Dallan Hayden to return home, assess options ahead of decision
There has been a sense of inevitability over the recruitment of Dallan Hayden in recent months, but his visit to Notre Dame a week ago has put a little halt to that. The country’s No.24 tailback, who has been at the top of the Buckeyes’ table for some time now, has left South Bend feeling a lot better about the Irish than anyone expected.
So for the state of Ohio, bringing him to campus this weekend was really good news, especially when it comes to timing. The Buckeyes had an immediate chance to strike back – and that’s certainly the key to mitigating the post-Notre Dame glow.
Hayden left the Buckeyes campus on Sunday morning and told Lettermen Row the trip went as smoothly as you might expect.
“The visit was great,” said Hayden. “It’s a great campus. They have a great staff, a great head coach and a position coach. I can see why they are so successful at Ohio State. “
Now we’ll wait and see if the Buckeyes can be successful in this recruiting battle. Notre Dame showcased its prestigious academic programs and worked to use Tony Alford’s depth to defend against Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ goal doesn’t change much from player to player, as the program believes it offers the best college experience thanks to its mix of success in football, academics, platform building and personal development. These are all things the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Hayden will need to consider as he returns home to Memphis.
The expectation from here is this: Hayden and his family will come home, buckle up, and go into decision-making mode. Ohio State, Notre Dame and Illinois have all received official visits. The belief is that it comes down to the Buckeyes and the Irish.
The state of Ohio had been the leader here for quite some time. Our Lady gave Hayden a lot to think about. The final answer could come at any time.
Ohio State resolutely commits to recruiting Kojo Antwi
While the Buckeyes were in the lead for Dallan Hayden, Ohio State was chasing 4-star Georgia wide receiver Kojo Antwi. Georgia, Alabama, and Texas A&M were all hooked up to the nation’s No. 16 ranked receiver, but Brian Hartline worked tirelessly to ensure Lambert’s 6-foot-1, 185-pound athlete (Suwanee , Georgia) High School really looked at the Buckeyes.
This inspection began Friday evening and continues until Sunday morning. Antwi will not be leaving town until around 6 p.m. on Father’s Day, so the tour is continuing at the time of publication. Speaking with sources around the Buckeyes program, you get the feeling that things have gone really well so far. Antwi was hosted by former 5-star receiver prospect Emeka Egbuka, a serious football and college student, and that’s the message to Antwi and his family. There is a very real concern about education and growth beyond football in his family, so Egbuka is a good person to know since his father originally wanted him to go to Stanford. The Buckeyes tried to get the message across that who share the locker room together matter.
This is an area that the Ohio State truly believes can turn out to be the best of Georgia, Alabama, and Texas A&M.
It’s been a great weekend for the Buckeyes in this recruiting so far. Will this be enough for Antwi’s family to give the green light to go to school? It helps that he has family in Cincinnati. There is a July 5 decision date for this first receiver target, and Ohio State is absolutely in the fight.
The Buckeyes swing hard for JT Tuimoloau
Last but not least, the recruitment of JT Tuimoloau. The nation’s No. 1 prospect in 2021 arrived Thursday night with great fanfare, greeted by all of the Ohio State coaching staff at the airport. Buckeyes coaches donned Polynesian-inspired clothing and necklaces around their necks. That’s a deviation from the norm for the state of Ohio, which doesn’t often give in to the glories and circumstances of the recruiting world. But this immediately underlined the importance of Tuimoloau.
The focus of this trip from the Buckeyes’ perspective was development: from Larry Johnson and what he can do on the ground to what the city of Columbus and recent name, image and resemblance will make for Tuimoloau. Ohio State held its annual job fair Friday night, showing the 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive end a sample of the connections the Buckeyes have to the biggest and most important companies. lucrative businesses in Ohio and the Midwest.
Outside of the airport welcome, the Buckeyes’ goal has been to show off the Tuimoloau substance, not the style. The effort has been made to highlight the relationships he has already developed with Ohio State and to ensure that he meets the people who will help him maximize his three years at Ohio State. It’s about Larry Johnson’s role in his development on the pitch and the commitment the famous coach has given him and his family for the next 20 years.
At the end of the line ? Things are gone very good for the state of Ohio. It’s also fair to believe that the Buckeyes should have really botched something to make things go wrong. The plan has not changed for JT Tuimoloau: he leaves Columbus on Sunday afternoon and heads to Oregon. He’ll be spending his time with the Ducks and then heading to Alabama next weekend for his final official visit.
While Nick Saban will certainly be a lot with Tuimoloau, it’s worth noting the contrast between Ohio State and Alabama weekends with the 5-star. The Buckeyes had four official visitors in 2022 – one of them, CJ Hicks, is already signed. The Crimson Tide will host nine official tours and a number of key prospects in the 2022 and 2023 classes as well. Again, Nick Saban is unlikely to turn away from his mission to land at Tuimoloau, but his impact on the rest of the Alabama staff and the way they are forced to spend their time is at least interesting.
Ohio State picked up the momentum and put all the cards on the table. There are a few big hits left but the Buckeyes love their hand.
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