11W Recruiting Notebook: Dominoes Falling

By Alex on January 9, 2013 at 1:30p

With less than a month to go until National Signing Day, the Ohio State recruiting class of 2013 seems to be shaping up.

Urban and Saban in a duel for BellBell is a wanted man by both Meyer and Saban

The Buckeyes currently sit at 21 commits in their class, consisting of a quarterback, a running back, 2 wide receivers, a tight end, 2 offensive linemen, 5 defensive linemen, a hybrid defensive end/linebacker, 2 true linebackers, 5 defensive backs, and a punter.

There is technically only one more scholarship open for the group, but with some expected attrition on the way, there could end up being three to four more players choosing the Scarlet and Gray by the time February 6 rolls around.

This is Urban Meyer and anything is possible with him and his staff in the next four weeks, but the picture seems pretty clear regarding what the coaches are looking for in filling those final spots, as well as what players are options to go after.

In this edition of the 11W Recruiting Notebook we take a look at who those players are, what the buzz surrounding those players is, and what top prospects are coming to Columbus in a few days for a big-time recruiting weekend.

The Buzz

As previously mentioned there are likely to be three or four more members in Ohio State's 2013 class, with just over a handful of players being seriously looked at for the remaining spots.

SPEED KILLSWill Dontre Wilson make a visit to Columbus?

One area the staff will try to add on is at wide receiver. Urban lost out on James Quick when he decided to pick hometown Louisville at the US Army All-American Bowl, so adding a playmaker to the roster at that spot will certainly be a focus in the next month.

The top targets to fill that void are ATH Dontre Wilson, WR Shelton Gibson, ATH Cornelius Elder, and ATH Ryan Timmons.

Gibson and Wilson are at the top of that list, but the former could be the first domino to fall as he takes his official visit this coming weekend, while Wilson is still debating if he is even going to take a visit to Columbus. 

OSU fans should have a clear picture of the Gibson situation following this weekend. The four-star prospect from Cleveland Heights claims rumors of his grades being an issue are false, but there is a reason he hasn't committed to the Bucks, the heavy favorite, at this point and it's either because of academics or room being tight in the class.

The staff met with him after the Army Bowl last weekend and this visit could seal the deal if he has the green light from the staff and Gibson wants to announce. He may keep his decision, either way, silent, to create suspense for a National Signing Day announcement.

Wilson is an intriguing prospect, but he is committed to Oregon and very well could decide to stay with the Ducks now that Chip Kelly is coming back. That leaves OSU with Elder and Timmons, and I believe the staff is looking at them in that order.

Right now I think the staff would potentially entertain taking both Gibson and Wilson, but I do not think they would take either Gibson or Wilson AND one of Elder and Timmons. The only way I see either Elder or Timmons in this class is if either both Gibson and Wilson are not in it or if one of the other targets listed below does not find their way to Columbus.

A few weeks back I thought the Buckeyes might be done with the offensive line after it appeared all of their remaining targets (David Dawson and Dorian Johnson) were headed elsewhere, but recent efforts by the staff to recruit Dan Skipper and Cameron Hunt are changing my thinking a bit.

The 6-10/290 Skipper is committed to Tennessee, but has opened things up a bit since Derek Dooley was fired. He will make an official visit to Ohio State from January 19-21, but is also visiting Arkansas and Ole Miss and took a trip to Michigan back in December. His top five consists of the aforementioned schools and it looks like whatever his decision he makes will not include any other programs.

Hunt, 6-5/275, was very impressive at the Under Armour All-America Game and like Skipper, is committed (to Cal) but is looking around after Jeff Tedford was fired. Hunt received an offer from Ed Warinner and Tim Hinton at the UA Game and says he will now visit Columbus either the weekend of January 26 or February 2. He will be in Michigan this weekend, Oregon the week after, and then Cal whichever weekend he does not visit Ohio State.

I'm not sure if either of these offensive line prospects are going to end up being Buckeyes, and I'm not too confident they will as of now, but it is clear the staff would like to take another offensive lineman in this class if they can get a player up to their standards, such as Skipper or Hunt.

The Buckeyes landed Mike Mitchell and Trey Johnson last weekend, so you would think they would be done recruiting linebackers, but Christopher Worley is still out there and things are looking good for him to commit to Ohio State now that he has a qualifying ACT score.

To be fair, the 6-3/190 Glenville product will likely start out at the Star position (linebacker/safety hybrid), but he has the potential to grow into a linebacker down the line at OSU. I think his recruitment will be wrapped up following this weekend's official visit to Columbus.

Finally, the number one target on Ohio State's board is S Vonn Bell. Bell was originally going to commit following his team's season, but after a visit from Urban Meyer to his state championship game, he decided to take official visits to his three finalists in OSU, Alabama, and Tennessee.

This is thought to be a two-team battle between the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide and it will be exciting to see Meyer and Nick Saban go heads-up for Bell. The Bucks are on tap first with an official visit this weekend, followed by a trip to Tuscaloosa next week, and then a scheduled visit to Knoxville on January 25.

It is my opinion from what I am hearing that the Buckeyes are trending up for Bell and that this weekend's visit is a big one. There is a chance that Urban could land Bell's pledge following the trip, in which the Under Armour All-American is bringing his entire family and if so, it would be the biggest commitment Meyer has landed since he arrived in Columbus.

I'm not sure what is going to happen come Sunday or Monday, but the Buckeyes' best chance to land Bell would be to wrap things up this weekend, before Saban can get in his ear. I think that is possible and it may even be necessary for OSU to pry this star out of the South.

Weekend Visitors

The upcoming weekend is the first of two big recruiting weekends that Meyer and his staff will host in the coming months. Coincidentally they are each planned around Ohio State's two biggest home basketball games as the Bucks will take on Michigan this coming Sunday at 1:30 PM ET and then play Indiana on February 10 when the next big host of prospects is expected to happen.

Will Worley make 22?Chris Worley could commit to OSU this weekend

As previously noted, some of the big 2013 prospects coming to campus this weekend include Shelton Gibson, Chris Worley, and Vonn Bell.

The Bucks will also bring in the aforementioned Corn Elder and Ryan Timmons, as well as current OSU commits Jalin Marshall, Joey Bosa, and Marcus Baugh for official visits.

Darron Lee will also be making his way to Columbus at some point during the weekend, and early enrollees Eli Apple, Tracy Sprinkle, JT Barrett, Tyquan Lewis, Cam Burrows, and William Houston are obviously on campus as well.

Urban has done a really great job of mixing currently committed players with uncommitted prospects and in the past this strategy has yielded great results both last year (Se'Von Pittman, Noah Spence, Tommy Schutt) and this year (Gareon Conley, Donovan Munger, Mike Mitchell). I don't know if the Bucks will get all of their guys this weekend, but I think there's a really good chance at least two pledges eventually come out of these visits.

As for the 2014 class, there are a number of talented prospects coming to town for the basketball game on Sunday. The names included are WR Marshon Lattimore, OL Marcelys Jones, DT Daniel Cage, LB Kyle Berger, DB Eric Smith, and DB Damon Webb.

Jones is already committed to the Buckeyes and is the lone member of the class of 2014 to this point. That is expected to change shortly after Signing Day and the 6-5/325 lineman will be doing his best this weekend to recruit the players on hand to be his future teammates in Columbus.

Lattimore is Jones' teammate at Glenville and is the top-rated player in the state of Ohio. I'm not sure if he will be more like Jones and commit early or follow the Glenville trend of waiting until later next year, but whenever he decides to make a verbal pledge, I expect it to be for Ohio State.

Cage is a newer name to most fans, but the Cincinnati Winton Woods defensive lineman is an impressive-looking prospect at 6-3/275. He currently holds offer from Cincinnati, Illinois, and Minnesota, but not from the Buckeyes yet. He will look to inch closer to that goal this coming weekend after recently returning from the US Army All-American Combine in San Antonio last week.

Berger, of Cleveland St. Ignatius, is one of the most underrated prospects in the entire country, but he didn't slip past the Buckeyes as they were the first to offer him back on November 20. Since then he has added offers from Cincinnati, West Virginia, Michigan State, and Illinois, with the list expected to grow in the coming months.

I don't know if Berger will ever fully "blow up", as he wants to make a college decision this spring, usually meaning many programs will stop recruiting him. I think when he eventually makes that announcement it will be for Ohio State, and give the Buckeyes the first piece to what could be an epic linebacker haul for the class.

Smith is also a Glenville Tarblooder and the 6-1/185 safety already claims offers from Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Illinois, and Indiana. Smith's name is just starting to get out there, but the OSU staff is well aware of his talents and he very well could end up with an offer at some point. 

Finally, Webb is a superb talent from enemy territory, starring for Detroit (MI) Cass Tech. Cass Tech players usually go to Michigan just like Glenville players go to Ohio State, but I have had multiple sources close to the situation tell me his interest in OSU is more than genuine.

It will be interesting to see how his recruitment goes down, but it is quite obvious that Urban Meyer thinks very highly of Webb and would love to win his services over his other top schools including Michigan State, LSU, and the Wolverines. 


Comments Show All Comments

GABuckeye's picture

Vonn Bell would be the "biggest commitment Meyer has landed"?  No disrespect to Noah Spence at all, or Eli Apple.

rdubs's picture

I think one of the reasons that this is the "biggest" is because it is a straight up Alabama/Ohio State competition.  Tennessee is in there a bit, but really it is Saban vs. Meyer and this is the first time that has happened.  A lot of people wanted Spence, but it was us versus the field not just one other big name and in someways that seems easier if you can get the personal relationship down.  This one is a very personal dual and Bell is a big time player, so it would be a big time recruiting win.

Toilrt Paper's picture

Recruiting game plans have changed for Urban for today and the future. He's not as worried about out recruiting Michgan. The #1 priority has become Alabama.

gratzy19's picture

His number one priority would be recruiting Georgia, very few prospects have been offered from Alabama 

buckatron32's picture

I think he meant beating Alabama and Nick Saban. The state up north has never really been a priority for any OSU coaching staff. 

STRAWMAN's picture

He might mean in terms of recruiting battles. That taking someone from the South who is placed near the top of Alabama's recruiting board is his biggest accomplishment thus far as head coach. Apple was set on Ohio State as a program, regardless of coach and Spence was a heavy Penn State lean until that situation happened. 
Likewise taking Webb from Cass Tech would be a huge grab for Meyer next year. As big of a steal as USC stealing Audrey Walker (in what may have been our worst O Line class for decades). 

Ahh Saturday's picture

I think early in the recruiting process Bosa was considered an Alabama lean, but I might be wrong about that.

William's picture

I remember this as well. Bosa was the first head-to-head recruiting match-up with Meyer and Saban. 

rdubs's picture

I guess the difference is he wasn't really ever torn, so there wan't much of a battle.  Pretty much as soon as he visited he made up his mind.  Here Bell could clearly see himself at either place which really makes it a true battle.

davmoe11's picture

He didn't say "best" he said "biggest". Given that it is crunch time and down to Urban and Saban I would not disagree.

Alex's picture

in terms of who he is up against, the need at safety IMO, and how the commitment would be gained, I would say yes...

Spence was BIG TIME, but he wasn't a difficult "get"....Apple is great but Bell is better

kareemabduljacobb's picture

If we get Bell, let's hope he doesn't end up like the last highly touted S we got that didn't do anything - Clifford.  But I agree, I think Bell is a different talent and can be an Eric Berry type safety for us, if he does indeed pick the good guys.

TheHannimal's picture

Might as well face it, I'm addicted to...RECRUITING.
and bath salts.

btalbert25's picture

Good thing recruits where helmets, the facemask will keep you from eating their faces.

Syrabuck21's picture

Uhh, just don't eat our faces off please?

Nick's picture

Biggest would be the 6'10 lineman from colorado. huehuehuehuehuehue

JPBucks3's picture

That was my thinking! Holy huge!!

BUCKEYE2124's picture

I agree gab noah was a big pick up also i would go mike mitchell he didnt seem like there was much hopetil he made his visit.ive watched alot of these kids you tubes and eli apple im most excited about.zeke too.man also jalin.im just ready for september.lol

popeurban's picture

With 5 DBs coming into our class and only 2 for Alabama, I have to wonder how much that factors in for Bell? 

Triv's picture

5 DBs, but only 1 pure safety (Jayme Thompson). Apple, Burrows, and Conley are all currently projected as corners with Lee playing star. Also can't discount his childhood friendship with Lee

Sorry Urban, Woody is still my favorite

popeurban's picture

Thanks for the info.  How do he and Lee know each other? (any specifics besides friends)

popeurban's picture

From reading your link (catching up with Lee), it sounds like they were more of acquaintances?  I hope I am reading it wrong and they are thick as thieves  :)

rdubs's picture

They also caught up and competed at FNL together, and apparently both loved it.  So while they may not be best friends it sounds like they hit it off well this past summer.

bassplayer7770's picture

Actually, neither Lee nor Bell competed at FNL if I'm remembering correctly.  In fact, I'm not sure they were even in attendance.  You may be thinking of one of tOSU's other Summer camps.

buckeye76BHop's picture

It wasn't FNL...it was another summer camp in June.

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

RunEddieRun1983's picture

Technically we have 2 DB's, and 3 guys who are more considered "athletes"  I think Von knows he's the only pure safety.  Conley and Apple are prototypical corners, and I'd look at Burrows and Bell to play safety.  He'd be in great company.

I don't always downvote, but I do always downvote a Michigan fan trolling the Buckeye boards.

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I think Conley could end up on offense play WR.

ATXbucknut's picture

Good stuff. Thanks mucho, Alex.  Can't wait until Worley is a Buckeye.

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

Out of the Worley, Bell, and Gibson which 2 do you expect/more likely to commit this weekend?

HolyBuckeye1093's picture

Is it just me or does Brady Hoke just seem destined to land a recruit named Berger?

Unky Buck's picture

This is definitely encourage....

It is my opinion from what I am hearing that the Buckeyes are trending up for Bell and that this weekend's visit is a big one.

I'm not much of a praying man, but you better believe that I'm praying this is the case.

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

btalbert25's picture

I think Bell would be big for Urban to show we are planting a flag in Georgia.  A commitment from him this season plus all these visits from their best athletes next year would be huge for Buckeye recruiting. 

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I'd say Trey Johnson and some of the 2014 GA guys are in his ear too.  I bet McMillan has contacted him.  Urban had to make ground in a SEC state and GA is a great one.  I'd like to see him start stealing some FL kids too. 

BuckeyeAsylum's picture

Reports out that at the Rising Junior/whatever thing they had in GA, tOSU was all the talk on every player's lips... Safe to say if the flag isn't firmly planted yet, it isn't going unseen.

BME_Buckeye's picture

Alex what happens if we get an extra three or four player but attrition doesn't happen?

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


Alex's picture

ha, we have to find a way to get to 82...maybe someone is asked to "gray shirt" or maybe someone is "nudged out the door"...I know Meyer doesn't want to go down either of those routes and it is unlikely he miscalculates the situation, but those are the options

DMcDougal24's picture

It's okay if you don't answer because it's a touchy subject for many, but Alex what do you think of Herman's and Smith's comments re: James Quick? I'm thinking he either told them he was Buckeye and they were excited or he told them he was UofL and they let emotion get the better of them, but I'd love to hear your perspective.

STRAWMAN's picture

Not Alex, but it just seemed like Quick kept both coaching staffs in the dark. There is nothing wrong with that and it is his perogative to do so. 
I doubt that those tweets were anything other than last minute recruiting. 

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

Not really sure that was the best way to go about last minute recruiting... I prefer Urban to make the phone calls and seal the deal... Not assistants tweeting. 

Alex's picture

I really don't think they did anything wrong. I think they were trying to make a last minute pitch, but it obviously didn't work. I think they've gotten a lot of flack and I think it stems from the differences of this staff vs last staff. Trust me, Smith and Herman weren't acting without Pantoni's blessings. This staff will push the envelope however they can and being creative on twitter/social media is one way to do that.

I don't think they were attacking Quick, rather making a last minute pitch showing why they feel OSU is better for him vs UL

TheHannimal's picture

Great article Alex.
Dig the effort.

45OH4IO's picture

Is anyone else worried about them attending the bball game? The atmosphere seems kind of dead in there compared to other arenas. I hope people are amped up and the place is rockin' win or lose. But it just doesn't seem like an intimidating, awe-inspiring setting like the 'Shoe.

Nick's picture

Nope it is B1G season vs #2 Michigan the Schott will be rockin

Alex's picture

we are playing #2 Michigan...first game back for students...the place will be wild

I am someone who knocks the crowd at the Schott often, but I will admit for big games, they get up and show out

thatlillefty's picture

B1G bball > SEC bball tho

pukindawg's picture

Ohio HS bball > SEC bball

ODEEZ330's picture

Yea buddy let recruiting season begin. Lol I think bells a buckeye with his old pal lee there n his ua buddy marshall add in trey johnson in his ear. Trey johnson n vonn bell 2 best ga kids in 13 n meyer snags em both let the ga pipeline begin hopefully

stark county football

Nick's picture

Cam Heyward, Broby  plus some other guys like a certain 21 I don't want to mention. GA has been good to OSU the last 10 years already. 

buckeye76BHop's picture

Thanks Alex...I'm pretty excited about this weekend.  I couldn't agree with you more about putting on the full court press for Bell before Saban can do this before he walks in.  His family coming (which I had forgot about) will be huge.  Hope we get Elder, Worley, Bell and may be Lattimore this weekend (I mentioned Marshon because he  and Worley have NO ONE else in the running and loved their visit with Meyer when he stopped by Glenville HS).  Would be great to get all these guys above!  Not to mention I agree with you about Gibson...I have a feeling he liked this last year at Cleveland Heights auditorium.    


"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

kmp10's picture

Question: When looking at Rivals ratings, Vonn Bell and Jayme Thompson are both 4 star safeties, rated 5.9 and 5.8 respectively (however they arrive at those numbers). Mike Farrell has a piece he just posted about the top remaining uncommitted players (and some who committed but are still looking) and didn't even mention Bell (he did mention Gibson). I'm just wondering... why the enormous fawning over Vonn Bell? Saying he would be the "biggest commitment" Meyer has landed would seem a bit over the top... but that's strictly an opinion and nothing more. I realize he's a four star player FROM SEC COUNTRY, but per Rivals he is, essentially, the same player Jayme Thompson is. I'm not, to be very clear, arguing with anything the staff (i.e. Alex) has posted on here. Not in the least. I'm just wondering why a player who is recognized by Rivals as a top 11, four star safety (Thompson is rated the 18th best safety) is seemingly more coveted by the staff and most posters on this site than anyone Ohio State has signed in Meyer's two (almost complete) recruiting classes??? Again, just asking a question. I would love for another 4 star player to commit to OSU, and specifically Bell as apparently he's a tremendous upgrade over Thompson... or so it seems based on what I read on here.

NYCBuckeye's picture

He probably doesn't seem as coveted is because he is already committed. The nature of recruiting for fans is to talk about the rollercoaster of who is still being pursued by the staff, rather than who we already have in the fold.
Fact is, we lose 2 safeties after this year, and Bogard and Murray are coming off ACL injuries. I, along with everyone else, am extremely happy to have Thompson in the class--but you can never have too much depth. Our secondary will need it.

buckatron32's picture

Bell isn't currently committed anywhere. In regards to the original question about why Bell is so important, I would trust both the coaching staff, who want Bell really bad, and the staff at this wonderful site over sites such as Rivals. Bell is a big time prospect, and it would be huge to grab a player from the South away from the grips of Nick Saban and Alabama. 
*saw you were talking about Thompson, not Bell. My bad. 

Crimson's picture

247 has him as the 25th best player in the country and 3rd best safety.  The 247 composite (which seems to be the new go to measure) has him as 45th in the country and 5th best safety.  Scout has him as the #2 safety.  He's pure stud.
Compare that to Thompson: 228/19 by 247 and 227/16 composite.  Basically, the ranking you saw of Bell is the worst of the 4 recruiting services, and the one for Thompson was average.

woodi19's picture

Rivals will also come out with another revised set of rankings before signing day, and I would be willing to bet that Vonn will receive a major jump after practices and his showing at the UA game.

BuckeyeAsylum's picture

I'm going to put this very simple... Do not overrate rankings. Plenty of 3 stars have proven to be INCREDIBLE players. Plenty of 5 stars have left fan bases confused and bewildered. These are rough guidelines for where a player is NOW, not where they will develop in the next 3-4 years under a higher level college programs vs HS funded programs.

Rankings are a guideline, don't let them cement you into one spot/opinion.

I have been following recruiting for two years, FAR too intensely now... After Urban has come in, I get a little confused when I see us taking a 3* in a position we seemed to have filled pretty heavily... But then I go to myself, "Urban Meyer, he knows a significantly higher amount of information than I can possibly know and he also has proven success. Shudap and sit down, you're stupid."

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

"I have been following recruiting for two years, FAR too intensely now... "
That fucking made me laugh out loud. I'm with you and, if my wife has her way, we can share a therapist and cut costs.

BuckeyeAsylum's picture

So far my GF, future wife, hasn't gotten as into it. But I started off with her being anti-Buckeye(due to exposure to the worst of our fan base and couldn't stand their attitudes.) Now she's come around to being a fan of gameday and hopefully will get into recruiting a little bit. :D

Also, rofl for the -1 down vote on my post.

buckatron32's picture

After reading all of the recruiting breakdowns, including this one, I always come to the same conclusion: the silver bullets are going to dominate the B1G for years to come. 

partisan's picture

Looks like 2/10 is going to be a crazy weekend too.  Georgia invading Columbus

AFBuckeye's picture

Hear that Corey Smith, WR, Akron Buchtel / EMCC JUCO transfer, All NJCAA Region 23 is visiting this weekend as well.  Supposedly has a commitable offer.  Also hear he may have psuedo-committed to Miss St.  My brother, coach at EMCC, says he is the real deal.  Best route runner he has possibly ever seen with great hands and wheels.  Be nice to bring Ohio talent back home.

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.”  

LouGroza's picture

Have an upvote for some good inside info!

Alex's picture

Looks like Corey IS visiting this weekend...Bill Greene apparently reporting what you told us...Smith is "committed to Miss St" but with a Buckeye green light to commit I think he's coming home

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I believe this is a really good thing...  Even tho Smith could possibly take Timmons/Elder scholly, I think we need an experienced WR who can step in and play right away. 

osubuckeye4life's picture

I'm hoping for some good news grey boxes soon after the visits. 
If Meyer can land Bell this weekend that is HUGE! 

zbd's picture

Just wondering who the "attrition" players could be. If we have only one scholarship left, who will be pushed on to another campus to get the 3 or 4 extra signing openings?

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

Check the "possible transfer update" thread.  It lists some players that might be leaving.

harleymanjax's picture

If Bell goes to Bama I'm gonna rip Saban's face off like a bath salt zombie!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

LouGroza's picture

And it is fantastic that we will have a sixty degree weekend as opposed to say, a fifteen degree weekend in January. Couldn't have worked out better.

3technique's picture

Meyer is so good at recruiting that he can make it warmer in Columbus when souther kids visit.. Now that is getting it done!

gobucks96's picture

Getting webb from up north would be a dagger equal to Kalis in my mind. Mich needs playmakers badly and if they cannot get one from Case Tech, the questions will start to mount up north on the coaching staff.