October 18, 2021

The Hurry-Up: Ohio State Coaches Begin Contacting 2023 Recruits, Ethan Nation Locks in Visit, Dallan Hayden Ho – Eleven Warriors


Plenty of 2023 recruits heard their phone ring Wednesday.

Sept. 1 marked the first time Ohio State coaches could directly contact juniors in high school to have recruiting-related conversations, and the Buckeyes staff was pretty busy throughout the day. 

Although many more recruits were surely contacted, Eleven Warriors was able to confirm the Buckeyes reached out to OSU targets AJ Harris, Sonny Styles, Kayin Lee, Samson Okunlola, Payton Kirkland, Clay Wedin, Keith Sampson Jr.TJ Shanahan and Sharif Denson

Lee, the 14th-best cornerback according to 247Sports’ composite rankings, said Ryan Day and defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs reached out and talked to him about his future should he want to become a Buckeye. Coombs also texted Harris, a five-star recruit rated the No. 13 player in the entire class. Wedin, the 15th-best interior offensive lineman, said OSU offensive line coach Greg Studrawa reached out and told him he’s excited to keep in contact with more ease and that the duo is excited for college football to start. 

Meanwhile, Kirkland, the ninth-rated tackle in 2023, said he heard from Ohio State at approximately 12:01 with a short and sweet message from Studrawa and running backs coach Tony Alford: “Go Bucks.”  Day personally contacted Denson and told the No. 19 cornerback he’s excited to get to talk to him and build a relationship while trying to sell Ohio State as the place to be. Okunlola, the fourth-rated offensive tackle in the cycle, said Day and Studrawa each got ahold of him. 

Meanwhile the No. 1 running back in the class, Richard Young, revealed on his Instagram page he was contacted by Alford at midnight.  

Some recruits took to Twitter to announce Ohio State reached out to them. 

Nation locks in visit 

One of Ohio State’s 2023 cornerback targets confirmed that another OSU visit is on the horizon. 

Eric Nation, the father of four-star cornerback Ethan Nation, confirmed to Eleven Warriors this week the pair plan to make a trip to Columbus for OSU’s home opener against Oregon on Sept. 11. 

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Nation, a Roswell, Georgia resident, is the 154th-best player in the 2023 class and ranked the 21st-best cornerback. Nation was offered by the Buckeyes in May and camped with OSU in June. 

Nation, who describes himself as a finesse corner, is close with other OSU 2023 cornerback target AJ Harris. Both of them use the same trainer, Oliver Davis, in Atlanta. 

Harris and Nation also remain close with other Buckeye targets Justice Haynes and Caleb Downs, all of whom live in the south. Those four have talked about potentially teaming up one day in college. 

Hayden partners with Columbus charity

Ohio State 2022 running back commit Dallan Hayden has done something pretty cool. 

The Christian Brothers (Memphis Tennessee) standout has dedicated his final prep season to raising money to help combat illiteracy through Memphis-based Coaching for Literacy, an organization that raises awareness about illiteracy and provides grants to literacy programs across the country, and its partner, Columbus-based 2nd & 7 foundation, which helps tackle illiteracy in Central Ohio.  

This is the second year Hayden will be participating, as the running back raised $20,000 in his junior season. Hayden is requesting pledges of $5.87 for every touchdown he scores this season, in honor of the 587 miles that separates Memphis and Columbus. If you would like to pledge, you can here

“Education is key to success, in the classroom, on the field and in life,” Hayden said in a news release. “Reading is the foundation of our education, and too many students across the country miss out on these skills needed to compete in life. My goal, with every touchdown I score, is to both inspire other people and help more kids learn to read.”

So far, Hayden has raised $2,325 of his $20,000 goal.