Recruiting is in full swing for the Buckeyes 2013 class of recruits with the spring game just days away and a large number of recruits scheduled to be in attendance. With a small class that looks like it'll be around 20 after attrition Urban Meyer is being selective and going after the top recruits in the country. The Bucks currently have 9 players that have given verbal commitments so far. Here's a look at what the class could like like come signing day next February.
Quarterback: JT Barrett, Texas
The Buckeyes have 4 offers on the table and the two most likely candidates are Barrett and Mitch Trubisky from Ohio. Both are dual threat type QB's which is what Meyer will be recruiting during his tenure as OSU's head coach to fit in his spread offense. Barrett is a top 2 dual threat QB on a couple recruiting services rankings and with the other top QB in Texas already committed to Texas the Bucks have a good shot at landing him. They may opt to go with 2 QB's if both Barrett and Trubisky decide to commit, but with the smaller class size and need for playmakers at other positions on offense, in they end I think they end up taking just one.
Runningback: Ezekial Elliott, Missouri / Derrick Green, Virginia
The Bucks are loaded at RB with depth right now and have Elliott already committed. Elliott said they told him they were only taking one RB and that may be the case with an already deep group of RB's. That said, Green is a big power back that runs a sub 4.4 40 yard dash. Elliott is a scat back and Green could be a between the tackles, every down type back with great speed which is rare. Green grew up an Ohio State fan and has stated he has the Bucks as his leader. If Green decides to commit I think they'll take his committment and an already deep RB group becomes absolutely loaded.
Wide Receiver: James Quick, Kentucky / Shelton Gibson, Ohio
This is a position that Meyer has stated is lacking in playmakers. They currently have athlete Jalin Marshall committed who will likely play WR/Percy Harvin Role. I would have no objection with them taking a 4th WR with the lack of talent at the position, but I don't think the numbers are there. Quick has serious speed and his highlight tape is off the charts. I think he ends up being a five star by the time his senior season is over and he has the skills to be a superstar and play in the NFL. Gibson is considered to be a lock to commit to the Bucks and he is another WR that is rated in the top 150 in the nation.
There is a ton of talent in this year's class of WR's. There are several other names that are interested in Ohio State as well including Robert Foster who many consider the top WR in the nation. He was probably going to be in until he acted immature on his visit and mocked the academics part. Rumor has it the staff has stopped recruiting him due to character concerns. Other top WR possibilities are LaQuon Treadwell, Uriah Lemay, and Devon Allen. With all of the top talent interested in OSU it's easy to see why this position could take as many as 4 players.
Tight End: Marcus Baugh, California / Mike Heuerman/ Florida
Ohio State already has a talented group of TE's, but the best of them Jake Stoneburner will be graduating after this season. Marcus Baugh has already committed to the Bucks and Heuerman looks like he will do the same. That will give Ohio State 2 more of the top TE's in the nation to go with Heuerman's brother and Vannett. With Meyer willing to use the TE as a pass catcher in his spread look for this position to become more important to the Ohio State offense.
Offensive Line: Ethan Pocic, Illinois / Evan Lisle, Ohio / Marcell Lazard, New Jersey
Due to the previous Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line coach being completely inept and unqualified for his job the line is not very deep. Urban called the starting 5 adequate, but said they have to be better than that and was not at all impressed with the backups. The 2012 class had a decent haul for the O line getting 2 quality Tackles and a quality Guard.
The key for this class is if they can land Pocic who seems to be leaning Buckeyes. He's one of the best Tackle prospects in the nation. Meyer has already secured a committment from Lisle who's highlight video is impressive and looks to be a quality prospect. Also it looks like Lazard will be a commit for the good guys so 3 more quality bodies are coming to add help to the O line depth. Restocking the talent on the line is one of the top prorities for this team, at least it better be.
Defensive Line: Joey Bosa, Florida / Billy Price, Ohio / Tracy Sprinkle, Ohio
Defense wins championships and a dominant Defensive Line can carry a defense. The Buckeyes already had a good line before Meyer was hired and had the impressive recruiting haul on the line in 2012. John Simon and Jonathon Hankins could both be all- americans this season, they won't because the Bucks are on probation, but they are talented enough. If those two end up playing DT they are going to wreak havoc on the interior of opposing offenses. They also have other talented players such as Bennett and Goebel.
Then you get to the incoming freshman. Noah Spence was rated the 4th best player in the country for 2012 and is a five star recruit. He could see action right away as a speed rusher on passing downs. They also brought in Adolphus Washington and Se'von Pittman two top 100 Defensive Ends from Ohio.
Now add to that what looks like another monstrous class of D lineman. Billy Price and Tracy Sprinkle are both highly rated prospects from Ohio, but the crown jewel of this class could be Joey Bosa. Price and Sprinkle have already verballed to the Buckeyes and Bosa looks like he is all but in for 2013. He is returning to Columbus this weekend for the spring game after just taking a visit last weekend in which he was not shy about telling everyone on twitter that he absolutely loved Ohio State and even referred to Michigan as the team up north on his way to his visit there. Bosa is a top 15 player in the nation and is an absolute beast. His highlight video is off the charts and having him and Spence from 2012 gives the Bucks 2 elite D lineman to be backups to an already loaded line.
With this class the D line is going to be absolutely loaded for the next few seasons. Having Bosa and Spence as the starting D Ends as early is 2013 is going to be absolutely sick. Bosa is the type that can move inside on passing downs like Simon does now allowing the Bucks to get another of their elite D Ends on the field such as Washington or Pittman. This is the type of line that can carry a defense to a championship. There's really not enough you can say about how loaded and deep this line will be. They will likely be able to go at least 8 deep for the next few years and bring in backups that could probably start anywhere else and will likely play in the NFL.
Linebackers: Alex Anzalone, Pennsylvania / Courtney Love, Ohio
When Urban Meyer got hired at Ohio State in his introductory press conference he stated that Luke Fickell told him they were thin at Linebacker. After Meyer's impressive recruiting haul in 2 months that's not really the case anymore. They may be thin with experience this season but there are plenty of incoming freshman that can help on the way. Meyer and Fickell combined signed 4 LB's for 2012. Those 4 are Jamal Marcus, Cam Williams, Josh Perry, and Luke Roberts so help is on the way.
For 2013 I think the Buckeyes only take 2 LB's unless Jaylon Smith, one of the top players in the nation, decides to come to OSU and play with his brother Rod Smith. That's looking unlikely now though so they'll take just Anzalone and Love. Neither have committed yet, but both look to be big Buckeye leans with Anzalone just saying yesterday Ohio State was his leader. Love is almost a lock as well as some believe he's lucky to have an offer as Meyer didn't extend one to some players higher rated than he is. Anzalone looks to be a stud who could be in the 2 deep immediately. He has offers from most of the top schools in the nation, including Alabama. Adding Anzalone to a group of Shazier, Grant, and Jamal Marcus who looks to be another potential stud at LB could once again have Ohio State being the "real Linebacker U."
Defensive Backs: Cameron Burrows, Ohio / Eli Woodward, New Jersey / Jayme Thompson, Ohio/ Vonn Bell, Georgia
Ohio State is known as Cornerback U for a reason, they've churned out top NFL CB after top NFL CB. There looks to be another 1st round pick on the roster right now in sophomore Roby. They also brought in 4 DB's in 2012 with 3 of them being 4 star players on the Rivals site. 3 of them look like they'll be CB's and one a Safety with the Safety being Tyvis Powell and the 3 CB's Armani Reeves, Devin Bogard, and Najee Murray. While these players look like they have the potential to add depth other than Reeves none really project to be stars.
Thats not a problem though as it looks like the 2013 class will be loaded with 2 potential 5 star DB's in Burrows who's already committed and Bell who favors Ohio State after his visits so far. Both are 2 of the top DB's in the nation with Burrows likely going to play CB, but has the size to play Safety. He has what NFL teams look for in 1st round picks. He's 6'2" so that's Safety size but is fluid and fast enough to be an elite CB. Bell is one of the top Safety prospects in the nation. A position where the Buckeyes have quality experience on the roster but no stand out stars, Vonn Bell will change that instantly. Woodward is another top 100 in the nation CB prospect so he's no slouch himself and could immediately step in and be the nickel CB.
Once the 2013 class of DB's arrives on campus this Defensive Backfield will immediately be loaded with talent and lots of depth. Burrows will likely start at CB from Day 1 across from Roby and have a tandem of shut down CB's. That is unless they want to start Burrows at Safety next to Bell their freshman year and utilize the upperclassmen in Roby and and Doran Grant as the starting CB's with Woodward, Reeves, Bogard, Murray, and Howard fighting it out for the 3rd CB spot and 4th in Dime situations. That's a heck of a group for 3rd and 4th CB's especially when Howard was the starting CB last season and might be again in 2012 if Grant doesn't beat him out.
I think Grant is more talented and will and Howard because of his experience will win that 3rd CB spot in 2013, if they choose to play Burrows at Safety his freshman season. That is what I would do to get my best players on the field. However if they decide Burrows is just too good of a CB then he will start there and Grant will likely be the 3rd CB. If that's the case Reeves has the size to move to Safety and fight for a spot with the upperclassman such as CJ Barnett and Christian Bryant who have both had starts already at the Safety spot.
Any way the coaches decide to do it after this 2013 recruiting class hits campus the Bucks are absolutely loaded at DB. In fact with all the talent and depth at every position group on the defense they are set up to make a run at being the best defense in the country. This defense will be absolutely stacked with studs starting and the backups in the 2 deep at almost every position. They could realistically make a run at holding opposing offenses to an average of single digit points. The Silver Bullets are going to be back and better than ever.
Athletes: Jalin Marshall, Ohio
For the 2013 recruiting class we've gone through every position and may have saved the best player in the class for last. It's going to be up for grabs between Marshall, Burrows, and Bosa who's the best recruit coming in 2013. Jalin Marshall plays QB at Middletown and he's a special kind of athlete. His highlight video is absolutely sick. One of the best i've ever seen. At Ohio State he's likely going to play the role of playmaker. Some call it the Percy Harvin role, but after Marshall it'll be called the Jalin Marshall role.
Marshall is going to do a bit of everything. I'm sure they'll line him up some at QB, in a wildcat type formation. He's also going to line up in the backfield a la Harvin. Primarily he'll be at Wide Receiver is my guess, mostly in the slot. What they're going to do is find ways to get the ball in his hands where ever he is on the field. Marshall is the type that can take it the distance from anywhere at anytime. So I don't want to label him with a position, I'll just call his position playmaker and lets try to get him the ball as much as possible and good things will happen.
If the number of recruits is 20 for 2013 there's a good chance this is close to what the class could look like. It's kind of a shame that it's a smaller recruiting class this year because there are lots of top recruits showing serious interest in Ohio State and they can't take them all. With 10 verbal commits already there's only room for 10 more and I hope the coaches only accept committments from top prospects from here out. No offense to Sprinkle or Jayme Thompson, but with a limited class size I wouldn't have taken their committments just yet. I think they are going to miss out on 2 highly rated 4 star players for those 2 3 star players. Urban knows more about football than I do though so I could be dead wrong.
With who's remaining that hasn't verballed yet my top 4 that I would have on my wishlist are Joey Bosa, Vonn Bell, James Quick and Ethan Pocic. The biggest needs are playmakers at WR and O lineman so Quick and Pocic are very important almost must gets. Bosa and Bell are just such studs that I really want them at OSU. They can be impact players right away. I think it's a good probability all 4 are Buckeyes when it's said and done. The one I'm most worried about is Pocic with him not attending the spring game.
Overall this is shaping up to be a top ten class. It would probably be top 3 if it was bigger and in terms of average star rating could be number one in the nation by signing day in February. The job Meyer and this coaching staff are doing on the recruiting trail is something that hasn't been seen here in years with the number of top national recruits showing serious interest. In fact Meyer may be the best recruiter this University has ever seen. The 6-7 season that happened last year was an anomoly and with the caliber of players coming to OSU the Bucks will be competing for a National Championship in a very short amount of time. GO BUCKS!