Trending in the Dream '14

By Joe Beale on January 29, 2014 at 1:30p
34 Comments

Some people like to talk about what might have been, but around here we prefer to dream about what might be. This is especially the case when it comes to our favorite college football team and its future players. Heroes of the gridiron all of them will someday be, we hope.

Recruiting has long been an obsession in Columbus in January and early February, going back to the days of amateurish newsletters with names of local gurus long forgotten. Now in the modern age of up-to-the-nanosecond coverage of every mood swing and eye-twitch of these 17-year old wunderkinds the focus is sharp indeed.

With so much more information available, and with the commitments coming earlier and with (mostly) firm intentions, it is possible to not only catalog the players, but also to analyze the haul more closely in order to divine the mindset of the coaches involved. 

Here, with a hearty dose of speculation added, you can find my thoughts on the composition of parts of the incoming class and what it means for the direction of the program. Feel free to add your own thoughts or to let me know that I'm off my gourd.

linebackers

Yes, we've got some linebackers here. Four of them to be exact. Included in that group is the centerpiece of the recruiting class, the consensus #1 inside linebacker in the country, Raekwon McMillan. Also checking in at this all-important position are Dante Booker, Kyle Berger, and Sam Hubbard.

That's four new competitors at a position where at most three players start (I say "at most" because they often start two against pass-happy teams). Add in the two highly-touted LBs from the 2013 class and you have six first or second year players at a position that loses only one player from the two-deep. Clearly, the coaches were keen on shoring up this position.

It would seem to be a no-brainer considering the amount of missed tackles we saw last season combined with the lackluster pass coverage from the group, but then again I would have said the same thing after the 2012 season. So why the renewed (and re-doubled) emphasis this time around? 

Psst....'backers in the 2012 recruiting class (Perry, Marcus, Williams)....you're on notice. Produce more or get used to the sidelines. 

defensive secondary

Four new defensive backs will come in with the 2014 class (including Marshon Lattimore, who is currently labeled as an "athlete"). Not especially noteworthy, you say, since the team loses three starters in the secondary. 

He may be from that State Up North but he's all Buckeye now.Damon Webb will be a big part of the future for OSU at DB.

But keep in mind that they welcomed in six new DBs in the 2013 class (including converted LB Chris Worley) and none of them have transferred. Two of those, Vonn Bell and Cam Burrows, received playing time this season. 

Bell will almost certainly be a starter at one of the safety positions. I would be shocked if Tyvis Powell is not the starter at the other. So we're basically looking for a new starting CB and a nickel and dime.

Eh, this one is not as cut and dried. Still, I don't think Armani Reeves (or even Doran Grant) should be resting easy this winter, especially with the talent that a guy like Damon Webb brings to the table. 

offensive line

I talked extensively about this last week. Five players coming in, four going out. Five starting positions overall. And this is a position that requires long-term planning. Nothing out of the ordinary here but it's good to see that the coaches are planning well.

Receivers

As profiled by Jeff a couple weeks ago, this is a position that is apparently in transition at Ohio State. The presumed starters at the position, Devin Smith and Evan Spencer, are anything but safe when spring ball starts. 

As the season wore on, the passing yards became harder and harder to come by. Some have targeted quarterback Braxton Miller for criticism, but others have noted that the receivers were not exactly streaking wide open all of the time. 

The team's most reliable target in 2013 was Corey Brown, and he is moving on. There are four new receivers in the 2014 class (including "athlete" Noah Brown). James Clark, Corey Smith, and Jalin Marshall were all redshirted members of the 2013 class. 

While Marshall and 2014 recruit Curtis Samuel will be competing with Dontre Wilson, the others, plus 2012 recruit Michael Thomas, will compete with Smith and Spencer. Will Urban Meyer give preference to seniors the same way that his predecessor did?

This is going to be an interesting spring and fall. 

34 Comments

Comments

Killer nuts's picture

Great breakdown, it will certainly be fun watching to see which of these guys is able to break onto the scene and get some playing time as a freshman

JDunc686's picture

It looks like we are going to sign anywhere from 23-25 players, with that said, there has to be some attrition.  Are there any indications as to where that attrition might come from exactly?

Killer nuts's picture

I predict people will suggest that it is best not to speculate on these matters and I can almost guarantee the staff won't be doing so

JDunc686's picture

I totally respect that position/stance, I can see where that might be an uncomfortable topic

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Where does Jeff Greene fall in all of this?  Hate to say it, but he might be the most proven reciever on the roster this year.

Read my entire screen name....

JDunc686's picture

That's a great question.  I remember this article from last may where it seemed like Greene was promised a scholarship if he did everything the right way.
 
http://www.elevenwarriors.com/2013/05/22086/ohio-state-football-the-jeff...

Buckeyeneer's picture

I'm really excited to see what Greene brings to the table.

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

THE Ohio State University

HotSauceCommittee's picture

Based on what we saw this year with freshman and redshirts, I believe we will see McMillan contribute at LB and Webb and Erik Smith play a key rolls in special teams. Curtis Samual will play about as much as Dontre did this season. The rest of the positions discussed today are toss ups. I am super excited about Lattimore and Booker and they hope get to play some. The O-line is a different story as players like Meechy and J. Jones if he stays on board have a shot to crack the 2 deep.

Buckabroad's picture

Great article, JOE. I am really looking forward to seeing this class in action. What impresses me most about Coach Meyer and the staff's ability to recruit is that they find not only great athletes, but also seem to find players who equally impress with intelligence and maturity (e.g. McMillan, Webb, Hubbard, Knox and pretty much every one else on the roster).

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

danman9450's picture

This staff has not been exactly prone to giving out much playing time to freshmen so far. I don't expect that to change except for maybe the lb position. My hopes are that Ash will be a little more aggressive/trusting/confident in what the young talent can do.

Oyster's picture

Joey Bosa agrees with you...

danman9450's picture

Good point. I think the combo of him 1.being on the d line, where you may not need to know the depths of the playbook and schemes as much as say an lb or safety. u just line up and chase after the ball. 2. him being a freak of nature man child.

Oyster's picture

I was being sarcastic.  Did you not see the "Sarcasm Dots"?

MauricXe's picture

I think Bosa only saw extended play time because of injuries.

Furious George 27's picture

Actually, I think they have played a lot of freshmen so far. Wilson, Washington, Spence, Bosa, Bell. Elliot, Burrows just to name a few. It appears a lot of underclassmen will have legitimate shots at starting after red-shirting. I cant even think of a two year period where more than 7 freshmen saw the field.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

gumtape's picture

Jamal Marcus as a situational pass rusher has done a great job so far in his career. I would not consider him a linebacker.

Otherwise good analysis.

High and tight boo boo

buckeyedexter's picture

We don't redsirt seems to be more of a philosophy than a practice. 
 

JDunc686's picture

I think that quote came off in the wrong way.  When Urban first made the quote I honestly took it as him saying that he wasn't going to recruit anyone with the intention of redshirting them, and that he wouldn't force a redshirt on a player, if said player had the skills/understanding to play as a freshman.

Killer nuts's picture

Agreed. It would be absurd to simply not utilize redshirting players. I think it is more of a concept than a concrete practice

Ahh Saturday's picture

 
Punt Returner job is open.  Wouldn't be surprised to see Samuel and Lattimore both get a shot at it.

d5k's picture

I think the redshirt guys will also be challenging for that spot.  Namely Marshall and Clark come to mind.

Buckabroad's picture

Samuel, Lattimore, Marshall & Clark. Gives me the shivers thinking of all the talent and speed we have!

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

WhySoSerious's picture

Jamal Marcus sidelines yea right.

Rare&Uncommon

Like the ball in the stands, we balls out

Buck Commander's picture

Hard to keep all happy with playing time but you have to go with your best regardless of year etc. Bosa on one end and McDowell on the other McMillen up the middle..That would be just nasty......too nasty!Offer McDowells teammate and bring them in together this weekend.Could be even a better case scenario for us.

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

TimmyZ's picture

I was so disappointed with the way this season ended.  Then I come to this fantastic (and free) site and read about all the upcoming players/recruits/positions battles/etc and I get all tingly inside again. I can't wait for spring ball to see how these position battles shake out.
The staff of this site does an incredible job bringing us up-to-date and exciting info on a daily basis. Kudos to you fellas.  GO BUCKS!!

bucknut94's picture

What about Terry McLaurin WR?

BEREABUCKEYE's picture

I watched his film the other day that was linked in another post. He is my new favorite offensive player in this class. I hope to see him on the field early.

Larryp713's picture

So many questions marks, but there is a lot of exciting possibilities. I can't wait for spring ball.

Respectfully,

Larryp713

chirobuck's picture

Forgot about Darron Lee at LBer, and I actually would not be shocked to see him crack the 2 deep, he was the guy I picked as the sleeper of that class

 
^ best post ever ^

SoDakBuckeyeFan's picture

I think McMillan will start vs. Navy and never look back. I think Webb will really challenge for playing time. I know I for one would rather suffer through the growing pains of a younger player than watch experienced guys get burned game after game. Just sayin. 

SoDakBuckeyeFan

BUCKfutter's picture

i think the coaches have to (and will) hit the reset button in the secondary, at LB, and at WR. in the secondary, i agree that bell and powell will probably be the safeties, with burrows getting the first nickel crack (deservedly so). corner really depends on how the incoming freshmen look. i thought d grant was better than a lot of people gave him credit for (without him there is a good chance we don't pull out the northwestern game), and reeves came on stronger (mind you i didnt say "strong")  at the end of the season. that said, the ceiling is much higher on guys like webb, apple, and lattimore - with them it's just how quickly they can grasp things.
as for LB, i could honestly see there being zero returning starters. with raekwon enrolling early, i think he will pass c grant by opening day. there is less of a chance of someone passing perry, but the ceiling comment about the CB's also applies for johnson, mitchell, booker, etc at LB. they will start out well behind perry but their ceilings are considerably higher.
i don't know what to think about WR. smith absolutely disappeared late in the season, and i remember spencer making one significant catch all year (the TD vs wisconsin). i get that they are both great blockers, but if a couple of the young guys can learn early that blocking is how you see the field in this offense as a WR, i don't think meyer hesitates to make the switch there either. thomas (who is already a great blocker by all accounts), clark, corey smith are the names that come to mind, not to mention the incoming burners.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

Seattle Linga's picture

Can't wait to watch the FREAKS OF NATURE in action

buckskin's picture

McMillan will follow in the footsteps of Speilman, Big Kat, and Hawk and either start or play a significant amount of time his freshman year.  Some guys can just step in and play and I think he's one of them.

ABrown07's picture

Urban said he doesn't care about what class people are, the best 11 will be on the field. This will be a great year for us, I believe. Too many good players returning and coming in and too many good coaches, I'm excited and ready for this season to start already!!

I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people.

-Woody Hayes