Ranking the Dream '14 by Position Group

By Michael Citro on February 6, 2014 at 2:15p
Raekwon McMillan is the most highly touted player in the strongest position group in the Dream '14.
42 Comments

Well, another Christmas in February National Signing Day has come and gone. For the last day or so we’ve seen some crazy recruiting stories, had some pleasant surprises, and heard all kinds of good things about our incoming Buckeyes.

History and the law of averages tell us that not every prized recruit lives up to his lofty potential, and several low-expectation guys become indispensable to their teams every year.

Nevertheless, there’s no better time of year for projecting future stars and predicting quality of depth (a.k.a. wild speculation).

Herein, we’ll take a look at Ohio State’s “Dream ‘14” recruiting class by position, ranking how the Buckeyes made out from top to bottom.

1) Linebacker

One of Ohio State’s major problem areas the last two season was addressed spectacularly by Urban Meyer’s coaching staff. The consensus No. 1 linebacker class in the nation consists of Kyle Berger, Dante Booker, Sam Hubbard, Raekwon McMillan.

McMillan, a five-star early enrollee from Hinesville, Ga., is considered the crown jewel of the 2014 class at this point. Nearly everyone who interviewed him yesterday raved about his maturity and demeanor, and Meyer likened him to a junior in his physical development. He seems a shoo-in for early playing time, but it will be up to him what he does with it.

Berger will be coming off a torn ACL, but the consensus four-star signee should be ready to go this fall, as his injury occurred in preseason.   Akron product Booker could make the move to defensive line, but his size and speed make him a great outside linebacker prospect. Hubbard, a former Notre Dame lacrosse commit, is very athletic and Meyer is high on him.

2) Defensive Back

The closer did it again.Coffee is for this guy, because he's the closer.

Let’s include both safeties and cornerbacks in this position grouping, because until Chris Ash gets them on campus, we’re not sure where they’ll end up. And at least one may end up playing star.

Marshon Lattimore from Glenville High in Cleveland is a stellar athlete who will get a long look at cornerback. He’s a gifted athlete and hasn’t specialized in any one particular spot, but he’ll play somewhere and probably very early. Damon Webb is another corner prospect who may play early due to his polished coverage skills which are beyond most high schoolers. Personally, I am expecting big things from the Cass Tech product.

Speaking of high expectations, Erick Smith, a high school teammate of Lattimore, may actually see the field before his fellow Tarblooder. Smith has a great understanding of the game and always seems to be around the ball. Smith projects as a safety but has enough versatility to play multiple positions. Pennsylvania native Malik Hooker is an intriguing prospect with perhaps the most upside and athletic ability of anyone in the class. 

This is, simply put, a crazy good recruiting class in the back seven for Ohio State.

3) Wide Receiver

It’s like Meyer went down a checklist of the team’s weaknesses and started filling the holes one by one. The Buckeyes will have to replace their best receiver — Philly Brown, and it wasn’t even close — and a seasoned veteran in Chris Fields.

Meyer went into Florida and swiped prize recruit Johnnie Dixon from Alabama and Miami. Dixon adds size and speed to the OSU receiving corps. Not many receivers get on the field as freshmen for Ohio State, but Dixon will compete for time. Speaking of freshmen who will get a long look, Curtis Samuel out of New York is wicked fast. He’s also an early enrollee, so he’s got a leg up on the competition.

Indiana native Terry McLaurin only adds to the speed at wideout. His work rate caused his stock to rise and McLaurin went from three stars to four across the board in 2013, en route to becoming Indiana’s Mr. Football. He’ll fit into the class nicely. New Jersey’s Noah Brown adds a big body to the team — one of the few attributes Meyer has had trouble adding to the position group until now.

Parris Campbell out of Akron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary’s, appears headed to the slot, so we’ll add his name to this group. He’s another speedy guy, and speed kills. Between the 2013 class and this bunch, the future of the wide receiver position is in great shape.

4) Offensive Line

Despite some misses with some of the better-known names, I’m pretty high on this bunch of offensive linemen. Despite some last-minute looking in East Lansing, Jamarco Jones reaffirmed his commitment to Buckeye Nation on National Signing Day Eve. A Chicago product, Jones is the most heralded of the O-line prospects.

Demetrius Knox is the line prospect that intrigues me most. Scouts and recruiting experts have raved about his one-on-one blocking ability, and he may find his way onto the field early. Marcelys Jones from Glenville High School is a behemoth with a ton (no pun intended) of upside. He’s a work in progress, but he could become a valuable Buckeye in years to come.

Brady Taylor (Columbus) and Kyle Trout (Lancaster) are a little less heralded than the other incoming offensive linemen, but they seem like the type of homegrown kids that will work hard and make their mark on the program in years to come. One or both may end up redshirting in 2014, but look for them in the two-deep in the not-too-distant future.

5) Defensive Line

It wasn’t much of an area of need with the current depth, but Meyer still bolstered the defensive line with some nice additions.

Although the Malik McDowell saga didn’t result in a commitment (yet?), the Buckeyes got a sack machine in Darius Slade on National Signing Day. The Montclair, N.J. native has 37 sacks over the last two seasons and was a favorite of Larry Johnson Sr. while the coach was at Penn State. Johnson convinced Meyer to go after Slade and thus he is now a Buckeye, because Urban Meyer.

Virginia native Jalyn Holmes is another sack machine waiting in the wings. The Buckeyes fought off Florida State for the services of the 6-foot-5, 255-pound defensive end. Like Slade, Holmes is adept at getting to the quarterback. Dylan Thompson rounds out the trio of out-of-state D-line recruits for 2014. The Lombard, Ill. product led the state in sacks at the Class 5A level, with 13.

Larry Johnson Sr. has some new toys to send after the opposition with this group.

Other

It’s hard to rank a position group with one recruit. Ohio State added a very talented, big-legged kicker in Sean Nuernberger. The dude booted a 57-yard field goal as a high school senior and averaged better than 40 yards per punt. Just wait until Kerry Coombs gets him trained up.

Quarterback Stephen Collier is less heralded than many of the other dual-threat signal callers coming out of high school this year, but Meyer and his staff are high on him and he fits the system well. Collier performed well at The Opening and led his high school squad to the playoffs. He’s a hard worker and will eventually be able to push redshirt freshman-to-be J.T. Barrett.


The fact is that no one knows which members of the class of 2014 will turn out to be All-B1G or a complete bust. That’s the fun about National Signing Day — the wild speculation mentioned above. Still, it’s hard not to get excited about one of the country’s best classes.
 

42 Comments

Comments

TMac's picture

The LBs and DBs should ALL be in the two deep for '15 - that's damn fine recruiting!

OSUStu's picture

I think you could definitely make the argument for DBs at #1b to the LBs at #1a.  And I mean that in the best possible way.  It is exciting to have done so well recruiting for the back seven .

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

d5k's picture

There's probably 4 incumbent LB's (Perry, Grant, Johnson, Mitchell) that will still be in the 2 deep.  Even if McMillan beats out Grant he is probably still the backup MLB.  I think 2 of the guys will win 2 deep spots and 1-2 will redshirt ultimately.  I think Meyer's "no redshirt" is a challenge to those 4 guys to compete with each other for those 2 spots along with the incumbents.

Furious George 27's picture

Didn't Perry and Grant rotate w/ each other based on the situation with one being better than the other in pass coverage situations? I wonder what the effect will be on the LBs with Ash changing the schemes in the secondary.

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

WezBuck28's picture

Is it football season yet...err...

ab42beerman's picture

Dylan Thompson gets no love...haha.  I'm pretty high on that kid.

Killer nuts's picture

Dylan Thompson rounds out the trio of out-of-state D-line recruits for 2014

If that's not love I don't know what is

-1 HS
Michael Citro's picture

It's almost like this wasn't right after that:

The Lombard, Ill. product led the state in sacks at the Class 5A level, with 13.

Larry Johnson Sr. has some new toys to send after the opposition with this group.

Killer nuts's picture

If I could upvote you I would, you obviously share my love of non-italicized sarcasm

ab42beerman's picture

Wow!  My reading skills were very poor yesterday.  My bad.

Treemeister's picture

When I watched the video clips of this kid, I continually thought of Johnny Simon. This guy has a "motor" and may be a diamond in the rough. I love his fire!

DMcDougal24's picture

1. Linebacker
2. Defensive Back.

BuckeyeinToledo's picture

Is it August yet?

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

-Woody Hayes

+1 HS
kareemabduljacobb's picture

Where would the coaching hires ranking within the recruiting class positional rankings do ya think?

-1 HS
kareemabduljacobb's picture

Haha I just meant if you could throw in the new coaching hires, as they along with the recruits are new to the team... where would you rank them hypothetically?  Pretty dumb question actually lol.  My bad.

+1 HS
AndyVance's picture

Pretty darn high, I'd say. Johnson is already making things happen on the recruiting trail, and his focus on fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals will pay huge dividends with a young group of future monsters already seen as one of the team's biggest strengths.
The Ash hire, based purely on the soundbites he's dropped on us so far and his history as 'sconsin suggest another home run. I'm really, really excited to see these young studs in the defensive backfield become full-blown ballhawks and burnish the legend of the Silver Bullets.

OSUpawn's picture

With the past 2 draft classes. I don't think we will hear the comments about lack of depth and talent at LB and DB positions over the next couple years. 
It's crazy all the playmakers we are recruiting on offense.  Players like Dontre Wilson (whom I got very excited about at the beginning of the season) will be competing for PT next year!

I believe the SEC players put their pants on one leg at a time like we do.

Nutbuck1959's picture

We tend to forget last year's class. Most redshirted, and they were nothing to sneeze at. Hoping for a bump up in performance this year across the board! Won't be too hard for the back 7 on defense.

+1 HS
chirobuck's picture

one thing I don't understand.....why does everyone want to keep putting booker on the Dline? The dude has prototypical size and speed for a LBer, 6' 3" around 225......and plays the position with natural instincts why would we want to put him somewhere he will be undersized and inexperienced?

 
^ best post ever ^

irishfury's picture

My fav player is Damon Webb from this class.  I think he will play and play early and be a lock down corner and a first round draft pick.  I just feel it.  He was one of the few players everywhere he went he impressed.  

chirobuck's picture

I agree 100%

 
^ best post ever ^

fear_the_nut70's picture

Yep.  And it will stick a dagger in that School Up North's back every time he does it.

Orlando Buckeye's picture

It would be poetic if he returned kicks and won a Heisman for tOSU.

BeijingBucks's picture

should he do a  heisman pose after doing so against scUM?

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

chirobuck's picture

I think Brady Taylor will be the hidden gem of the entire class based on his measurables, what I've read about his work ethic, and what being a buckeye means to him, I'm really excited we brought this kid in
 
On the flip side I will be honest and this is just my (probably unpopular) humble opinion but I'm just calling it like I see it, I don't think M. Jones ever sees the field, I've seen him play 3 times in hs and every time I wanted to like what I saw but I just didn't, I watched him get pushed around by smaller guys and the biggest concern was that he seemed fine with it, hes very out of shape and not close right now to being a B1G football player.....I'm no scout so what do I know......I hope he proves me wrong, but right now its just what I see............on a related note I think Smith is the best of the Glenville trio  

 
^ best post ever ^

Edincostarica's picture

"Marcelys Jones from Glenville High School is a behemoth with a ton (no pun intended) of upside. He’s a work in progress, but he could become a valuable Buckeye in years to come."

   I believe the key words here are, "work in progress" and you can bet the coaching staff will get him in shape and go from there.  Obviously U.M. sees potential in the "behemoth" young man.

MOBuckeye's picture

Gotta love the Glengarry Glen Ross reference under UFM's pic above!

bedheadjc's picture

I have always pictured Urban in a recruiting meeting with his coaches giving Blake's speech:
"...Because only one thing counts in this life! Get them to sign on the line which is dotted! You hear me, you f***ing f****ts?"
Of course with Meyer being a Godly man that last part was probably not included (we all know it WAS included if the meeting was closed door).

MoEddieRobtCarlosBeanie's picture

Last Year was the year of Bosa and Wilson..
This will be the year of McMillan and Samuel..
Lattimore seems like a Vonn Bell type talent that may develop late in the year.
Erick Smith might be the surprise of the year just based on positional need.
OK Urban.. Your cupboard is as full as a doomsday prepper...
Now let's get that B1G throne back and then go whip some SEC a** on national TV.

fear_the_nut70's picture

Vonn Bell "developed" late in the year because someone refused to play him.  I know there is a learning curve at each level, but just from an athleticism big play potential perspective, this was a mistake (says the guy who watches football from his couch and thinks he knows everything).

+1 HS
buckskin's picture

This was a great recruiting class; very pleased with the talent we landed.  I have to wonder about our "athlete" recruiting though.  I know many great players were considered athletes in high school (Harvin for instance), but when a player comes in playing a certain position for 4 years, it doesn't take as long to develop him.  Take receiver for instance, a guy who has played that position in high school has actual experience with it, such as coming back to the ball, how to high point the ball and catch it with his hands.  One reason I think Dixon will be able to contribute sooner than the others IMO. 

Colerainbuck's picture

I've said it before but Sam Hubbard is going to be a player. A safety in HS at Moeller, LB in college w a outside chance (coach Mick's program) of being a DE at the end of his career. His frame will def add the useful muscle pounds. He's barely scraping the surface of his abilities at this point and led a historically prominant HS team to two D1 state titles. Very excited about him and don't forget Collier, the kids a class act and great family to back him up too.

Treemeister's picture

I agree with you. I think Hubbard has the "Right Stuff" in more ways than one. Not only is he a hard hitter, but he's fast, big and appears to understand the game. That level of intelligence will be a game changer in the future.

buckguyfan1's picture

Plus, I have yet to see an interview with one of these kids where I was not impressed the their character.  Keep your nose clean men and watch each others back. It will be fun to watch you reach your goals. 

Chadding Tatum's picture

Just read an article on SB Nation about how badly the coaching staff wants to add 2 QB's in the 2015 class. I don't disagree with adding a QB in every class, but I think people are overlooking Stephen Collier, and not just because he is a "class act." I came away very, very impressed after watching his tape. And yes, I understand it's a "highlight film", but his awareness in the pocket and ability to go through his progressions even when flushed from the pocket are very impressive. Elite 11 invitee as well.
I also think Malik Hooker has a different skillset than anyone else in this class (and currently on the defense) and he could be a serious playmaker in the future. 

bucknut94's picture

I'm ready for the spring game. I hope to get to the Shoe to see it again this year. I want to see how the early enrollees and the redshirts play.

Sauce Bauss's picture

Liked the Glengarry Glen Ross quote below Urbans pic. Great movie and that scene with Alec Baldwin was awesome! 

 

NEohioradioguy's picture

Really excited to see all the new players. I honestly think the speed will be off the chart this fall. Can't wait till the spring game and see Samuel, Dixon and Kwon show off their talents

 

NEohioradioguy

Shangheyed's picture

OK Fast forward 3 yrs looking at both this signing class and last year's signing classes....

Who is starting on both Offense and Defense in 2016(Assuming Nobody goes to the NFL)?