COLUMBUS — The 2021 class at Ohio State is chock-full of talent.
The Buckeyes currently have the No. 2 class in the country behind only Alabama, and it could get better soon as they try to land two more prospects to round out the class.
Of the 21 signees from the early signing period, 15 are now on campus and preparing to begin their Ohio State career this spring. After arriving this weekend, the early-enrollees now must adapt to life at Ohio State, on and off the field.
“A lot of it is managing their time,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “That’s a huge part of it: How do you prioritize things? Because in college you’re on your own. You don’t have your parents anymore telling you how to manage your time. You have to do that. The sooner guys can get that organized, the sooner they’re going to get on the field.”
There are plenty of Buckeyes who could find the field early in their time at Ohio State, especially if they have impressive showings during spring practice in the next few months. Lettermen Row is breaking down five early-enrollees who could breakout this spring and set themselves up for playing time as freshmen.
QB Kyle McCord
This is the scenario Kyle McCord wanted. The freshman quarterback is one of three scholarship signal-callers on the Ohio State roster, and he’ll be locked in a three-man quarterback battle through spring ball with sophomores C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller. McCord, who has won state championships and impressed during his time in high school, will need to learn the playbook on the fly and overcome the year of experience both Miller and Stroud have. If McCord can do that, he’ll be in the thick of the quarterback battle deep into fall camp with a chance to start as a true freshman.
DE Jack Sawyer
Ohio State has consistently had a dominant presence at defensive end since 2013 when Joey Bosa arrived on campus. Then Nick Bosa came to the Buckeyes. Then Chase Young. Last year, the Buckeyes were able to apply pressure to the quarterback at defensive end, but they didn’t have a dominant player on the edge. Sawyer could be the answer. A long-time Ohio State commit who has worked with Larry Johnson for a couple of years now, Sawyer understands how to play the position and has goals of earning early playing time. The former five-star now enters a room that is loaded with talent, but with a good spring, he could crack the rotation on the defensive line.
RB TreVeyon Henderson
Even with the rise of Trey Sermon late in the season, there seemed to be something missing from the Ohio State backfield for much of the year. That could change if TreVeyon Henderson adapts to life at Ohio State early. Henderson has all the tools to be an elite running back, even during his first year in the program. He has the quickness, agility and vision to steal the starting job in the backfield from the loaded batch of competition. The spring will go a long way in determining whether he can do just that in Year One. Henderson is a special player despite not playing his senior season of high school ball. The No. 1 back in America for his class has a chance to prove that.
P Jesse Mirco
Ohio State has a long-standing tradition of good punters, and Mirco is next in line. Drue Chrisman is off to the NFL, so Mirco will have to take over the full-time punting duties in his first season on campus — and in America. The Australian will need to adapt to life at Ohio State throughout spring practice to get a handle on the expectations that come with his new starting job. He has seven months to do just that.
WR Emeka Egbuka
Ohio State has a loaded room of wide receivers returning for next year, and the competition to earn playing time became even harder when superstar Chris Olave decided to return for his senior season. With all the talent in the room, the Buckeyes could return to the six-man receiver rotation they love to deploy. If that happens, Egbuka should be part of the plans. Egbuka, the No. 1 wide receiver in the class of 2021, has a big spring ahead of him. And if he begins his career with a good showing at spring practice, he could join Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams and the talented trio of rising sophomores in the receiver rotation this fall.