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Ohio State impresses Donovan Jackson, Jager Burton focusing on decision

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Donovan Jackson didn't mind the rain at Ohio State on Saturday. (Donovan Jackson/Courtesy)

Ohio State Football Recruiting

Ohio State impresses Donovan Jackson, Jager Burton focusing on decision

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 update has the latest on the recruitment of key offensive line visitors from the Buckeyes big weekend matchup with Penn State.

Ohio State makes a splash in Donovan Jackson recruitment

On a weekend that saw almost 75 recruits visiting Ohio State, it’s hard for prospects to stand out. Still, when Bellaire (Texas) Episcopal 2021 offensive lineman Donovan Jackson made his way down to the tunnel to the field at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, it was easy to see that he was a young man feeling comfortable with his current whereabouts.

The 6-foot-4, 310-pound Jackson, the country’s eighth-ranked offensive tackle prospect, made his third trip to Columbus. And as one of the weekend’s headline visitors, it seems things went as well as it could’ve for both he and Ohio State.

“I had an amazing time at Ohio State,” Jackson, who is staying in Ohio this week to celebrate Thanksgiving with family in Cincinnati, told Lettermen Row. “The atmosphere and the coaching staff were both fun to be around. I hope to be back sooner rather than later.

“This trip was different because of the great opportunity to talk with [Ryan] Day and [offensive line coach Greg] Studrawa. The wow moment was having my entire family there with me and getting invited Sunday [to spend more time with the coaching staff] and to see and understand Ohio State’s traditions.”

The Buckeyes coaching staff is often to the point when it comes to dealing with recruits. There’s not a lot of sugarcoating, and this visit with Jackson was no different. There’s a real bond between the two sides, but Day and his coaches want to see him continue growing the relationship for whenever he returns to campus.

“Their main message was that I would be a perfect fit in the brotherhood going forward,” Jackson said.

From here, things may slow down a bit for Jackson as he looks toward a decision sometime in his senior season.

“Most likely next season [for a decision],” he said.”I will definitely narrow my list down, but I won’t be taking any more visits this year. I’m going to start looking at next year’s schedule to see teams that I’m interested in.”

Ohio State will be on that short list.

Jager Burton sorting through list of recruiting priorities

Ohio State has been a favorite for Lexington (Ky.) Frederick Douglass offensive lineman Jager Burton for a while. And the Buckeyes did nothing to hurt their standing with the 4-star 2021 offensive lineman as he and his family visited last weekend.

“It went great,” Burton, the nation’s fifth-ranked offensive guard, told Lettermen Row. “I will be taking an official visit to Ohio State. The coaches really stood out. It was one of my favorite visits.”

The 6-foot-4, 275-pound lineman has been to Penn State, Clemson, Oregon and Alabama this season as he searches for the right fit for his college future. The Buckeyes coaching staff, as mentioned, continued their work of proving how highly they prioritize Kentucky’s top-ranked junior.

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Kentucky lineman Jager Burton during his visit Ohio State for the Penn State game in 2019. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

“I got to see [Ryan] Day before the game and for a little after,” Burton said. “But I hung out with Coach [Studrawa] for a while. When Coach Day took the time to talk to me and my family before a game of that size, that really just shows how important I am to them.”

The question from here is how important is Ohio State to Burton. He’s ready to focus on making a decision from here, but that one isn’t imminent because there are official visits to take.

“I’m going to take five officials, but only three are planned,” he said. “I’ve had a list of the things that are most important to me through all of this, so I’m just gonna sit down and see which schools check the most boxes. I’m ready to get my officials done and commit.”

Trey Zuhn has final three schools, Ohio State impressing

Heading into his third trip to Ohio State, Fossil Ridge (Fort Collins, Colo.) 4-star junior Trey Zuhn knew he was seeing a top-three school in his recruitment from a list that also includes Oklahoma and Texas A&M. The visit to see the Buckeyes play Penn State, he said, would help him determine whether or not he could see himself as a Buckeye.

“Big Ten Rivalry games are awesome,” Zuhn told Lettermen Row. “Ohio State fans are awesome.”

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Colorado lineman Trey Zuhn has been to Ohio State three times in the last year. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Zuhn met with the Buckeyes coaches on Sunday morning before heading home to Colorado to try to dissect the next steps in his recruitment. With his final three schools already established, he’ll begin narrowing down his priorities. One thing he knows for sure is that the Buckeyes are not at any sort of disadvantage because of geography.

“Not sure [distance] really matters much,” he said. “I already knew I wanted to leave Colorado. And of my top schools, they’re all probably too far to drive so it’s about the same.”

North Carolina lineman Michael Gonzalez enjoys return trip

Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley 2021 offensive lineman Michael Gonzalez camped at Ohio State in June and earned an offer from Greg Studrawa at the time.

On Saturday, the 6-foot-4, 280-pound 3-star prospect, the country’s No. 17-ranked offensive guard, returned to Columbus and took in the sights as Ohio State toppled Penn State 28-17.

“I got a very good vibe from the place,” Gonzalez, who has 13 early scholarship offers, told Lettermen Row. “The Ohio State offensive line was dominating and I saw that one of them [Wyatt Davis] was named the Player of the Game.

“The atmosphere of the stadium and the fan support really stood out. There was probably not one empty seat in that stadium.”

Gonzalez didn’t get a lot of time with the Buckeyes coaching staff on Saturday — as expected — but the fact that a second trip was made in five months is a good indicator of his interest in the Ohio State program. Keep an eye on his development over the next few months.

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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.