Nation’s No. 1 rookie, five-star QB Dylan Raiola, commits to Ohio State

The No. 1 Top247 rookie in the 2024 class at Chandler, Ariz. Top five-star quarterback Dylan Raiola celebrated his 17th birthday Monday night by going public with his plans to play college football at Ohio State. Raiola chooses to dress for Ryan Day and his staff on his other finalists in Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Texas and USC.

Raiola actually told Day and the quarterbacks coach corey denis he was in the fold during a visit to Columbus for the Buckeyes’ spring game, but it was brewing long before that.

“What the culture is, I felt it immediately when I walked into the building for the Penn State game (in the fall),” Raiola told 247Sports. The spring game was actually his second time at OSU in April. “Going up there and seeing things, hearing what former Ohio State players are saying about the program, gathering information, all the related points. It felt like home and I’m ready to be a Buckeye.

“Start with Chief Coach Day. I think what he does with quarterbacks is special. The way he molds a young man coming into this world, I think that’s a huge factor. Just the personal relationship that I have with them and that I built with them, it’s very nice and you can ask them any question, you can go to him whenever you want. His office is next to the locker room and he says that he has an open door policy and that means a lot.

“Coach Dennis is awesome. He coaches quarterbacks really well and he knows what he’s doing. The family feeling I have with both coaches just felt right.

Raiola is the first to commit to Ohio State in the 2024 class. Returning for the spring game was so he could tell Day and Dennis in person that he was in.

“We got the itinerary and I saw I had a meeting with Coach Day this Saturday at noon,” Raiola said. “I couldn’t sleep on the plane. We had a red eye. When we arrived we went to a practice, I went to get my hair cut and we had a meeting with Coach Day. I told him thank you for having us back and I’m ready to be a Buckeye. He reacted with a loud cry of ‘let’s go!’ He is super excited for me and my family.

Raiola played his first two seasons of high school football at Burleson (Texas) High where the family was also able to bond with his older sister who played volleyball at TCU. He threw for 3,341 yards and 32 touchdowns with nine more rushing scores as a sophomore.
Raiola’s father, Dominic, played 14 seasons on the Detroit Lions’ offensive line following an All-American career at Nebraska (winner of the Rimington Award for the nation’s top center and his number retired at Lincoln). One of his NFL teammates was quarterback Jon Kitna, who is now Burleson’s head coach.

Kitna played 17 years at the top level before becoming a coach and says Raiola is on that trajectory.

“There’s not a throw he can’t make.” Kitna said. “He understands the covers and where the weak spots are in each cover. He knows protection. He knows how to put the racing game in the right place. He’s going to be a 4.6 kid by the end and be someone who can hurt you running around with his legs. Just an amazing deep ball launcher. It’s one of the things that really separates it. He can do this from a phone booth and get the balloon off the ground quickly. His improvisation skills are something as a coach you can’t teach. He can improvise like crazy and play games.

“One thing I tell coaches, what you don’t see is better than what you see. He loves football, loves to learn, he is a gym rat, he is constantly working on his craft. He studies the game from an offensive and defensive point of view. Those are the things in my opinion that set it apart. You meet a lot of people who can throw a soccer ball, but the things you can’t necessarily measure are really special with him.

The Raiola family made the rounds of the other major schools that were in the mix during the process, and Dylan’s dad felt Ohio State was a special place, too.

“When we started doing trips this year, we weren’t taking them to visit facilities, we were trying to meet people, get to know the meat and potatoes of these programs,” Dominic said. “Everyone was great, but Ohio State stood head and shoulders above everyone else in this building. How the building was run, we talk about culture, and Ohio State culture is real. From nutritionist to academics, we met the dean of business school, there are so many people other than Coach Dennis and Coach Day. Coach (Mickey) Marotti, when you build your whole building around the weight room, that’s the central place, to me that’s the place that teaches you about yourself, teaches you toughness, it’s is where you stay healthy and where you need to invest. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a place built around the weight room. Mickey Marotti, I think he’s the best in the business and we’ve done our homework.

“So many people have gushed and praised Coaches Day and this program.”

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