• Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Devy U: Ohio State

By Joe Goodwin

After reading the first installment of the “Devy U” series, I knew that the next team that had to be written about was Ohio St.  With all due respect to any other school, Ohio St. has produced a ton of talent that has gone on to a lot of success in the NFL and should be considered the preeminent Devy U school.  And with all this research, WR-U is as true as it can be for any school. OSU has produced: Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, soon to be drafted Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and next year’s draft-eligible Marvin Harrison Jr and Emeka Ugbeka.  The amount of talent that exists on this team in the wide receiver room is ridiculous.  When drafting devy players, pay attention to history.  If a school has shown an ability to recruit and develop players from a skill position frequently and successfully, you should take notice.

This article will analyze the players from Ohio St that should DEFINITELY be on your Devy radar already, or for your upcoming devy drafts in the near future.

 

Quarterback

Kyle McCord (6’3, 222 lbs, 2024)

5*, #25 overall, 3rd QB

As a 2021 recruit, McCord was the 25th ranked overall recruit, and the 3rd QB as a 5 Star recruit.  Before Ohio St, McCord played for PSIAA powerhouse St. Joseph’s Prep.  He has set both city and league career passing yards and touchdown passes records.  Although McCord took a backseat to CJ Stroud last year, Kyle did see some action in 5 games as a true freshman; highlighted by his 319 year, 3 touchdown performance against Akron.  Kyle has even drawn some comparisons to Matthew Stafford.  Heading into this year, McCord is expected to make a big impact and take over the reins to the high-powered OSU offense that has produced multiple NFL QB’s over the past few years.

 

Devin Brown (6’3, 213 lbs, 2025)

4*, #43 overall, 6th QB

In the class of 2022, Devin Brown was a 4 star prospect that was ranked 43rd overall and the 6th best QB.  Heading into this spring, it was widely considered an open competition between McCord and Brown to take over as the signal caller for the Buckeyes.  However, Devin Brown is currently dealing with a finger injury that has slowed down his side of the competition.  Either way, Brown should be considered a deeper devy player, but one that provides a lot of upside that could one day turn into NFL gold. The loser of the QB battle between Brown and McCord may wind up transferring.  Keep a close eye on this battle in August.

 

Air Noland (6’3, 195 lbs, 2027)

4*, 84th overall prospect, #8 QB in the class of 2024

As a junior, Noland led his team to a perfect 15-0 record and the Georgia 6A state championship (the elite of the elite in high school football).  For the season, Noland threw for 4,095 yards with 55 passing touchdowns (not a typo) and ran for 5 more TD’s.  Noland shows all the traits to become one of the best QB’s OSU has had in a long time.

 

Lincoln Kienholz (6’1, 182 lbs, 2026)

4*, 189th overall, 15th QB

An OSU quarterback that as an ability to run when needed, and make tough throws??? Ohio St is really stepping out of their comfort zone.  Sheesh!  Kienholz is simply a well-rounded athlete.  He can run when needed.  He can make all the throws you would expect an 18 year old to make. Does he have the arm strength to make the NFL throws?  Well, that’s what we will need to find out.  One skill Lincoln already seems to have is his an ability to throw the ball where his receivers can make plays.  And since Ohio St has turned into WR-U lately, that's a great skill to have.  Be on the lookout for Lincoln Kienholz in the next few years.

 

Running Back

TreVeyon Henderson (5’10, 214 lbs, 2024)

5*, #23 overall, 1st RB

Coming into OSU, Henderson was a 5 Star Recruit, the #1 RB in his class, and the 23rd overall prospect from the 2021 class.  At this point in the process, Henderson is the front runner to be the first running back selected in the 2024 NFL Draft.

As a true freshman, Henderson played in all 13 games, ran for 1,248 yards and had 15 TD’s.  In addition to his rushing stats, he also notched 27 catches for 312 yards, and 4 TD’s.

As a sophomore, Henderson played in 8 games (* injury shortened), ran for 571 yards, and had 6 TD’s.  He also had 4 receptions for 28 yards and 1 TD.

His freshman year proved that Henderson is a complete back.  And even though he had some injuries in 2022, nothing has changed those expectations.

He has the size, ability, and opportunity to succeed as a Heisman candidate in, most likely, his final college season.

Even though he is most likely already rostered in Devy Leagues, if you are in a startup draft, Henderson should be an early target for your roster.  After Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and fellow teammate Marvin Harrison Jr, there is a strong argument Henderson is the next best player.

 

Miyan Williams (5’9, 225 lbs, 2024)

3*, #627 overall, 45th RB

Entering OSU, Miyan was only a 3 star recruit and was not considered as a possible NFL prospect.

When TreVeyon Henderson went down with an injury last year, Williams proved what he can do as a lead running back and his NFL prospects greatly increased.  In 11 games played (4 starts), Williams rushed for 825 yards and 14 TD’s.  What Williams does best is grind out each carry.  Last year, Williams was 5th nationally with 6.7 yards per carry among RB’s with 60 or more attempts.

For the upcoming season, Williams may have to take a back seat to Henderson, but Ohio St. will engineer many games where a lot of starters will be on the sidelines for long stretches.  Williams will get his opportunities to shine, and when he does, he might show a lot of NFL teams that Ohio St has 2 great running backs.

 

Evan Pryor (5’11, 198 lbs. 2025)

4*, #83 overall, 6th RB

Evan Pryor joined TreVeyon Henderson in the 2021 recruiting class as a 4 star recruit, who was the 6th RB and the 83rd overall prospect.  Unlike Henderson, Pryor redshirted the 2021 season after 4 games and was injured during the preseason for 2022.  Heading into the 2023 season, Pryor is still recovering from injuries and may take a little while before he ramps up to full strength.  However, Pryor is regarded as the best pass catcher in the Buckeyes backfield and will get opportunities to shine once he has recovered.  Pryor is not a well-known name in Devy rankings (yet), but keep a close eye on him heading into the 2024 season; he may just become another great running back out of OSU.

 

Dallan Hayden (5'10, 195 lbs, 2025)

4*, # 282 Overall, 24th RB

Dallan had 553 rushing yards and 5 TD's last season.  With a clear pecking order at running back this year with Henderson and Williams as #1 and #2, Hayden may see limited snaps this season.  Don't let that fool you.  Hayden projects as a better receiver out of the backfield, but he can still make one hard cut and take it to the house on the ground.  After this season, it could be Hayden's time in Columbus.

  

Wide Receiver

Marvin Harrison Jr (6’4, 205 lbs, 2024)

4*, #97 Overall, 14th WR

Marvin Harrison is already considered at top 12 dynasty WR in most start up drafts today.

Harrison was a unanimous 2022 All American as he amassed 77 receptions for 1,263 yards and 14 TD’s.  As each year passes by, Harrison Jr joins another list of OSU greats as his accomplishments tally up as he is sure to be one of the most decorated wide receivers in OSU history.  It is comical to think out of high school, he was deemed a 3rd Day draft pick.  He is currently the unquestioned first receiver drafted in next year’s NFL draft.  I have already seen Harrison go in the first round of C2C leagues.  If you want him, you will have to pay the price.  However, that price should be worth the rewards as he projects to be an instant impact player in the NFL.

 

Emeka Egbuka (6’1, 205 lbs, 2024)

5*, 10th Overall, #1 WR

Hard to believe that the 2021 recruiting class OSU put together.  Egbuka was considered a first round talent coming out of high school.  Last year, Egbuka had 74 receptions for 1,151 yards and 10 TD’s.  In addition to being a fantastic receiver, Egbuka also is a standout special teams player that can return punts and kicks.  Harrison will be the first receiver drafted, but Egbuka will not have to wait too long after that to hold up an NFL jersey.  Egbuka has all the traits to be successful and will show it this year.  It is very possible that both players could be 1st Team All Americans.  They are that good.

 

Kaleb Brown (5’10, 197 lbs, 2025)

4*, 79th Overall, 13th WR

After the first two receivers, the rest will have to wait to see significant stats posted.  However, Kaleb Brown has been both a receiver and running back in high school.  He shows incredible body control, strength, and can do just about anything he’s asked.  In some ways, he has Deebo Samuel, Curtis Samuel, and Christian Kirk vibes.  He’s a deeper devy find now, but if he can outperform either Rogers or Tate for substantial playing time, he may turn out to be an absolute steal!

 

Noah Rogers(6’2, 194 lbs, 2026)

4*, 57th Overall, 8th WR

Coming in as a freshman, it is possible that Noah Rogers may redshirt.  He has a ton of talent and should be on your devy radar.  In High School, Rogers amassed over 3,200 receiving yards  and had 37 TD’s during his junior and senior years.  In some ways, Rogers reminds me of Mike Williams with highlight catches as he contorts his body to adjust to the ball.  He won’t be drafted in devy leagues this year, but be aware of his immense talent.  He will be on everyone’s radar next year.

 

Carnell Tate (6’2, 180lbs, 2026)

4*, 59th Overall, 9th WR

Somehow OSU is restocking their “receiver” pantry with the 8th and 9th best WR prospects to take over after Harrison and Egbuka leave.  If any team has shown how to showcase multiple receivers, it is OSU.  Although a little slender, Tate highlights remind me of a DeVonta Smith-type player.  Even though the body size suggests “small,” he can make the play and doesn’t shy away from contact.  Like Rogers, Carnell Tate should be on your radar for next year.  If you wait too long, he may not be there the next time around.

 

Jayden Ballard (6’2, 175 lbs, 2024)

4*, 99th Overall, 15th WR

Jayden Ballard has been one of the unlucky players that has gotten lost in the mix at Ohio St.  Ballard is a talented receiver that loves to stretch the field.  However, the receivers room is chalk-full of talent and Ballard has struggled to establish himself in that group.  And, with a bunch of talented freshman on their way, Ballard may be the odd man out.  If Ballard transfers and gets the chance to play immediately, Ballard may carve out a role for himself on NFL rosters.

 

Kyion Grayes (6'0, 185 lbs, 2025)

4*, 88th Overall, 14th WR

Although not the prototypical body size for an elite receiver, Kyion makes up for his size by being twitchy-fast, with reliable hands, and room to grow.  This is an extremely talented receiver corps that he may have to wait to break into its lineup, but he has that "it" factor that sees him open more often than not.  Grayes is one to watch with curiosity moving forward.

 

Julian Fleming (6'2, 205 lbs, 2024)

5*, #3 Overall, #1 WR

Last year, Julian Fleming had 34 receptions for 533 yards for 6 TD's.  Fleming's biggest issue isn't talent, it's availability.  Julian has not completed one season having played in every game. He shows all the physical and mental traits to be an extremely productive receiver at the next level.  Hopefully, his health becomes his best attribute this season and he realizes all his natural potential.

 

Brandon Inniss (5’11.5, 198 lbs, 2026)

5*, 35th Overall, 5th WR

First, I love a player that comes from one of the best high school programs in the country and just flat out balls.  Inniss went to American Heritage in Florida and played an extremely tough schedule and took every opportunity to turn himself into one of the most ready for “show time” players Ohio St has signed in recent memory.  At this point in his development, Inniss has quick feet, creates separation with ease, catches anything near him, and will use his power to make opposing defenders look silly. Inniss is such a great athlete, he even played QB his junior year.  However, Inniss is destined to play on Sundays at the wide receiver position. With the WR room so stacked at OSU, Inniss may have to wait a year to make an impact, but make no mistake, he is the NEXT at Ohio St alongside the next player…

 

Jeremiah Smith (6’3, 198 lbs, 2027)

5*, 2nd Overall, 1st WR

The praise already being showered on Jeremiah Smith makes many wonder if he even needs college football at all.  There is nothing Smith can’t do.  He can take the top off the defense and go long, he can situate himself in front of defenders and box out, and just grab footballs out of mid-air and make it look routine.  Smith will be devy eligible next year and he should be high on your list in your devy drafts.  Don’t hesitate on him…he really is that good.

 

Tight End

Cade Stover (6’4, 255 lbs, 2024)

Stover is just a good football player.  He has played DE, LB, and TE for Ohio St.  With the positional flexibility, Stover is only scratching the surface of his ability to be an effective TE.  Last year, he started all 13 games while amassing 36 grabs for 406 yards and 5 TD’s.  He is just scratching the surface of what he is capable of and has ideal size for a TE.  Remember this name heading into the 2024 draft.

 

Jelani Thurman (6’5, 230, 2026)

4*, 104th Overall, 3 TE

This spring, Jelani Thurman earned the right to remove his “black stripe” as an official member of the Buckeyes.  Thurman has shown great ability to win at the point of attack.  Although not a technically sound blocker (yet), Thurman has shown great ability in the area coupled with his ability to make plays down field.  I wouldn't count on a stat line that “wows” a lot of people at WR U, but Therman can carve out a niche for himself and ultimately in the NFL.  

 

IDP

Tommy Eichenberg (LB, 6’3, 235 lbs, 2024)

4*, 318th Overall, 19th ILB

Tommy Eichenberg is an old school linebacker that just likes to tackle and cause pain to opposing offenses.  Although not a great cover linebacker, Eichenberg has shown an ability to cover in zone packages.  For his career, Tommy has 186 tackles and 18.5 tackles for loss.  Eichenberg had 4 games with double digit tackles in 2023.  Tommy might not be flashy, but he is an old-school football player that makes plays look easy.  He will be on top of many lists to win the Dick Butkus award as the nation’s top linebacker.

 

Steele Chambers (LB, 6’1, 232 lbs, 2024)

Initially, Steel Chambers was a running back coming out of high school.  However, his frame and willingness to hit anything that moved constituted a move to linebacker. Chambers bursted on the scene last year with 77 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 4 passes defended.  Chambers literally can do it all for the Buckeyes.  Chambers is a solid player that should find himself playing in the NFL next year.  He may need a year or two to develop, but you should be aware of his immense potential.  Steele is currently nursing an injury that should not prevent him from playing in the fall.

 

CJ Hicks (LB, 6’3, 225 lbs, 2026)

5*, 7th Overall, 1st LB

As a physical specimen, CJ Hicks has it all to dominate as a true linebacker.  He should be able to add an extra 10 to 15 lbs to his frame to hold up against blockers.  Hicks has shown the ability to not only be able to play inside the box, but also cover tight ends and running backs in space.  Although he didn’t get on to the field as a freshman, Hicks is poised to assume a more prominent role in 2023 and could be a future LB in the NFL.

 

Malik Hartford (SAF, 6’2, 183 lbs, 2026)

4*, 150th Overall, 11th Safety

Malik Hartford shows a lot of instincts and flies around the field.  He may not be the fastest player, but shows good burst to close on receivers.  Also is a solid tackler.  Was one of 3 true freshmen to “lose” their black stripe as they were welcomed on the team after spring practices.  His calling card may just be his ability to play all over the field.  I hate to make comparisons so early in a player’s career, but he sounds a lot like former Buckeye Malcolm Jenkins.  Time will tell if Hartford can live up to the hype.

 

Jermaine Matthews (CB, 5’11, 182 lbs, 2026)

4*, 51st Overall, 6th CB

Jermaine Matthews has shown the ability to play in both zone and man coverages.  Also shows that he can play on both the outside or in the slot.  That versatility will help Jermaine get on to the field faster at OSU.  Although there will be a lot of competition to get on the field as a true freshman, Jermaine has a lot of potential to play on Sundays.

 

Davison Igbinosun (CB, 6’2, 203 lbs, 2025)

4*, 162nd Overall, 21st CB

One thing Davison has shown is his ability to play either CB or S.  And during spring practices this year, the coaching staff said, “He’s looked fantastic!  He gets his hands on a lot of balls; he competes.  He’s got a mental toughness to him.”  A lot of high praise from the Ole Miss transfer.  If Davison can find the field in 2023, he may have a HUGE future ahead of him sooner rather than later.

 

Sonny Styles (S/Hybrid, 6’4, 222 lbs, 2025)

5*, 12th Overall, 1st Safety

Sonny Styles did not see the field a lot in his freshman season.  However, with a unique body frame, Styles will be hard to keep off the field in 2023 in whatever capacity Ohio St decides to use him.  My only concern with Styles is how does OSU use him?  I hope they don’t move him around too much to the point of confusion.  If Sonny can navigate his flexibility, he may end up in a similar situation as Drew Sanders: hard to describe the position he plays, but wherever he is on the field, he just makes plays.

 

JT Tuimoloau (DL, 6,4.5, 277 lbs, 2024)

5*, 4th Overall, 2nd DL

After reading a scouting report on JT Tuimoloau, I’m convinced JT maybe Jason Bourne.  Is there anything he can’t do?  In one report, JT was listed as having played: defensive line, safety, tight end, and an international spy (joking).  In 2022 against Penn St, JT had 6 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, one forced fumble, and a TD.  Tuimoloau has played on the edge with his hand in the dirt and standing up; which will give him the ability to play in both 4-3 DE or a 3-4 Edge.  JT is truly one of the players I would recommend rostering in Devy leagues as an IDP player.  He is that good and should be rostered!

 

Jack Sawyer (DL, 6’5, 248, 2024)

5*, 5th Overall, #3 DL

Last year, Jack Sawyer saw his positional flexibility show as he was used as the Buckeye’s “Jack” (a hybrid DE/LB)  in their defense.  However, this did not lead to an increase in production for Sawyer; he recorded only 24 tackles in 2022.  He is probably best served as remaining a DE in their base defense and let him terrorize OT’s in the Big Ten all season. In his first two years, Jack has 7.5 total sacks, but has the ability to obtain that many in this season alone.  Sawyer has all the tools to draw attention from defenses similarly to the way Aiden Hutchinson did for Michigan.  This year could be a monster year for Sawyer if he’s allowed to put a hand in the dirt and rush quarterbacks.