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The Hurry-Up: Ohio State Offers Caleb Burton’s Former Teammate Braylon James, Pair of Top

The Hurry-Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.

Game-changing offer for James

It’s been a busy time for Ohio State on the recruiting trail as the Buckeyes have continued to extend offers to both the 2022 and 2023 classes.

In the same vein that Larry Johnson extended an offer to Curtis Neal, a high school teammate of current Buckeye running back Evan Pryor, Brian Hartline came calling for the former teammate of another player in the Buckeyes’ future.

2023 receiver Braylon James, who played with 2022 five-star commit Caleb Burton at Del Valle (Texas) High School, announced on Wednesday night that he received an offer from Ohio State.

James is a four-star receiver currently finishing his sophomore year at Del Valle, where Burton just transferred out of to play at Lake Travis, the alma mater of Buckeye receiver Garrett Wilson.

Ranked No. 172 overall and No. 23 at receiver by 247Sports, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound James got a text from Burton recently that Hartline was interested in him. Hartline had followed James on Twitter about two months ago, and James told Eleven Warriors that the two had stayed connected as much as they could.

“I didn’t think he was gonna offer me yet because it was the first time we got to speak on the phone,” James said on Thursday. “We had a nice 15-minute talk about recruiting, OSU and track. I could tell that he really likes me and what I could potentially be. He recognized that I had room for growth, but he told me when he feels something in his gut he goes for it and he shot me the offer.”

The noticeably enthusiastic James, who has been offered by Baylor, Miami and Stanford among his 14 offers, says the Ohio State offer is a game-changer because:

  1. His friendship and bond with Burton: “Caleb is killing me about going (to Ohio State). Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned this past year with him getting injured and now his transfer to LT so we’ve never got a chance to display to the public how dangerous we are on the field at the same time. I feel like me and him playing together at Ohio State would make up for the missed opportunity we had in high school. His commitment does have some play in if I end up going there or not. It’s still early for me in this recruitment process but I’m really looking forward to exploring this path a little more. Me and Caleb have had talks every day about this moment and now that it finally happened it’s kinda crazy. We’ll see what happens though, I’m just living in the moment right now.”
  2. A potential chance to work with the coach responsible for putting together the nation’s top receivers unit: “In my opinion, Coach Hartline is hands down the best receiver coach in the nation. He’s produced and is producing some of the top guys to ever play the receiver position from Garrett Wilson to Chris Olave. I’m really looking forward to furthering our relationship.”

Ohio State has already emerged as a likely early leader for James, but as he said, this is just the beginning as he and Hartline build up their relationship.

If the Buckeyes do eventually land James, they will be getting a player who does not lack confidence. 

“As far as a skill set I feel like I’m a very well-rounded receiver,” James said. “I typically play outside because of my frame, but if I’m needed to work in the slot there would be no problems for me. I feel like what’s really helped me as far as recruitment goes is my ability to attack the ball. I’m not where I need to be at yet so I’m looking forward to my progression and growth as a player, but I feel like I’m a solid, well-rounded receiver. Kinda like A.J. Green.”

An A.J. Green type of receiver in Hartline’s system? Certainly would be a welcome addition to what we can only assume will continue to be one of America’s best positional units in college football if Hartline and Co. continue to recruit the way they have been.

“OSU easily has had the best offense in college football for these past couple of years,” James said. “What really stood out to me is the way they used Garrett his freshman year. They played him in the slot here and there, a little bit in the outside and he was able to succeed at a high level.”

Pair of major visits

We gave a breakdown on Wednesday of the players who have scheduled official visits in the 2022 class, and we can add another name to that growing list – four-star prospect Gavin Sawchuk, the No. 44 overall player and No. 2 running back in the cycle who was rated No. 24 overall and listed as a five-star prospect as of two months ago.

Sawchuk, the state of Colorado’s No. 1 overall player, has locked in an official visit to Columbus for the weekend of June 11 while also scheduling official visits to USC, Oklahoma and Notre Dame, reports 247Sports’ Blair Angulo:

The Trojans (Jun. 4) will get the first opportunity to make an impression, followed by the Buckeyes (Jun. 11), the Sooners (Jun. 18) and the Fighting Irish (Jun. 25). For now, the fifth official visit slot is being left open for another potential trip.

In the 2023 cycle, four-star tight end Mac Markway has set an unofficial visit to Ohio State for June 20 in addition to a litany of other visits he is planning on taking.

Markway, ranked No. 76 overall and No. 4 at tight end in his class, is Ohio State’s No. 1 target at tight end for the 2023 cycle and hails from St. Louis’ DeSmet High School, where he played with 2021 cornerback signee Jakailin Johnson.

Hancock coming home

Ohio State 2021 cornerback signee Jordan Hancock was not able to visit Columbus for the Buckeye Bash last fall, so he hasn’t been back since he made his commitment to the Buckeyes in July.

That is changing this week, as Hancock is slated to return to Columbus for Ohio State’s spring game.

Buckeyes No. 1 again

Not exactly a stop-the-presses moment here, but Ohio State is ranked No. 1 again. This time, the Buckeyes come in at the top of the list in ESPN’s first rankings for the 2022 recruiting class:

1. Ohio State Buckeyes

ESPN 300 commits: 9

Big Ten rank: 1 of 14
Top offensive commit: QB Quinn Ewers (No. 1)
Top defensive commit: CB Jaheim Singletary (No. 34)

The Buckeyes have not signed a No. 1 overall class in the ESPN 300 era, but they have come close with three No. 2-ranked classes over the previous five cycles, and they are indicating they will be in the mix at the top once again. Leading the class is Ewers, the top-rated prospect in the ESPN 300 who decommitted from Texas in October 2020 and committed to the Buckeyes in November. A poised player with a quick, smooth release and the arm strength to make all the throws, he headlines an already deep and talented class that includes WR Caleb Burton, a fellow Texan, who is ranked No. 73 overall. Defense is well represented with a handful of ESPN 300 commits projected to that side of the ball, including a pair of top-15 cornerbacks in Singletary and Jyaire Brown.

Dead period’s end is official

The end of the nearly year-and-a-half dead period was unofficially announced on Wednesday, but today it became official with the NCAA’s announcement:

“All Division I sports will return to their regular recruiting calendars beginning June 1,” Michelle Brutlag Hosick, the NCAA’s Associate Director of Communications wrote.

According to the NCAA’s Division I football recruiting calendar, from June 1-27 will be a quiet period before returning to a dead period from June 28-July 24 and then returning to another quiet period from July 25-July 31. The dead period will then be put in place again for the entire month of August.

During that June 1-27 quiet period, all official and unofficial visits will be allowed, and the NCAA Division I…

Read More: The Hurry-Up: Ohio State Offers Caleb Burton’s Former Teammate Braylon James, Pair of Top

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