Signing Day Dreamin': Offense

By Jeremy Birmingham on May 12, 2013 at 7:00p

There are only 268 short days until one of my favorite days of the year. A day that is full of presents and surprise announcements and news - both good and bad - that shapes the future for those you love. 

Glenville's Jones was the first 2014 commitment for Ohio StateMarcelys Jones started the Buckeye 2014 class off right.

Of course, I am talking about national signing day. Next year, on February 5th, there will be somewhere between 17-25 current high school juniors (or maybe junior college football student-athletes) that take the next steps in their football careers by putting pen to ink with the intention of becoming the next wave of Buckeye greats. Eight of those players have presumably already made a verbal commitment to Ohio State to join their class, and those seven have gotten the Buckeyes off to a great start for 2014.

As I've gotten older, I've realized (most unfortunately) that time seems to go faster and faster with every passing year. So much can change from one day to the next, let alone week-to-week or month-to-month.  It is with a grain of salt then that I present to you, our faithful and dear 11W readers, my thoughts on how Ohio State's offensive 2014 class will finish up. 

These are prognostications based on the best available information that I currently have, and are most certainly likely to evolve as the days go by. Other guesses - and make no mistake, even the best recruiting analyst is guessing - are most certainly going to come down the line.

Without further adieu, here's what I see come February, position-by-position, starting with the offense. You'll notice that at each position I've listed multiple players, with the player I feel is most likely to join the class listed first, and it filling in subsequently based on if the Buckeyes "miss." Current commitments are listed in red, and the players in green represent the players I feel Ohio State has the best chance of landing. Other players, in black font are the "next" group. You'll notice that I've taken the liberty of moving a few players - like commitments Parris Campbell and Sam Hubbard - into the position that I feel they end up playing at Ohio State. That, of course could change based on what the staff sees, other signees, etc.

Take a look after the jump.


First, a look at how things are lining up. Highlighted in yellow are commits, bold but not highlighted are strong leans.

2014 Recruiting Class - Offense
Zack Darlington Myles Autry Parris Campbell Sam Hubbard Marcelys Jones
Kyle Allen Derrell Scott Lonnie Johnson Garrett Dickerson Kyle Trout
Brandon Harris Jonathan Hilliman Saeed Blacknall Tyler Luatua Jamarco Jones
DeShaun Watson Corey Avery Curtis Samuel   Chad Mavety
Jerrod Heard   Mark Andrews   Alex Bookser
    Austin Roberts   Demetrius Knox
    Derek Kief   Jermaine Eluemunor
    Demarre Kitt    


Curtis Samuel has the Buckeyes attentionCurtis Samuel has Ohio State's attention.

At quarterback, the Buckeyes will hope to land a pledge from Kyle Allen or Brandon Harris before the end of June, but I don't think Harris will leave the south and while the Buckeye offer reopened Allen's eyes and stoked his interest in Ohio State, I don't see him in Columbus. If he does make a return trip to see Ohio State this summer, all bets are off. 

"Umm...Jeremy? I see Deshaun Watson on your list. Have you had a bit too much to drink today?"

Watson, and Jerrod Heard will be on this list of mine until February 5th, 2014. They are two players that the Buckeyes would take no matter what and as someone told me a few days ago.

"It's a long shot, but so was Dontre Wilson."

Running Back

Currently, I do not see the Buckeyes adding a running back to this class, although if a player like Myles Autry or Derrell Scott wanted in, then that changes. The Buckeyes will only take a tailback if he's an all-purpose, game-changing running back. They have great depth at the position and the 2015 class is loaded with high-level talents that already hold Buckeye offers.

Hilliman has an offer from Alabama, and Ohio State is working hard to make in-roads in New Jersey and is an excellent three down back, but is he worth a spot and a shot at players like Jacques Patrick, Mike Weber, Eli Brown or Jordan Scarlett in 2015? Is Corey Avery, with his low center-of-gravity and excellent first step? I don't think so. 

Wide Receiver

Parris Campbell is young, one of the youngest players in the country for the 2014 class and his game is big, he's going to be the type of player who will grow and get bigger and stronger. Already at 6-foot-1, 180-pounds, Campbell's frame is custom built for wide receiver so that's where I see him ending up. Who will join him?

The Buckeyes added their first PURE wide receiver in the 2014 class just two hours ago, when Gary (Ind.) wide receiver Lonnie Johnson finally committed to the Buckeyes after months of speculation. With Johnson in the fold, the Buckeyes will likely take two more wide receivers from a pretty talented group of possibilities.

Ohio State has seen their name at or near the top of the list for Demarre Kitt for months, but when the Georgia product makes his decision in early June, I fully expect him to choose to stay closer home, picking the Tigers of Clemson. Austin Roberts had decided to make a commitment in early May, but as new offers have rolled him, he and his family have rolled back that date to an as of now undecided time. Mark Andrews was very impressed by Ohio State, but the same can be said for any of his visits and Arizona is a long way from Ohio; without Allen in the class for the Buckeyes, I don't see Andrews, either. 

It was recently noted that Saeed Blacknall had the Buckeyes, who he's not visited, near the top of his list with LSU, where he has. Another New Jersey native, Blacknall will visit the Buckeyes this summer and it's hard to imagine that he will get anything but the absolute full-court press from the Buckeye staff. 

Derek Kief has seemingly been on "commitment watch" since he received his offer from Ohio State, but something has kept him from making his choice up to this point. With today's addition, I feel that Kief is likely the guy left on the outside looking in, and I think he'll end up at Kentucky, possibly in June.

The third and final addition as I see it is New York's Curtis Samuel, a recent invite to Nike's prestigious "The Opening" football camp in Oregon. While he currently plays tailback at Erasmus High School in Brooklyn, Samuel will fill a similar role to the one Dontre Wilson will play this year for Ohio State, splitting time between the backfield and the slot and possibly lining up one the outside or returning kicks. If Samuel decides elsewhere, I think that Indianapolis wideout Terry McLaurin is a name Buckeye fans could end up hearing much more about.

Tight End

I know that most people see Sam Hubbard's profiles across the internet and see DE or maybe even OLB, but as I look at his skill-set I can't help but see the type of tight end that Urban Meyer looks for. He's big, he's fast and very athletic, and on top of that it's more than likely he adds 25 pounds to his 6-foot-6 frame before he reaches Columbus. If he can do that and keep his speed, he'll be a nightmare matchup as a flex tight end. 

If a prospect like La Mirada (Calif.) high school's Tyler Luatua, who seems to have a scholarship offer from every school in the country, wants "in" then he's "in" and Hubbard could find himself back on the other side of the ball. Garrett Dickerson, another New Jersey prospect has listed the Buckeyes as a favorite recently as well, but whether or not he's got the type of speed the Buckeyes are looking for at the position is up for debate.

Offensive Line

In all honesty, this is without a doubt the single most important "piece" of the Ohio State 2014 recruiting efforts. The Buckeyes 2013 class was one of the best in the school's history, but it only produced two offensive lineman. This year's class needs to see five, and maybe even six.

Marcelys Jones was the first commitment in the 2014 class, unusual for a Glenville product, and his off-season has proved the Buckeyes wise. He's been tearing up the camp circuit and has been active Buckeye recruiter. Lancaster's Kyle Trout has taken charge of the class and is leading the recruiting efforts from within, but the Buckeyes will need more than just these two for the 2014 haul to be a success.

There are a number of key players along the line for the Buckeyes, and it appears they are in good shape to land a number of them. Chicago's Jamarco Jones makes his decision at the end of June, and most accounts have him still leaning towards Ohio State, just ahead of Michigan and Notre Dame. Chad Mavety is an aggressive JUCO from Nassau Community College in Garden City (N.Y) and the Buckeyes have stayed in his ear for a while now, talking "almost every day" according to Mavety. A chance at early playing time in Columbus, along a line that will lose four seniors before he enrolls, might be enough to push him the Buckeyes way. Mavety would be a big "win" with offers from Alabama, Florida State and Oklahoma as well as many others.

Alex Bookser is the final player that I currently have joining the Buckeyes offense for 2014, but ultimately that could depend on Demetrius Knox. Knox, the former Texas commitment is high on Ohio State and vice versa, but he plans on waiting until January to make a decision. Ohio State, UCLA and Florida State are working hard to get Knox on board, and I think the Buckeyes might need some assurances before January in order for him to have a spot.


Comments Show All Comments

steensn's picture

Do you Lattimore as a D or O guy? Obviously there is mixed review with more pushing the D side lately. I noticed you left him out, on purpose?

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

I see him on the defensive side of the ball, and that's why he's not on this list. I will do the defensive projections next week.

oregonianbuckeye's picture

Awesome overview, Jeremy. Thanks for all of your great work. I know May can be a down month in recruiting, but this article and others have kept 11W interesting and on point. Keep up the great work, and know that we appreciate it!

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Thanks a lot. I appreciate the feedback always, the good and the bad.

buckeyeguy0615's picture

I personally think Marshon Lattimore is just a mystery. Reports were coming out a month ago that he wanted to be a Chris Gamble and play both sides of the ball. I think it just depends if he can keep up with all the playmakers we're bringing in on offense.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Lattimore could very well play offense or defense, I just think he'll start on the defensive side of things.

Buckeyefan52's picture

Chris Gamble anyone?

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Great recruiting breakdown Jeremy.  I was glad to hear that we got number 8 today after such a long wait!  The pieces are coming together.  I agree that National Signing Day is one of the most exciting times of the year.  Many games are won or lost based on the talent that is recruited.  Of course hard work, coaching and team chemistry/determination is all needed to make a well talented team great.  I feel like we are well on our way!
Go Bucks!!

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Buckeye fans are very blessed to have had the coaches leading the charge that we've had! Tressel and now Meyer absolutely get it.

buckguyfan1's picture

Good stuff Jeremy.
I guess if this offensive class looks like this next Feb. we should be happy that we filled our "needs".  We got a little spoiled with the 2013 crop of potential stars.  Yet these guys look pretty awesome on film now that I think about it.  Will be interesting to see how their senior years unfold.  Look forward to your Defensive projections next week.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Thanks, I appreciate it. 

I think that's an important thing to mention - last year's class was SO good that this year's class might seem a bit underwhelming. The key is the offensive line. That's how success wll be measured.

tdible2132's picture

Could not agree more about us being beyond spoiled with last years class all around.  Obviously the jury is still out, but I think we'll be hard pressed to top that class anytime soon.  It will all depend on the future success we have on the field though.  If we manage to win that Natty this year or next, then the 2015 class could be the one.  Especially considering that many experts think the state of Ohio will be VERY good to the Buckeyes and that many believe the 2015 prospects in Ohio are going to be really good.

Northbrook's picture

Nice list. I think you are pretty dialed in on who will fill out the O class. Only thing I'd have different is one less WR.

tdible2132's picture

Thanks for all your hard work Jeremy!  If this is how the offensive side plays out, although highly unlikely as you said, then I'd grade the offensive recruits at a B+ overall.  I'd give that grade because it would be very solid especially at filling the OL need, but lacks that bang that many thought this class would surely have.  It would be a very solid all around offensive class, but lacks big time guys (5 stars).  Overall, I'd be satisfied if this is how it played out.  Still, I don't think I could quite give it a grade in the A range.  To be honest, I'm still confident that we will finish off this class better than you have predicted on the offensive side.  I think we'll get a big time recruit that nobody expects at this point.  Perhaps a guy like Trevion Thompson or Damian Prince.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

There's always a chance a guy like Prince gets involved, but as it stands now, he's not a player I'd anticipate in this class.

Buckeyeneer's picture

I think filling our needs is more important than having another A or A+ class. If we take care of the O-line, the wide receivers, and the LBs on defense, I will be one happy camper. Everything else is just gravy.
Thanks for the breakdown, Jeremy.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

buckguyfan1's picture

Hubbard could be a nasty weapon at TE.............. Sorry, I just envisioned a goal line play action pass thrown to him and the linebacker asked the REF if he could climb on his shoulders to try get to the ball. 

tdible2132's picture

This is a bit off topic Jeremy, but have you heard how Chase Winovich's visit to Michigan went this weekend?  Still expect him to be a Buckeye?

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Hoping to talk to Chase a bit tonight. As of now all I can say is that he's not committed to Michigan, and that's a good sign.

weimerad's picture

Jeremy just a couple things to throw your way and then get your comments: 
1) Zack Darlington as the QB commit? Really? I'm just not sold on the kid and I feel he's the #4 QB on the list of preference. I know it's been said that its pretty much first come first serve with who commits first but I really hope the staff is pushing hard for a commitment from Allen. And tat would certainly help with Andrews as well
2) I just don't see Campbell as a WR. He says he wants a chance to play RB so that would give him 2 years to bulk up and also get on the Mariotti workouts. 
3) I believe Samuel is being recruited as an ATH and would figure out where he will fit at a later time so that would still allow for 2 more true WRs. I still think Kief will be a part of this class with the other being Andrews, Blacknall or even Trevion Thompson. He could be the sleeper pick especially if Kitt chooses Clemson 
4) I think Hubbard will stay on the Defensive side of the ball. Therefore I think they will get one of Roberts, Dickerson or Luatua with Roberts as most likely to commit
5) I can't see the staff taking Bookser with Prince, Knox and Eluemenor as real possibilities. And I also think Knox won't go all the way until NSD. I think he will decide sooner and it's in the favor of OSU. He's been tweeting a lot of positive things about OSU lately and has gotten closer to some OSU commits 

TheBadOwl's picture

I'm not an expert by any means, but here's my reply to this:
1) Between Allen and Darlington, whoever commits first gets in. I think Jeremy's rationale here is that Darlington is less likely to draw out the process. Also, he's a VERY underrated quarterback. Go watch the film, he kid is a beast. I'd be happy with either one of them, but the possibility of Allen and Andrews is really tempting.
2) Campbell actually has said that the staff has told him they're looking at him as more of a receiver now. He definitely has the size and speed to play that role. He also said that he is a team-first guy and will play wherever the staff wants him to. Regardless, he'll be a beast.
3) Personally, I see Samuel in the role Jeremy mentioned, but I think he has the speed to play on the outside for sure. In his video from one of the NFTC's, he was really, really good at breaking away from press coverage. He's athletic enough to play all over the field, but I see one of him or Campbell in the hybrid role, with the other sticking on the outside. Of course, if the staff wants Lattimore on offense, that could change.
4) I haven't seen enough video on Hubbard to say whether or not I think he should be offense or defense (I'm also admittedly not qualified), but from what I've seen and heard, he will be good enough to play either tight end or defensive end. I think that Roberts could definitely end up here, and if Allen wants to commit, Andrews could follow. Both are WR/TE hybrids, but would need to bulk up to play the H-Back in this system. To me, it's too early to say, but if we get one/both of those guys, I think Hubbard sticks on defense.
5) The staff REALLY wants Bookser. I think that, unless Knox shocks everyone and picks us early, we'll end up with Bookser. Also, seeing as Knox's stock has been rising, and he seemingly has a ton of interest in coming here, maybe we take him late, and end up with 6 OL's in this class. Mavety will only have two years of eligibility left, and should be the most likely to start from day 1, so I think it's a possibility that we take 6, depending on attrition. We'll have a better idea after the season for sure.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

You're close on almost all counts. I put Darlington in the class not because the staff wants him more or less, but because of the three that have offers he's the one I think is most likely to commit to Ohio State.


Samuel has told me directly that the staff sees him as a slot type player, so that's why he's in that role.

45buckshot's picture

I like Darlington, I watched his film and he looks like the best fit to me. Allen isn't the runner we probably need and Harris might turn out better but is way more raw (and a bit of a potshot) right now. On film Darlington looks like exactly what we need: he doesn't have the blazing speed like BM but he runs with authority and has the easiest throwing motion of a HS QB I've seen in a long time. He can barely step into a throw and still launch a laser... I like him, I think we're good ;)

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton

dbit's picture

And I thought when a few of the recruiting gurus of 11W left, we'd be lacking on recruiting info...  
Boy was I wrong.  Fantastic stuff, Jeremy

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Thank you, definitely trying to fill some large shoes.

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

If we land Demetrious Knox, do you see the staff taking Daniel Gresham if he tries to commit also?  Even tho they say they aren't a package deal, I see them wanting to play college ball together.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Gresham is a nice player, but I can't imagine he ends up at Ohio State as a matter of a "package" deal. Allen/Andrews package deal? Yes. Gresham/Knox? No. If the staff wouldn't offer Bushell-Beatty to try and lure Jabrill Peppers, arguably the best player in the country, then I don't anticipate them attempting to secure Knox with a fullback, even if he's a darn good one.

Hovenaut's picture

More offseason goodness, muchas gracias Jeremy.

Extra bonus points for calling Darlington as the QB pick, think this kid has legit "it" factor/moxie. Would love to see him in Columbus. I have no problem with Allen or Harris (or Watson or Heard), just have a feeling Darlington commits.

Bookser is kind of surprise, although I'd prefer Knox I think Eulemenor winds up filling out the o-line commitments.

Like what I've read about Hubbard, think he has a legit future at TE. While he'd make a great tandem with Baugh, him splitting the position could also force him to defense - or worse yet, committing elsewhere.

osubuck57's picture

Only offensive surprise was that we might de-value Kief.Thought we were higher on him than some of the others.But have been seeing a lot of stuff on Samuel liking us quite a bit and Blacknall,would love to get him,but will be a hard pull away from LSU.Just my opinion.Love all the potential O-linemen we have a good shot on as well.And also agree with your Hubbard assessment,TE might just be his spot.
Jeremy,whats your feeling on Austin Roberts??He seems like another kid high on us,and could also be used at an H-back/TE position.Could change where Hubbard plays if we accepted his commitment,would it not??Great article.Looking forward to your Defensive one next week!!


Triv's picture

I don't think Blacknall would be hard to pull from LSU, seeing as Ohio is a lot closer to NJ than Louisiana. Also, not Jeremy but I think Andrews only comes if Allen does, and even then its not a given. Urban will play Hubbard where he thinks he's best fit.
Side note: does your spacebar not work after punctuation or do you do that on purpose?

Sorry Urban, Woody is still my favorite

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

I think Hubbard's ultimate position gets decided based on who else commits. Three weeks ago, I thought Roberts/Kief/Kitt at WR - this is the nature of recruiting. Totally fluid. 

tdible2132's picture

Is it sad that I am officially a recruiting addict and not afraid to say it? I can't imagine a day where I don't hop on 11W to hear the latest recruiting news/buzz. At least I can admit to it, right?? 

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

It's a tough life, but I hope we can keep feeding your addiction in a suitable fashion.

Buckabroad's picture

Hi Jeremy,
I want to thank you for your excellent and diligent work which I, as always, greatly enjoyed reading. I agree with you that Hubbard as TD would have a devastating impact on offense and I too think he may end up at that position (depending on how recruiting develops).
I was a bit surprised to read that you think Kief will be out. 247 seems to be leaning in this direction, too. While Blacknall would be an awesome recruit I would love to have, most still project him to LSU. Especially if that scenario materializes, to me Kief would be a "must get". Do you feel his interest in OSU is waning, or do you think the staff simply is pursuing other options?

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

Buckeye Born's picture

I like your take on recruiting prospects except for Sam Hubbard. I think he sees himself as a game-breaking stud middle linebacker. The question is: How will the Buckeye coaching staff evaluate his best potential contribution? Will Luke Fickell argue to keep him at linebacker? Wouldn't it be great to have another monster in the middle of the Buckeye defense? But perhaps it's just wishful thinking on my part. [201]


Northbrook's picture

Jeremy, what are you hearing about Sharpe the OT from Fla?

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I'm on the Curtis Samuel bandwagon. Loving him more and more.

From that list i'd love to get:

Curtis Samuel
Tyler Luatua
Brandon Harris
Demarre Kitt
Saeed Blacknall
Derek Kief
Demetrius Knox
Jamarco Jones
Chad Mavety
Myles Autry(it could also help with Carter)

Terry McLaurin should be talked about more. He looks really good.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

chirobuck's picture

I think this is the best part of the article
"Marcelys Jones was the first commitment in the 2014 class, unusual for a Glenville product, and his off-season has proved the Buckeyes wise. He's been tearing up the camp circuit and has been active Buckeye recruiter."
I really didn't know much about this guy other than he wasn't really highly rated, I know this early a lot of guys have not been propely evaluated, but I was a little worried that his offer was just because we are desperite for O lineman and want to keep the glenville pipeline/help us with lattimore.  To hear that he is "tearing up the camp circuit" is wonderful news!!!!


^ best post ever ^

chirobuck's picture

Also whats happened with Kitt is crazy.....I thought he was not only going to be in the class but one who was helping with recruiting


^ best post ever ^

Obuck's picture

Jeremy - Not to be the word police but the incorrect use of adieu, as in your line "without further adieu", instead of ado is all too common.
Ado: time-wasting bother over trivial details.  Adieu: "Goodbye" in French.
This certainly doesn't mean the article was not very informative and well done. It was.