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Scarlet Sunrise: Buckeyes land talented 2021 defensive back

Kerry Coombs-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
Ohio State defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs picked up a big commitment Sunday. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Scarlet Sunrise

Scarlet Sunrise: Buckeyes land talented 2021 defensive back

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise. Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Jakailin Johnson commits to Ohio State

For the fourth straight recruiting cycle, the Buckeyes landed a commitment from St. Louis when 4-star cornerback Jakailin Johnson, better known as J.K, has ended his recruitment.

Johnson, the country’s No. 4-ranked cornerback according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings, has long been considered an Ohio State lean, and he decided to commit to the Buckeyes on his birthday rather than waiting for a return visit to Columbus. Johnson’s commitment comes amid nationwide recruiting uncertainty thanks to rising concerns about the coronavirus, a pandemic that has put NCAA recruiting on hold for the foreseeable future.

Why did Jakailin Johnson commit to the Buckeyes now? What did he and his coach, a former NFL cornerback, think of Kerry Coombs? Does he intend to become an aggressive recruiter for Ohio State? How important were the current St. Louis players on the Buckeyes roster to his choice?

Lettermen Row recruiting expert Birm sat down with Johnson to break it all down in the latest Birminology.

For the full analysis of what the commitment of Jakailin Johnson means for the Buckeyes, click here.

Kourt Williams wins Watkins Award Trophy

The Franklin D. Watkins Memorial Award trophy, which is handed out to the nation’s top African-American male high school student-athlete, was awarded Sunday to recent Ohio State enrollee Kourt Williams.

Williams, a graduate of St. John Bosco High School, graduated with a 3.8 GPA, did volunteer work and was a standout football player who ultimately chose Ohio State over a handful of other schools. He was the Long Beach Defensive Player of the Year, and he was a Butkus Award nominee and was an all-state honoree.

“Kourt Williams II is very impressive,” J. Everette Pearsall, executive director of the National Alliance of African American Athletes, said. “Not only is Kourt a great football player, but he excelled in the classroom and was giving of himself in the community. As this year’s Watkins Award Standard Bearer, we know that Kourt will continue to lead by example.”

Williams wasn’t the only Ohio State signee to be listed as a finalist. Linebacker Cody Simon was also listed as a nominee.

Could Buckeyes land Trey Sermon?

Ohio State is dangerously thin at running back, and there’s now a big-time back in the transfer portal. Former Oklahoma running back Trey Sermon has entered the transfer market, and the Buckeyes are a prime candidate to go after Sermon to fill a massive void left by J.K. Dobbins departure to the NFL. Could Sermon and the Buckeyes be a match?

Lettermen Row senior writer Austin Ward has the story. Here’s part of it:

The Buckeyes will certainly lock their sights on Sermon’s name, and this has the kind of dream-scenario feel for them that Jonah Jackson’s arrival in the portal last year had when Day needed a talented, experienced guard. There’s no guarantee that this will work out in the same way for Ohio State. And considering how they feel about the upside of Marcus Crowley when he’s healthy, the potential for Steele Chambers and the fact that Miyan Williams is arriving in the summer, it’s possible the Buckeyes could still be just fine even without making a move.

But assuming Sermon is looking for a place where he could potentially start, an offense that might not require a major adjustment and a chance to keep competing for a national championship, he’s almost certain to have Ohio State on his short list of landing spots. And it’s hard to envision a scenario where the Buckeyes wouldn’t welcome him with open arms.

For the full story, click here.

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Spencer Holbrook

Spencer Holbrook covers Ohio State football and basketball for Lettermen Row. A graduate of Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism, he's in his second year covering the Buckeyes. He was previously the sports editor at Ohio's student newspaper, The Post, where he covered Ohio University football and men's basketball.