You can’t start a recruiting class any better than Ohio State just started its 2024 group. The Buckeyes landed the nation’s top prospect, who plays the game’s most important position in Chandler (Ariz.) quarterback Dylan Raiola. The five-star gunslinger had been trending to Ohio State for some time and made things official on Monday, giving the Buckeyes a huge shot in the arm to kickstart the 2024 recruiting class.
What Ohio State is getting
There isn’t much to pick apart in Raiola’s game which is saying something since he hasn’t even started his junior season of high school. Dylan is a big, athletic, and strong-armed quarterback prospect who displays an already extremely versatile skill set.
The first two things that really jump out in evaluating Raiola are that he is already very physically mature at 6-foot-3, 210-pounds and that he is already showing tremendous touch in the vertical passing game. Raiola is built a lot like Justin Fields and while he is maybe not *quite* the raw athlete that Fields is, he’s very mobile and he is able to use that mobility to extend plays and make big plays with his arm.
Another thing that I really like about Raiola’s film is the toughness he shows. There are several plays where he stands in the pocket and knows a big hit is coming but calmly delivers the football accurately to his receivers.
But it isn’t just the physical stature or arm strength, he has a bit of sizzle to his game as well. He can deliver the ball from several different arm angles and shows excellent improvisational skills, too.
While he will be at a new school and in a new offense at Chandler High in Arizona after moving from Texas, his sophomore film shows that he is comfortable out of the shotgun but also from operating under center. Having that ability to go under center is an added and underrated bonus as Ryan Day also likes to mix things up.
The term “can’t miss” is one of the scariest ones in sports. But with Raiola’s combination of size, arm strength, accuracy, athleticism, and anticipatory skills, combined with Ryan Day’s offense and coaching, this is a dynamic pairing and the sky is the limit for this pairing in the future. It would be hard to imagine Raiola not being able to continue the recent trend of dynamic offenses in Columbus. He falls right in line, from a talent perspective, with all of the other big-time quarterback recruits that Day has landed in recent years.
What it means for recruiting
What a way to set the table for the 2024 recruiting class. Ohio State now has its quarterback of the future lined up and a player who will likely be leaned on as a class leader in recruiting on the offensive side of the football.
Raiola has already started to form bonds with offensive skill players in the ’23 and ’24 classes and the first player that he’ll likely turn his attention to in his own class is Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna five-star wide receiver Jeremiah Smith Jr.
While Raiola’s commitment wraps up quarterback recruiting in the 2024 class, it will be interesting to see how the Buckeyes proceed in 2023. Ohio State needs to add a quarterback to the room from that 2023 class but there doesn’t seem to be a ton of optimism right now among the potential options. The Buckeyes continue to recruit four-star Georgia native Dylan Lonergan as well as Detroit King star Dante Moore.
South Carolina and/or baseball are hurdles with Lonergan and the Buckeyes seem to be trailing both Notre Dame and Michigan right now for Moore. Summer camp season could be very interesting as Ryan Day and Corey Dennis will undoubtedly be evaluating several rising senior quarterbacks to see if they can find their next C.J. Stroud or Devin Brown.
But back to Raiola for a minute. This is an absolutely huge pick up for the Buckeyes on so many levels including keeping Ohio State at the forefront of quarterback recruiting on the national stage. From the late Dwayne Haskins to Justin Fields to C.J. Stroud, Columbus has become a major destination for highly touted quarterback recruits and this latest major commitment just cements Ohio State as one of a very select few schools who are now seeing five-star quarterback talent flock to it.