Scout$--Trout Becoming Top 2014 Propsect ('14 OH OL Kyle Trout)
Kyle has offers from Illinois, Bowling Green, Toledo, Cincinnati and Ohio. tOSU will be evaluating his fall films.
Scout$--Snodgrass Adds Another ('14 OH WR Thaddeus Snodgrass)
Offensive tackle Evan Lisle, a rising senior at Centerville High School, liked everything about Ohio State during his visit to the campus with his parents last winter. But what convinced him to become a Buckeye more than anything was a 10-minute conversation with coach Urban Meyer.
Lisle heard about Meyer’s philosophy for his quick-paced offense, his affinity for nimble linemen and his plan for leading the Buckeyes to a national title.
“He’s an intense guy who, when he walks in a room, you’ll listen to him and you’ll definitely respect him,” Lisle said.
“After all that for 10 minutes, I knew I wanted to go to Ohio State. And once I got the offer, I committed pretty fast.”
Other coveted prospects are responding the same way to Meyer’s recruiting pitch. After turning a mediocre class last year into one of the top five in the nation in barely two months on the job, Meyer is having plenty of success again this year on the recruiting trail.
The Buckeyes’ 2013 class jumped from ninth to fifth nationally last week in the ESPN.com ratings. Rivals.com has OSU 10th, mostly because it has fewer commitments than most. The 14 prospects have a cumulative average of 3.92 stars (on a scale of one to five), second only to Southern Cal’s 4.21.
“He’s kind of like a rock star to high school football players,” Bucknuts.com recruiting analyst Bill Kurelic said of Meyer. “He’s always been a great recruiter, and you put him at a place like Ohio State, which has so much to offer, and that’s a great combination.”
While his predecessor, Jim Tressel, relied mostly on in-state prospects to fill his classes, Meyer has been able to cast a wide net with half of his 2013 recruits coming from outside Ohio.
“When you throw in the clout that comes with the Urban Meyer name along with the tradition of Ohio State and the super-high profile of the program, you’re going to run into kids all over the United States at the very elite levels of the game who want to play in the ‘Shoe. And that’s what’s happening,” said Allen Wallace, publisher of SuperPrep Magazine and national recruiting editor for Scout.com.
The Buckeyes picked up a commitment in June from defensive tackle Michael Hill, the top-rated player in South Carolina who had offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU and the home-state Gamecocks. The first quarterback to be recruited by Meyer at OSU is J.T. Barrett of Wichita Falls, Texas.
Marcus Baugh, a tight end from Riverside, Calif., was pursued by most Pac-12 schools along with Florida and Miami before picking the Buckeyes. Eli Woodard, a five-star cornerback from Voorhees, N.J., ideally will team with another five-star defensive back in Trotwood-Madison’s Cameron Burrows to give the Buckeyes strength in the secondary for years to come.
“Ohio State under Jim Tressel did not go to California and Texas that often,” Kurelic said. “Urban Meyer certainly is. The state of Ohio is going to be the No. 1 priority, but he’s going to go anywhere he needs to and get the best players he can find.”
Although Michigan has been effective in raiding Ohio, the Buckeyes have the top two players in the state in Burrows and Middletown High School’s Jalin Marshall, who currently is a quarterback but could be shifted somewhere else to maximize his play-making abilities.
“They’re great, great players,” Kurelic said. “I think the only question mark with the two is, who do you like better? I’ve gone back and forth on who’s 1 and who’s 2? I think in my book they’re kind of 1A and 1B. They’re both so good.
“Jalin Marshall is an impact guy on offense. While he wants to play quarterback, I think he’s going to be a Percy Harvin guy at Ohio State. But you never know. I like to say, ‘Just put the ball in his hands and let him do things at whatever position it is.’
“Cameron Burrows has a chance to be a really good cornerback for Ohio State. But it may end up that he turns out to be a great safety. He could play either one.”
Barrett, the fifth-best dual-threat QB in the nation in the ESPN.com ratings, appears to be a logical successor to sophomore starter Braxton Miller.
“He’s a quarterback who could pretty much control where he wanted to go,” Wallace said. “He’s an elite player. I like the fact that he’s an accurate thrower. He doesn’t have a fantastic arm, but I think accuracy is much more important than having a gun for an arm. In that respect, he stands out.”
The Buckeyes have had some setbacks along the way. Alex Anzalone, a linebacker from Pennsylvania, de-committed after a bizarre incident involving a sex offender who snapped a picture with the prospect after the spring game and posted it on Twitter. Anzalone started the recruiting process over and chose Notre Dame last week.
Another projected linebacker, Lewis Neal of North Carolina, also de-commitment and picked LSU, leaving the Buckeyes thin at that position.
Recruiting analysts say OSU will top out at 20 or 21 signees on the first Wednesday in February. It may have been more, but NCAA sanctions have limited the program to 82 scholarships instead of 85 over the next three years.
First off, let me say that I am a big J.T. Barrett fan.
I think the Rider senior is a super quarterback and a super kid.
And I'm not the only one on the J.T. bandwagon. Texas Football magazine made him the preseason all-state QB in Class 4A. ESPN picked him to be a part of its Elite 11 quarterback competition.
Some are even calling him the top dual-threat high school quarterback in the country.
Are we getting a bit carried away here?
Although I think J.T. is really good, I am still not sold on the fact that he is "Ohio State really good."
The Big 10 is a big jump up from District 5-4A.
Maybe some of my doubt is Shavodrick Beaver's fault.
I loved Beaver when he was the Rider quarterback in 2006, 2007 and 2008, but as good as he was, he wasn't "Michigan good."
He committed to Michigan his junior year but then backed out and went to Tulsa and couldn't beat out G.J. Kinne and ended up back here at Midwestern State.
"They were very comparable athletic-wise," Rider coach Jim Garfield told me when I asked him to compare Beaver and Barrett. "Shavodrick was a little faster, but J.T.'s actual awareness of the game is better and he also has a little more arm strength.
"What makes J.T. so special is his leadership ability. It's off the chart. When J.T. talks around here, everybody listens."
You also use the numbers to make a good case for Barrett.
This guy threw for 1,604 yards and 14 touchdowns, ran for 1,515 yards and nine scores and took the Raiders four rounds deep in the playoffs last year.
Those passing numbers should jump this year throwing to guys who can just go get it, like Brandon Williams, John Hatch and Brylan McCoy.
But numbers can lie.
If not, Garrett Gilbert, who threw for a record 12,534 yards at Lake Travis, would be winning national championships at Texas right now rather than playing at SMU.
Blake Szymanski lit it up throwing the ball at Rider, but wasn't good enough to do that for a really bad Baylor program.
In my humble opinion, the best high school quarterback I have seen play in Wichita Falls was Lawrence Williams at Wichita Falls High School many moons ago.
Lawrence could beat you with his arm or his legs. He also was a leader who guided the Coyotes to a state championship way back in 1969.
But because of the racial bias of the times, he was never allowed to play quarterback in college. So he showed his amazing athletic ability by becoming an All-Southwest Conference wide receiver at Texas Tech.
Some people I have talked to believe Barrett will also play a position other than quarterback at Ohio State. Like Williams, he could also become a great wide receiver.
But Urban Meyer recruited J.T. to be his quarterback.
Meyer's college QB resume' includes Alex Smith and Tim Tebow, a couple of guys who sniffed at the Super Bowl last year.
J.T. projects to be a better athlete than both of them. He also has the smarts to make it on college football's big-time stage.
See, in just one column, I have erased many of the doubts I had about this kid.
Hopefully, come December, we will see a quarterback that is really "Ohio State good."
J.T. Barrett knows he's among the elite high school quarterbacks in the country.
But as fun as it'll be hanging out with the other top quarterbacks from the Class of 2013 this weekend, Barrett also looks forward to competing at the Elite 11 Quarterback Competition.
It's the 14th year of the event, which has six qualifiers around the country to set the field for the five-day national event that begins Wednesday in Redondo Beach, Calif.
Past participants included Jason White, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Troy Smith and Tim Tebow, all of whom went on to win the Heisman Trophy.
Super Bowl winners like Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers as well as Texas great Colt McCoy went to the Elite 11 finals.
Barrett will fly out Tuesday and has to miss Rider's trip to the 7-on-7 state tournament.
He has one goal when he lands: show them his very best. It's a chance for him to see the fruits of his labor.
"It just says one of the top quarterbacks already," Barrett said. "This camp is trying to distinguish who are the best 11. I think it's a good thing. You are one of the best and competing to see who is the best.
"I'm trying to go out there and try to win the MVP for sure, but when you think about it you only control what you do. If I do my best, then I know I should be one of them getting into the Elite 11."
Barrett has competed alongside Tyrone Swoopes of Whitewright, a Texas commit, in a camp. He's also seen DeVante Kincade of Dallas Skyline, who won the MVP at the Elite 11 event in Dallas.
Barrett, who has committed to Ohio State, will get a chance to see some more stars who could be his college rivals in a couple of years.
"It's a huge compliment to J.T. and the work that he's put in," Rider coach Jim Garfield said. "He's ranked as the top dual-threat quarterback (by 247 sports), but he can really be a good pro-style quarterback as well.
"We take what defenses give us and J.T. can help us so much with his feet. I think they saw that he can go under center and take a snap and run a pro-style offense, too."
Barrett said his summer has been one of focus on working out, sometimes twice a day. For a "fun break" he plays a little basketball.
"I guess I'll have fun later," Barrett said.
He's aware of the expectations surrounding Rider football — Texas Football picked Rider to advance to the Class 4A Division II final — but he's not concerned with them. Barrett has always openly talked about getting past the fourth-round hurdle that has tripped up the Raiders and winning a state title.
Preseason rankings and even great achievements like lineman Harrison Sorge's commitment to North Texas don't guarantee district or playoff success.
Barrett sounds like he's got unfinished business at Rider.
"As far as expectations we control what we do," Barrett said. "Getting past the fourth round and going all the way is the main thing motivating us, not what people are saying.
"We still have to take care of business here and try to win a state championship. Why not go out with a bang?"
If there were any doubt about Tarboro defensive end Tyquan Lewis’ status among the class of 2013, there isn’t any more.
Lewis participated in Nike’s The Opening, an invite-only camp for senior football players held from July 5-8. The camp, which was held at Nike World Headquarters in Eugene, Ore., is among the top football camps for elite recruits.
In Eugene, Lewis participated in four days of drills and received instruction from a handful of NFL stars and major college coaches.
Lewis’ position coach was Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
“It was real cool to be out there,” Lewis said. “(Suh) was a real cool guy, real laid back when he was talking to us.
“We worked on mostly drills, using your hands better, getting off the ball, stuff like that that will help in college.”
Notables at the camp were NFL players Darrelle Revis, Mike and Maurkice Pouncey, Patrick Peterson and Ray Rice, among others.
The 2011 state champion Lewis narrowed his collegiate choice and said his top five is LSU, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Ohio State.
Lewis said he is interested in visiting Miami, and he plans on visiting Houston.
“Clemson was in (the top five), but their roster is full,” Lewis said. “It could end up changing, but it’s hard to say.”
He cannot make official visits until his senior year starts in mid-August but can make unofficial visits until then.
An official visit is paid for by the university, whereas an unofficial visit is financed by the recruit and his family.
While the camp added technical structure to Lewis’ game, there was a tag-along to the invite: Attention. Lots and lots of attention.
ESPN was in charge
of the media portion of the event, and as coverage became published, Lewis’ Facebook inbox swelled with messages from Ohio State fans making their case from the Buckeyes.
Similarly, he has been receiving roughly five phone calls a day from recruiting websites, and his Twitter mentions are full of fans begging for him to pick their school.
“I’ll probably make my decision sometime between now and September,” Lewis said. “It’s a lot of stress with everything going on, but it’s winding down.”