Jantzen Dunn Has Bright Future For Buckeyes

Every day until fall camp begins for Ohio State, we will profile a different Buckeye football player. Today that player is freshman safety Jantzen Dunn. Yesterday it was wide receiver Jayden Ballard. You can find all of the daily Scoop Profiles right here.

Jantzen Dunn

No. 24 | Free Safety | 6-1 188 | Freshman | South Warren High School | Bowling Green, Kentucky

How’d He Get Here

Jantzen Dunn signed with Ohio State out of Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he was the No. 170 player in the nation and No. 10 safety overall in the 2021 recruiting class. He held offers from the Buckeyes, Georgia, Alabama, USC, Texas, Florida, and a slew of others. Dunn played cornerback, safety, and wide receiver at South Warren High School, and was also a talented long jumper and high jumper in track. Dunn was able to visit Ohio State last March before visits were shut down, and he also attended a game in 2019, so by the time the Buckeyes offered on March 4 last year (Michigan offered later in the day), they didn’t have to wait too long for his commitment.

Current Situation

As an early enrollee, Jantzen Dunn got his feet wet immediately in the winter with strength coach Mickey Marotti. That led into the spring where after the first week or so he was repping as the Buckeyes’ No. 3 free safety behind senior Josh Proctor and redshirt sophomore Bryson Shaw. The pecking order was no surprise given that Dunn was competing with a third-year player and a fourth-year player. That won’t change during the season, either, but the more experience he gains, the more likely he is to find a way onto the field. Ohio State is a lot deeper in the secondary this year than they were a year ago, which makes playing time tougher for a true freshman. But one of the reasons they are deeper than a year ago is because of talented players like Dunn who will eventually be able to contribute.

What to Like

Jantzen Dunn committed to Ohio State on April 20 of last year and soon after he did, there were a bunch of people who went and watched his highlights and then said, “How is this guy only ranked the No. 248 player in the nation?” Dunn did well at both safety and cornerback in high school, earning First-Team All-State accolades as a senior. He is a long defender who could project all over the secondary for the Buckeyes, but when you see how much ground he can cover as a deep safety, it’s difficult to start him out anywhere else. Dunn has all of the explosive attributes needed in the secondary. How quickly he sees the field will come down to his command of the defense and feel for his responsibilities.

What’s the Ceiling This Year?

There will be some opportunities on special teams for Jantzen Dunn this year, but beyond that, his ceiling will also be affected by how well the upperclassmen play. Looking back to last year, even with a secondary that was in a liquid state, true freshman Lathan Ransom still only had some small parts. Of course, Ransom had no spring and the situation last year is essentially incomparable to any other season before, since, and hopefully in the future. Dunn has had a spring and a summer, so his understanding of his job will be heightened. That being said, if Josh Proctor finally hits his potential, it may not matter much what the coaches see from Dunn — at least at free safety. There are still a number of other positions in the secondary, but a true freshman securing one of the top five spots probably isn’t in the cards this year. A backup spot, however, is fairly common — even for eventual stars.

And Beyond?

It sure seems like the intention is for Jantzen Dunn to eventually be the Buckeyes’ starting free safety. He has all of the athletic ability the position requires. It won’t be a free run at the position in 2022, but any playing time he gets this year can apply to the experience he will need in order to be Ohio State’s center fielder down the road. Something else to keep in mind, however, is that his ability to cover and help in run support also makes him an intriguing possibility as the Buckeyes’ cover safety in the slot. Dunn has the kind of versatility that Jordan Fuller had for the Buckeyes. Fuller started at different safety spots throughout his career and starred in all of them. But not until he was a sophomore.