When defensive end Ty Hamilton was preparing for his senior season at Pickerington Central, he held one advantage over other Ohio State commits.
He could drop by the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. His older brother, Davon, is a senior defensive tackle for the Buckeyes.
On about a half-dozen occasions this summer, the brothers worked out together on the practice field, pinpointing areas for improvement that ranged from their conditioning to fundamentals. They borrowed drills taught by Larry Johnson, the Buckeyes’ defensive line coach, as their guide, benefiting the younger Hamilton.
Get the news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our BuckeyeXtra newsletter
“Just working on stepping over bags, working on quick twitch for your feet and working on using your hands a lot, things that you can put into a game,” Ty Hamilton said.
Hamilton has tried to carry them over to the field, helping Pickerington Central reach a 7-1 start ahead of a game Friday against Reynoldsburg.
Through eight games, Hamilton had 62 tackles, with seven tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks. In one of his best performances, last week in a win over Pickerington North, he had 16 tackles.
He largely lines up at end, either as a stand-up pass rusher or as a more traditional edge rusher in a three-point stance at the line of scrimmage.
“Wherever we play him, he's excelling,” Pickerington Central coach Jay Sharrett said.
Sharrett, who has coached Hamilton since he debuted on the varsity team in 2016, said the box scores only offer one snapshot of his production. He has also absorbed blockers, freeing others to make plays. That's one reason the Tigers are allowing only 15.5 points per game.
“In team defense, a lot of times you might go up against the tight end, you might go up against an offensive tackle, and you have got to make sure the tight end or the tackle doesn’t get down on the linebacker,” Sharrett said. “If those guys get down on a linebacker, you've got problems. So he's able to protect our backers, our inside backers, and also make plays at the same time.
“It's an unselfish role. Sometimes when you protect that inside backer and keep those scrape lanes free, it doesn't enable you to make the tackle every time. But when you play team defense, it makes it very difficult to move the ball on.”
Hamilton, who is the lone commit in the Class of 2020 from central Ohio, hopes for continued improvement when he arrives at Ohio State.
One of the biggest reasons he said he committed to the Buckeyes over Michigan and Penn State during the summer was due to Johnson.
“Those stats don’t lie about what he does,” Hamilton said. “He definitely produces players. And I want to be in an atmosphere around that, where he wants to make his players the best they can be in the nation.”
Hamilton said he speaks with Johnson about once a week, often discussing his latest game.
They met nearly five years ago, when Johnson was recruiting Davon and arrived with then-coach Urban Meyer for an in-home visit. The family had dinner with the coaches, devouring the meatloaf and broccoli cooked by Hamilton's mother, and Johnson caught his attention for his recruiting pitch to his older brother.
“I just remember him sitting down with my brother, just keeping it real with him, how it was going to be with him and how he was going to produce on the field,” Hamilton said. “I low-key liked it a lot of what I saw of him.”