It is rare for a high schooler’s first scholarship offer to come from Ohio State, but it doesn’t take long to watch Mylan Graham on the field to realize just how rare he is.
In fact, it took just one camp outing on June 1 of last year for Ohio State receivers coach Brian Hartline to be convinced that Graham was worth pursuing.
Now, Mylan Graham is a 5-star prospect and the No. 4 receiver in the 2024 class. It has been a wild year for Graham, who committed to the Buckeyes just over a month ago.
Why did he feel like the time was right for him to commit to Ohio State?
“I just felt like I could go in there and really prove a point early and get my spot,” Graham said on Sunday following an Under Armour camp in the Columbus area. “And then obviously I trust coach Hartline a lot with the track record of developing guys into the first round. It’s like he does it every single year. It’s almost like the standard there.”
Even though Graham’s offer came last June, Hartline began recruiting him midway through his sophomore year at New Haven High School on the east side of Fort Wayne, Indiana. But it was an impressive camp performance on the OSU campus that sealed the deal.
“I went to the camp last year, June 1. I balled out. I did my thing, and then he ended up offering me,” Graham said. “It was my first offer, but he didn’t really care about that. I was a no-star, no-offer type of guy. He didn’t really care. He saw some potential in me that he’d like to coach. I really thought about that when I committed.”
When Graham got the offer he didn’t realize just how special it was. He didn’t view it any differently than a lower-level offer initially. He was just hoping to receive some offers, which he did. Following the offer from the Buckeyes, schools like Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama, Tennessee, Penn State, and many others soon offered as well.
With the offer came the visits, which can be overwhelming. But eventually a comfort level is found.
“So, at first, I mean, I was like ‘Yeah, wow.’ It was a little difficult for me hearing everything about it. It was hard,” Graham admitted. “Now as I’m visiting more, I feel a lot more comfortable. And honestly, it just felt like home, for real. And so I didn’t really feel like wasting any more time, so I committed.”
Watching highlights, Mylan Graham looks like he is one of the most explosive players in the nation regardless of position. Though when asked just how fast he is, he stayed matter-of-fact and did not go overboard.
“I’m real fast,” he said. “I’m not fast, fast, but I mean I’m fast. I’m fast enough.”
And while probably stating the obvious, what is it that Hartline likes so much about Graham?
“I’m just a smaller, more versatile receiver. I can really play outside or inside,” Graham said. “When I get the ball in my hands, it’s like magic, honestly. I get in and out of my breaks really good. Really technical and polished.”
The Buckeyes have had guys like that in the past, especially the recent past. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, Graham isn’t unlike recent first-round OSU receivers Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, or Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
In fact, when he has watched the Buckeyes the past couple of years, he has envisioned his own game in this Ohio State offense.
“I kind of see myself as like a mix with Olave, Wilson, and Smith-Njigba,” he said. “I really like Smith-Njigba because you can really throw him inside or outside, but he’s mainly a slot type of guy. And then Garrett is more like a Z type of receiver. That’s really what I feel like I am.”
Those are three pretty good examples to follow. Chris Olave spent his career as an outside receiver, while Jaxon Smith-Njigba spent his as an inside receiver. Garrett Wilson, meanwhile, played both.
What is Graham’s positional preference?
“I really don’t have a preference,” he said. “Wherever I can get the ball more.”