Recently we've looked at some of the Buckeyes top 2015 targets in Florida and Ohio, two states that account for a large portion of Ohio State's recruiting efforts. Today, we're going to look at a less obvious area: Maryland and Washington D.C.
This region doesn't have the sheer volume of prospects that states like Florida or Texas have, but it's a prime region for Ohio State to take advantage of for a few reasons. First, there isn't an elite local program in the area. Penn State is pretty strong, Maryland is improving and Virginia Tech is also fairly close, but elite prospects are more likely to leave home because there isn't a top program in their backyard. Secondly, while the region isn't as deep with talent as others, it consistently produces at least a few big time prospects.
Damien Prince, Jalen Tabor, Kenny Bigelow, Kendall Fuller, Stefon Diggs, Ronald Darby, Eddie Goldman, and Cyrus Kouandjio are all 5-stars to come out of Maryland or DC in the last five years, averaging out to nearly two 5-stars from this region each year. The other thing that stands out about this impressive list of athletes, is that only two of them - Prince and Diggs - stayed in Maryland. Only one other (Kendall Fuller) stayed remotely close to home, going to Virginia Tech.
So Maryland and D.C. produce about two 5-stars each year (plus at least a couple more top 4-stars) and the majority of them venture far from home, making this a perfect region for Meyer and co. to cherry pick the top prospects from. The Buckeyes have yet to land a prospect from Maryland or D.C. under Meyer, but they have come closer each year and, like in Florida, 2015 could be the year Ohio State breaks through. So, without further ado, let's look at who the Buckeyes are targeting this year in Maryland and D.C.
Adam Mclean / Gaithersburg / DT
McLean is the No. 1 player in Maryland according to the 247Composite and one of the top defensive tackles in the country. After not signing any defensive tackles, the position is likely a priority this year and McLean is one of the Buckeyes top targets along with Tim Settle and Christian Wilkins. Before even receiving a Buckeye offer, the future Under-Armour All-American announced Ohio State was in his top five, along with Mississippi, Nebraska, Michigan State and Pittsburgh. This was before he picked up offers from Alabama, Florida and South Carolina, which may cause him to re-evaluate his list of top schools.
One school that will stay on the list, McLean said, is Ohio State: "They will always be up there, no matter where my recruitment goes." Adam is very close with defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who told Adam "he would love for [McLean] to come play for him." The relationship with Johnson is a huge factor in the Buckeyes favor at this point. McLean also plays strong-side defensive end, which gives Ohio State a little more flexibility with their other top targets Settle and Wilkins. Still, Ohio State is recruiting him as a defensive tackle and it's probably unlikely that they would sign three interior defensive linemen in this class. Fortunately, McLean's timeline should give Ohio State plenty of time to have a better idea of where they stand with their other targets, as McLean has talked about possibly announcing at an All-Star game.
Don't be fooled by the fact that Ohio State waited to offer McLean, he's an elite prospect and they would love to have him. As of right now, the Buckeyes have to like where they stand with the 6-foot-1, 280-pound lineman. Expect McLean to visit Columbus some time this summer or fall.
Marcus Lewis / Washington D.C. / DB
Marcus Lewis is a fast and physical defensive back. Likely a cornerback at the next level, the 6-foot-1, 187-pound Lewis has been clocked at a 4.38 forty-yard dash. Lewis was at one point committed to Virginia Tech, but has since re-opened his recruitment and is visiting Ohio State this weekend.
Lewis told 11W that he's looking forward to "seeing the campus as a whole, having a good talk with coach Meyer, talking with coach Ash and letting the staff meet [his] family."
Lewis also said that the visit to Ohio State was something he'd been planning for a while, and he's also planning a spring break trip to visit Florida, Florida State and Miami in mid-March. With a long offer list that continues to grow, Lewis is hoping to come out with a top 10 this summer and a top five by the time his senior season starts this fall. The Buckeyes have a great opportunity to impress Lewis this weekend and secure a spot in his top 10. Lewis is also really high on Clemson and told 11W after he re-opened his recruitment that he still likes Virginia Tech. Penn State also has a great shot of making his top 10 along with the Florida schools. In addition to the other schools mentioned, he holds offers from over 20 schools including Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa, Tennessee and many others.
Patrick Allen / Reisterstown / OL
Offensive line is always a recruiting priority, and Patrick Allen is a good one. Florida State is his favorite right now, with Wisconsin second on his list. Ohio State, Georgia and Tennessee are also in his top five. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound tackle also holds offers from USC, Penn State, Virginia Tech and others. Of his top schools, Georgia is the only one yet to offer.
The Buckeyes offered Allen about two weeks ago, and there is definitely mutual interest. I would imagine that Allen will visit Ohio State at some point this summer or fall, though nothing is planned as of right now. Expect the Buckeyes to be in the mix for him with Florida State and Wisconsin, but right now he's looking like a Seminole.
Darius Fullwood / Washington D.C. / WDE
Fullwood is a tall (6-foot-4) weak-side defensive end who now holds nearly 20 offers, including Alabama, Florida State, Michigan State, Penn State, Miami and others. Ohio State currently figures to be in good shape to make the cut when he trims his list this spring or summer. Fullwood visited Ohio State in November for the
freezing cold blowout win against Indiana and came away very impressed.
Fullwould has had a busy couple of months - visiting West Virginia, Kentucky and Miami, picking up five offers and receiving a coach visit from Michigan. He's planning to visit UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, N.C. State and a few others this spring before trimming the list. Like a few other east coast defensive linemen, Fullwood is very close with Larry Johnson. Fullwood liked the Buckeyes before LJ got hired, so Ohio State is in even better shape for him now. I think there's a decent possibility he becomes a Buckeye some time down the road.
Kai Locksley / Baltimore / qb or ATH
Locksley is a phenomenal athlete for a quarterback - he's big (6-foot-4), fast (4.60 forty) and has a strong arm. Most assume he's headed to Maryland, as his dad (Mike) is the offensive coordinator for the Terps. Kai says he has no front runners right now though, and he's going through the process and visiting a variety of schools. He visited Ohio State for the Wisconsin game in September so there is definitely some mutual interest.
Locksley has a long offer list including Alabama, Florida State, Auburn, Georgia, Michigan State, Wisconsin and others, though several schools are recruiting him more as an athlete. Ohio State would love to have Kai, but wants him as a WR which will make it tough for them to beat out a school like Maryland, who is recruiting him as a quarterback. Everything seems to indicate that Locksley wants to play quarterback in college, which puts Ohio State naturally at a disadvantage.
He is visiting Miami this weekend, Florida State the following weekend and Oregon in April. I don't see him joining Ohio State's class but he's a guy that is on their radar and could maybe be an option at QB if things fall through with the other top targets.
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