While most of us are still recovering from Urban Meyer's in-your-face recruiting domination with the 2012 class, his newly formed staff is already looking ahead. We are eager to find out what new faces will be on the field in 2012, and already they are checking out high school athletes and lining up potential visits for some of the best players that have not even finished their junior classes. Such is the life of a big-time NCAA coaching staff.
With only 4 players committed to the 2013 class at this time (Cam Burrows, Jalin Marshall, Billy Price, and Eli Woodard) there are still somewhere between 12 and 16 spots available for scholarships. The possibilities for who could fill the needs for next year's group are endless, especially this early in the process, but here are my early predictions for the offensive side of the ball, based on upcoming departures. (Side note - the targets/offers that you see listed below are as of 2/24/12 and WILL continue to change on a regular basis)
Ohio State loses: None
Despite the fact that OSU will not have lost a quarterback in this time-frame, barring any transfers or unforeseen occurences, the 2013 class is the perfect time to bring in at least one QB prospect to continue planning for the future. Many coaches even aim to bring in a QB per recruiting class as a "just in case" philosophy for the sport's most important position. Ken(ny) Guiton will be entering his senior season in 2013, Braxton Miller will be a junior, and Cardale Jones will likely be a sophomore in eligibility.
Ohio State targets: Brice Ramsey, Johnathan McCrary, Aaron Bailey, Malik Zaire (**my prediction), Tyrone Swoopes, Darryl Richardson, J.T. Barrett
Ohio State loses: Zach Boren, Jordan Hall, Adam Homan
Ohio State will have some fire power in their running back stable in 2013, with Carlos Hyde (senior), Rod Smith (junior), and Warren Ball/Bri-onte Dunn (sophomores), but it never hurts to have talent and depth at this position. Deveon Smith (Warren, OH) and Derrick Green are my two early favorites to get these spots. Smith is an Ohio native with decent speed and very deceptive strength when running the ball, and Green is a Buckeye fan, despite being from Virginia (he wears #27 in honor of his favorite player, Eddie George). Both are extremely tough north-south runners who would fit nicely with quick QBs/WRs. Needs: One/Two
Ohio State targets: Ty Isaac, Deveon Smith (*my prediction), Derrick Green (*my prediction), Ryan Green, Adam Lane, David Williams, Greg Bryant, Keyonte Green, T.J. Logan, Ezekiel Elliot
Ohio State loses: None
Ok, this one's a bit tricky. Technically OSU does not lose any wide receivers, because they have such a young core group of players. The transition from current WRs to incoming players will be an interesting one over the next couple of seasons, as we don't want to use too many scholarships on one area, but will need to replace this group. To help this situation, I'd expect one or two "wide receivers" to be a part of the 2013 class, as well as an athlete or two. Jalin Marshall, for example, may be used in a Percy Harvin-esque manner, so I'll count him as one of our incoming WRs for now. My other prediction for this position, although they have not yet been offered, is either Robert Foster or Laquon Treadwell.
Ohio State targets: Uriah LeMay, Jake Oliver, Marquez North, Jordan Cunningham, Shelton Gibson (*my prediction), Travis Johnson, Ra'Shaad Samples, Richard Benjamin
Commits: Jalin Marshall
Ohio State loses: Jake Stoneburner, *Reid Fragel (played 3 years at TE, senior year at OT)
It should come as no surprise that the tight end position will be utilized much more in the passing game than anything we saw with Jim Tressel. It will also be very difficult to replace a rare talent like Stoneburner, but that is what OSU must do. Adam Breneman is the nation's best TE according to nearly every website right now, but he could very well be surpassed by Mike Heuerman, the little brother of current OSU TE Jeff Heuerman. Both of them have what it takes to be heavily involved in Urban Meyer's high-octane offense, so landing either would be great...both would be nasty.
Ohio State targets: Adam Breneman, Mike Heuerman (*my prediction)
Ohio State loses: None
As scary as it may sound, OSU will not graduate any offensive linemen before 2013. Yep, you read that right. Thanks to the brilliant recruiting strategy of Jim Bollman, OSU was not bringing in nearly as many OL recruits as it should have been on a yearly basis. Instead, he opted for a wait until we're in dire need for them approach and recruited in bulk. Urban will hopefully continue on a different route and try to grab about 4 prospects per class to ensure a good amount of depth on the line from here on out. I'd expect this group to look very different than the names listed below when the final class is announced next year, although I like our chances of landing Evan Lisle from Centerville High School.
Ohio State targets: Ethan Pocic, Laremy Tunsil, Hunter Bivin (*my prediction), Jake Raulerson, Evan Lisle (*my prediction), Chris Fox, Derwin Gray, Logan Tuley-Tillman