instincts in working through traffic, not to mention disciplined outside-in approach, en route to the ball carrier reinforce the position projection.”

Not listed: West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West offensive tackle Tegra Tshabola, Acworth (Ga.) Allatoona tight end Bennett Christian and Seffner (Fla.) Armwood athlete Kye Stokes


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