Last week I wrote about some of the offensive needs that the team would encounter after the 2012 season, and what recruiting offers were currently out there to address those needs. Now it's time to focus on what wins championships, according to the old saying, and that is defense. Urban Meyer made some huge pick-ups in his first "year" of recruiting at OSU, especially on defense, and has already continued that trend into the 2013 class.
Despite some upcoming offensive needs, 3 of our first 4 players committed to the 2013 class at this time (Cam Burrows, Billy Price, and Eli Woodard) play on the other side of the ball. So what can we expect to see in our defensive recruiting efforts next year?
(Side note - the targets/offers that you see listed below are as of 2/27/12 and WILL continue to change on a regular basis. In fact, I pulled the information from ESPN's website, so there's a good chance that some of it is outdated already)...
Ohio State loses: Garrett Goebel, John Simon, Nathan Williams
Goebel, Simon, and Williams will certainly be missed on the defensive front, as they have proven to be consistently good performers on the field. However, even with these tremendous departures, the Bucks should not be the least bit vulnerable at this position. Let's face it, nearly every other B1G school would die to have Darryl Baldwin, JT Moore, Johnathan Hankins, Adam Bellamy, Michael Bennett, Steve Miller, Kenny Hayes, Chase Farris and Joel Hale waiting jump into the starting lineup (if not already there).
And for those astute readers out there who noticed a few names left off of this list, congratulations. In the last paragraph describing our cupboard full of talented D-linemen, I didn't even mention the all-star cast that Urban is bringing in this year, which includes Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington, Se'Von Pittman, and Tommy Schutt. In other words, I'd see us grabbing another player, other than DT Billy Price, but wouldn't expect more than two in this class.
Needs: One or two
Ohio State targets: Henry Poggi (*my prediction), Elijah Daniel, Tashawn Bower, Joey Bosa, Lewis Neal
Commits: Billy Price
Ohio State loses: Storm Klein, Etienne Sabino
OSU will lose two formidable linebackers in Klein and Sabino, so I'd look for them to add three guys in this class. My initial prediction is that Jaylon Smith, younger brother of RB/LB Rod Smith, will be the first to commit, and stands the best chance of getting on the field quickly. He is a freak of an athlete, and could probably start at a few different positions of his choice, depending on which school he selects. Courtney Love is an under-the-radar LB right now, or at least as under-the-radar as you can be when carrying offers from USC, Oklahoma, and OSU. Expect his stock to rise this season when he begins crushing ball carriers in Youngstown, OH with Cardinal Mooney.
I'd love to see Alex Anzalone fill a third a final LB spot in this class, but would not be surprised to see that the player that comes is not on our offer list yet. I think Fickell/Withers will want to wait and watch some of the 2012 HS season or at least summer camps before throwing out more offers.
Ohio State targets: Ben Gedeon, Peter Kalambayi, Courtney Love (*my prediction), Jaylon Smith (*my prediction), Alex Anzalone
Ohio State loses: Zach Domicone, Travis Howard, Orhian Johnson
The Bucks did not necessarily stockpile talent in the secondary in the 2012 class, but appear to be doing so for next year. The commitments of Cam Burrows and Eli Woodard (#2 and #4 CBs in the nation, respectively) are a huge start, but I'd expect two more guys to join this class in the secondary before all is said and done. My own thoughts would be that "Athlete" Caleb Day and early M*chigan commit, Dymonte Thomas, eventually join this crew. Day is a local boy (Hilliard, OH) and with some improvements to his speed this year and next, could make for a solid safety contender. Thomas, another Ohio native, has already committed to TSUN, but with his cousin, Bri'onte Dunn, in this year's recruiting class, I think he may make the jump back to Columbus. It may take a big game in The Shoe in November and constant texts from his cousin to sway him, but he would be another good pick-up for this class, despite his poor decision-making skills thus far.
Ohio State targets: Leon McQuay III, Vernon Hargreaves III, Kendall Fuller, Caleb Day (*my prediction), Taquan Mizzell, Shaq Wiggins, Mackensie Alexander, Tray Matthews, Dymonte Thomas (*my prediction)
Commits: Cam Burrows, Eli Woodard