Ohio State added one of the nation’s fastest-rising prospects to its 2022 recruiting class on Sunday night when Seffner (Fla.) Armwood athlete Kye Stokes pledged his services to the Buckeyes.
The 6-foot-2 and 185-pound Stokes is only rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals and does not have a 247Sports composting rating at this time, but expect a significant bump in the ratings based upon his list of offers, which includes the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami (Fla.), Notre Dame, Tennessee and South Carolina. He’ll easily be a high four-star prospect in the next update.
So why the sudden offers for a prospect that hasn’t even been scouted by the various recruiting services? Well, he ran a 10.80-second 100-yard dash at a track meet early last month and that caught the attention of programs across the country, including the Buckeyes, which prompted them to check out his junior tape and see a versatile athlete with ball-hawking skills.
Those who have seen Stokes on the 7-on-7 circuit this spring can attest to this, including SI All-American’s Brian Smith, who was particularly impressed with Stokes’ muscular frame and room for further physical growth. It seems like Stokes' junior tape, which saw him record 34 tackles and five interceptions as a defensive back and haul in seven passes for 170 yards on offense, is just a glimpse of his potential.
Another thing that stands out about Stokes is his self-reported 4.9 grade-point average, which receives a boost based upon his college prep courses. As a result, he’s been offered the opportunity to play football at prestigious academic institutions such as Dartmouth, Duke, Northwestern and Vanderbilt.
As for how he fits into Ohio State’s recruiting class, the Buckeyes view him as a safety at the next level. The plan is to take at least one more player at the position, though that could stretch to two if it’s the right two players, especially if one of those players can fill the void left by Bloomington (Ind.) South four-star athlete Dasan McCullough, who recently flipped to Indiana but was expected to play a hybrid linebacker/safety role in college.
Altoona (Iowa) Southeast Polk four-star Xavier Nwankpa and Las Vegas Bishop Gorman four-star Zion Branch sit at the top of the list of options, and both are set to take an official visit to Columbus in early June. That would be a situation where the Buckeyes would gladly take both, though the staff has work to do with the latter.
Other notable targets include Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon four-star Kamari Ramsey; Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith four-star Sherrod Covil; and Buford, Ga., three-star Jake Pope, though they appear to be backup options at this point in time.
Stokes, meanwhile, projects as someone who play the single-high safety spot currently occupied by senior Josh Proctor. He’ll have to compete with the likes of sophomore Lathan Ransom, redshirt freshman Kourt Williams and true freshmen Jantzen Dunn and Andre Turrentine, among others, for immediate playing time upon his arrival on campus.
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