COLUMBUS — The Buckeyes have landed a commitment from one of Ohio’s best athletes. 2021 wide receiver Jayden Ballard has committed to Ohio State.
— JB (@J_Ball21) June 21, 2019
Ohio’s fifth-ranked 2021 prospect and the nation’s 22nd-ranked receiver, Ballard is a 6-foot-2, 170-pound two-sport star at Massillon Washington High School. The latest Buckeyes commitment had seven early offers from schools around the country, including Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan State, Washington State and Maryland — many others may have decided against offering because of the presumption that Ballard, who Ohio State offered in his freshman year with the Tigers, would end up with committing early to the Buckeyes.
That presumption turned out to be accurate, but that doesn’t mean this recruitment was always a sure thing for Ohio State. Because of Ballard’s age, the ability to communicate over the last year-plus has been limited to primarily face-to-face contact and that isn’t always easy to accomplish when you’re dealing with an active teenage athlete.
The relationship between Ballard and Ohio State really didn’t kick into gear until the Buckeyes 2019 spring game when Ballard visited with his parents. That group was a major priority for receivers coach Brian Hartline during the busy spring weekend and it was that trip that solidified what has become a solid relationship between Ballard and Hartline.
But there was still work to be done and Ballard didn’t rest on his laurels. He camped with Ohio State in early June and was much improved in that outing compared to his performance at The Opening regional camp at the end of April. On campus in Columbus, Ballard and Hartline linked up again with the focus being turned to a return trip for the huge Ohio State recruiting weekend of June 21 where the Buckeyes hoped to secure a pledge from one of Ohio’s best young prospects. They did just that.
Ballard is Ohio State’s third commitment in the Class of 2021 and the first receiver committed in that class.