Let me start by saying that it is quite remarkable how far along the 2013 class already is considering we are still over eight months away from signing day.
Although the quick turnaround on the commitments of linebackers Alex Anzalone and Lewis Neal shortly after the Spring Game was less than ideal (to put it lightly), with so much time left before ink goes on paper, there is no doubt that those losses will be compensated for.
One thing that may change, however, is the priorities the staff pursues moving forward.
In other words, the two new openings might not be filled by other linebackers.
A shift in focus following the attrition seems even more likely given the solid 2011 group of linebackers and a 2014 linebacker class that already looks very strong.
Regardless of where the priorities are, the staff will be able to focus on their top targets to fill the remaining spots in the class, which will no doubt result in another outstanding group of players.
Here is a position by position look at how things currently stand in the 2013 class and a brief glimpse ahead to 2014.
I have said for a long time that I think it will be OH QB Mitch Trubisky or no one in the class.
The only way that changes at this point is if someone explodes during camps in Columbus.
One thing is for sure- one more player here is the absolute max in the class with TX QB J.T. Barrett already committed.
2014 sneak preview: I already really like how things are going with the recruitment of 2014 KY QB Drew Barker (particularly with Coombs, the Kentucky recruiting master, on staff).
Also, 2014 MD QB William Crest has Ohio State as his early favorite.
It looks like Ohio State is after one more player here, but the line becomes a little blurred when you look at whether they are targeting a pure running back or simply another versatile playmaker in the offense.
That may come down to who decides to commit first.
For instance, if VA RB Derrick Green commits then the staff adds a pure power RB to the class.
Other players are also in the mix (see the big board) and once again, it will likely be a case of whoever decides to commit first.
The competition for this spot may even cross over into the receivers, who all could be lumped into one pool of players to fill the “dynamic playmaker” role on the offense.
The staff can’t really go wrong with anyone left on the board, so we will just have to wait and see what happens.
This is where things start to get interesting in the class.
It looks like the staff is targeting at least two additional players at receiver, but like the running backs, who exactly those players end up being is uncertain.
Landing two of the listed players is well within the realm of possibility and that would make a very fine class.
2014 sneak preview: The staff has already offered players like NC TE Jeb Blazevich, NJ TE Garrett Dickerson, and FL LB/TE Vincent Jackson in the 2014 class, which may indicate that the focus has largely moved beyond 2013 here.
One of the primary indicators that there may have been a shift in focus following the post-spring game linebacker de-commitments (say that three times fast) is that it now appears there will be an interior offensive lineman joining the class.
At least one more offensive tackle will also join the class, and I personally wouldn’t mind seeing two additional tackles.
I am hoping that the recent offer to GA OL J.P. Vonashek is an indication of the staff’s desire to land two tackles and not an indication of how things are going with other targeted players.
IL OL Ethan Pocic remains the top player on the board, although he is in no hurry to make a decision.
Any combination of Pocic, Johnson, Gray or Vonashek (even if it is only one of the above) would be a great addition to OH OL Evan Lisle in the class.
Although there are numerous offers reportedly still on the table, I would be relatively surprised to see any additional movement from defensive linemen in the 2013 class.
OH DL Billy Price and FL DL Joey Bosa are a very nice one-two punch headlining the class, and the hope is that OH DL Tracy Sprinkle can turn into yet another 3-star diamond in the rough for the Silver Bullets.
After the stellar 2011 class- particularly at defensive end, I am certainly satisfied with those three primarily interior players and it looks like the staff may be as well.
The spring game commitments locked this position up for the year, and the subsequent de-commitments sent things into a tizzy.
The staff sent out a recent offer to DC LB Yannick Ngakoue, so it looks like they’d still like to take at least one more LB in the class.
That said, IN LB Jaylon Smith is almost certainly going to Notre Dame, and after that there hasn’t been a lot of buzz.
We’ll see what happens during camp and if any new names emerge.
2014 sneak preview: “Package deals” are generally not worth much in recruiting, but early reports indicate the GA LB Raekwon McMillan and the previously mentioned VA DE Da’Shawn Hand are both very interested in Ohio State.
So, that’s good.
It still looks like the Buckeyes are after an elite safety in the class.
GA DB Vonn Bell continues to be the top target.
An additional player may be added.
There are plenty of reported offers that could fill that spot, but whether or not that happens will largely depend on what happens with Bell and what happens elsewhere in the class.
So, if you’re keeping track:
With 11 current commitments and a projected class of around 20, those numbers give Ohio State a minimum class of 17.
That actually leaves quite a bit of room for surprises, and I am sure there will be plenty of them before signing day.
Once again, it is still very early in the 2013 class despite the fact that the staff is already turning their attention toward 2014.
Urban Meyer is a machine on the recruiting trail. Things will continue to be ever changing and always interesting.