Ohio's Best: The Top 10 Class of 2014 Football Players in the Buckeye State

By Miles Joseph on May 14, 2013 at 4:30p
Where does Campbell fall in the top 10?

While the crop of talent in the state of Ohio may not be considered as talented as last year's batch, it's still loaded with players who will make a big impact on fall Saturdays.

The class includes players who can play all over the football field and with more pure athletes in the top ten than we've seen in the past couple of years. While there will be nearly 100 prospects in this class who will go on to play Division I football, some players stand above the rest.

A couple of weeks ago we broke down the top remaining undecided players in the state of Ohio. Today we are going to take a look at who the top ten class of 2014 prospects in the Buckeye State.

These rankings will take into account overall talent and the player's potential/upside to improve their game. 

So, without further ado, I present the top 10 prospects in Ohio's class of 2014.

10. Athlete Dareian Watikins, Galion (Northwestern)

Watkins kicks off our countdown to number one, checking in a number ten in the rankings. The Galion product committed to the Northwestern Wildcats a week ago over offers from 20 other schools, and could play all over the field for them.

He has played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, linebacker, and defensive back at the high school level, excelling whereever his coaches decide to stick him him. Galion doesn't play very good competition due to the size of the school, but that doesn't mean Watkins isn't a top talent in the state.

9. Safety Erick Smith, Cleveland Glenville (Undecided)

Smith is a very good safety who has the chance to excel at the college level. He has kept his intentions very close to the vest, so we haven't heard too much about him. When I was at the Best of the Midwest Combine in Indianapolis a couple of months ago, Smith was one of the players who impressed me the most.

I've been consistent in my belief that Ohio State leads for his services.

8. Athlete Sam Hubbard, Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller (Ohio State)

Hubbard is another one of the many versatile athletes in the state of Ohio in this class. He wasn't considered a top football recruit until this year when he recorded 80 tackles, 7 for loss, to go along with 2 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles.

He committed to play lacrosse for Notre Dame, but things changed when the Buckeyes offered him a chance to play football at the Shoe. He is an extremely athletic for his size (6-foot-5 and 225 pounds) and could play tight end, defensive end, linebacker, "STAR", or safety for the Bucks. His upside is tremendous, to say the least.

7. Offensive Tackle Kyle Trout, Lancaster (Ohio State)

I have Trout ranked as the top offensive linemen in the state of Ohio in this class and the only one who breaks in to the top 10. Trout's "college- ready," 6-foot-6, 300-pound frame could aid him in landing early playing time once he arrives in Columbus.

His work recruiting for his class should not be overlooked, either.

6. Derek Kief, Cincinnati La Salle (Undecided) 

Kief already has the size (6-5/200) to come in to a college, develop, and eventually become a legitimate number one receiver at the next level.

He caught 65 balls for 907 yards and 9 scores last year and will look to improve upon last year's success in his senior season. Right now I think Kief will end up playing his college ball for Kentucky or Ohio State.

5. Linebacker Kyle Berger, Cleveland St. Ignatius (Ohio State)

Berger had his breakout season for St. Ignatius last year tallying 44 tackles for loss to go along with 10 sacks. He has the ability to keep getting better and better as he develops and should be a great fit at the outside linebacker spot for the Buckeyes.

4. Linebacker Michael Ferns, St. Clairesville (Michigan)

While Ferns might not play against the strongest competition, he is easily one of the state's best. At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Ferns already possess the frame to succeed at the college level and that frame will only improve once he begins strength training in Ann Arbor.

He has tallied over 130 tackles in each of his last two seasons and will look to match that or improve upon it this year. Expect him to fight his way onto the field early for Michigan.

Lattimore is Ohio's best in 2014

3. Linebacker Dante Booker Jr., St. Vincent-St Mary (Undecided)

Booker is a very athletic linebacker who could excel on the outside at the college level. At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, Booker probably needs to add some bulk to his frame for fall Saturdays, but that's more of a question of when, not if.

Football is in his blood as his dad, Dante Sr., played football for Auburn. The St. Vincent-St. Mary star posted 72 tackles, 6 sacks, and 2 interceptions last year while leading his team to a state championship.  I think Booker will be a very good outside linebacker for Ohio State or Notre Dame.

2. Athlete Parris Campbell, Akron St. Vincent-St Mary (Ohio State) 

Some People might think this is a little too high for Campbell, but, in my opinion, his raw talent is too good to put him any lower on this list.

He is probably the fastest football recruit in the state and could end up playing running back, wide receiver, or corner for the Buckeyes. He's young – he'll be only 16 years old during his senior season – and as such, likely has the highest ceiling of any prospect in this class.

1. Athlete Marshon Lattimore, Cleveland Glenville (Undecided) 

Lattimore is the rare prospect who could star on either side of the ball in college. I personally like him the most at corner, but he could also be an elite slot receiver at the next level.

When I saw him live at the Best of the Midwest Combine in February I was blown away by his skills on both sides of the ball. I can pretty confidently say he's Ohio's best in the 2014 class.

If I had to call it right now, I would say he'll be staying in-state to play his college ball for the Buckeyes.

Just Missed

Offensive Guard Jimmy Byrne, Cleveland St. Ignatius (Notre Dame)
I really like Byrne as a player. The big thing keeping him out of the top ten is his inability to play tackle at the next level. 

Offensive Guard Marcelys Jones, Cleveland Glenville (Ohio State)
Jones has been really impressive at camps, but can't player tackle and needs to shed some weight.

Quarterback Deshone Kizer, Toledo Central Catholic (Undecided)
Kizer's athletic ability is off the charts, he needs to refine his passing mechanics to take the next step.


Comments Show All Comments

Northbrook's picture

Parris Campbell is committed to tOSU. A small point in an excellent article.

DallasTheologian's picture

I believe Parris is a commit.

moopdawg's picture

I really appreciate these write ups.  I'm  always pulling for Ohio kids, hoping that they get a Buckeye offer.  And even if they don't, I like to follow up on them and hope they continue to represent our state and be successful.  Thanks!!

DMcDougal24's picture

I can't wait to go watch St. V. play this fall. Jeremy do you think Newman Williams will get any big offers?

tdible2132's picture

Think Marcelys Jones could really prove he belongs on this list if he continues to dominate camps and has a really good senior season!  Nice list overall, and I wish other sites outside of Scout and 247 would give Parris Campbell his due like you have!  He's no 3 star IMO.  He's a nightmare matchup down the road, and like you said he'll only be 17 when he's gets to OSU!  I have to think he'll redshirt so that he can mature and gain some weight though.  We'll be just fine with him redshirted as we already have a ton of exciting playmakers joining the fold from last class.

cinserious's picture

Once Parris plays his senior season, Rivals et, all will be forced to respect him. The are just scared of how young he is, but results on the field will not be denied.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Colonel Quaritch's picture

Kind of surprised Ethan Wolf isn't in the top 10 with his offer list and being a top 10 TE.

"The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me." 

UrbzRenewal's picture

Not sure how you think it's surprising...he's a composite three star ranked somewhere between 10-20 among top tight ends. Scout is really the only one with him as a top ten TE. I wouldn't even put him in the "just missed it category". Mid level talent is deep in Ohio this year, it's not really top heavy (like VA/GA).

JYBUCKEYE's picture

Saying Watkins competition isn't very good because of the size of his school is unfair.  Galion is in the same division as Akron St. V's.  They actually play in a pretty good conference.  

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Nice article.  Good to hear that we have 4 of these great players, with 2 or possibly 3 more coming to OSU.  Glad to hear that we have a strong Ohio and Midwest concentration this year.  Of course I like Urban's view that he will go after the elite athlete where ever they may be.  Good to see we are picking up a lot of Ohio guys early! 
Go Bucks!

45buckshot's picture

I like the love for Kizer, any chance you think he gets an tOSU offer?

“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

Buckeyefan52's picture

I'm no expert so take it FWIW, but I'm from the Toledo area and buddy of mne who is close to the family is pretty convinced he's Notre Dame bound. Right after Gunnar Kiel transferred, Kizer supposedly received a call from them saying they're interested and an offer is possible. If he is offered by them, my money is one Kizer to South Bend. Otherwise, I thing MSU or Northwestern are the most likely places.

As for the Buckeyes, I think there is mutual disinterest. I like the qbs we've offered so far though and we are in great shape at the position. Just sharing some info I've heard so as I said earlier, take it for what it's worth.

45buckshot's picture

Bummer. Oh well. I like Darlington but I'd prefer an Ohio kid in the mix as well... Seems a better fit at NW than either of the others, but I think they just took a QB also...

“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

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

It would be nice to land all of the undecided's left on that list.  I think we have a real possibility to do it too. 

osubuck57's picture

Lattimore and Booker are the big 2,can't miss guys.Would like Smith and Kief,but we're still in on some BIG WRs,so Kief isn't a must get ,yet!!lol Would still like to bring him on board with Lonnie though.


cinserious's picture

If I had to call it right now, I would say he'll be staying in-state to play his college ball

You called it right, Lattimore stayes in Ohio, but suits up for the Bearcats. Haha, just kiddin'. This beast of an athelete is OSU all the way! No need to wander off with what Urbz is building here. Quit tribbin'

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.