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Buckeyes taking patient approach with 2022 defensive backs

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Ohio State defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs is slowly turning his attention to the 2022 class. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Recruiting Question of the Day

Buckeyes taking patient approach with 2022 defensive backs

Have a question about Ohio State recruiting? This is the place for you, five days a week. Submit your questions on Twitter or on the Lettermen Row forums. Check-in daily to see what’s on the mind of Buckeyes fans all over the country. Today’s question asks about the potential finish for Ohio State in the Class of 2021.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

Like every other position in the Class of 2022 minus the linebackers, there’s truly not an easy-to-discern pecking order for the Buckeyes yet at defensive back.

Kerry Coombs has been back on the job at Ohio State since January, and what would have normally been a summer full of evaluation turned into anything but that. The inability to see young prospects in person, whether in Columbus or on the road, eliminated a few months worth of relationship building for Coombs and the players who will be his top targets. Everyone was affected by the loss of in-person evaluation camps.

“If camps disappear, that’s a significant loss,” Ohio State director of player personnel Mark Pantoni said in April. “And our coaches going on the road and watching these guys practice, that’s a significant loss. That’s just another checkmark in the full evaluation process. So we’re going to have to really trust our eyes on the film.”

Yes, there’s a chance to see good things on film from the now junior class. But until the last few weeks, Coombs and the Buckeyes have been relying on highlight tapes from — in most cases — 14 or 15 year old players. That’s quite a departure in quality coming off a two-year stint in the NFL.

That being the case, it’s understandable why Coombs, Matt Barnes and the rest of the coaching staff in Columbus haven’t gone too far down the ol’ rabbit hole in 2022. There is no more work to be done in the Class of 2021, and that helps, but in many ways there’s just a waiting game occurring for the following cycle.

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Delian Bradley is Ohio’s second-ranked 2022 defensive back. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State really likes J’yaire Brown, obviously, and identified him early before taking his commitment in April. With Brown in the fold and six commitments in the secondary in 2021, there’s no need to rush into anything with other players.

There are some players out there, like California’s Domani Jackson and Michigan’s William Johnson, who would be takes no matter what right now. But both of those players are long-shots right now, and the odds get even worse the longer the recruiting dead period extends. The same can be said for Denver Harris, who has not shown much reciprocal interest in the Buckeyes at this point, according to sources there.

Beyond that pair, there are a handful of young players who’ve captured Ohio State’s attention. Some of the names have been talked about here over the last few months, like Las Vegas star Zion Branch, South Carolina 5-star Jaeydn Lukas, Toriano Pride from St. Louis, Austin Jordan from Texas and Kamari Ramsey from California. There are some other names, kids like Xavier Nwankpa and in-state standout Delian Bradley, who are also getting a long look from the Buckeyes right now.

But right now, patience is the order of the day for Kerry Coombs and the Ohio State secondary on the recruiting trail.

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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.