Several future Ohio State Buckeyes have gathered in San Antonio for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The best of the best travel to Texas each January for the preeminent high school all-star game in the country, and the Ohio State presence in the game is a surprise to no one. Urban Meyer has displayed his recruiting prowess for more than a decade. But it might be the two undecideds in San Antonio that are drawing the most attention, not the handful of players already destined for Columbus.
Wide receiver James Quick, a Louisville, Ky., native, and linebacker Mike Mitchell will announce their college plans on Saturday during the game. Quick spoke to Eleven Warriors today about his upcoming plans, but remained coy. Sources on the ground in San Antonio have offered little explanation on where Quick might land. That isn't the case for Mitchell, a Texan, who is expected to spurn Texas A&M for Ohio State.
Each player would fill a position that needs depth. In practice this week, Quick has showcased the speed, sure hands and athleticism that Meyer and Charlie Strong have become enamored with. In less than 48 hours, one of them will be jumping for joy.
His last name may have changed, but Eli Apple's game remains spectacular. Going up against Quick and Shelton Gibson, two OSU targets, Apple has more than held his own. He'll travel straight to Columbus after the game and enroll early. When spring practice rolls around, he'll try to secure a spot in the Buckeyes' defensive backfield rotation. It's apparent that Apple could make an impact next season, especially on special teams.
Few people can argue that Ohio State offensive line coach Ed Warinner didn't make an enormous impact in 2012. He took a ragtag group of linemen and molded them into one of the best units the Buckeyes have had at that position in years. His hiring also is proving valuable on the recruiting trail. Evan Lisle is evidence of that. The hulking Lisle stands at 6-foot-6 and weighs 265 pounds. He's in the mold of a smallish lineman that can get out and move in Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman's up-tempo offense.
What's the most important play in football? Well, duh. We all know it's the punt. For the next four years, Ohio State fans will get to watch artistry when Johnny Townsend booms punts and places them inside the 10. At U.S. Army bowl practice, he's put on a clinic on how to get the ball from hand to foot in the shortest amount of time.
Combined with the talent Ohio State has playing at the Under Armour game in St. Petersburg, Fla., Meyer and Co. can pat themselves on the back. Recruiting is a tough business as is. Add scholarship reductions into the equation and evaluating talent becomes that much more difficult. But following a 12-0 season, order has been restored on the banks of the Olentagy.