The 10 Most Spectacular Prospects from Ohio State’s Seven June Excessive Faculty Soccer Camps
Ohio State’s seven high school football camps in June provided the opportunity to watch some of the top prospects in the recruiting classes of 2022, 2023 and 2024 put their talents on display.
As Eleven Warriors’ interim recruiting analyst, I was at all seven of those camps and watched as many of those prospects as I could to get an in-person look at many of the players who could become future stars for the Buckeyes or another top college football program.
Now that the month of camps is complete, I’ve taken some time to reflect on all of the football drills and workouts I watched over the past four weeks and compile a list of the recruits who impressed me the most.
This ranking comes with the caveat, of course, that I couldn’t possibly watch every rep of every prospect at every camp. I spent more time watching some prospects than others, which could influence where I have them ranked. This list is not intended to be a ranking of the 10 best prospects who attended Ohio State’s June camps, but simply a list of the 10 prospects who turned my head the most.
And considering that thousands of high school football players worked out at Ohio State over the past month, there were far more prospects worthy of recognition than I can mention here, so just because a player didn’t make the list doesn’t mean he performed poorly. Some of the other prospects who impressed me over the month of camps included (but are not limited to) quarterbacks Jadyn Davis, Adrian Posse, Dylan Lonergan and William Watson III; running backs Richard Young and Treyaun Webb; wide receivers Carnell Tate and Anthony Brown; offensive tackles Luke Montgomery and Chase Bisontis; defensive ends David “DJ” Hicks, Derrick Leblanc and Brenan Vernon; defensive tackles Christen Miller, Keith Sampson Jr. and Thomas Collins; linebacker Abdul Carter; and cornerback Julio Humphrey and AJ Harris.
The following 10, though, were the ones that caught my eyes the most.
10. Theodor Melin Öhrström, TE
When Premier Players International made its stop at Ohio State’s second camp of the month on June 8, I kept a close eye on all of the five European players who made the trip to Columbus to camp with the Buckeyes. And I was particularly intrigued to watch Öhrström, a Swedish tight end in the class of 2023 whose recruitment was already starting to take off, as he had received an offer from Alabama three days earlier.
It quickly became clear why he received that offer once he took the field in Columbus. At 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds with a 4.64-second 40-yard dash, Öhrström has a prototypical combination of size and speed for a tight end, and he proved to be both a natural catcher of the football and a sharp route-runner during his workout at Ohio State.
Sweden tight end Theodor Melin Ohrstrom gets open for the catch: pic.twitter.com/S3IkLegRg4
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) June 8, 2021
Öhrström’s workout was so impressive that Ryan Day came over to him and told him he could rest before the camp was even over, as Day had already seen enough to extend an offer.
Öhrström, who didn’t even have a profile on 247Sports when the month began, now holds a dozen offers and is ranked as the No. 13 tight end in the 2023 class. And there’s reason to believe his upside is as high as any tight end in his class.
The Buckeyes appear to be well-positioned in his recruitment, too, as Öhrström loved what he saw at Ohio State, where he ended up staying an extra day to spend more time in Columbus and getting to know the coaching staff.
“I gotta say, this has been one of the best places I’ve been to so far,” Öhrström said while at Ohio State. “I really like the hospitality everyone’s shown here, and the facilities and everything’s been really, really great.”
9. Kaleb Johnson, RB
As I watched Kaleb Johnson at Ohio State’s fourth camp of the month on June 15, I couldn’t help but think of Miyan Williams – not because of who they are as players, but because of how their recruitments have gone so far and their potential to outperform their recruiting rankings.
Ranked as the No. 624 overall prospect in his class when he arrived at Ohio State last week, Johnson didn’t seem like a likely candidate to pick up an offer from the Buckeyes going into the camp. By the time the camp was over, though, that started to look like a distinct possibility as Johnson stood out in running back drills, showing explosive burst, quick feet and cutting ability at 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds.
Johnson’s athleticism intrigued Ohio State enough that it even put him through a workout at linebacker to evaluate him as a potential option on the other side of the ball.
After that camp, Johnson made plans to return to Ohio State for another workout this week, an indicator that mutual interest between him and the Buckeyes was heating up. In an example of how quickly things can change on the recruiting trail, though, Johnson – who has climbed over 100 spots in the composite recruiting rankings over the past week – committed to California just five days later.
It would have been interesting to see if a late offer would have changed things for Johnson, who described Ohio State as “one of my dream schools,” much like a late offer convinced the similarly rated Williams to flip to Ohio State from Iowa State two years ago. However, that offer is much less likely to come for Johnson after the Buckeyes landed a commitment from their top running back target in the 2022 class, Dallan Hayden, earlier this week.
8. Sonny Styles, S/LB
The top-ranked Ohioan in the recruiting class of 2023, Styles participated in two camps at Ohio State this month. He worked out with the defensive backs at OSU’s first camp of the month on June 2, then returned on June 16 to work out with the linebackers and even get in some pass-rush work with defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
While participating in both of those camps, Styles showcased the versatility that has made him the No. 15 overall prospect in the junior class. He stood out among the pack at both position groups, showcasing the athleticism and coverage skill to stay at the safety position he plays at Pickerington Central but also the length and strength to play closer to the line of scrimmage, as he’s already 6-foot-5 and 216 pounds.
Sonny Styles running through a defensive back drill: pic.twitter.com/JxULjoeORq
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) June 2, 2021
After camping with the defensive backs two weeks ago, five-star safety Sonny Styles is working with Al Washington and the linebackers today. pic.twitter.com/plS1teHgWV
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) June 16, 2021
That could make Styles a perfect fit for the bullet position if he chooses Ohio State, where he says he “could definitely see myself playing,” though he’s “still open to go anywhere right now.” But as physically gifted and versatile as Styles is, he’s going to be a fit for any defense, and his camp performances only made it clearer why landing him is one of the Buckeyes’ biggest priorities for the 2023 class.
7. Peyton Woodyard, DB
Simply put, Woodyard does not look like he should be going into his sophomore year right now. While there were six prospects from the class of 2024 who earned offers from Ohio State through camp performances this month, none of them stood out more to me than Woodyard, a 6-foot-2, 188-pound defensive back who’s already built like a collegiate safety.
Even though he still has three years of more high school to go, Woodyard already has 14 offers, and it’s not hard to see why. Possessing an ideal frame for his position, Woodyard is fast and fluid and demonstrates the coverage skill to potentially line up anywhere in a collegiate secondary.
Peyton Woodyard, a top defensive back in the class of 2024 from Californias St. John Bosco High School, with strong coverage here. pic.twitter.com/HICnL9Muql
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) June 16, 2021
While Woodyard is listed as a safety by 247Sports, Ohio State is also recruiting him as a potential cornerback, and that increases his interest in the Buckeyes.
“Coach Coombs wants me to play corner over here, and I like corner,” Woodyard. “I like the look of playing corner. He’s always put great DBs in the league.”
Although he won’t be NFL draft-eligible until 2027, Woodyard already has the look of a prospect with first-round potential, and he’ll likely be one of the top prospects in his class once the first rankings for the 2024 class are unveiled.
6. Matayo Uiagalelei, DE
A teammate of Woodyard at California’s St. John Bosco High School, Uiagalelei also already looks like he could be playing college football right now even though he still has two years of high school remaining. The younger brother of Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei and the No. 47 overall prospect in the class of 2023, Matayo Uiagalelei looked like a future star defensive end while going through an individual workout with Larry Johnson at Ohio State’s June 16 camp.
At 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, Uiagalelei is already built to play at the next level, and he pairs that size with explosiveness, quickness and power. Physically, he was one of the most impressive players at Ohio State all month, and he demonstrated an array of pass-rushing moves while being coached through drills by Johnson.
Defensive line drill work for Matayo Uiagalelei: pic.twitter.com/suNNboDTWm
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) June 16, 2021
More from Matayo Uiagalelei, who certainly looks the part: pic.twitter.com/2IoDoF2GMB
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) June 16, 2021
Had Uiagalelei camped with the rest of the defensive linemen and dominated as he likely would have in one-on-one drills, he could be even higher on this list. He showed more than enough during his workout, though, to prove why he’s being pursued by nearly all of the nation’s top programs.
While Clemson could have the upper hand in his recruitment as his brother becomes the Tigers’ new starting quarterback this year, the younger Uiagalelei’s decision to make an unofficial visit to Ohio State indicates the Buckeyes are a contender to land him, though he wasn’t yet certain at the camp whether he would return to Columbus for a game this fall.
5. Shemar Stewart, DE
As we watched Stewart go through his workout at Ohio State’s June 9 camp, another Ohio State reporter commented to me that Stewart looked like he could play for the Cleveland Browns right now – and that wasn’t much of an exaggeration. At 6-foot-6 and 264 pounds, Stewart does look like he could play in the NFL right now, and he showed during his workout at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center exactly why he’s the No. 7 overall prospect in the 2022 class.
Starting with a 10-foot broad jump, Stewart wowed with his burst, agility and ability to change directions as he went through a workout with the rest of the defensive linemen at the camp.
Like Uiagalelei, Stewart only did individual drills at the camp, which keeps him from being even higher on this list. But even though he ended his workout early, his performance while he was on the field showed why he is a five-star prospect.
The only five-star prospect in the 2022 class to actually work out at an Ohio State camp this month, Stewart is widely expected to stay in the South – Miami and LSU have been viewed as the frontrunners in his recruitment – but his decision to not only visit Ohio State but also go through an on-field workout showed he was serious about building up his relationship with Johnson and giving the Buckeyes a serious look.
“If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here,” said Stewart when asked if he could end up at Ohio State.
4. Troy Bowles, LB
Bowles might not yet be as well-known as his father Todd, the defensive coordinator of the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but his performance at Ohio State’s June 15 camp was reason to believe he’ll make his own name for himself as a college football player.
Ranked as the No. 110 overall prospect in the recruiting class of 2023, Bowles left no doubt that he deserved an Ohio State offer with his performance at camp, in which he went through a full linebacker workout. Specifically, Bowles excelled in one-on-one coverage reps, where he looked like he could play safety even though he’s being recruited by Ohio State as an inside linebacker.
He’s only 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds right now, but has good length and room to grow and showed natural power while getting in some extra work after the camp with Al Washington.
Ohio State linebackers coach Al Washington got a firsthand feel for Troy Bowles’ punching power on Tuesday before offering him: pic.twitter.com/tIiL6lpUjo
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) June 16, 2021
Bowles, who now has more than 30 offers, believes he could play any linebacker position and is another player who could also be a fit for the bullet role if he ends up at Ohio State, who he said he has “a lot” of interest in.
“I grew up watching them,” Bowles said of Ohio State. “It’s a big school, it’s a lot of people’s dream school.”
3. Gabriel Harris, DE
Out of all the camp performances I watched over the past month, Harris’ performance in the first session of the very first camp on June 2 might have been the most dominant.
Admittedly, I didn’t even know who Harris was before attending that camp, but he quickly made it clear that he was a prospect I needed to know about. During one-on-one drills to complete his camp workout, Harris’ opponents rarely even got their hands on him as he consistently blew by every offensive tackle who lined up against him.
At the time, Harris was committed to Florida State, but he said after the camp that his recruitment was “most definitely” still open. Less than a week later, Harris decommitted from Florida State and promptly received an offer from the Buckeyes, thrusting them firmly into the race for the No. 81 overall prospect in the 2023 class.
Harris wasn’t the top-rated defensive end in his class to camp at Ohio State this month – Vernon, Hicks, Uiagalelei and Leblanc are all ranked higher, and they were all impressive, too – but while all of them except Hicks already had offers from the Buckeyes, Harris made it clear they needed to pursue him, too.
2. Hero Kanu, DT
The aforementioned Premier Players International group of European prospects that has made regular tour stops at Ohio State camp has typically acquitted itself well at those camps, demonstrating that there’s Division I football talent outside of the United States, too. No member of that group, though, has ever been as highly ranked as a prospect as Kanu, the No. 82 overall prospect in the 2022 class – and he made a strong case at Ohio State’s June 8 camp that he should be ranked even higher.
Although the German-born Kanu has played only one year of high school football in the United States at California’s Santa Margarita Catholic High School, he was quite clearly the best player on the field during the morning session of Ohio State’s second camp of the month. At 6-foot-5 and 293 pounds, Kanu demonstrated five-star-caliber athleticism as he moved naturally through every drill Johnson threw his way and then dominated his one-on-one reps, even when he was matched up with Joshua Padilla, one of the top interior offensive linemen in the 2023 class.
Kanu stood out physically as much as anyone who worked out at Ohio State this month, giving him sky-high potential as he continues to develop as a football player. His positive attitude stood out while he was at camp, too, as he consistently carried a smile on his face and encouraged the other defensive linemen to also succeed in their drills after taking his own reps.
That smile got even bigger when he was asked after his workout how much interest he had in Ohio State, making the Buckeyes look like one of the frontrunners in his recruitment.
“A lot,” Kanu said when asked how much interest he had in Ohio State. “Top-three team here. It’s different. For us Europeans, we don’t really know these schools like Americans do, and now that you get into football, into the academics, you’re like, ‘That might be a good opportunity.’”
1. Brandon Inniss, WR
Out of all the top prospects who worked out at Ohio State camps this month, no one currently has a higher composite recruiting rating than Inniss, who is ranked as the No. 7 overall prospect and No. 1 wide receiver in the 2023 class with a .9976 rating. And he lived up to that billing when he took the field in Columbus on Tuesday.
Going into his junior year at American Heritage School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Inniss looks like he could be a star in a college offense right now. At a well-built 6-foot-1 and 188 pounds, Inniss demonstrated exceptional quickness, route-running skill and ball skills for a receiver of his age while consistently winning his one-on-one reps against just about every defensive back he went up against at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Brandon Inniss with the deep-ball catch: pic.twitter.com/SKXdZgVDVF
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) June 22, 2021
With offers already in hand from just about every top program in college football, Inniss will be able to go wherever he wants, but it isn’t hard to see him following in the footsteps of Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson and becoming Ohio State’s next superstar wide receiver if he chooses Brian Hartline and the Buckeyes.
He’ll have to decide whether he wants to follow in the footsteps of Wilson, Julian Fleming, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Emeka Egbuka and Caleb Burton by becoming the next five-star receiver to become a Buckeye, or whether he wants to blaze his own path, but he said he wouldn’t be afraid of the competition at Ohio State as he considers the Buckeyes.
“I have a lot of interest in Ohio State,” Inniss said. “They produce guys for the NFL, and they have the coaches to go with that, the wins to go with that.”