The Recruiting Rundown has been on a hiatus for the last couple of months, thanks to all the Recruiting Radar pieces. Thanks to some action at summer camps, it is back this week...
Ohio State fans have gotten a taste of what it looks like on the national recruiting scene over the last six months under Urban Meyer and the new staff. While Tressel definitely did work nabbing recruits from around the country, Meyer and company seem much more willing to chase top tier prospect that span the fifty states. This has produced some exciting players like Noah Spence, Joey Bosa and J.T Barnett, but it also has produced some big strikeouts with highly sought after players.
The latest example was offensive lineman Ethan Pocic. The Lemont, Illinois product was believed to have had Ohio State at the top of his list for some time, despite a ridiculous list of offers. After a visit to Baton Rouge, Pocic picked LSU. Chalk one up for Les Miles and Greg Studwara, the offensive coordinator that many in Buckeye Nation desired to be coaching alongside Meyer. A lot of fans freaked out though, which has been a common theme over the last month, wondering what was wrong and why Meyer fell short.
Hopefully it has proved to be a good education in national recruiting.
The reality is that even Meyer is going to strike out a lot. The recruiting game produces a lot more no's that yes's, especially when your fighting against the elite schools around the country. Unfortunately, I think Meyer's success back in January of flipping recruits gave fans the impression that he would have his pick of top end players. That's just not realistic. That means that when the Buckeyes get a string of no's, like they have over the last few weeks (in May I remind you), fans can take in stride and realize there is plenty of good things happening. The staff have already aggressively assembled a solid 2013 class, and will have the Buckeyes in the top ten nationally when the dust settles. Take a deep breath...
One of the players already on board in 2013 is running back Ezekiel Elliott. The 6-0 200 pound speedster from St. Louis, Missouri is proving to be a big time grab for the staff, much bigger than most fans or experts realized back in the beginning of April when he committed. This last weekend at the Nike Football Training Camp in Champaign, Illinois, an event that showcased a lot of the best talent in the Midwest, Elliott grabbed the positional MVP at running back. The honor was a bit of a surprise, especially when you realize that USC commitment Ty Isaac was in attendance. In fact, Elliott himself was a bit surprised.
Also in attendance at NFTC in Illinois was Buckeye commit Jayme Thompson, another under-the-radar player in the 2013 class. The 6-2 185 pound defensive back also had a very good showing, and according to Bill Greene was "killing it." Barton Simmons of 247Sports had Thompson as one of the top ten performers at the event. Supposedly Thompson has some work to do with his hands, but showed major athleticism and speed. Look out.
The Columbus NFTC
The NFTC in Columbus took place a few weeks back, but video of the event has surfaced around Ohio State circles this last week. Here is a look at the OL-DL one-on-ones:
Second, this video gives a look into a couple of Ohio offensive linemen that are looking to land offers from the Buckeyes. Lovell Peterson, really looks good in this video and I fully expect him to earn an offer from the staff by summer's end. He is a guy that everyone raved about being one of the best players in Ohio a year ago before he was hit with pneumonia and lost 50 pounds. He has now put the weight back on and is showing again why everyone saw him as a future starter at center for the Buckeyes.
The other prospect is Kyle Meadows, a 6-5 270 pound offensive tackle prospect from West Chester, Ohio. Meadows really struggles in the couple of reps showcased on this video. It appears pretty obvious he needs to add weight and work on his footwork, though he didn't look any worse than Michigan commit Logan Tuley-Tillman. He really wants an OSU offer, and it will be interesting to see what the staff does with so many tackles coming off the board early. Thanks to the commitments of Decker, Dodson and Lisle the position isn't one of dire need, but the staff would definitely like one more tackle.
Wide Receiver Battles
Arguably the biggest position of need for the Buckeyes in 2013 is wide receiver, where the Buckeyes lack the speed and play making ability that Meyer desires. The staff does have Jalin Marshall already on board, who will likely play a part in the offense as an athlete from day one, but another wideout or two will be huge moving forward.
The most obvious option to land in one of those spots is Shelton Gibson. The Cleveland Heights product is set to announce his choice on June 20th, and as best anyone can tell at this point the Buckeyes have the best shot to land him. Gibson's recruitment has been very quiet though, and he has said very little to the media. With track season now coming to an end, hopefully we'll find out some more.
Another guy that the staff is hot after is James Quick. He came out this week and claimed that his favorite is home town Louisville, followed by Ohio State and Oregon. According to Justin Rowland, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is a big draw for Quick. While Charlie Strong will be tough to beat out in this one, Quick is one of the guys I think could be swayed once Meyer's offense gets fully showcased this fall. After a few games of watching Braxton airing it out, is Bridgewater that big of a draw anymore?
Defensive Tackle Decisions
While there are several positions that seem up in the air in the 2013 class, one spot that the staff appears to be knocking it out of the park is at defensive tackle. They already have the aforementioned Billy Price on board, Tracy Sprinkle may end up at DT, and they are in good standing with several others. In fact the staff apparently feels they are in such good shape that they supposedly would not take a commitment from Maurice Hurst Jr., who recently committed to Michigan.
One of the best tackles in the country Michael Hill will be on campus next week. The Buckeyes were his favorite school growing up, and at this point they are his favorite. He has some elite offers though, and will be taking plenty of visits this spring. In fact, Hill hails from the heart of SEC country and will be taking visits to Alabama, LSU, Florida, and Tennessee just to name a few. Clemson is also putting on the full court press.
Also, the staff is pursuing in-state stud Donovon Munger. He has close to 20 scholarship offers at the moment including Ohio State, Michigan State, Auburn, Georgia, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Penn State, West Virginia, and Washington. Munger refuses to name favorites though, and appears that he wants to visit as many schools as possible this summer and make a decision this fall. Vrabel and Meyer are talking regularly to him, which can't hurt the odds as the summer unfolds.