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Ohio State 2021 running back recruiting doesn’t need to be hurried

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Evan Pryor is very high on the board for Ohio State, and the Buckeyes are one of his favorites as well. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Recruiting Question of the Day

Ohio State 2021 running back recruiting doesn’t need to be hurried

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. Thursday, we take a look at the 2021 running back board, a deep group that Ohio State needs to be patient in recruiting.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

The good news here is that we no longer have to talk about 2020 running back recruiting on Lettermen Row. The Buckeyes are not pursuing Zach Evans, Jahmyr Gibbs or any other tailbacks in that recruiting class any longer, have fully turned their attention to the Class of 2021 and begun researching and evaluating the top players in that group already.

The bad news is that I am confident the recruiting questions about the 2021 running backs are going to be as frequent and as frenzied as the 2020 questions were. I understand it, though, and I look forward to the next year talking about a handful of players that are all really good kids and very talented football players.

We wrote on Sunday that Ryan Day and Tony Alford each visited one of the top-two running backs in the country last Friday, with the Buckeyes head coach checking in to see Donovan Edwards and Alford making a trip to Texas to see Camar Wheaton.

This week, Alford will see Edwards in Michigan and Evan Pryor and Will Shipley in North Carolina, among others. Ohio State is taking to the road armed with a wide-open depth chart and a continued tradition of running back success that is the equal of any program in the country.

The Buckeyes are in excellent shape for each of those running backs mentioned, and they are no doubt a serious contender for others, including Ohioans Corey Kiner and Jaylen Anderson. That list will keep growing over the next few months of in-person evaluation and on-campus visits.

Which brings us to our second Recruiting Question of the Day for Thursday. That’s right folks, it’s a rare two-for-one because there’s a common belief amongst recruitniks that somehow Ohio State didn’t do its best or try its hardest in recruiting the running back in the Class of 2020.

Evan Pryor is absolutely one of the country’s best running backs and a priority for Ohio State in the 2021 cycle. He has been recruited by the Buckeyes and Alford as hard as anyone else, and the two continue to grow their relationship in near daily conversations. Pryor isn’t ready to make a decision about his college future yet, and that’s probably a good thing for both sides because I don’t believe that as of today Ohio State knows exactly what it needs or wants at the running back position in 2021.

It’s still very, very early. There’s no need to hurry or force relationships right now, especially as none of the top targets for Ohio State appear anywhere close to committing. ‘

That said, if Pryor, a top-five running back nationally, wanted to commit to the Buckeyes right now, would he able to? I think he absolutely would. Do I think that’s a conversation even worth having today? No, I don’t. Pryor is trying to sort out his options, and the Buckeyes are trying to figure out theirs with no clue what the future will hold on their current roster or from other top targets at this point.

There’s no point in rushing, and there’s no panic from Ryan Day, Tony Alford and the Buckeyes just because the 2020 cycle left them feeling some understandable disappointment. The goal is to make sure that 2021 ends up with a different feeling, and that means taking the time to get it right.

Need more Ohio State recruiting #Stuff? Join the conversation below in the comments and sign up for Scarlet Sunrise, Lettermen Row’s morning newsletter that will get your day started with all the important Ohio State news you need to know. Prefer video? Follow Buckeyes football on YouTube with Lettermen Row. You can also get your recruiting fix by subscribing to Talking Stuff: The Ohio State Recruiting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher

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Buck68Brian yakataBrunstarBirmNW Montana Buckeye Recent comment authors
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denying in the form of “don’t need to force” reveals… the importance of ‘getting in touch with your feelings’ for the purpose of ‘honesty’ with your self, which is an indispensable aspect of laying such negative and impositional ‘needs’… aside.


If Bjian’s family didn’t get overly involved in his recruitment we wouldn’t have ever needed to have this conversation over and over again.

NW Montana Buckeye
NW Montana Buckeye

Thanks Birm for the article but this seems to be the same approach we had last year. We basically put all the eggs in the basket with Bijan and Jalyn. They both decided to go elsewhere in late July. By that point 75% of the top backs had committed. If we wait too long we could be in the same spot. I’d argue that if we have a guy in our top 3 and he wants in the class in May that we need to pull the trigger. For whatever reason OSU just does not have the pull with getting elite running backs.

Brian yakata
Brian yakata

There was a rb named edwards who played for tsun in the 1970s. Any relation? If so may be a tough pull.

Brian yakata
Brian yakata

Wheaton and shipley are the only 5* rbs in the class. Would like a 5* to make up for loss of bijan and milton.


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 and and has been covering the Buckeyes for seven years.

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