What a whirlwind 24-plus hours it’s been for Old Dominion and its 2021 recruiting class. The Monarchs added commitments from three key recruits in the last day. ODU has really turned a corner under new head coach Ricky Rahne.

King’s Court

First, three-star linebacker Jason Henderson pledged to Ricky Rahne and ODU. That was followed by two-star offensive lineman Daniel Ogundipe committing at 7 p.m. that night. Now, cornerback Tahj El, out of Charlotte (NC) Myers Park High School has announced his fealty to the Monarchs. Other teams in El’s final five were Rhode Island, Akron, Liberty, and James Madison.

“What was great about ODU was the family atmosphere,” El commented. “They really made me feel at home. I know after the Penn State transfer that these coaches care about players and that’s what led me towards my decision. Just him (Ricky Slade) being a part of such a prestigious organization at Penn State and coming down to a smaller school like Old Dominion told me a lot.”

An ongoing theme of Rahne’s first two classes has been his ability to cultivate relationships with recruits. That hasn’t stopped with ODU’s newest one.

“My relationship with Coach Rahne might be better than my relationship with my high school coaches,” El exclaimed. “We talk like once a week.”

“I think El is a great add to the 2021 class for sure,” recent linebacker commit Jason Henderson said. “I think he’s a big-time ball player and I can’t wait to get to work with him”

Virginia is for…Players?

El was also impressed by the campus when he toured Old Dominion. Norfolk is a beautiful area, and ODU boasts a beautiful new stadium.

“I loved it (ODU) – I visited the stadium and the downtown area even Virginia Beach,” an excited El said. “I love Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium. It’s way bigger than I thought it would be.”

Tahj is also teammates with another top target for Old Dominion – Myers Park wide receiver Jordan Bly. While El doesn’t know where Bly is headed, he looks forward to a potential reunion at the college level.

“Of course I want him to play with me and college, and I think he likes ODU just as much as me,” El said.

With a defensive back room that includes 2020 top recruit LaMareon James, Geronda Hall, and Jim Thorpe Award watch list member Kaleb-Ford Dement, it’s an exciting time to be an ODU defensive back commit.

“I think my impact will be me just being versatile and coachable – I can be used across the board,” El said. “I do hope to be on special teams also.”

The next big recruits to watch for Old Dominion are potential Boston College flip Jalen McCain, and Chesapeake (VA) Indian River offensive lineman Stephon Dubose. Dubose commits on Aug. 5. McCain should be making a decision, soon but a timetable was not given.