Early signing day updates: Ohio State solidifies highly ranked recruiting class of 2021

Pickerington North defensive end Jack Sawyer (40), here celebrating a stop against Pickerington Central in 2019, was one of the first players to commit to Ohio State's class of 2021, and also among its highest ranked prospects.

The start of the early signing period on Wednesday marks the first day in which Ohio State’s football program is able to sign players to letters of intent and solidify a recruiting class for 2021 that is among the highest-ranked in the country.

In the pre-dawn hours in Columbus, the Buckeyes announced the signings of 11 of 21 previously committed high school recruits, beginning a drama-free morning. By 11 a.m., all of their commitments were signed, capped by Denzel Burke, a two-way star from Scottsdale, Arizona. Below is a rundown of the prospects who officially joined Ohio State.

Jayden Ballard

Position: Wide receiver  

Measurables: 6 feet 2, 175 pounds 

247Sports Composite: 4 stars, No. 8 receiver, No. 66 overall

High school: Massillon Washington 

The skinny: Ballard is the first in-state receiver to sign with Ohio State since Jaylen Harris in 2017.

Massillon Washington receiver Jayden Ballard (9) makes a catch in a Division II playoff win over Cincinnati La Salle on Nov. 13.

Denzel Burke

Position: Defensive back

Measurables: 6 feet, 189 pounds 

247Sports Composite: 4 stars, No. 8 athlete, No. 192 overall

High school: Saguaro (Scottsdale, Arizona) 

The skinny: While a two-way star in high school and lining up at receiver, Burke is expected to end up in the Buckeyes’ secondary, primarily recruited by defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs.

Denzel Burke of Saguaro High School stretches before a practice.

Reid Carrico

Position: Linebacker   

Measurables: 6 feet 3, 225 pounds 

247Sports Composite: 4 stars, No. 5 inside linebacker, No. 84 overall

High school: Ironton (Ironton) 

The skinny: A standout at running back and linebacker, he helped lead Ironton to consecutive Division V state championship game appearances.

Ironton linebacker/running back Reid Carrico stiff-arms a Kirtland opponent in a 2019 state championship game.

Ben Christman

Position: Offensive lineman

Measurables: 6 feet 6, 299 pounds 

247Sports Composite: 4 stars, No. 6 guard, No. 124 overall

High school: Revere (Richfield)

The skinny: An early target for the Buckeyes, Christman committed to Ohio State in June of 2019, a couple of months before his junior season in high school.

Jantzen Dunn

Position: Defensive back   

Measurables: 6 feet 2, 178 pounds 

247Sports Composite: 4 stars, No. 12 safety, No. 203 overall

High school: South Warren (Bowling Green, Kentucky)

The skinny: Dunn is the first prospect from Kentucky to sign with Ohio State since cornerback Rodjay Burns in 2016. 

Emeka Egbuka

Position: Wide receiver

Measurables: 6 feet 1, 190 pounds 

247Sports Composite: 5 stars, No. 1 receiver, No. 9 overall

High school: Steilacoom (Steilacoom, Washington)

The skinny: Egbuka is the third five-star receiver in as many years to sign with Ohio State, following Julian Fleming and Garrett Wilson in the previous classes. Like Fleming, he is also the top receiver in his class.

Receiver Emeka Egbuka (2) of Steilacoom High School in Washington returns a punt for a touchdown in a 2019 game.

Mike Hall

Position: Defensive lineman

Measurables: 6 feet 3, 290 pounds 

247Sports Composite: 4 stars, No. 4 defensive tackle, No. 49 overall

High school: Streetsboro

The skinny: The recruiting profile for Hall has risen sharply since he committed in February. He was then the No. 232 before becoming a top-50 overall recruit.

Streetsboro lineman Mike Hall celebrates a teammate's touchdown in a win over Dover on Oct. 24.

Jordan Hancock

Position: Defensive back   

Measurables: 6 feet 1, 170 pounds 

247Sports Composite: 4 stars, No. 4 cornerback, No. 67 overall

High school: North Gwinnett (Suwanee, Georgia)

The skinny: Previously committed to Clemson, Hancock flipped to the Buckeyes in July in a recruiting win over their playoff nemesis.

Marvin Harrison Jr.

Position: Wide receiver

Measurables: 6 feet 3, 190 pounds 

247Sports Composite: 4 stars, No. 15 receiver, No. 91 overall

High school: St. Joseph's Prep School (Philadelphia)

The skinny: The son of Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison also was a high school teammate of Kyle McCord, the five-star quarterback who also signed with the Buckeyes on Wednesday.

Receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. of St. Joseph's Prep hauls in a touchdown pass in a Class 6A playoff game against Central York on Nov. 28.

Sam Hart

Position: Tight end

Measurables: 6 feet 3, 190 pounds 

247Sports Composite: 3 stars, No. 15 tight end, No. 390 overall

High school: Cherokee Trail (Aurora, Colorado)

The skinny: Though one of only three three-star recruits in this class, Hart could be asked to make an early impact as the Buckeyes are guaranteed to return only two scholarship tight ends.

TreVeyon Henderson

Position: Running back

Measurables: 5 feet 11, 195 pounds 

247Sports Composite: 5 stars, No. 1 running back, No. 24 overall

High school: Hopewell (Hopewell, Virginia)

The skinny: The Buckeyes made sure to add a five-star running back in this cycle after Bijan Robinson spurned them for Texas last year.

TreVeyon Henderson of Hopewell heads for the end zone in a 2019 game.

Donovan Jackson

Position: Offensive guard

Measurables:  6 foot 4, 308 pounds

247Sports Composite: 5 stars, No. 1 guard, No. 17 overall

High school: Episcopal (Bellaire, Texas)

The skinny: Jackson has the frame, strength and agility to dominate. He should compete for playing time early in his career.

Donovan Jackson

Jakailin Johnson

Position: Cornerback

Measurables: 6 feet 1, 175 pounds

247Sports Composite: 4 stars, No. 3 cornerback, No. 47 overall

High school: DeSmet Jesuit (St. Louis)

The skinny: Johnson needs to add some bulk but he has superb quickness and is willing to be physical. He looks comfortable in both man-to-man and zone coverage.

Jakailin Johnson (6) of De Smet Jesuit High School defends a pass in a Class 6 state semifinal against Fox on Nov. 20.

Jaylen Johnson 

Position: Safety

Measurables: 6 feet 1, 200 pounds

247Sports Composite: 3 stars, No. 29 safety, No. 411 overall

High school: La Salle (Cincinnati)

The skinny: Johnson projects to be a safety/linebacker hybrid with the speed to play in the secondary and the size and instincts to play closer to the line.

Cincinnati LaSalle defensive back Jaylen Johnson retreats into coverage in a Sept. 4 game against Cincinnati St. Xavier.

Kyle McCord

Position: Quarterback

Measurables: 6 feet 3, 215 pounds

247Sports Composite: 5 stars, No. 3 quarterback, No. 25 overall

High school: St. Joseph’s Prep School (Philadelphia)

The skinny: He’s a pocket passer with good size, a strong, accurate arm and excellent intelligence. McCord will have plenty of competition, but his skills and smarts will make him formidable.

Quarterback Kyle McCord of St. Joseph's Prep launches a pass against Central York in Pennsylvania's Class 6A state championship game on Nov. 28.

Zen Michalski

Position: Offensive tackle

Measurables: 6 feet 6½, 288 pounds

247Sports Composite: 4 stars, No. 23 offensive tackle, No. 318 overall

High school: Floyd Central (Floyds Knobs, Indiana)

The skinny: Michalski continues to grow into his body and that will continue. He’s an excellent athlete who needs refinement, but he’s considered a hard worker.

Offensive lineman Zen Michalski of Floyd Central High School

Jesse Mirco

Position: Punter

Measurables: 6 feet 3, 200 pounds

247Sports Composite: 3 stars, No. 5 punter, unranked overall

Previous school: ProKick Australia (Melbourne, Australia)

The skinny: If Mirco proves to be anywhere close to ProKick’s last OSU recruit , Cameron Johnston, the Buckeyes will be quite happy to have dipped Down Under again.

Evan Pryor

Position: Running back

Measurables: 5 feet 10, 190 pounds

247Sports Composite: 4 stars, No. 4 running back, No. 81 overall

High school: William Amos Hough (Cornelius, North Carolina)

The skinny: He’ll join TreVeyon Henderson as new entries into the backfield mix. He changes directions well, has excellent speed and has shown pass-catching ability.

Jack Sawyer

Position: Defensive end

Measurables: 6 feet 5, 248 pounds

247Sports Composite: 5 stars, No. 3 defensive end, No. 4 overall

High school: Pickerington North

The skinny: Sawyer didn’t play this fall after recovering from knee surgery, but he’s the top player in Ohio State’s class for a reason. He’s already got a college-ready body and has all the ability to make an early impact.

Jack Sawyer of Pickerington Central

Andre Turrentine 

Position: Safety

Measurables: 6 feet, 175 pounds

247Sports Composite: 4 stars, No. 9 safety, No. 167 overall

High school: Ensworth (Nashville, Tenn.)

The skinny: Turrentine has the versatility to play cornerback as well. He’s a natural playmaker with great instincts.

Andre Turrentine of Ensworth High School in Nashville, Tennessee

Tyleik Williams

Position: Defensive tackle

Measurables: 6 feet 3, 330 pounds

247Sports Composite: 4 stars, No. 12 defensive tackle, No. 161 overall

High school: Unity Reed (Manassas, Va.)

The skinny: Williams has excellent feet and explosiveness for his size but needs to refine his technique, particularly staying low.    

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