After a big recruiting weekend that included plenty of players visiting for the memorable victory over Nebraska, there is renewed speculation in Buckeye circles projecting how Ohio State will finish their 2013 class.
The first thing that most people worry about is how many scholarships are left. The general consensus is that the Buckeyes will sign a total of around 22 players.
Either way, with 17 players currently committed, it looks like the Buckeyes will sign at least 5 more members in the class.
Here is a position by position look at who might fill those spots.
This is perhaps the most interesting position on the board because there are so many targets to talk about.
Also, you’ll notice that 2/3 of the attrition mentioned above comes from receivers. Those losses only add to the already well known need for play makers here.
You can break down the receivers on the board into two separate categories.
On the one hand you have the tall, rangy receivers who can stretch the field vertically and go up and get the ball one-on-one versus smaller defenders.
Right now Stevens is receiving the most buzz. After being considered a soft verbal for a time, he has officially de-committed from Florida State and some are saying he has Ohio State as his new #1 school. He is currently scheduled to visit Columbus for The Game in November.
North and Stringfellow are less likely options right now. That could change after the official visits that both are currently planning to take to Ohio State.
Then you have the burners that simply outrun defenders no matter where they are at on the field.
Gibson is a Buckeye if his grades are in order (which isn’t guaranteed).
Quick has the Buckeyes tied with Louisville at the top of his list. It is no secret that Charlie Strong is a huge advantage for Louisville and as long as he is the coach there (which isn’t a guarantee after this season) they will be difficult to beat.
In my opinion, Gibson and Quick are clearly the top two burners on the board with Timmons as the backup plan.
All the other players are long shots.
Right now, I think the Buckeyes will take a big receiver and a burner and they might add a third from either group if there is space (with burner MD WR Taivon Jacobs already on board, another big receiver would even things out in the class).
One (or two) of Stevens/Stringfellow/North with Gibson and/or Quick would be my best case scenario finish, but any combination of players left on the board would make for an outstanding haul.
This is another good place for speculation, mostly because Ohio State is after so many players currently committed to other schools.
Right now the top guy is TX LB Mike Mitchell who is the only uncommitted player on the board. The Buckeyes are his favorite and have been for some time. My feeling is that Mitchell was set to commit to Ohio State but his parents felt he should visit some other schools along with Ohio State just to make sure. The Buckeyes and Urban Meyer will be hard for anyone to beat head-to-head on a visit for a kid that wanted to commit without even seeing the school; this one will likely be over after his official visit to Columbus.
Based on how hard the staff is pushing to flip some committed players (and based on the need), I wouldn’t be surprised if the goal was to land two more LBs in the class.
The Buckeyes are pushing hard to land these players.
Although I am not sure exactly who they will be, I am confident that one or two very good LBs will be a part of the class.
This one is somewhat perplexing given that the Buckeyes seriously need players here but they have been publicly focused almost exclusively on PA OT Dorian Johnson for several weeks now.
Johnson just visited for the Nebraska game which can’t hurt. He loved the visit so much that he hopes to return in the near future which is a great sign.
He will likely decide between Pitt and Ohio State whenever he makes a decision.
My gut says Pitt but it would be a very pleasant surprise if he chose the Buckeyes. The more he visits the better, obviously, and things seem to be trending in the right direction in that department.
Beyond Johnson it is hard to tell what is going on here. If the LBs are any indication, the staff might be recruiting some players under the radar… possibly because they are currently committed to other schools.
Stay tuned to see what happens with Johnson and/or to see who the staff is heavily pursuing behind the scenes that we don’t know about right now.
GA S Vonn Bell is the biggest target here. After he camped at Ohio State earlier in the year I would have put the Buckeyes as the clear favorite. However, until he makes it back on campus it will be an uphill battle.
He recently pushed a return visit back until after the season which isn’t the best sign. However, if he does make it back at any point the Buckeyes will definitely be in the mix.
I think OH S/LB Chris Worley will be a Buckeye but I am not sure where he fits in the class. He could impact who the Buckeyes continue to pursue at safety or linebacker. On the other hand, the coaches might already have him penciled in.
I think OH DL Donovan Munger will be a part of the class if there is room for him. The real question is whether or not there will be room for him.
OH WR/DB Corey Smith could be a factor at receiver or safety but right now I don’t see him being a part of the class.
TN ATH Cornelius Elder is scheduled to be in Columbus for the Purdue game. He could factor in as a burner receiver or possibly even in a hybrid running back role in the offense.
FL DB Marcell Harris, FL DT Derrick Calloway and PA RB David Williams are all still on the board but that’s mostly because there hasn’t been a compelling reason (like committing to another school) to remove them yet. The news from all three has been minimal for months so barring a huge surprise none will be a factor in the class.
As always, there is a ton of variability here and the recent attrition only adds to the unknowns.
The receivers in particular could go a number of different ways and it is next to impossible to predict which two (or three) will join the class.
There are almost certainly some prospects at tackle that will pop up in the coming months as well- unless Johnson surprises everyone by committing to Ohio State in the near future.
And then, of course, there are the wildcards which are next to impossible to project without knowing exactly who else will be in the class and how many scholarships are left for them.
No matter what happens I think it is safe to say that the Buckeyes are in line for a very strong finish.
For right now, here is my best guess:
WR: Shelton Gibson/James Quick/Ryan Timmons
WR: Tony Stevens/Demorea Stringfellow/Marquez North
LB: Mike Mitchell
LB: Daniel McMillan/James Hearns/Trey Johnson/Holland Fisher/Chris Worley
S: Vonn Bell/Chris Worley
OT: Dorian Johnson/surprise