Whenever you land a commitment from a player you've actively and aggressively recruited for over a year, it's a good day. When you land a commitment from said player and beat out Notre Dame and Michigan, it becomes an even better day. That's what today is for Buckeye fans as Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary star Dante Booker finally pledged to the Buckeyes.
Booker, Ohio State's ninth commitment in their 2014 recruiting class, is ranked as the second best player in the state of Ohio and gives the Buckeyes commitments from three of the state's top four, joining offensive lineman Marcelys Jones of Cleveland Glenville (3rd) and SV-SM teammate and athlete Parris Campbell (4th). He also becomes the sixth commitment overall from the state of Ohio to choose the Buckeyes, an important element as Urban Meyer and his staff look to seal any potential leaks in the border caused by Brady Hoke's nine-man Ohio haul from a year ago.
Linebacker has been a major focus for Ohio State this year, they've offered 17 of them, and Booker becomes the second pure linebacker in a class that should finish with four of them; fellow northeast Ohio star, St. Ignatius LB Kyle Berger, committed to Ohio State in April.
Booker is listed as the 4th best outside linebacker in the country according to 247Sports.com, and he brings speed and depth to a position that the Buckeyes are in need of both. With the possible (likely?) departure of Ohio State Ryan Shazier to the NFL following the 2013 season, Ohio State will look for Booker to fill on special teams and compete for early playing time at linebacker.
6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Booker is a dynamic playmaker on the defensive side of the ball where he employs excellent lateral movement and high-level straight-ahead speed from any of the three linebacker positions. His father was a former Auburn Tiger and the lineage has served the linebacker, who is as quiet off the field as he is disruptive on it, extremely well. He will immediately provide help to Ohio State's front seven and could eventually end up playing with his hand on the ground, although that's not entirely likely.
Ohio State will now turn their attention at linebacker to a pair of out-of-state targets, Georgia's Raekwon McMillan and Pennsylvania star Chase Winovich, both of whom are very high on the Buckeyes. Neither McMillan nor Winovich is likely to be impacted by today's commitment, as both are well aware of their role in Ohio State's plans.