Michael Drennen first formed a prospect-coach relationship with Tony Alford, but the Dublin (Ohio) Coffman 2020 athlete’s tie to the Ohio State running backs coach delves deeper than his recruitment.
As a good friend of his son, Rylan, who is in the same grade and attends Dublin (Ohio) Jerome, Drennen knows Alford beyond the game.
But when Drennen attended Ohio State’s second one-day camp of the summer Tuesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, his performance on the field was what attracted Alford’s attention.
“It was great,” Drennen said of the camp. “Obviously, coming to Ohio State, it’s one of the top schools in the nation. The competition’s good, so it was good. Coach (Alford) had good words for me and what my performance was — it was wild.”
While a tweaked hip sidelined Drennen from fully competing last month in The Opening Regional Canton at Massillon (Ohio) Washington, camping this week with the Buckeyes offered him a chance to showcase his skills against hundreds of others in the 2019 and 2020 classes.
After checking in at 6-0 and 186 pounds, Drennen displayed his sharp speed and agility in position drills and one-on-one coverage, ranging his looks from running back to slot receiver.
“That’s a big strength to my game,” Drennen said. “My biggest strength in my game is probably open-field moves.”
In the one-on-one portion, following flashes of shiftiness from bursting off the line of scrimmage to making defenders miss in the open field, Drennen caught Alford’s eye and earned individual instruction on the side when the camp went to lunch.
“He wanted me to do drills that actually will translate and switch over to the field,” Drennen said. “So it was more of some reaction stuff, keeping the ball, ball security and just working on upper-field moves and stuff like that.”
Drennen’s in-depth discussions with Alford during and after the camp marked his latest Ohio State contact, which continues to grow after he heard from head coach Urban Meyer last month.
“I’ve talked to Urban on the phone — that’s the first time I’ve ever talked to him,” Drennen said. “It was about a month ago, so it was during the last week of school and we just got to talk to each other.”
As his interest from the Buckeyes increases, the same goes for a handful of other Power Five programs to take note of him.
Throughout the last week of May, Drennen swung down to SEC country, where he unofficially visited Auburn and camped at Georgia. In the immediate future, Drennen heads north Monday and camps at Michigan.
After he added a June 6 offer from Vanderbilt — the eighth Division-I school to extend him a scholarship — Drennen could see more opportunities come ahead of his junior season. Until then, Drennen’s focus hinges on continual improvement, perfecting his craft in the weight room and on the field throughout the remainder of the offseason.
“Just continue to improve myself, improve my speed,” Drennen said. “Improve my speed, for sure, and just try to play my hardest.”