Lorenzo, Sonny Styles prepare for family affair when Ohio State football hosts Notre Dame

Colin Gay
The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State football’s season opener against Notre Dame is set to be a family affair for the Styles family. 

Notre Dame wide receiver Lorenzo Styles Jr. will open his sophomore season 30 minutes away from his hometown of Pickerington, and take on his brother, freshman safety Sonny Styles, at Ohio State. 

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However, the two Pickerington Central High School graduates could not be in a more different position. 

Unlike Sonny, the freshman safety going through his first camp at Ohio State, Lorenzo is the top returning option for the Fighting Irish passing game, one of five scholarship receivers set to take the field at Ohio Stadium Sept. 3 after losing Avery Davis for the season after tearing a ligament in his right knee. 

After finishing his freshman season with 24 catches, 344 receiving yards and a touchdown, Styles feels he’s gotten a lot stronger and quicker this offseason, and can step up to help quarterback Tyler Buchner and the rest of the offense. 

“I feel like it’s really trust, building up trust and being a dependable guy that when you know we need a big play, they can rely on me,” Lorenzo Styles Jr. said. 

Sonny Styles turns heads in first Ohio State football fall camp

Aug 11, 2022; Columbus, OH, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes safety Sonny Styles (20) rushes Ohio State Buckeyes punter Michael O'Shaughnessy (96) during football camp at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

This is the mentality Sonny Styles is attempting to establish with Ohio State’s defense. 

After reclassifying and joining Ohio State’s roster a year early, the former five-star safety has made an impression on the coaching staff. 

“Sonny’s really been impressive,” Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said. “I mean, he’s a guy, again, who studies, learns, always in there. He ripped the ball out. I mean, he literally ripped the ball out from the running back the other day. Playmaker, showing up in the right (spots), picking things up. 

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“Sometimes you see young guys, until you ask me, I don’t remember yelling at them. I don’t remember him making a mistake, and for a young guy, that’s fantastic. I think Sonny’s going to be great.” 

Ohio State coach Ryan Day said that for someone who is still supposed to be in high school, Styles is doing “darn good.” 

“In the opportunities he’s had to compete, he’s shown that he’s got toughness and his ability to get coached,” Day said. “He’s been coached pretty hard, and he takes it. He works to get better. He’s got a great look in his eye, and he’s off to a wonderful start.” 

Knowles said he doesn’t want to put too much pressure on Sonny Styles heading into his first collegiate season. 

One year after recording 55 tackles, two interceptions, two pass deflections and a sack for Pickerington Central as a junior, Styles is still learning what it means to be a college football player, with Knowles saying he wants the freshman safety to continue to get into the flow, knowing what the future holds for a player like him. 

“In terms of the future, it’s going to be bright, and it’s going to be a lot of fun with the things we’re able to do with him,” Knowles said. 

“He’s going to be a secret weapon.” 

Lorenzo Styles Jr. prepares for matchup with Ohio State

Notre Dame's Lorenzo Styles during Notre Dame Fall Practice on Friday, August 05, 2022, at Irish Athletics Center in South Bend, Indiana.

Lorenzo Styles Jr. knows he will not be a “secret weapon” for the Notre Dame offense. Instead, he's one of its main contributors.

It’s something he’s ready for, saying he goes into the season opener against Ohio State a much smarter football player.  But he knows his development and Notre Dame’s wide receiver room is a work in progress. 

“Really just day by day,” he said. “We just have to keep going and keep working every single day to try to get 1% better. And once you stack those days, it’s going to be a really, really good end product for this room.”

This is all Lorenzo is focused on ahead of his trip back to Columbus to face his brother.

"I really don't care what anyone else thinks about us in the receiver room, Styles said. "I know we believe in ourselves. We just got to execute."

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