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Ohio State’s rivalry with Michigan has extended onto the recruiting trail as it searches for a quarterback: Buckeyes Recruiting

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 1/25/2023 Stephen Means,
Quarterback Jadyn Davis was one of the many possible OSU football recruits to attend the Oregon at Ohio State football game on September 11, 2021. © David Petkiewicz Quarterback Jadyn Davis was one of the many possible OSU football recruits to attend the Oregon at Ohio State football game on September 11, 2021.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and quarterback coach Corey Dennis went to see an important prospect over the weekend as they continue searching for a 2024 quarterback, but this visit comes with some complications.

There was a time when it was fair to think that the Buckeyes would fill that role with Jadyn Davis, an early favorite to be the class’ best quarterback. That was two summers ago when the five-star recruit made the first of two visits in 2021 before returning for multiple game visits during the season.

A lot’s changed since then.

Davis was supposed to return to Columbus for the 2022 spring game but never made the trip. Instead, Dylan Raiola did, setting in motion the events that led to him eventually being the class’ first commit as Davis looked elsewhere. That should’ve been the end of the story, but Raiola decommitted in December, putting OSU back on the market.

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There’s no reason to think the program won’t end up with a high-end quarterback in this cycle, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy, quick or simple. They’re starting from scratch with many quarterbacks, some of which might not be as gung-ho about rekindling things. The Buckeyes stopped talking to other 2024 quarterbacks for good reason once Raiola committed. But other schools still went about business as usual, building up the chemistry that allowed them to build leads.

Some of those leads resulted in commitments, such as Julian Sayin (Alabama), who earned an offer last week. Others have just built some momentum, such as Davis. The problem is that the other school just happens to be OSU’s hated rival that’s also just as invested in the five-star quarterback business.

The nation’s No. 19 player and No. 3 quarterback has had Wolverine momentum since October, and it’s slowly built on itself even with the program’s recent headlines in the news. That would be their second five-star quarterback since Jim Harbaugh took over and No. 3 if you include Shea Patterson, who transferred from Ole Miss after two years. Patterson was a decent starter, though he never won The Game. J.J. McCarthy once made headlines voicing his disdain for Ohio State for choosing Kyle McCord over him, and his first two seasons in Ann Arbor have resulted in back-to-back wins in the rivalry and trips to the College Football Playoff.

Davis isn’t very vocal these days, reducing how often he publicly speaks about his recruitment. But if he were to pick Michigan and eventually take over as the starter, the storyline heading into that last Saturday in November would be similar to the guy currently holding that job.

The Buckeyes are trying to keep that from happening, which started over the weekend with a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. Like with every quarterback they reach out to this spring, whether it gets them anywhere is to be determined. But this process will have more of an uphill battle than others because of the established history and how Davis feels about being open to what the program has to say again. Meanwhile, their rival will look to close the deal in a recruitment it has the perceived lead in.

Ohio State has become a destination for the nation’s top quarterbacks, but they’re not the only program establishing itself as such. Michigan is trying to add its name to that list. The two already butt heads annually on the field, but through Davis, they will do so on the recruiting trail in the most high-profile way possible.

To see Ohio State’s full 2024 recruiting class, click here.

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