Stay in touch or be left out because Ohio State recruiting is a 24-hour, seven-day-per-week obsession. What’s the latest news as the Buckeyes build for the future? Get that and more Sunday through Thursday on Lettermen Row. Tuesday’s notebook takes a closer look at Jack Sawyer’s big first game, some interesting developments in the Class of 2021 at running back and a new defensive back offer.
Jack Sawyer explodes in season-opening loss
We’ve discussed the country’s top-ranked junior-prospect, Pickerington North 5-star defensive end Jack Sawyer, a number of times over the last few months. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Sawyer has talked about improving his game during camps with Larry Johnson and about what it means to be ranked as the top player in the country.
This past Friday, Sawyer finally was able to stop talking and just start playing.
Jack Sawyer had five sacks in his season opener. That’s why he’s the country’s top-ranked 2021 prospect and the future of the Buckeyes defensive line. @jacksawyer40
🎥 @kjetland pic.twitter.com/zPc2wRTzw6
— Lettermen Row (@LettermenRow) September 2, 2019
The Buckeyes commit went a little bit crazy in his season-opener against Olentangy Liberty, collecting five sacks among his 15 tackles on the night — and also catching seven passes as a wide receiver. That still wasn’t enough as Pickerington North fell to Liberty 31-19. For Sawyer, that means there’s plenty of room to improve.
“Both sides of the ball, we got worn down,” he told Lettermen Row. “We need to get some key guys back and we’ll be fine, but there’s work to do.”
Following his game Friday night, Sawyer made his way to Ohio Stadium to check out the Buckeyes home opener against Florida Atlantic. It’s safe to expect he’ll be on the sideline of every Ohio State home game this season.
Pair of in-state running backs will visit Ohio State
It’s once again visiting season for high school athletes. And a pair of Ohio’s top junior running backs from the southwest part of the state are expected to visit Ohio State this weekend for the big in-state tilt against Cincinnati — checking out two programs they’ll be watching closely over the next year.
“Ohio State said I should come to check their facilities out,” Dayton Archbishop Alter 3-star back Branden McDonald told Lettermen Row. “We talked a couple of weeks ago. I’m hoping to see how their offense moves, and it’s a good chance to see the coaches on both sides in a big game. The Buckeyes do a lot of what we do on offense and I love it.”
McDonald, 5-foot-11 and 230-pounds, is Ohio’s 17th-ranked 2021 prospect. He’ll be joined at Ohio Stadium by Corey Kiner from Cincinnati Roger Bacon High School, the state’s fourth-ranked player and number-one ranked running back. Kiner, a 4-star tailback, is the tenth-ranked player at his position nationally and has an early Buckeyes offer.
Ohio State offers Wisconsin defensive back
After camping in Columbus earlier this summer, Hunter Wohler emerged on the Buckeyes 2021 recruiting radar, unofficially.
On Monday night, the 4-star safety from Muskego (Wisc.) High School was on the list officially after earning an offer in a conversation with the Ohio State coaching staff.
Wohler, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound defensive back, is the country’s eighth-ranked safety prospect in the Class of 2021 and the second-ranked player in Wisconsin. The offer from the Buckeyes is his seventh reported offer, all of which come from the Big Ten with the exception of Iowa State.
The Buckeyes are hoping to see Wohler back on campus this fall for a game at Ohio Stadium.
For those curious as to how he was able to communicate with co-defensive coordinators Jeff Hafley and Greg Mattison on Monday night, just one day after it was reported here that Ohio State was being slowed by minor NCAA infractions for a few weeks, worry not. The Buckeyes are not allowed to initiate contact with recruits and their families at this time, but they are allowed to talk with them if the player calls first. While that makes the overall tenor of their punishment much easier to deal with, it also highlights the absurdity around a number of these NCAA rules in the first place.
Lovasea Carroll decommits from South Carolina
In a move that is certainly more coincidental than directly related to his recent Ohio State offer, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) 2021 running back Lovasea Carroll backed off his commitment to South Carolina on Sunday and will re-open his recruitment.
— Lovasea Carroll (@LovaseaC) September 1, 2019
Carroll committed to the Gamecocks in April, but he has seen his recruiting profile grow considerably in the last few weeks. Aside from the Buckeyes offer he picked up last week, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound running back has also added an offer from Florida State and visited Auburn this summer after it offered him. He is the country’s eighth-ranked 2021 back.
Originally from Warrenton, Ga., Carroll transferred to the IMG Academy in June. As a sophomore, he scored 19 touchdowns and rushed for almost 1,450 yards on just 143 carries and also collected 55 tackles playing linebacker.
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