Whether he ends up signing with Ohio State next February or not, you should get to know the name Jayson Oweh.
We’ve talked about him in this space before, but on Friday, the country’s 14th-ranked defensive end – who has never played football before – will make his first visit to Columbus. He’ll do that with an Ohio State scholarship offer already in his back pocket, and knowing that right now, the Buckeyes are battling Penn State as the teams to beat in his recruitment. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t sure if he was a football player a year ago.
“It’s a blessing from God,” Oweh told Land of 10 about the opportunities, offers and experiences that have come his way in the last few months. “It gets overwhelming a little, but like I said it’s a blessing. Much rather have it this way than the reverse.”
— Clout J (@JaysonOweh) May 22, 2017
Rutgers offered Oweh his first scholarship Jan. 29. Since then, he’s picked up 21 more and although he’s not been able to see all the places he wants to see, he believes the late start his recruiting process got means he needs to take it doubly serious. He thought he’d be forced to make a quick turnaround, but he’s realizing he’s in the driver’s seat in his decision-making process. How novel a concept, right?
“I was thinking that I started to get my offers late and that I would have to cut [down my list] soon and commit soon. A lot of these coaches were asking when I plan to commit,” Oweh said. “But my recruitment is still open to more schools that want to offer, though. I’m just trying to kind of get control of everything.”
A number of big-time questions will be answered this weekend. As noted, Oweh arrives at Ohio State on Friday, but he’ll also use this trip to the Midwest to visit Notre Dame, where he’ll be on Saturday. Ohio State offered Oweh in May when Greg Schiano and Larry Johnson, Sr. visited Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy to see him work out. Schiano opened the door, and now Johnson is building the relationship. One particular part of the Buckeyes defensive line coach’s personality has caught Oweh’s attention: his decision not to use vulgar language or cuss.
“When we first met, he was telling me about himself and he told me about his no swearing policy. That stood out to me,” Oweh said of Johnson. “It’s truly a testament to his character. He comes across as someone who’s old school and does it the right way, especially his no cursing policy.
“Coach Johnson is truly a great man. I’ve really grown to like him, not only as a coach but as a mentor and person. We don’t talk football, just life. He asks how I’m doing in school, finals, how my family is doing. Just getting to know me.”
Penn State has the early advantage for Oweh, and he’s been on a couple visits to Happy Valley already. For Ohio State to really jump into the conversation, Oweh needs to see the school as a whole and get a feel for Urban Meyer against what he already knows about James Franklin. Oweh said Meyer’s affability caught him off-guard.
“I spoke to Urban Meyer on the phone last week. He was way nicer than I thought he’d be,” Oweh said with a laugh. “It was surreal to have someone that I would see on TV on a constant basis, and in the national championship, speak to me on the phone. It’s crazy.”
Getting to know Meyer – and Johnson – in person, will go a long way if the Buckeyes want to upset the Nittany Lions here. On Friday, Ohio State gets its first chance to show the 6-foot-6, 235-pound Oweh its plans for him, which likely include a redshirt year, are in his best interest. He may not need convincing. He isn’t concerned about the Buckeyes defensive line depth, or other defensive ends committed, because he is self-aware: he’s just learning the game.
“My biggest question at Ohio State,” Oweh said, “is if coach Johnson will have the patience with me to develop me. I am new to this game, it’s my first year playing, so I just want to be assured that I won’t be cheated out of my development. As for other commitments, it doesn’t affect me. I know what I can do under coach Johnson’s tutelage. I see it as extra people to learn from.”