COLUMBUS — Twenty-one up, and twenty-one down for Ohio State on the first day of the Early Signing Period led to a relaxing Wednesday for the Buckeyes.
It’s rare that things go exactly as planned in the world of college football recruiting, but that’s what happened this week for Ryan Day, Mark Pantoni and the entirety of the 2021 Ohio State recruiting class.
“There’s not a lot of drama. It was an easy day and pretty much the whole cycle was almost drama-less,” Pantoni said Wednesday. “Our coaches did a great job having these kids understand what it meant to be committed and helping recruit.”
Throughout the recruiting process, one fueled by Zoom calls and FaceTime, the future Buckeyes and their coaches talked regularly. In fact, according to Ryan Day, the Ohio State staff likely talked to recruits more in the 2021 cycle than ever before, helping form a strong bond between the staff and their recruits but also, among the recruits themselves.
“We had two different Zoom calls where we had the whole class on the Zoom calls,” Pantoni said. “One of them, we had them and their parents and we kind of did like a game show where we had a lot of fun and it was very interactive. And the second one was more serious about just sharing their experience with the team and what they were going through with all the pandemic. It was just good to get all the guys together, see them face to face, let the guys interact among each other.”
Those early calls helped ease the transition from recruiting rivals to teammates. Once that happened, friendships happened. In the midst of a pandemic, Ohio State recruits got to know each other much better than maybe ever before. Now, Lettermen Row is letting readers into exactly what they discovered.
Here’s what the Buckeyes newest signees think of their peers after surveying the Class of 2021.
Kyle McCord and Mike Hall are the funniest Ohio State signees
In a class full of engaging personalities, the Buckeyes commits believed that quarterback Kyle McCord and defensive tackle Mike Hall were the funniest people in the recruiting message group. Both McCord and Hall received 36 percent of the votes though their humor was described as “different.” Running back Treveyon Henderson received 27 percent of the votes so he’s apparently pretty funny as well.
Who are the most competitive signees?
Again, there was a time among the Ohio State recruits who chose both TreVeyon Henderson and Evan Pryor as the most competitive members of the 2021 class. Both prospects received 27.3 percent of the vote from their peers. Competitive fire is one of the things that Ohio State coaches look for most when evaluating talent and it’s no surprise that these two running backs, future roommates, are leading the pack. Buckeyes fans should expect to hear and read about this duo going head-to-head with each other in every conceivable manner over the next four years.
The future MC of the Ohio State locker room is Evan Pryor
In the only unanimous vote, every single Buckeyes commit that responded to the survey voted for Evan Pryor as the best rapper/singer of the 2021 class. No video was provided to Lettermen Row but it’s a safe bet that the Ohio State social media and content creation team will shed some light on his secret talent at some point during his Ohio State career.
Ohio State receivers don’t talk much off the field
Viewers of the 2021 class roundtable video would’ve noted that Marvin Harrison doesn’t do much talking and his future teammates agreed, with 53 percent of them picking the Philadelphia wide receiver as the quietest kid in the group. Jayden Ballard and Emeka Egbuka each received votes as well, though Egbuka’s relative silence probably had more to do with him still making a college choice into the last two weeks.
The responses for the most talkative member of the class were a bit more varied but Evan Pryor edged out Ben Christman and Jaylen Johnson. Ohio State fans will hear a lot from Pryor on and off the field, it seems.
Buckeyes signees think Tony Alford is the funniest Ohio State coach
Though the “de-recruitment” phase is about to begin for the Buckeyes 2021 signees, they will still be counting on the Ohio State coaches to offer up some personality and 54.6 percent of the respondents said that running backs coach Tony Alford was the coach that made them laugh the most. Alford’s an excellent relationship builder and that doesn’t stop when a recruit sends his Letter of Intent.
Now that we’ve gone over what the players themselves think, here’s a few more superlatives about the class from the Lettermen Row vantage point.
Craziest Highlight Tape
There are a lot of studs in the Ohio State recruiting class and anyone that is a fan of football should turn on the junior year highlight film from TreVeyon Henderson because it’s about as good as there’s ever been. It’s 16 minutes of madness. However, my choice for this category is 5-star offensive lineman Donovan Jackson, who absolutely mauled people throughout his senior season.
One of the finalists for the Anthony Munoz Offensive Lineman of the Year, Jackson’s approach on the field is simple.
“He’s nasty, and that’s funny because it’s hard to do that,” Steve Leisz, Jackson’s high school coach, told Lettermen Row over the summer. “We tell the kids it’s really hard because we have to be leaders on campus, in the classrooms. But when we get on the field, we got to change that.
“We’ve still got to be leaders, but we’ve got to get nasty and and we got to take things to a different level. And he’s such a great individual off the field. But when he flips that switch, Donovan Jackson flips the switch better than most players I’ve ever seen.”
Future Captain for Ohio State?
There’s a number of signees that could fit this bill but forced to pick just one we here at Lettermen Row are going to pick linebacker Reid Carrico. The Ironton star is just a business first football player who will go to any lengths for his team and that’s going to earn him a ton of respect from his future coaches and teammates.
“He’s just this old school, throwback linebacker,” Mark Pantoni told the media on Wednesday. “Who has no regard for his body. He’s making 20, 25 tackles a game, he’s playing running back and having 80-yard runs. He was a dominant high school player. He wasn’t into recruiting, he wasn’t into all the splash. He just loves ball. If you have stock, you’re going to put it into that kid.”
Consider this Lettermen Row’s attempt at buying that stock.
Biggest Sleeper in Ohio State class?
The Lettermen Row choice is Jantzen Dunn, a super-talented 6-foot-2, 210-pound defensive back from Bowling Green, Ky. Dunn is long, fast, explosive and productive and he’s got the type of unique talent to make him a viable option at cornerback or safety for Kerry Coombs and Ohio State.
Most likely to be on the cover of Madden football game?
So many choices here but as the best Madden player in the class, the choice has to be cornerback Jordan Hancock. He’s got the potential to be a first-round pick and an eventual NFL All-Pro and the folks at EA Sports love cornerbacks with swag and Hancock has that in spades. Plus he’ll have no problem lobbying them for a spot on the cover as an avid player.