At the risk of jinxing what should be a strong finish to the class, my within-the-realm-of-possibility ideal finish is-
WR: Shelton Gibson
WR: James Quick
OL: Dorian Johnson
OL: David Dawson
LB: Mike Mitchell
LB: Skai Moore (or any of the other LBs on the board)
DB: Vonn Bell
DB: Gareon Conley
With Chris Worley thrown in as an alternate if we miss the second LB or Vonn Bell- or anyone else.
That puts the Buckeyes at 25 in what would be an amazing class.
Here is a look at each position group with that projected finish.
QB: J.T. Barrett
The leg injury is concerning but Barrett will have several years to heal and learn the system once he arrives in Columbus. He will be a strong contender for the starting spot once Braxton leaves.
RB: Ezekiel Elliott
Elliott is a crazy explosive dual threat out of the backfield who fits into Urban’s offensive system perfectly. The only concern would be between the tackle power running, but with the current players on the roster that is an unnecessary element to add in this class.
This has the potential to be an amazing group that features Marshall as the perfect multi-dimesnional threat in the mold of Harvin, two pure burners in Jacobs and Gibson (Meyer says over and over that the team needs speed and that’s exactly what those two bring) and one of the most well-rounded HS receivers in the county who is also plenty fast in Quick.
TE: Marcus Baugh
Baugh brings (yet again) the perfect skill set for a TE in Meyer’s offense. While we have two pure TEs in Heuerman and Vannett for the next several years (which makes depth not a concern here), the multidimensional options that Baugh and the targeted players in the ’14 class will bring in the future (think Aaron Hernandez) will be a nightmare for defenses to contend with.
Lisle and Gardner are RT/G types with Dawson as a G all the way and Johnson as a potential LT. This group would immediately make noise on the depth chart and set up what should be a huge 2014 offensive line class nicely. This is the most important position on the field and the depth chart would look very good with this class added in the mix.
Just for fun, next season would look something like this-
LT: rSR Jack Mewhort, rFR Kyle Dodson, FR Dorian Johnson,
LG: SR Andrew Norwell, JR Antonio Underwood, FR David Dawson
C: rSR Corey Linsley, SO Jacoby Boren, rFR Joey O’Connor
RG: rSR Marcus Hall, rSO Chase Farris, FR Tim Gardner
RT: SO Taylor Decker, rJR Darryl Baldwin, FR Evan Lisle
Price and Hill are pure DTs, Sprinkle and Bosa are inside/outside strong side DEs, and Lewis is a prototypical hybrid speed rusher. This is a really good group with the one potential weakness being a lack of an elite pass rushing presence. Noah Spence is already on the team, though, and I expect that to be addressed in a big way in the ’14 class with De’Shawn Hand being the most obvious target.
Mitchell will have the opportunity to see the field right away along with any other true LBs that might join the class (Skai Moore, Trey Johnson etc.). Lee is a project and Worley would be as well if he is a part of the class. All eyes will be on the ’14 class but the addition of Mitchell and one other true LB would certainly help in the mean time. I think once the ’14 class gets on campus guys like Lee and potentially Worley would transition to third down specialists in the mold of Jermale Hines and Tyler Moeller (and to a lesser extent Orhian Johnson this season) as LB/S hybrids. Although it doesn’t provide immediate help for the depth chart, that wouldn’t be a bad thing for the defense in the coming years- particularly when defending against spread attacks.
This group would give Ohio State an elite lock down corner in Woodard, an elite true safety in Bell, and an elite hybrid player in Burrows- all with the ability to contribute immediately. Additionally, you would have another safety in Thompson and another CB in Conley. Thompson and Conley probably don’t project as immediate contributors like the other three but they both come with the magical powers of in-state players and there is no reason to believe they both couldn’t grow into starters down the road.
He’s one of the top punters in the country and would have the opportunity to step in right away for the graduating Buchanan.
It’s obviously too early to count chickens like that in the ’13 class but I just did.
2014 isn’t looking so bad either but I will refrain from speculating about the finish for that class… at least for right now.