COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State safety Sonny Styles surprised plenty of people when he decided to reclassify and forgo his senior year at Pickerington Central.

This time last year, Styles helped Pickerington Central win the Division I state championship. Now, he’s competing for a starting spot at a position that’s abundant in veteran talent.

“I think when you look at the potential best 11 players for the 2023 defense, he’s a guy that our staff is gonna point out and say, ‘We need to find a way to get him in there,'” defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said. “He held his own in the playoff semifinal [against Georgia], and I think he’s just got all kinds of skills.”

Those skills, matched with his 6’4″ 222-pound frame, make it hard for OSU’s coaches to ignore.

“You see what he can do in his first year,” coach Ryan Day said. “The role that he played last year stepping in after reclassifying and coming here last summer, couldn’t have been more impressed with what he did. He’s got a really, really bright future ahead of him. I think he can do a lot of things for us . . . He is a playmaker. He’s gonna play a lot of football for us.”

Jim Knowles has made it known Ohio State is ‘safety-driven defense,’ and they have plenty of players returning at the position, including Lathan Ransom, Josh Proctor and Cam Martinez. The Buckeyes can play three at a time, so whether Styles will rotate as a starter or backup remains to be seen. But based on reactions from Day and Knowles, expect plenty of playing time for Styles.