Football Recruiting: Moving Right Along

By Jeremy Birmingham on January 5, 2014 at 7:00p
71 Comments
Throwing Up Those "Os"McMillan and Jamarco Jones represent in Florida.

Let's call a spade a spade, huh? This weekend kind of sucked for Ohio football fans, didn't it? The Buckeyes faltered, the Bengals #Bungled and the year of football 2013 ended with all the pomp and circumstance of a wet fart, but hey, it's just football, right?

No, it's not just football in Ohio, we know that. It's life. But football, like life, is cyclical. As the old goes away, the new comes to fruition and we saw a glimpse of that with nearly ten future Buckeyes dominating the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

Yes folks, it's time to turn to the future. Ohio State's 2014 recruiting class is nearly complete, closer to complete by two today after the additions of Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith at the aforementioned Alamodome yesterday afternoon. Smith and Lattimore gave Ohio State their 20th and 21st commitments respectively in a class that should end up near 23-24.

The names that could finish out the Buckeye recruiting class are known, but we'll take a quick look at the last few guys on the board and where things stand at the moment as well as a quick look at 2015. There is never a day off in recruiting as you all know.

DEFENSIVE ENDS, OFFENSIVE PLANS

The last month has been a good one for the "Dream '14." They've added three major components on the defensive side of things with the pledges of Raekwon McMillan, Erick Smith and Marshon Lattimore and their top wide receiver target of the year with Johnnie Dixon. With only a few spots left, the Buckeyes have narrowed down their targets to a select few and while it's possible a random name might pop up, it's safe to know the dynamite 2014 class is close to its conclusion.

Who is left?

There are basically two positions left that Ohio State will aggressively recruit and it's not a surprise that it's the offensive and defensive lines. The names on defense are known, Solomon Thomas and Malik McDowell, each of whom are scheduled to officially visit Columbus the weekend prior to signing day. The second and third-ranked strongside defensive ends in the country each participated in the Army All-American Bowl this weekend, and Thomas was especially impressive, dominating for the victorious West team.

Ohio State feels — as they should — that they are in a decent position with each defensive end, but at the moment it's Thomas they feel is a bit more likely option. Yes, Stanford is still the team to beat for the Coppell (Texas) native, but the Buckeyes have continued to be near the top of his list for months. How the hire of Charlie Strong at Texas plays into his decision is yet to be seen, but the Buckeyes have had good success in Texas with Tom Herman leading the way and defensive line coach Mike Vrabel is handling Thomas' recruitment personally, which is always a good sign. 

As for McDowell, the one-time Michigan "lean" seems to be trending away from the Wolverines according to a number of different sources. Will the Buckeyes become the benefactor? It's possible, but Michigan State seems to be the favorite for the 6-foot-7, 290-pound end from Southfield (Mich.) 

The Buckeyes are still in pursuit of Virginia Beach (Va.) defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi who scheduled to officially visit the Buckeyes in mid-January, but unless they blow him away, I'd not expect him to end up in Columbus. If I had to, at this moment, make a prediction on those three defensive lineman it'd be this: Thomas goes to Stanford, McDowell goes to Michigan State and Nnadi to Virginia Tech.

What about the offensive line?

With four commitments along the offensive line for 2014, Ohio State hasn't felt the need to press in order to get a fifth, but it still appears they'd like to add at least one more offensive linemen to play alongside Jamarco Jones, Demetrius Knox, Kyle Trout and Marcelys Jones. Here in the 11W war room, we're sticking with Bishop Ready (Columbus, Ohio) lineman and current Virginia Tech commitment Brady Taylor as the player most likely to join Buckeye offensive line coach Ed Warinner's band of brothers. Yes it's true Taylor doesn't currently have a Buckeye offer, but something about it just feels right, so let's let it, huh? Frank Ragnow from Minnesota and Rod Johnson from Missouri continue to be the other names most commonly associated with Buckeye line recruiting, but it seems unlikely either will end up at Ohio State. Ragnow has never visited the Buckeyes and Johnson hasn't been on campus since the 2012 Michigan game.

FUTURE BEGINS NOW

As we prepare to say goodbye to a number of Buckeye favorites, we have already begun welcoming a few others into the fold. Today "Dream '14" members Stephen Collier, Sean Nuernberger, Kyle Trout and Raekwon McMillan arrived on campus to little fanfare but with big expectations. McMillan's arrival was expected of course, but his mother was worried that Winter Storm Some-Stupid-Name could delay the Georgia native, but he showed up as expected.

While the "marquee" positions of linebacker and quarterback are represented with the early enrollees, there may be no player closer to making an impact that Nuernberger, the Buckeyes' future kicker who will take over for the departing Drew Basil. 

By Tuesday, the Buckeyes should have seven members of the 2014 class on campus as Curtis Samuel, Johnnie Dixon and Marcelys Jones are expected to join the others on campus.

LESSONS LEARNED OR LESSONS BEING TAUGHT?

What's Happening, EGW?Eric Glover-Williams was Ohio State's first 2015 commitment.

If you're a regular reader of the site in general and of myself specifically, you should know that we don't like to operate under assumptions, rumors or innuendo. There is nothing that is gained from just rehashing what others are "hearing" if we can't validate it ourselves. Occasionally that will come across as us not talking about something that feels like we should talk about, but it's an intentional choice in nearly every occasion. We operate under the pretense that everyone deserves respect and deserves the benefit of the doubt at each and every turn. 

Last week a rumor started making the rounds that one future Buckeyes, 2015 commit Eric Glover-Williams, was looking at some possible reprimands for a legal issue that occurred in his hometown. Williams, the dynamic and game-changing athlete for Canton McKinley high school was reported to possibly be in danger of losing his scholarship opportunity at Ohio State, a claim that was quickly denied by his father to Bucknuts.com recruiting analyst, the Dean of Recruiting, Bill Kurelic. 

While I've heard conflicting stories on the matter of EGW's error in judgment, it appears in this case there is some fire from whence the smoke has come, but I'd be very surprised if Glover-Williams were in fact to lose his scholarship at this time. Ohio State is aware of the rumors and has checked into them, but they will not make any rash decisions about his future.

Glover-Williams is an incredibly talented player, and a young man who is as eccentric as he is talented, but his moment in the sun is going to be quickly eviscerated if he's not able to make better decisions off the field. Ohio State recognizes not only his talent, but also their role in helping mold his future, and because of that you can expect them to institute, at least initially, some qualifications and parameters that could impact EGW's future at Ohio State.

If you know the young man, you can expect he'll be challenged, but he'll succeed. Life has a way of teaching us valuable lessons at the time we need to learn them the most; let's hope this is one of those times for Glover-Williams as a person.

71 Comments

Comments

Condor's picture

Birm: have you heard anything out of Happy Valley about defecting commits? Especially Gesicki? Thanks.

"Do not fear me gypsy, all I want is your tears."

 -- Borat Sagdiyev

 

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Gesicki is the only one Ohio State would chase at this point. If Penn State had hired Golden, I'd say unequivocally that Penn State would retain Gesicki, but with Golden saying he's sticking with Miami, things get interesting again.

Condor's picture

Also, great stuff as always. I'm fairly new to the site and very addicted. Your columns are among my favorite. 

"Do not fear me gypsy, all I want is your tears."

 -- Borat Sagdiyev

 

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Thank you, appreciate you reading.

weimerad's picture

I really wouldn't be surprised if Rod Johnson is the OL they get. I think Urban will pull out the red carpet when he visits and will be blown away. Jeremy you said he hasn't been to OSU since 2012, and he has them in his top 2 with FSU. I honestly don't think Brady Taylor will get an offer. 
My question to you Jeremy is who else besides Taylor do you think ends up in this class if you don't believe any of the DL will commit? 

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

I think the next question is who Penn State hires; Gesicki is the last "big" fish.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

You think Ohio State can still get him?

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

teddyballgame's picture

we already went after him pretty hard...maybe he's just not into us.

13THandSummit's picture

I got the sense that we were neck and neck with PSU for his services, but he liked what BOB did with the TE position.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I think if he were going to flip, it would have happened already.

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

13THandSummit's picture

I agree, but he could be waiting the short (from what PSU has said) time until they hire a new coach to make up his mind.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

True.

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

Chief B1G Dump's picture

Birm, I saw you make a comment prior to Lattimore and Smith committing that was something like wherever they verbal to, that their recruitments wouldnt be over.
Do you stilk think that (beyond keeping your verbals feeling good)? And/or are they solid, from what youre hearing?
I dig these guys and want to keep them home. Was pretty pumped when the donned the Buckeye hat.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

At this point, they've said they are done and they will not visit anywhere else. I will take them at their word.

KBonay's picture

Any word on Torrance Gibson? I heard he visited Buckeye practice in Florida. Do you like where we stand with him?

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Buckeyes in the top 2, Miami keeping Golden helps them, but he genuinely is interested in the Buckeyes. I've been told by him repeatedly he will visit this coming spring.

Jonnferrell's picture

As a middle school teacher, I am always happy to see my students get involved in team sports.  They instantly become a better all around person, more tuned in to their grades out of necessity, and more involvement in sports usually means there is less time for involvement in trouble.  Playing football at the Ohio State University has to be one heckuva motivation for EGW.  Knowing he has to keep his nose clean to take advantage of that opportunity is a good thing for that young man.  Do your best to be your best, Eric!  

"I'm still hungry." --Brady Hoke

sharks's picture

Eccentric is kind of an unusual descriptor.  Any elaboration?
Any thoughts about Ford defecting from Louisville?

The postgame show is brought to you by... Christ, I can't find it. The hell with it...

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

I talked to Isaiah today, the Buckeyes have not been in touch and they appear done at WR. I thought - knowing how Ford might help with 2015 LB Jeffrey Holland - they might reach out to him but it's not happened.

EGW is a kid with a big personality, someone that talks a lot of smack, etc. He's flashy, but he backs it up.

sharks's picture

Heh, I actually meant the DT.  They must have a fleet of Fords down there...
 

The postgame show is brought to you by... Christ, I can't find it. The hell with it...

13THandSummit's picture

I was hoping Poonah might flip as well, but I've read that it would be SCar or Mizz if he did.
 

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Buckeye passed on him the first time around, seems unlikely they'd go after him hard now.

allinosu's picture

What about Autry?

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Never visits, never happening.

allinosu's picture

Did I miss JU JU committing somewhere? I thought we were in the running somewhat.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

He has not committed anywhere yet, but he's not coming to Ohio State. 

HighBallAce's picture

I haven't seen that he has committed elsewhere but is Prince still out of the question?

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Unfortunately, yes. No chance.

jayt's picture

good stuff Birm, as always.  
 
Thanks

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Thanks, appreciate it.

allinosu's picture

I suppose you think Holley goes to Florida if he backs out at PSU.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Ohio State isn't interested, so I think he sticks at PSU or heads south, yes.

Ericgobucks's picture

I was just thinking I would love an article about our class and the last few potentials remaining. I really appreciate your work, Jeremy, and I really love 11W. I was a longtime user at BN and couldnt' tolerate the pettiness and personal attacks over there. People seem much more into discussing football and less about "who was here longer." Big thumbs up from a satisfied user. 

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Welcome, we appreciate you being here.

MN Buckeye's picture

Thanks for the updates, Birm! Always leave room for a surprise, I suppose.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

That's the rule, or it should be, anyway.

allinosu's picture

After reading some of his recent tweets. Gesicki seems to be all into PSU culture no matter who the next coach is.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

I agree, he's unlikely to flip at this point regardless who the new coach at Penn State is. I'd say it was almost nill if Golden was brought in, however.

Condor's picture

To bad PSU couldn't be talked into hiring Bollman as their new head coach...

"Do not fear me gypsy, all I want is your tears."

 -- Borat Sagdiyev

 

Boxley's picture

Yeah, poor MSU, finishing 13-1.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

buck-I.8's picture

I see your point, but Bollman doesn't even call the plays at MSU. Warner calls plays, Bollman coaches the line, and isn't expected to do much recruiting at all. He's doing fine in his limited role with the team, but JB in charge of an entire program, let alone a depleted one, would be a disaster of epic proportions. 

oregonianbuckeye's picture

Thanks again, Birm. Do you think we are done at DB? I know there have been rumors of the safety from GA (Rogers) or the CB committed to TX (Roberts). Obviously the priorities are DL and OL, but does one of these guys sneak in as well?

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

I think they are done at DB, with Rogers and even Roberts (to a lesser degree) being backups in the event that something weird happened with Glenville kids. 

ScarletNGrey01's picture

When EVERY player on the team is a "Meyer" recruit (and I know the assistant coaches play a huge role in the recruiting) and all of the coaching staff is entirely his selection and not influenced by politics (and I don't mean that in a negative way, I think Urban did what he had to do in retaining some of the existing coaching staff) then obviously it will be 100% "his team" and we'll see what happens.  I think the bucks will be very competitive in the seasons to come IF Meyer keeps an elite QB at the helm (undeniably the most important position in football).   It appears that the bucks have some very good defensive players coming in, that is really encouraging.  Back to back to back top five-ish recruiting classes is unbelievable.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

HighBallAce's picture

I think we should start cloning Orlando Pace! In 17-18 years we could have one hell of an offensive line....lol

Ericgobucks's picture

I am not recruiting expert but Solomon Thomas looked like a beast in that game. I'd classify him as a "no brainer." I'd LOVE to get him in this class. While we may not be the favorite, we have a shot! 

allbucksallthetime's picture

Birm...thanks as always for the great insights into everything related to tOSU football program.  It's clearly a labor of love for all of you at 11W and comes off in your presentations each and every day.
I'm especially appreciative of the entire 11W staff for your policy on not spreading rumors.  Rumors can be very harmful to good people if untrue.  Reveling in anyone's misfortunes is of no interest to me.  Go Bucks!

Killer nuts's picture

Is the Solomon Thomas and Malik McDowell situation a "first to commit gets the spot" type situation? Or is there room for both potentially?

ARMYBUCK's picture

Thanks as always for keeping us up to date Birm.  Its a good way to end a "wet fart" of a weekend.  I cant help but wonder how discouraging the weather this week is going to be for the likes of Kwon and Dixon. Its depressing enough for me and Im from here!

allbucksallthetime's picture

I've been hopeful all along that Solomon Thomas would be a member of this class.  His family is from Ohio and there are plenty of reasons for his interest in being a Buckeye.  He comes from a great family and folks have spoken in glaring terms about his maturity as a young man.  Go Bucks!

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

As much as the Orange Bowl stung - knowing that we are building a bigger stronger machine makes it easier to immediately begin looking towards next season!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

BuckeyeMike2002's picture

Birm,
Do the Buckeyes have any interest in 2015 qb Lorenzo Nunez (I hope I have the name right)

Q: What is the difference between the Michigan Football Team and a bag of crap.

A: The Bag.

kareemabduljacobb's picture

The '15 QB situation has been discussed a lot on here, so I'll answer for Birm and the answer is yes. -- I could be wrong though, don't quote me. ha.
 
Seems like the Bucks are interested in him, Brandon Wimbush and Torrence Gibson and have a good shot at landing any of the 3 and would most likely take 2 QBs in the class... it appears Wimbush and Nunez are the more realistic duo we land, although we are in the top 2 for Gibson.  Perhaps he'll change his mind and be open to playing WR, then we could potentially land all 3, although I do like Gibson's potential, size, speed and athleticism he could bring to the QB position.
 

Drew's picture

Why isn't there more talk on Wimbush? This kid looks great on film! He seems to already be in the same size category as Miller.
Im also not overly impressed with Gibson. I can see why he's ranked so high, but there's a lot I saw from him as a QB that I was only ho hum about. Supposedly he doesn't want to play any other position than qb.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Buckeyes and Nunez seem to be fading a bit, with Wimbush, Torrance Gibson and Texas' Jarrett Stidham moving into the fore; but Nunez was the second offer after Gibson, so they do like him quite a bit.

KCAlum's picture

Here is about as granular as I get on recruiting.....Let's get some good players! 

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

My buddy from Texas said it best - Urban will get some big pipe hitting players to replace Shazier and Roby... this from a guy who hates OSU!!!  Cracked me up because he knows what is being built in Columbus!
 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Joe4's picture

Birm, if I understood your column correctly, you projected the class to end up at 23-24, we currently have 21 commitments, and your best projection is that we'll get just one of the OL/DL guys you discussed. Does that mean you think there will be a surprise or two? Is there a chance that the class could end up at 22?
Thanks as ever -- you do such a great job!

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Is the door closed on Jermaine Roberts?

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

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Double post.

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

JakeStevensIsSwag's picture

Think we go after Jerrod Heard?

Buckeye fan from PA

Alpo's picture

Birm I read somewhere that Wimbush is looking to decide on a school within a month or so and know he is a high priority for 2015. Hear anything you can share?

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Brandon told me a few weeks back that he may end up waiting a bit longer than he anticipated, taking some visits with his teammate Minkah Fitzpatrick. If he decides sometime soon, I truly believe he's a Buckeye, and they'd be thrilled to have him.

Buck Commander's picture

Solomon Thomas is a beast he needs to be a Buckeye!!!!!!!!

Every time I set my DVR to record Biggest Loser......It always records Wolverine Football Games!

Seattle Linga's picture

Remarkable Birms how you mentioned that Gesicki would be the only PSU commit we would go after. That speaks volumes to the kind of class we are having.  

Brutus' Left Nut's picture

Or about the kind of class PSU has

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

Just my personal opinion... If PSU hires Mike Munchak, we flip Gesicki. 
This opinion might or might not be because I'm a Titans fan and they sucked under Munchak. 

tennbuckeye19's picture

If you ask me, hiring Munchak would be a big mistake for PSU, so I hope they do it.

BammBammRiley's picture

I hope they hire a good coach no matter who.
I think we need more Michigan States in the B1G, not only because of national perception because that's a dead horse conversation getting old, but even more because I believe the Buckeyes need better competition to better themselves. The team needs to be battle tested better throughout the season so they know how to handle adversity at a high level.

BammBamm is my dog, Riley is my 4 yr old daughter, and THE Ohio state Buckeyes complete the three most sacred loves I cherish

bucknasty13's picture

Birm- Who do you think will be the final 2 or 3 commitments?  Basically, everyone you mentioned you have going somewhere else.

Drew's picture

I don't understand the need to downplay rumors or mention that an elite football program like OSU isn't going to make any rash decisions...? Doesn't this go without saying?
Who in Gods name actually takes any rumors about any of this seriously. It's all speculation. Even when it's from direct sources or The Dean himself. For cripes sake, even The King (Meyer) doesn't know what's happening in the minds of these kids with all the ego and fanfare at such a young age. Why would anyone believe in rumors?
Speculate and enjoy the ride. :)