Football Recruiting

Recruiting Commentary: Volume 25, Issue 4

Ohio State running back Trey Sermon transfer

The last issue of Recruiting Commentary dealt with the defensive line. This installment returns to the offensive side of the ball and deals with the offensive backfield, specifically quarterbacks and running backs.

No position on a football team gets as much attention as the quarterback position. OSU Head Coach Ryan Day was a quarterback in his playing days and has coached quarterbacks at the collegiate level and in the NFL. Day knows quarterbacks and has done a tremendous job of both recruiting talent and developing talent.

The 2021 recruiting class is a good one for quarterbacks and Day has secured the commitment of one of the very best in that very good quarterback class.  Day literally hand-picked Kyle McCord (6-3, 215) from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as OSU’s quarterback in this class. McCord is 4-star prospect ranked the No. 4 pro-style quarterback in the class and the 42-best player in the nation at any position.

McCord has the size recruiters are looking for in a quarterback and is a competent runner, but his most outstanding feature is his arm and accuracy. Competing at the Elite 11 camp this year McCord was the runaway best in the second day of drills which featured a pro-day style of competition. Day was incredibly accurate, hitting receivers in stride with rocket-like balls when necessary, and with delicate touch when that was necessary. At the end of the day all competitors were scored and McCord was the top dog at the camp when it comes to doing what quarterbacks do, throw the football. He delivers a high-RPM ball that arrives on time and placed so that the receiver can do something after securing the football.

The running back position was one that had it’s share of disappointments in last year’s recruiting class. The top running back in the country, Bijan Robinson, was a heavy Buckeye lean through almost the entire recruiting cycle and it looked like the electric back from Arizona was headed to Columbus, but family considerations caused Robinson to reconsider and stay closer to home. Robinson, who is from Tuscon,  ended up signing with the Texas Longhorns and that left OSU scrambling for a running back. They ended up signing three-star prospect Miyan Williams from Cincinnati. Williams is ranked the 29th-best running back in that class.

The Buckeyes were focused on earning a commitment from one of the best in this class and did better than that when the got a commitment from the very best of the best in number-one rated running back TreVeyon Henderson (5-11, 195)  of Hopewell, Virginia.  The 24/7 scouting report includes the following description of Henderson.

“Has a high-cut build with wide shoulders and the frame to add more weight as he gets into a college strength program. Is relatively lean as he enters his senior year. Registers as a top athlete with good times on the track in the winter following his breakout junior season. Was one of the more dominant high school players on the Eastern seaboard in 2019, leading his team to an undefeated season and state title. One of, if not the most productive rushers in the 2021 recruiting cycle. Does not get tackled in a 10-minute highlight video. Shows high-level lateral agility and ability to accelerate and gear down in the open field, making him a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Changes direction without losing much, if any speed. Looks to be a loose, instinctive runner with natural vision and gets upfield without hesitation. His track speed transfers over to the field, as he shows the ability to open up a long stride and pull away at the second level. Is a versatile playmaker in the pass game and has the skill set to be a dangerous receiver out of the backfield. Also doubles as a talented defensive back for his high school and could be a top prospect at corner, as well. Looks to be one of the more electric skill players in the 2021 cycle, regardless of position. Projects as an instant impact contributor and multi-year starter at the Power Five level with the upside to develop into an early round NFL Draft pick.”

Henderson is a five-star prospect and ranked the 10th-best prospect at any position nationally.

The Buckeye recruiting strategy this year was to  take two backs out of high school and also to  look for a quality transfer if one was available. The transfer became a priority when Master Teague suffered a leg injury is spring ball.

To fill the spots for high school players OSU identified three backs that they felt had everything they were looking for in a runner. One was Henderson. The other two were Donovan Edwards (5-11, 190) from West Bloomfield, Michigan and Evan Pryor (5-10, 190) of Cornelius, N.C.).  Edwards is ranked the number-two running back in the class while Pryor is ranked number-two all purpose back in the class.  In case you are wondering what an all-purpose back is, J.K. Dobbins was ranked as an all purpose back coming out out of high school.  OSU told those three backs that they were taking two in this class and that the first two to  commit would be in and the third would be out. Pryor was the first to commit, leaving just one spot.  When Henderson committed there was no room left for Edwards.

Both Edwards and Pryor are four-star recruits.  Pryor is deemed the 95th-best player in the nation at any position while Edwards is rated the 24th-best.  With the Buckeyes out of the picture for Edwards it is now looking like he will end up playing for the home-state Michigan Wolverines, though he has not yet made an official commitment.

With the high school slots filled OSU looked to the transfer portal and found an excellent back available in Trey Sermon (6-1, 215).  Sermon comes to  OSU as a graduate student with immediate eligibility after playing at Oklahoma. Sermon was ranked a four-star prospect out of high school and has gotten bigger and stronger during his time in the Oklahoma program.  While playing for the Sooners last season Sermon rushed for 568 yards on 95 carries for an average of 6.0 yards per carry. He scored four touchdowns on the ground and had a long carry of 60 yards. He also had 14 receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns. He appeared in eight games, starting two of them. Sermon is pictured at the top of this article.

The next issue of Recruiting Commentary will cover the defensive back-seven.