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Recruiting: Newly Offered Four-Star 2026 Edge Rusher Zavion Griffin-Haynes Putting Ohio State At Top Of His List 

By June 13, 2024 (5:13 pm)Football

Rolesville, N.C. four-star edge rusher Zavion Griffin-Haynes (6-6, 220) hails nearly 485 miles away from Ohio State’s Woody Hayes Athletic Center, but that long distance away from campus was not stopping him from heading up to Columbus to work with some top-level coaches during Thursday’s football camp. 

According to the rising junior, he could not pass up the opportunity to work with Ohio State’s associate head coach/defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who he said helped mold many former Buckeye and current NFL pass rushers that he hopes to mirror his game after. 

“Coach Johnson told me to come, and I wanted to work,” Griffin-Haynes told a collection of local media following Thursday’s camp. “Being coached by Coach Johnson, he coached Nick Bosa, Joey Bosa, so I wanted to experience that for myself.” 

“Chase Young and Nick Bosa, those are two guys I really looked up to, so I hope to be like them one day,” he added.

Griffin-Haynes, who earned an offer from Ohio State shortly after Thursday’s camp, said the time he spent with the Buckeyes defensive line coach certainly did not disappoint, as the 70-year-old pushed him to keep working even amid the roughly 88-degree conditions on the blazing Woody Hayes Athletic Center turf.  

“It was great,” said Griffin-Haynes, the nation’s 127th-best prospect and 11th-best edge rusher in the 2026 class. “He worked me until I was tired. I kept going back-to-back, even if I was tired. He told me, ‘keep going, finish the drill.’ ”

This constant movement allowed him to go up against some of the top offensive lineman prospects present at Thursday’s camp, a group that included a pair of four-stars but was headlined by Rockville (Md.) Georgetown Preparatory School five-star offensive tackle Immanuel Iheanacho (6-7, 340), the nation’s fourth-best prospect and second-best offensive tackle in the 2026 class. 

Griffin-Haynes said the opportunity to go up against a high-profile and talented offensive lineman like Iheanacho was a challenge he fully embraced, as it brought out some fierce competition between the two. It was a battle that will likely benefit the two top prospects in the future, as Griffin-Hayes also possesses some top-level talent of his own, coming off a sophomore season in which he had — according to Griffin-Haynes — 63 tackles, 4.5 sacks, six pass breakups and a school-record 26 tackles for loss. 

“(It was) definitely (competitive),” he said. “I went against the top left tackle in the country. We went head-on-head, so it was great.” 

Gaining the opportunity to not only work with Ohio State’s longest tenured coach but go up against some of the nation’s best prospects in the trenches made this visit an eye-opening experience for the four-star edge rusher.

While he already holds offers from major schools such as Auburn, Florida State, Miami (Fla.), North Carolina, Tennessee and UCLA and is likely planning on visiting Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Penn State, South Carolina and Virginia in the coming months, Griffin-Haynes said it is Ohio State who has separated themselves from the pack when it comes to his recruitment.

Even before getting offered, the edge rusher slated the Buckeyes as his top school, a development that could be significant for the program as they await a decision from Griffin-Haynes on his future, one which he said is likely coming right before the start of his 2025 high school football season. 

“It would be great,” he said when asked what an offer from the Buckeyes would mean for him. “Ohio State is the top school on my list at the moment. So it would be great.” 

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