Archives for February 2016

2017 Prospect Interview – Tyjon Lindsey

After the great haul of wide receivers in the 2016 recruiting class, Ohio State is looking to keep adding talent at the position. Tyjon Lindsey is a high-profile recruit out of Centennial HS in California. He’s a versatile athlete who models his game after former Oregon Duck and current Kansas City Chief D’Anthony Thomas. Lindsey holds offers from Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M, as well as Oregon and a few other west coast schools. Right now, he’s crystal balled to Texas A&M, where he would join his current former high school Tate Martell. There’s still hope the Buckeyes will snag this composite four-star recruit, and he would be a welcome addition to the Ohio State #Zone6.

Lindsey recently transferred from Bishop Gorman in Nevada, where he was teammates with Martell and current Buckeye commit Haskell Garrett. “I’m very close friends with [Haskell]. We used to have sleep overs and hang out outside of school when I went to Gorman,” Lindsey says. He admits both Garrett and Martell have been trying to convince him to join them at their respective schools, but he assures me, “All in all, its [sic] going to come down to me making the decision for me.”

Relationships matter the most for Lindsey in regards to Ohio State. Mark Pantoni is his primary recruiter, but he has daily group chats with coaches Zach Smith and Urban Meyer as well. It means a lot to him that the coaches make him “feel needed more than wanted.” “[The coaches at Ohio State] are one of the only schools who know my story, and I feel comfortable telling them it.” Lindsey wants to feel at home at his school, and Ohio State will undoubtedly put on its best hospitality when he visits in March. Don’t expect a firm commitment any time soon though, because he still plans on taking his visits to other schools and exploring his options.  If he does decide to be a Buckeye, Lindsey might consider enrolling early to participate in spring practices, but he’s “not 100% sure about that just yet.”

Even though he’s a star on the field, Lindsey’s just like every other teenager off it. He enjoys hanging out with his friends, running, going to the gym, watching movies – “you know, the simple things kids do nowadays.” Most kids don’t have to juggle school, friends, and sports while fielding offers from top universities however. Lindsey is confident though. “The recruiting process is getting hectic, but [it’s] nothing I can’t handle.”

2016 Ohio State Spring Football Preview: Youth Will Be Served, Early And Often – LB Preview

“Almost everything that is great has been done by youth…” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Ohio State will begin spring football practice on March 8th. Heading into the 2016 college football season, Ohio State will have 44 players on its roster designated as either a redshirt freshman (21 of the 25 players signed in February 2015), or a true freshman. For a roster that can have only 85 scholarship players, Ohio State will have around 52% of its roster with no playing time experience. As former Ohio State Head Coach John Cooper used to say, “If a dog is going to bite you, it will bite you as a pup.”.

For the next several weeks, I will be writing position group previews, leading up to the Ohio State Spring Football Game in Ohio Stadium on April 16th, 2016. These position groups will be ranked, from least to most concern, as I perceive them. It is entirely possible that my concerns, as well as the coaching staff’s concerns, will be reevaluated after the spring game.

8th – Linebacker

Players Lost – Joshua Perry, Darron Lee, Cam Williams, and Kyle Berger. Perry exhausted his eligibility, and was a solid, dependable two year starter at outside linebacker. Lee was also a two year starter at outside linebacker, and declared early for the 2016 NFL Draft, with two years of eligibility remaining as a redshirt sophomore. Williams exhausted his eligibility as a four year contributor, primarily upon special teams duty. Berger was forced to give up football this winter, due to a recurring knee injury that never fully recovered from his high school career.

Returning Players/Incoming Players – Jerome Baker (Sophomore), Dante Booker (Junior), Joe Burger (Senior), Nick Conner (Redshirt Freshman), Craig Fada (Senior), Justin Hilliard (Redshirt Freshman), Raekwon McMillan (Junior), Chris Worley (Redshirt Junior), Tuf Borland (Freshman).

A few things to keep in mind as it relates to this position group…

· Raekwon McMillan is a lock to start at middle linebacker, barring unforeseen injury. If McMillan was unable to play, this position group would rank higher in my estimated concerns. McMillan has already been designated a captain by Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer. McMillan will be strongly depended upon by the coaching staff to steady this position group during the initial phases of the 2016 season.

· Dante Booker seems to be the leading candidate to replace Joshua Perry at the Will linebacker position. Booker has played primarily on special teams in 2014 and 2015, and now is his opportunity to rise up and seize the job at Will linebacker.

· The battle to watch seems to be at the Sam linebacker spot between rising sophomore Jerome Baker and rising redshirt junior Chris Worley. Baker seems to be the favorite, but fans would be wise to remember that Worley gave Darron Lee a run for the job two seasons ago, and will not want to remain on the bench.

· Justin Hilliard and Nick Conner were among the highly-touted 2015 recruiting class. Hilliard and Conner both redshirted due to injuries. Will either be able to make a move, with two positions open at linebacker?

· Joe Burger and Craig Fada were both awarded scholarships for the spring by Coach Meyer. Will either be able to move beyond special teams duty this spring?

· Tuf Borland was an early enrollee this January. Can Borland show enough this spring to warrant a look for playing time this fall?

These questions, among others, will be on my mind once Ohio State spring practice begins March 8th.

All Things Buckeyes: Recruiting Classes During Urban’s Reign at the Helm

National Signing Day 2016:

Yes folks, I know that it is far from February 3rd but I am a tab bit late on this.  National Signing Day has come and gone and the Recruiting Class of 2016 is now officially in the books.  This recruiting cycles signee’s are a rad tad bunch of recruits that were identified early on and recruited with relentlessness and poise and I hate to brag but, the Buckeyes have restocked and reloaded  for years to come.  Not only are we set for now, but we are set for years to come.  Let’s think about who the Buckeyes have signed from Urban Meyers fifth recruiting class during his tenure at Ohio State.

Here is the proverbial scoreboard:

For his first class (with a couple of months to recruit mind you) he finished with the 4th best class in the Nation averaging .9029.  This class included a mix of players from the previous staff.  This the 2012 class had key cogs in Ohio State’s run to the First College Football Playoffs.  Joshua Perry, Tyvis Powell, Cardale Jones, Jacoby Boren, Michael Thomas, Adolphus Washington, Taylor Decker and Pat Elflein.  That is a ton of talent that the Ohio State coaching staff had developed and it had certainly paid off with a National Title.

In 2013, Coach Meyer’s second class averaged .8910 and finished 2nd overall.  This is viewed by many recruiting pundits as Urban Meyer’s best recruiting haul while at Ohio State.  His signature class.  Let’s delve into the players that also help contribute to the Inaugural College Football Playoffs.  There are players like Gareon Conley, Dontre Wilson (even though he couldn’t contribute like he wanted to), Evan Lisle, J.T. Barrett, Billy Price, Tyquan Lewis and Corey Smith.   The star power came from Eli Apple, Vonn Bell, Darron Lee, Ezekiel Elliot and a dude, the shrug master, Joey Bosa.  This is definitely one of the better group of players that Coach Meyer has brought in and it is a testament to him as a Coach, a recruiter and his staff as a whole.

His third class in 2014, Coach Meyer finished the year ranked third overall with an average of .8666.  In this class he secured their Linebacker of the future in Raekwon McMillan.  He also stashed away some good talent to help in the secondary with Damon Webb, Marshon Lattimore, Erick Smith and Malik Hooker.  He also shored up the Offensive Line with Brady Taylor, Marcelys Jones (who was later dismissed from the team), Kyle Trout, Demetrius Knox and Jamarco Jones.  He also reeled in potential offensive juggernauts like Curtis Samuel, Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Noah Brown.  Defensive playmakers also were recruited and in what we saw from the Fiesta Bowl last season, Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard will assist in the warpath to the College Football Playoffs next season.

In Coach Meyer’s 2015 class, he filled it up with talent on both sides of the ball.  On defense, he kept Justin Hilliard, Nick Connor and Jerome Baker in their home state of Ohio.  He restocked the offensive line with names like Isiah Prince, Matthew Burrell, Grant Schmidt, Kevin Feder and Brandon Bowen. They brought in defensive line prospects like Dre’Mont Jones, Davon Hamilton, Rashod Berry, Joshua Alabi, Robert Landers and Jashon Cornell.  They did not leave any stone unturned either.  They brought in offensive weapons like Alex Stump, K.J. Hill, Torrance Gibson, Joey Burrow and A.J. Alexander.  The Buckeyes also brought in a few defensive players that will bring depth to the defense with recruits like Damon Arnette, Joshua Norwood, Jamel Dean (now at Auburn), Denzel Ward and Eric Glover-Williams. That is a lot of talent just waiting for their opportunity in the Buckeyes’ next man up mentality.

Now we are up to speed and now we have reached Coach Meyer’s most recent recruiting class.  2016 served as the springboard for next seasons fight stay competitive.  They finished 4th overall with a grade of .9157.  This class was the reload on both sides of the ball that the Buckeyes needed to ease the pain of losing the nine…  YES NINE!!!  Key players from the Championship team.  Meyer had to be picky, but like the theme of the previous classes, the Buckeyes have failed to seal the deal with a highly regarded Defensive Tackle prospect.  Luckily for the Buckeyes, they still have depth at that position and they signed a beastly group of prospects.  The “Big Fish” in this class is a familiar one.  After wreaking havoc in the Big Ten and the nation, Nick Bosa will pick up where his older brother left off.  Jonathan Cooper is a highly regarded Defensive End prospect that is projected to play opposite of Nick in the future.  They also signed Malik Barrow as the sole Defensive Tackle in the class.  The pair of Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor on the perimeter and Jake Hausmann, Kierre Hawkins and Luke Farrell are two pairs of the future for the Buckeyes in the offense.  Demario McCall, Antonio Williams and Dwayne Haskins look to also garner some consideration and possess the skills to compete in the Buckeyes two-deep when Spring Ball comes around.  The Buckeyes reloaded on the offensive line as well.  The trenches have and will always be an important part of the team and with names like Malcolm Pridgeon, Michael Jordan, Tyler Gerald, Gavin Cupp and Jack Wohlabaugh, the Buckeyes have certainly shored up the shortage of offensive lineman. They lost three out of four offensive line starters and I feel like the competition will be entertaining and filled with hungry underclassmen who will battle for a starting spot.  Tuf Borland and Keandre Jones are the two linebacker prospects who have joined the ranks of Linebacker U.  DB U also added key pieces like Wayne Davis, Rodjay Burns, Kareem Felder, Jahsen Wint and Jordan Fuller to battle out for spots.  Malik Harrison is an interesting prospect who wants to play with Zone 6.  He will have some time to decide because there have been a few current and former Buckeyes who have played multiple spots. Sam Hubbard was supposed to be a Safety, but grew into his frame and now Defensive End suits him perfectly fine.  There is also this one Athlete and former Quarterback named Darron Lee who blossomed into a mighty fine Linebacker.  All the kid needs is time and patience and he will eventually find his spot. Lastly, there is a specialist on board.  Punter Drue Chrisman is expected to grayshirt, but there is no doubt that when our current Aussie Punter leaves, Chrisman will take over his role on Special Teams.

Looking forward into the 2017 Class, the Buckeyes already ahead of the pack.  Ranked number one overall with 11, the Buckeyes will undoubtedly be extra picky with the limited number of scholarships to offer.  Quality over quantity and with two five start in Josh Myers and Shaun Wade on-board, this class can only improve.  A bunch of four stars have also joined the class.  Names like Isaiah Pryor, Jake Moretti, Haskell Garrett, Marcus Williamson, Brendon White, Todd Sibley, Jerron Cage and Danny Clark.  The Buckeyes have also secured a commitment from highly sought after kicker, Blake Haubeil. This class will have up to 18 members.  There could be more with the roster attrition.  There could be a surprise transfer or someone could lose their scholarship or get kicked off the team, but hopefully not and you will never know.  There also is a distinct possibility that there could be another mass exodus, part two on the horizon.  But that merely depends on how well the players developed and how well the season went.  If they take care of business and play to the level that they are capable of, they will be extremely happy and the players that are eligible will most likely leave.  If not, I can see players wanting to finish what they had  started.

Either way it has been a blast seeing the Buckeye Empire reload and rebuild itself repeatedly.  Although there have been a ton of notable misses on the Buckeyes end, don’t expect that to deter a coaching staff that builds men and players for the future.  Sure the focus should and will be about winning it all, but the way the coaches tend to their players is astonishing and it should be recognized and commended.  Here is to an outstanding recruiting class of 2017 and I for one will hope that the Buckeyes keep it up to secure the number one spot in the recruiting rankings.  Wrestling it away from Alabama will be a challenge, but with a number of highly ranked targets such as Trevon Grimes, Lamont Wade, Najee Harris, Darnay Holmes, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Jeffrey Okudah, Joshua Kaindoh, Tyjon Lindsey, Cam Akers, Jerry Jeudy, Tony Gray, Anthony Hines, Aubrey Solomon, Ambry Thomas, Jaylen Harris, Fred Hansard, Amir Riep, Antjuan Simmons, Dylan Moses, Isaiah Wilson, Jeff Thomas, Jamyest Williams who all have the Buckeyes within striking range, anything can be and will be possible.  With limited spots, the Buckeyes will be in no rush to sign them all, but like all of us in NCAA Football, WE WANT THEM ALL!!!  Hope you enjoyed this folks.  I miss football already.  Go Buckeyes!  Also I hope that my Broncos draft a few Buckeyes as well.  We need to reload like Ohio State as well.

2017 Prospect Amir Riep – Interview

I recently had the chance to speak to four-star cornerback Amir Riep from Colerain HS out of Cincinnati, Ohio about his recruitment and where things currently stand.

Q: How does it feel to have exploded onto the scene lately with all of these big time offers?

Amir: It feels good to finally get the respect (offers) for the hard work I have been putting in.  Finally feels like it’s paying off.

Q: What are you looking for in a school?  Does closeness to home matter, or is it all about comfort and relationships?

Amir: Probably more comfort and relationships.  Distance is no problem.  Strength and conditioning coach plays a part and position coach will also.  They still need to coach me up so I can become the best athlete possible.

Q: Do you have a top 5 schools currently?  Do you have a decision date in mind?

Amir: No top 5 right now, just looking into all the interest at this time.  Decision will be made before the football season I think. That will give enough schools to show interest and give me time to look into them.

Q: Are you looking to enroll early when you pick a school or just normal enrollment in the summer?

Amir: I Will be enrolling early wherever I decide to attend and want to get it over with for me and the team so we can concentrate on state.

Q: Did you have a dream school growing up? Does living in Ohio bring any added pressure to attend Ohio State or Cincinnati?

Amir: I’m from Ohio so Ohio State has always been a school I cheered for along with Cincinnati.  Some pressure because they try to criticize Ohio State for not offering athletes in state, but sometimes when they do they leave, so pressure on that end.

Q: What coach is your main recruiter?

Amir: Coach Kerry Coombs

Q: Once you make a commitment will you still be visiting other schools or will your recruitment be shut down?

Amir: Once I commit, the recruitment is over and it will be all about that university and the program.  That is why I am taking my time now.

Q: Is there a pro or college athlete that you try and shape your game around?

Amir: Patrick Peterson

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of football?

Amir: Spending time with family and friends.


I want to thank Amir Riep for the interview and wish him the best in his recruitment going forward.  Give him a follow @Riep_Amir on Twitter.

2016 Ohio State Spring Football Preview: Youth Will Be Served, Early And Often – RB Preview

“Almost everything that is great has been done by youth…” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Ohio State will begin spring football practice on March 8th. Heading into the 2016 college football season, Ohio State will have 44 players on its roster designated as either a redshirt freshman (21 of the 25 players signed in February 2015), or a true freshman. For a roster that can have only 85 scholarship players, Ohio State will have around 52% of its roster with no playing time experience. As former Ohio State Head Coach John Cooper used to say, “If a dog is going to bite you, it will bite you as a pup.”.

For the next several weeks, I will be writing position group previews, leading up to the Ohio State Spring Football Game in Ohio Stadium on April 16th, 2016. These position groups will be ranked, from least to most concern, as I perceive them. It is entirely possible that my concerns, as well as the coaching staff’s concerns, will be reevaluated after the spring game.

(Honorable Mention – Placekicker) ~ In 2015, Ohio State had issues with both Jack Willoughby and Sean Nuernberger at placekicker. Late in the season, Nuernberger was awarded the placekicker position, and was successful in the 2016 Battlefrog Fiesta Bowl, hitting on all three of his field goals attempts. Considering how young Ohio State will be in 2016 across the board, Nuernberger may be counted upon more from a points option than Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer would prefer.

9th ~ Running Back

Players Lost – Ezekiel Elliott, Warren Ball. Ball has a fifth year of eligibility, but has decided to use it at Akron this coming season. Best of luck to Ball in all of his future endeavors, on and off the football field. Ezekiel Elliott? Yeah, you may have heard about him these past three years. Elliott was the focal part of the Ohio State offense, as Urban Meyer’s philosophy is to lean heavily upon the power running game. No matter if Ohio State has a dominant running back, or decides to use a committee approach, having a dependable running game is essential for Ohio State’s success on the field.

Returning Players/Incoming Players – Bri’onte Dunn (Redshirt Senior), Curtis Samuel (Junior), Mike Weber (Redshirt Freshman), Antonio Williams (Freshman).

A few things to keep in mind as it relates to this position group…

· Curtis Samuel has fluctuated between playing running back and the H-Back position in his first two seasons in Columbus. A very versatile player, Samuel has also been used on special teams for kickoff returns. Samuel underwent surgery in January, which means Samuel’s involvement in spring football is likely to be minimal. Could Samuel emerge as the leading candidate at running back? Certainly, but Samuel will likely need to make his move in fall camp, not spring football.

· Bri’onte Dunn is one of two redshirt seniors on the roster; the other is projected starting center Pat Elflein. Dunn was a highly-touted recruit in 2012, yet has not been able to consistently stake a claim for playing time as a running back; the vast majority of Dunn’s playing time has been as a well-respected special teams coverage member. Dunn has had occasional fumbling issues when given the chance to carry the ball. Can Dunn finally break through in his last opportunity to play as a running back for Ohio State this spring?

· Mike Weber redshirted in 2015, thanks to a surgery that took place during fall camp. Weber was earning rave reviews at the time of his surgery, and seemed likely to play at some point in 2015. Could Weber emerge this spring as the top candidate to replace Ezekiel Elliott in the Ohio State offense?

· Antonio Williams arrived on campus and began classes in January 2016. Originally committed to Wisconsin, Williams flipped his commitment to Ohio State in November 2015. Through the years, Ohio State has had several running backs enroll early, with names such as Maurice Clarett, Antonio Pittman, and Beanie Wells notably taking advantage of spring football to stake their respective claims for playing time. Will Antonio Williams be able to add his name to this illustrious list by the end of spring practice?

These questions, among others, will be on my mind once Ohio State spring practice begins March 8th.

New 247Sports 2017 Top 247: How Buckeye Comitts, Targets, Other B1G Commits Fared

Here is how OSU commits, targets, and other B1G commits fared in the new 247Sports Top 247 recruit rankings.


Josh Myers- #4
Shaun Wade- #20
Jake Morretti- #34
Brendon White- #48
Isaiah Pryor- #55
Haskell Garrett- #79
Marcus Williamson- #128
Jerron Cage- #131
Danny Clark- #199
Todd Sibley- #234


Dylan Moses- #2
Donovan Peoples-Jones- #7
Darnay Holmes- #10
Tyjon Lindsey- #25
Josh Kaindoh- #26
Trevon Grimes- #27
Jeffrey Okundah- #29
Isaiah Wilson- #50
Lamont Wade- #52
Micah Clark- #80
Jerry Jeudy- #84
Amir Reip- #87
Luiji Vilain- #92
Robert Hainsey- #106
Ambry Thomas- #108
Jaylen Kelly-Powell- #130
Jaylen Harris- #134
Tyrell Ajian- #151
Trey Sermon- #175
Santino Marchiol- #188
Fred Hansard- #193
Javonte Richardson- #241


Dylan McCaffrey- #23 Michigan
JaRaymond Hall- #133 Michigan
Kaden Lyles- #170 Wisconsin
Tristan Wirfs- #181 Iowa
Dylan Rivers- #225 Penn State

Projecting the 2017 Ohio State Defensive Commitments

Last post, we looked at my projections for the Buckeyes’ 2017 offensive recruiting results. Today we’ll dive into the defensive side of the ball and examine what might happen between now and signing day. Currently Ohio State has six defensive commitments for 2017, and, judging by the numbers, I think they take a total of nine or 10 defensive commitments.

Defensive End – 2017 Commitments: Joshua Kaindoh

Assuming no one leaves early, the Buckeyes will have nine defensive ends on scholarship in 2017. That doesn’t leave room for a lot of takes in the 2017 class. After snagging Nick Bosa and Malik Barrow on signing day 2016, I think the Buckeyes will go after a select few guys in 2017 and hope they make a splash. Joshua Kaindoh out of the IMG Academy down in Florida is one to keep an eye on. He’ll be taking the field with Isaiah Pryor and Marcus Williamson, both current Buckeye commits, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they try to persuade him to don the scarlet and gray too. Corey Malone-Hatcher from Michigan is another one who could end up a Buckeye on signing day, but Ohio State has to battle it out with Notre Dame and Michigan. He’s already visited those schools, so the Buckeyes need to get him on campus for them to have a chance at this one. Other names to keep an eye on are Chase Young and Joshua Paschal out of Maryland and Donovan Jeter out of Pennsylvania. I can see Ohio State taking one or two defensive ends if the right guys fall into place, but for now I’ll leave it at Kaindoh.

Defensive Tackle – 2017 Commitments: Jerron Cage, Haskell Garrett, Cam Spence

The defensive tackle position has been a sore spot for the Buckeyes in the past few recruiting cycles after missing out on guys like Neville Gallimore and Darian Roseboro in 2015 and Dexter Lawrence and Rashard Lawrence in 2016. Ohio State has landed four guys over the past two years, and some of them may need to step up during the 2016 season because the depth isn’t that deep at defensive tackle. I expect we’ll see a lot of Michael Hill and Tracey Sprinkle, but after that it’s anyone’s guess if we see guys like Donovan Munger, Joshua Alabi, Robert Landers, or Davon Hamilton. Fortunately, Ohio State has managed to snag a couple of early 2017 commitments in Jerron Cage out of Cincinnati and the surprise commitment of Haskell Garrett out of Las Vegas. I can see the Buckeyes pushing to get 3 DTs in this class, and I think they’ll go hard after Cam Spence, another member of the IMG Academy team. Fred Hansard of New Jersey is another name to watch – he visited Ohio State at its last junior day. Most people peg him to stay close to home and attend Rutgers or Penn State, but the Buckeyes have done pretty well out of that area recently, so it’s a possibility he makes a return visit to Ohio State.

Linebackers – 2017 Commitments: Brendon White

Ohio State has recruited well at the linebacker position since Urban Meyer has been at the helm. The team will be young next year, with lone returning starter Raekwon McMillian plugging up the middle at MLB.  He will probably be flanked by Donte Booker and Christopher Worley, but Jerome Baker, Justin Hilliard, and incoming freshman Keandre Jones will battle it out for some playing time as well. I fully expect McMillian to have a breakout year and declare for the draft next January. Currently, the Buckeyes have a commitment from Brendon White out of Olentangy Liberty High School in Powell, Ohio. I doubt the Buckeyes will add another linebacker in this class, but if they do decide to go after another one, here are the names to keep in mind: Kyle Bolden, an outside linebacker out of Colerain High School in Cincinnati; Jordan Anthony and Santino Marchiol, both from the IMG Academy in Florida; and Josh Ross out of Michigan. If a player of Anthony Hines’ caliber wants to come to Ohio State, the Buckeyes would take him in a heartbeat, but he would be a hard pull out of Texas.  

Cornerback – 2017 Commitments: Marcus Williamson, Shaun Wade, Amir Riep

Ohio State loaded up at cornerback last season, and it may look to add a few more in 2017.  The team already scored two big recruits from the state of Florida in Marcus Williamson and Shaun Wade. Rumor has it Wade will probably not end up in Ohio State’s class because several high caliber teams down south are pursuing him, but I see him sticking around and signing next February along with Williamson and the quick- rising Amir Riep. Riep burst onto the scene recently with a number of high-quality offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Michigan State, Tennessee, and Oregon. He hails from Cincinnati’s football powerhouse Colerain High School; and, while Ohio State’s recruiting success in Cincinnati hasn’t been stellar over the past few years, I see this one going the Buckeyes’ way as long as they can make room for him. Other names to keep an eye on are Darnay Holmes, who is a five-star prospect out of California, and Lamont Wade, another five-star guy out of Pennsylvania. If either of those guys want to play for Urban and the Buckeyes, I think that’ll leave Riep on the outside looking in.

Safety – 2017 Commitments: Isaiah Pryor, Jeffery Okudah

Ohio State is pretty thin at safety this coming year – only four guys on scholarship have safety as their primary position. I can see some of the cornerbacks converting to safety to help bridge the gap in numbers, and Kerry Coombs confirmed as much earlier when he said he would be rotating guys to find the best four or five to put on the field. The only player who is locked down is Gareon Conley, the lone returning starter in the secondary. That leaves a lot of spots up for grabs in spring ball and fall camp, and there will be some good battles for those spots. As for the 2017 class, the Buckeyes already have one commitment in Isaiah Pryor, yet another player from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. I expect them to add one more true safety, and they are going hard after Jeffery Okudah from Texas. After losing Richard LeCounte to Georgia after the Bulldogs hired Kirby Smart, the Buckeyes are putting all their eggs in Okudah’s basket. He has offers from a lot of the big schools, but he’s been high on Ohio State from the start. Okudah can have an immediate impact for the Buckeyes at safety, so I think he’ll commit and become a member of the 2017 class. If Okudah decides to take his talents elsewhere, then the Buckeyes will look toward Jaylen Kelly-Powell out of Cass Tech in Michigan or a JaVont’e Richardson out of Maple Heights, Ohio.  

Specialists – 2017 Commitments: Blake Haubeil

The Buckeyes won’t need to do much with specialists since last year’s lone signee Drew Chrisman will greyshirt this year so he’ll have four years of eligibility when he takes over for Cameron Johnston in 2017. Blake Haubeil might be in the same situation since Sean Nuernberger will be a senior when he comes in. It gives Ohio State a little wiggle room with the scholarship cap if Haubeil greyshirts, but it’s still very early in the recruiting process, so I doubt that option has been discussed much yet.

So I’ve picked nine guys on the offensive side of the ball and 11 on the defensive side for a total of 20 commitments in 2017. Right now the Buckeyes are already nine scholarships over the limit for 2017, assuming no one leaves early, transfers, or has a hardship waiver. If we get up to 20, then the coaching staff will have the daunting task of finding 18 spots for them to take. I won’t make any guesses on what will happen to make the space, but there will have to be some serious roster management done in order to get to 85 guys by Fall of 2017. 

If the Buckeyes are able to land the class I’ve predicted, it would be one of the highest-rated recruiting classes at Ohio State and will easily battle for the #1 spot nationally next year. The recruiting game is a rollercoaster, though, but we’ll keep you updated on everything that is happening on the ride as the Ohio State Buckeyes get closer to signing day 2017.

The Late Glenn Frey, In An Ode To The 2015 Ohio State Recruiting Class

The anticipation for Ohio State spring football is always tremendous. Tickets for the April 16th spring game are already on sale, with the game two months away. Ohio State just signed an impressive recruiting class for 2016, with seven of the players already enrolled, planning to participate in spring drills.

How does this involve the late, great Glenn Frey, former member of The Eagles? In February 2015, Ohio State signed a talented group of players, with the vast majority redshirting throughout the 2015 season. When I write “vast majority”, I am citing the fact that 21 out of 25 players did not see game action. That amounts to 84% of the 2015 recruiting class.

Glenn Frey wrote the song “New Kid In Town”, a familiar song to Eagles fans. Below are some of the lyrics as I describe some of the players Ohio State fans will have an opportunity to learn about as the April 16th spring game approaches…

“There’s talk on the street; it sounds so familiar
Great expectations, everybody’s watching you
People you meet, they all seem to know you
Even your old friends treat you like you’re something new

Johnny come lately, the new kid in town
Everybody loves you, so don’t let them down”

At quarterback, Joe Burrow has already been named the backup quarterback heading into spring drills. If you think backup quarterback is unimportant, I suggest you go look up the following football season – Ohio State, 2014.

At running back, Mike Weber will throw his hat into the ring to replace early NFL Draft entry Ezekiel Elliott. Weber is one of the members of the 2015 recruiting class who possibly could have played in 2015, if not for an injury that required surgery during fall camp.

At wide receiver, converted quarterback Torrance Gibson, Alex Stump, and K.J. Hill will all battle to impress the coaching staff. Considering Michael Thomas and Jalin Marshall have also declared for the NFL Draft, here is a position group that is open for players to contribute.

Tight end? Nick Vannett has moved on, with Marcus Baugh the only returning tight end with any game experience. A.J. Alexander and Rashod Berry will want to seize the moment, as Ohio State signed three tight ends in Kierre Hawkins, Jake Hausmann, and Luke Farrell who will arrive on campus this summer.

Offensive Line? This was an impressive haul last February, with Grant Schmidt, Kevin Feder, Matthew Burrell, and Branden Bowen…who all redshirted. There are three spots open on the line.

Two open spots along the defensive line should loom large this spring. Jashon Cornell, Dre’Mont Jones, Joshua Alabi, Robert Landers, and Davon Hamilton may all be in the mix here.

Two open linebacker spots, with plenty of opportunities for playing time. Nick Conner impressed in the 2015 spring game, but redshirted due to injury. Justin Hilliard was arguably one of the most recruited players in the class, and redshirted from injury also.

The secondary? Talk about an opportunity, with three open spots, including both safety positions. Joshua Norwood and Damon Arnette can throw their hats into contention.

Don’t forget Ohio State signed a long-snapper last winter. Liam McCullough may be the easiest of the 2015 redshirt freshmen to target for a starting position, as Bryce Haynes has exhausted his eligibility.

Twenty-one out of twenty-five. All eager, able, and hungry to show the Ohio State coaching staff, and fans, what they can do. These players would be wise to remember the words of Glenn Frey…

“There’s talk on the street, it’s there to
Remind you, that it doesn’t really matter
which side you’re on.
You’re walking away and they’re talking behind you
They will never forget you ’til somebody new comes along…”

Projecting The 2017 Ohio State Offensive Commitments

Today we have the pleasure of a guest post from Ben Van Ooyen (@BuckeyeBVO) a recruiting writer who has written articles for and we are hoping to add to our wonderful list of writers here at Men Of The Scarlet And Gray. So give us some feedback on his first of many articles to come. Thanks

2016 recruiting is in the books, and avid Buckeye fans have already turned their attention to the class of 2017. That might seem like crazy talk considering signing day for 2017 is a year away, but no one ever accused college football fans of being sane. In an effort to appease everyone’s curiosity, I’ll take a peek into my crystal ball and predict what I see coming for Ohio State’s offense in 2017.   

As of today, the Buckeyes have 10 commitments for 2017, putting them well over the current scholarship limit. Six seniors will graduate in 2016, and a few more (e.g. McMillian and Conley) will potentially enter the NFL Draft early. As usual, there is bound to be some attrition due to medical hardships, transfers, or 4th-year juniors walking early. The question is, how many scholarships can Urban and company realistically offer to next year’s class and still come in under the 85 limit? This abundance of riches poses a recruiting challenge the coaching staff haven’t faced yet, even with the reduction in scholarships they encountered upon taking over in 2012.
Let’s break this down position-by-position:

Quarterbacks: 2017 Commitments – Danny Clark

Assuming JT Barrett sticks around for his senior season, and barring a season that seriously ups his draft stock that will happen. The Buckeyes will then have five quarterbacks on the roster, including Clark. Some speculate Ohio State will take a second quarterback in this class, but with the late addition of Dwayne Haskins in the 2016 class and the looming scholarship cap, I think the Buckeyes stay with one QB in 2017.

Running Back: 2017 Commitments – Todd Sibley, Trey Sermon

The Buckeyes will field a young group of running backs in 2017 under the guidance of Curtis Samuel (if he returns to Columbus for his senior year). We added two running backs in 2016. Antonio Williams is a more pure running back like Ezekiel Elliott, and Demario McCall is a more versatile back like Dontre Wilson. Add Todd Sibley to the mix, and the Buckeyes seem to be sitting pretty at the running back position for the future. I’d wager on them adding one more from the 2017 class, and right now my money is on Trey Sermon out of Georgia.  He’s been high on the Buckeyes since the beginning, and with the recent success of players from the Peach State, I can see Urban pulling another one from down south.

Wide Receiver: 2017 Commitments – Trevon Grimes, Jaylan Harris

2017 will be interesting for the wide receiving core unless quite a few receivers get playing time next season. Noah Brown and Paris Campbell are currently the only wideouts on the roster with any meaningful playing time, but the talent on the bench is plentiful. KJ Hill’s and Torrance Gibson’s abilities have drawn rave reviews from the coaching staff, and they should get to see the field this season. I expect to see Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor at some point as well, which should help with some of the depth concerns.  As far as recruiting, the Buckeyes don’t have any commitments for the wide receiver position yet, but there are a few targets who are pretty high on the Ohio State radar.  Trevon Grimes out of St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida is the top WR is the country and has had Ohio State as his leader for quite a while now. Nick Bosa attended the same high school, and he’s been in Grimes’ ear about joining him in college, so it wouldn’t shock me to see Grimes commit to the Buckeyes. A couple of other names to keep an eye on are Donovan Peoples-Jones from Cass Tech in Michigan and Jaylan Harris from Cleveland Heights in Ohio. When all is said and done, Harris should be a member of Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting class, but Peoples-Jones will be a hard pull from his home state of Michigan. He has Ohio State high on his list, but he also has offers from Michigan and Michigan State on the table.

Tight End: 2017 Commitments – Matt Dotson

The last two recruiting cycles have brought in five tight ends although Kierre Hawkins might be more of an H-Back, and Rashod Berry might move to the defensive side of the ball. Marcus Baugh will only be a junior and will probably be Barrett’s main target at tight end. The Buckeyes currently only have an offer out to Matt Dotson of Moeller in Cincinnati. He also has offers from Michigan, Michigan State, and Tennessee, and is currently high on all these programs. If the Buckeyes decide to take a TE in the class, then I think Dotson will be a part of it; however, with the numbers crunch, the coaches might be willing to wait until 2018 for another TE.

Offensive Line: 2017 Commitments – Josh Myers, Jake Moretti, Micah Clark

The past few years of recruiting have secured a lot of potential on the offensive line, but with the departure of three starters from last year and Pat Elflein next year, those inexperienced guys will have to step in and fill some holes. I expect Elflein to start at center and Billy Price at guard, and then I’d guess Jamarco Jones, Malcom Pridgeon, and Isaiah Prince will fill out the rest of the line. I have a feeling that some of the guys who have been recruited to play offensive line have been recruited over, and that some of the younger kids will end up on the two deep over some 3rd and 4th year guys.  This is one position I can see some attrition happening at the end of 2016 to make more room for 2017 kids. The Buckeyes currently hold two commitments for 2017 in Josh Myers and Jake Moretti, who are both high-profile recruits that were heavily recruited by Ohio State. I can see the Buckeyes taking one more offensive lineman in 2017, and I think they can wait for the right one to fall into their lap. Ohio State has offered spots to quite a few prospects, but I think the coaches are holding out hope they can land Micah Clark out of New Jersey to round out the class. Clark is high on Ohio State though I expect him to schedule some visits before making a decision. Trey Smith, Isaiah Wilson, and Tony Gray are a few other names to keep an eye on.
So my crystal ball predicts Ohio State will have nine commitments on the offensive side of the ball, and, with limited availability in the class, I can see nine or 10 coming from the defensive side as well. I’ll check in later with my thoughts on the defensive side of the ball, where the Buckeyes currently stand, and where I think they’ll end up on signing day in 2017.  

How Each 2017 Ohio State Commit Is Ranked In All Four Services


Composite- 4
247sports- 4
Rivals- 14
Scout- 17
ESPN- 16


Composite- 16
247sports- 22
Rivals- 16
Scout- 46
ESPN- 13


Composite- 44
247sports- 50
Rivals- 73
Scout- 72
ESPN- 46

JK Dobbins

Composite- 54
247sports- 57
Rivals- 82
Scout- 78
ESPN- 48


Composite- 65
247sports- 33
Rivals- 76
Scout- 55
ESPN- 124

Haskell Garrett

Composite- 59
247sports- 52
Rivals- 123
Scout- 32
ESPN- 108


Composite- 96
247sports- 127
Rivals- 221
Scout- 98
ESPN- 121

Brendon White

Composite- 129
247sports- 47
Rivals- 81
Scout- 153
ESPN- 218


Composite- 218
247sports- 236
Rivals- 3 star
Scout- 270
ESPN- 165


Composite- 240
247sports- 130
Rivals- 3 star
Scout- 205
ESPN- 136


Composite- 274
247sports- 200
Rivals- 3 star
Scout- 4 star
ESPN- 4 star

Antjuan Simmons

Composite- 276
247sports- 398
Rivals- 191
Scout- 274
ESPN- 4 star

Blake Haubeil

Composite- 1117
247sports- Not Ranked
Rivals- Not Ranked
Scout- 3 star
ESPN- 3 star