CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Ohio State football program is dropping offers across the country to the best players in the Class of 2022, prioritizing the prospects they’re targeting who are just finishing their sophomore years of high school.
Here are updates on three prospects who could find themselves in Columbus:
4-star RB Gavin Sawchuk has Ohio State high on list of Power 5 offers
The Colorado running back is the highest-rated 2022 back on Ohio State’s radar at the moment, ranked as the No. 4 back in the class by 247sports.com. He plays at Valor Christian High School in Highlands, Col., a powerhouse in the Denver suburbs where former NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey was the coach in 2018. Three of McCaffrey’s sons played there — Carolina Panthers running back Christian, Michigan quarterback Dylan and Nebraska quarterback Luke.
So the Wolverines have pulled a major recruit out of there, but the Buckeyes have not previously. Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford has connections in the state, however, having played at Colorado State. And there’s a connection with Sawchuk.
“I really like speaking with him, just like his whole personality,” Sawchuk told cleveland.com.
Sawchuk averaged 148 rushing yards per game as a sophomore and in 12 games caught 13 passes for 143 yards. He thinks his pass-catching ability would help in the OSU offense. Sawchuk is also a track guy, and he has offers from Alabama, Michigan, Oregon and USC, among others.
The Buckeyes could be a major part of the mix here. Sawchuk visited Ohio State after his freshman season and spoke with OSU administrators.
“I could definitely see myself at Ohio State,” Sawchuk said. “Especially listening to Coach Alford. Just talking with him, I can see how he motivates his guys, his running backs and just getting better every day.”
Bear Alexander gets a ‘second’ OSU offer
Keithian “Bear” Alexander, a 2022 defensive tackle from Skyline High in Dallas, has been offered by Ohio State.
Alexander told cleveland.com’s Stephen Means he was initially offered by OSU quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich, who left the Buckeyes after the 2019 season to become the offensive coordinator at Texas. So the Buckeyes made sure their interest was known after the coaching change.
Before the news of Yurcich’s departure went public, Ohio State re-offered Alexander. He said he appreciated the extension of offer No. 2.
Alexander said his nickname is Bear because at 6-foot-4 and 333 pounds, he has always been bigger than most people. But Alexander wants to stay light on his feet. He told cleveland.com he does drills with defensive backs to help him as a defensive tackle.
“It teaches them (defensive tackles) how to move in tight spaces,” Alexander said of defensive back drills.
Alexander is ranked as the No. 14 defensive tackle in 2022 despite playing the 2019 season on junior varsity after being ruled ineligible for varsity play following a transfer. He said he’s looking for consistency in the recruiting process, so the Buckeyes will have to work to pull another Texan to Columbus.
They have one Texas player committed for 2021 with Houston-area offensive lineman Donovan Jackson. In the previous four classes, the Buckeyes had two, one, one and four high school recruits from Texas.
OSU sees a different role for Michigan RB Dillon Tatum
The Buckeyes have checked in on Michigan running back Dillon Tatum, who may not wind up as a running back. Tatum told cleveland.com he has spoken with Alford and built a relationship. The West Bloomfield back likes the OSU tradition and coaches, but the Buckeyes might be more interested in Tatum at a different position.
Ohio State is currently recruiting Tatum as an athlete. He also plays defensive back, and he said he wants to make a decision on which side he wants to play in his junior year.
For now, he’s ranked as the No. 21 running back in 2022 and besides the Buckeyes is considering Michigan, Michigan State, Florida and Baylor, among others.