COLUMBUS — Reid Carrico is staying home and has committed to Ohio State.
Who is Carrico? How did this four-star linebacker, the top-ranked junior at the position in the state of Ohio, become one of the top overall targets in the Class of 2021 for the Buckeyes and linebackers coach Al Washington? What changed since he was concerned he wasn’t going to become a national recruit last January?
Lettermen Row has all the angles covered on this potential 5-star talent and what his commitment means to Ohio State, the Big Ten and more.
What Reid Carrico gives Ohio State on the field
Reid Carrico is a classic middle linebacker prospect in the mold of A.J. Hawk and James Laurinaitis, and his commitment provides Ohio State a player capable of manning the middle of its defense for multiple years.
At 6-foot-3 and 230-pounds as a high school junior, he’s also nowhere close to a finished product. Unlike most of the country’s best high school linebacker prospects, Carrico actually plays linebacker for the Fighting Tigers — and does it well. He’s a sideline-to-sideline type of player with a quick first step, and he reads and reacts far better than most players his age.
That’s why he’s the country’s top-ranked inside linebacker according to 247Sports, and it’s why he turned from a relative unknown on the recruiting trail to a national name in just a few short months since spring.
Carrico can play inside or outside, but his frame and instincts make him a prime candidate to line up at an interior linebacker spot in the future. He’s a big kid who wants to hit people and will arrive on campus at Ohio State somewhere in the 245-250 pound range.
What Reid Carrico means to Ohio State 2021 recruiting class
Simply put, Carrico’s commitment wasn’t a surprise. But the timing of it is still incredibly important for Ohio State and its efforts in the 2021 recruiting cycle.
He’s not a player who sought out the spotlight, and at times he has tried to avoid the attention that comes with being a national recruit. But now that he’s committed, Carrico is going to change hats and work hard to help bring the best of the best with him to Ohio State in the winter of 2021.
“I’m turning into a complete recruiter now, which ironic considering I’m not a huge recruiting guy,” Carrico told Lettermen Row. “But we’ve got to build the class into something special.”
With him in the mix, Ohio State now has five commitments in the Class of 2021, and four of them are from Ohio. That’s huge for Ryan Day’s program as he looks to re-establish Ohio State as a program that recruits Ohio first. Carrico joins Jack Sawyer, Ben Christman and Jayden Ballard as young Ohioans heading to Columbus for college, and that means four of the state’s top five prospects are pledged to the Buckeyes — and have done so very early in the process.
Now Carrico can turn his attention to helping secure players like Lorenzo Styles, Najee Story and Corey Kiner before changing the focus to securing the best of the rest from around the country. Ohio State is a better program when Ohio’s top players pick it early and help lead the national recruiting push.
What makes Reid Carrico stand out
Athletically, Carrico’s talents are easy to see. But what fuels him is a drive to be the best he can be no matter what. Coming from a smalltown in Ohio, it’s not always easy to get noticed, but he’s intent on becoming a complete football player.
“I’m getting bigger and getting faster,” Carrico told Lettermen Row. “Right now, what I’m trying to work on is my knowledge of the game, having like a great pre-snap, you know? Football IQ stuff.
“I have a pretty good football IQ, but I want to be a mastermind, you know what I mean?”
When you’re following in the footsteps of guys like Chris Spielman, A.J. Hawk, James Laurinaitis, Raekwon McMillan and more, committing to the mental side of the game is often what sets a player apart.