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Derrick Davis more than a luxury for Ohio State 2021 recruiting class

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Derrick Davis has a long-standing relationship with Ohio State but the numbers are hurting the Buckeyes. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football Recruiting

Derrick Davis more than a luxury for Ohio State 2021 recruiting class

COLUMBUS — The continued recruitment of Pennsylvania 4-star safety Derrick Davis by Ohio State is a little bit like grocery shopping during a pandemic.

Not everything that goes in the cart is a must have, but — just to be safe — it makes sense to stock up a little bit more than normal on key items.

For the Buckeyes and the 2021 recruiting class, Derrick Davis is, and has been, a key item for a long time now. So, though Ohio State picked up defensive back commitment number six on Sunday from Jordan Hancock, it’s a good time to remember that Ryan Day et all are still hoping to pluck Davis from Western Pennsylvania as the finishing item in the versatile and talented grab bag Kerry Coombs is assembling.

Unfortunately for Ohio State — and figuratively speaking for its recruiting class — Davis isn’t a jar of gravy.

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Derrick Davis is the final — and important — piece of what is one the best defensive back hauls in Ohio State recruiting history. (Sam Silverman/Lettermen Row)

Pennsylvania’s No. 4-ranked prospect is obviously aware of the numbers being compiled in Columbus. He says that won’t impact his ultimate decision but it’s irrational to believe he’s not considering that.

“Pretty much every school says the same thing to me,” Davis told Lettermen Row in June. “I’m their No. 1 priority. I’m No. 1 on the board.”

A recruit and his family could be excused for not believing that. The truth of the matter is that college coaches will say and do a lot of things to recruit good football players but Davis and his family have seen the proof in the proverbial pudding when it comes to the Buckeyes.

Ohio State has recruited Derrick Davis and his family for more than three years now. That hasn’t changed when everything else in Columbus — three defensive coordinators, four defensive backs coach and two head coaches, for example — has. Does that matter? Will that loyalty to Davis ultimately mean more than the numbers he sees splayed out on internet sites and message board posts?

“Are you still rocking with me until the end?” Davis said when asked what could eventually separate his top schools from his ultimate choice. “During this process, that’s one thing that meant a lot to me. What coaches focused on me?”

Davis recently released his top seven schools on Twitter, though most recruiting folks believe his list is really narrowed down much more than that, maybe whittled down to just two: Ohio State and Penn State. When it comes to which schools have been rocking with him the longest, the discussion really starts and stops with that pair. The Buckeyes have six defensive backs committed, though some believe that number could actually be five if Jaylen Johnson outgrows the safety position and ends up at linebacker. Of that six, three are cornerbacks (Jordan Hancock, J.K. Johnson, Denzel Burke) and two (Andre Turrentine, Jantzen Dunn) are safeties with Johnson being the wild card.

The Nittany Lions have four or five, depending on what positions athletes like Lonnie White end up playing, with two 4-star players set at safety. The numbers aren’t really that different, it seems, as a decision date — possibly coming in September according to those close to America’s No. 2-ranked safety — gets closer.

For those on the outside looking in, Derrick Davis isn’t a need for Ohio State and its 2021 recruiting class. Three years of nonstop recruiting even with six other defensive backs committed suggests otherwise. Ironically, the player the Buckeyes have recruited the longest is the player they’ve decided they’ll wait for, another sign of how highly they value him.

Sometimes gravy isn’t just a want. It’s a must have.

Birm

Birm is Lettermen Row's Director of Recruiting and the site's primary Ohio State sports photographer. A Toledo, Ohio native, Jeremy has been in similar roles for elevenwarriors.com and Landof10.com and has been covering the Buckeyes for seven years.