March 15, 2012

Class Outlook: Offense

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There is still a long way to go until National Signing Day for the 2013 class but things are beginning to take shape as several offers have went out and prospects begin to tip their hand as to which schools are truly in the mix. The Buckeyes are off to a great start with five verbal commitments from some of the nation’s elite prospects. Below, we take a look at what the Ohio State recruiting efforts are looking like in the 2013 class on the offensive side of the football.

Quarterback (1-2): Two looks to be the number here, if the Buckeyes can get the right two. It’s been made clear to every quarterback on the radar that the coaching staff will need to see them throw in person either at camp or during spring ball in for prospects from the southern states. Right now a host of Ohio quarterbacks have the staff’s attention, most notably four-star Malik Zaire out of Archbishop Alter, Mitch Trubisky out of Mentor and Tra’von Chapman out of Kent Roosevelt. Assuming all three make it to camp, there is a strong chance that one of these three will find themselves in Ohio State’s class on National Signing Day.

Meyer and company haven’t limited the search to just Ohio, however, as Wichita Falls (Tex.) Rider four-star prospect J.T. Barrett is high on the wish list. Barrett is scheduled to make an unofficial visit to Columbus starting on March 26th and has listed Ohio State among his top choices. Another thing working in both Barrett’s and Ohio State’s favor here is that Texas high school spring ball will give the coaching staff an opportunity to see Barrett throw in person before camp season.

Running Back (1-2): After signing two outstanding running backs in the 2012 class and not having any seniors on the roster at the position, the Buckeyes have the luxury of being picky in the 2013 cycle. In Ohio, Warren Howland product Deveon Smith is the clear top target and is essentially a Michigan/Ohio State battle at this point with the Wolverines holding the edge at the moment.

Nationally, the Buckeyes are in hot pursuit of some of the nation’s top backs in Joliet (Ill.) Catholic four-star Ty Isaac, Richmond (Va.) Hermitage four-star Derrick Green, Philadelphia (Pa.) West Catholic four-star David Williams, and Greensboro (N.C.) Northern Guilford four-star T.J. Logan, among others. Right now, Green would seem to be the best bet of the group but none of the out-of-state prospects seem particularly close to a decision.

Wide Receivers (3-4): Ohio State struggled to get big plays out of its wide receivers last year. Now there were several factors that contributed to that ineffectiveness, from injuries to suspensions to youth, but there is no question that adding playmakers to this class is among the highest of priorities. Though he is probably best classified as an athlete four-star commit Jalin Marshall will likely see the most time at receiver so he is included in this position group.

After Marshall, there will be room for at least two more prospects and possibly three depending on attrition and the quality of talent that the Buckeyes are able to attract. Right now the two most realistic prospects to fill those spots are Cleveland Heights (Ohio) four-star Shelton Gibson and Monaca (Pa.) Central Valley star Robert Foster. Gibson was an Auburn lean before Meyer took the job but since that time things have swung back in Ohio State’s favor and the Buckeyes are now the team to beat in that race.

For Foster, this has the look of a classic Midwest battle between programs such as Penn State, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame, among others but there is a lot of positive momentum right now for the Buckeyes who could be sitting in better shape than anyone at the moment.

Beyond Foster and Gibson, the Buckeyes are chasing some of the top talent in the nation, most notably Crete (Ill.) Monee product Laquon Treadwell, Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek’s Marquez North, and Jacksonville (Fla.) Bishop Kenny product Ahmad Fulwood, and the recently offered Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep standout Devon Allen, among others.

Tight Ends (1-2): After missing out on Camp Hill (Pa.) Cedar Cliff star Adam Breneman, the sentiment was that Ohio State would settle for just one tight end in the 2013 class. While that still may be the case, it appears the Buckeyes will chase a select few of the nation’s elite prospects at the position and would possibly take two of they can land them. Right at the top of the wish list right now is Naples (Fla.) Barron Collier four-star Mike Heuerman.

Heuerman is looking to make a spring time decision and has recently listed a top four of LSU, Miami (FL), Notre Dame, and Ohio State. While those four aren’t a “final four” it is highly unlikely that Heuerman would pick a school outside of that group. Heuerman has stated that all four schools are even but it would have to be considered an upset if Ohio State wasn’t the ultimate choice.

In addition to Heuerman, the Buckeyes are taking a close look at two other tight end prospects in Riverside (Cali.) J.W. North product Marcus Baugh and Durham (N.C.) Hillside product Josh McNeil. Baugh was recently offered by the Buckeyes and is considered by many to be the top tight end on the West Coast. McNeil has not yet received an Ohio State offer but is the teammate of class of 2012 signee Jamal Marcus and lists the Buckeyes as an early favorite.

Offensive Line (3-4): Barring some major attrition or some players leaving early for the NFL, the number on the offensive line will likely be three. Outstanding tackle Evan Lisle is already in the fold and is a great start at a major position of need. After Lisle, the next biggest target is Lemont (Ill.) tackle Ethan Pocic. The nation’s No. 27 overall prospect already has his list narrowed to 10 schools and the Buckeyes have made the cut. By all accounts Ohio State is in strong position for the big-time tackle and will be in the game until the very end.

Outside of Pocic, Ohio State is chasing several of the nation’s top tackles including Owensboro (Ky.) Apollo four-star Hunter Bivin, Everett (Mass.) four-star John Montelus, Bloomfield (N.J) product Marcell Lazard, New Lenox (Ill.) Lincoln-Way West product Colin McGovern and the newly offered Dorian Johnson out of Belle Vernon (Pa.). Landing any of the above two to go along with Lisle would be an outstanding haul, especially after the strong finish to the 2012 group that saw Meyer flip four-star prospects Taylor Decker and Kyle Dodson.


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