As Ohio State's football season came to an end last night, the focus turns to the future and it was on full display in San Antonio this afternoon at the US Army All-American Bowl.
Seven future Buckeyes headed into the game, but nine exited it as Cleveland Glenville teammates Erick Smith and Marshon Lattimore became the 20th and 21st commitments in Ohio State's highly-ranked 2014 recruiting class. They join another Tarblooder and East teammate, two-way lineman Marcelys Jones as Ohio State commitments.
While the commitments and declarations are what draws the TV viewers and webpage hits, the game itself is an excellent exhibition that highlights the nation's best players and gives them an opportunity to shine on a stage unlike any other in their careers up to this point.
Today it was the West team, adorned in highlighter yellow and led by two quarterbacks very familiar to Buckeye recruitniks, Arizona's Kyle Allen and Kentucky star Drew Barker, that stood tall. The East was unable to find any offensive continuity in their week of practices and the West relied on the dynamic running of future Oregon Duck Royce Freeman (three scores) and new Oklahoma commitment Joe Mixon (one score) to take home the victory, 28-6.
While seven of the nine Buckeye commitments on-hand were on the losing side, they were undoubtedly the brightest talents on the East side, especially Smith, who showed not only that he was capable in pass coverage but also excels in run support, constantly sticking his nose into the fray and collecting tackle after tackle.
On the other side of the East defense was Lattimore, and while the East came up short, the defensive back play by Lattimore, Smith and another future Buckeye, Curtis Samuel, was excellent all day, holding the nation's best quarterback to no touchdowns. Norfolk (Va.) defensive end Jalyn Holmes stood out for the East as well, he collected a sack and forced a fumble in the first half and disrupted Allen and Barker much of the afternoon.
In the second half, Holmes scooped up an Allen fumble and showed elite speed for a defensive end, racing 60 yards down the field and into the endzone, putting the East team on the scoreboard, but an excessive celebration penalty negated the score. Georgia commitment Sony Michel benefited scoring the East's first touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Although there were nine Ohio State commitments in the game, the Buckeyes are still hoping to add a few more from a handful of talented players, including Coppell (Texas) defensive end Solomon Thomas, who dominated much of the day in a starring role for the victorious West team.
Here the final list of all commitments made during the game.
Brian Wallace, OT, St. Louis (Mo.) Christian Brothers College - Arkansas
Jamil Kamara, Virginia Beach (Va.) Bishop Sullivan Catholic - Virginia
Dwight Williams, LB, Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra - UCLA
Erick Smith, S, Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville - Ohio State
Frank Iheanacho, WR, Houston (Texas) Westside - Texas A&M
Bryce Dixon, TE, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure - USC
Nyles Morgan, LB, Crete (Ill.) Monee - Notre Dame
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville - Ohio State
Joe Mixon, RB, Oakley (Calif.) Freedom - Oklahoma