How Could 2015 Shape Up for Ohio State? Predicting the Impossible.

By Jeremy Birmingham on March 4, 2014 at 5:00p
64 Comments

Good afternoon folks, welcome to your Tuesday afternoon dose of 'crootin. We've reached March, and with it comes spring football at Ohio State and the impending football camp season. Ahh...glorious.

If you recall, last winter we did a series of stories about who could end up in Ohio State's 2015 recruiting class. Those were initial prognostications, a far away look at a mystical place called "Guessing Land." Four months later, let's take another look but this time with a bit more knowledge to draw from. 

This is Buckeye football recruiting, change is inevitable and almost constant, but we'll do our best. Let's get to it.

NOVEMBER 2013

Here was the final group of guys from the last comprehensive look we took in November. (You can read the breakdowns of each group here: Offense I, Offense II, Defense I, Defense II)

Pretty good group if it came to fruition, huh? Unfortunately, the odds of that list happening are slim to none. As it stands, a number of players on the initial list have already committed elsewhere, and others have, for one reason or another, moved off of Ohio State's radar. Ohio State has three players currently committed and they're all on this list as de facto members, but I'd be stunned if all three signed with Ohio State, because recruiting.

There are some notable changes to the list, and we'll go through those position-by-position, starting with the game's most important position, quarterback. I'm operating on a full, 25 player class here as well, which is probably 2-3 players heavier than the Buckeyes will actually take.

QUARTERBACK

Torrance Gibson supplants Brandon Wimbush on my list, which is obviously the first and possibly the biggest, change. Back in November, Wimbush had planned on a very early decision, but that has changed and it seems that Penn State has surged into the lead for his services. Yes, he is still suggesting that the Buckeyes are heavily involved in his recruitment, but a scheduled visit for Ohio State's spring game will not happen (schedule conflict) and James Franklin and Penn State are all the rage right now. Gibson's ascension towards the top of the Buckeyes' priority list may also play a role. 

As Gibson's interest in Ohio State continues to become national knowledge, it seems savvy college recruiters are using him against the Buckeyes on the recruiting trail.

"Well, you know that Torrance Gibson is probably going to go there, right? You don't want to have to compete against him, do you?"

Yep, that's kind of happening, and no matter how legitimate Gibson's interest in Ohio State, it's hard to dispute he's at the top of the Buckeyes' wish list. If history has shown us much, it's that Urban Meyer usually gets who Urban Meyer wants. So Gibson is in.

RUNNING BACK

Soso Jamabo is off the list, a byproduct of Damien Harris' decommitment from Michigan, Jacques Patrick's continued interest and Mike Mitchell's pending transfer out of Columbus. In his stead, it's Harris who has become the priority for Ohio State at this position as the Buckeyes' position with Patrick seems to be slipping with Florida State and Miami surging.

WIDE RECEIVER // tight end

A few new names are being added here, and if it was to happen this way I think Buckeye fans should be pretty darn excited about it. Scottsdale (Ariz.) wide receiver Christian Kirk and Pompano Beach (Fla.) wide out Calvin Ridley, two five-star talents and Connecticut tight end Chris Clark have made their way into the mix. Kirk, who visited Ohio State this past weekend, will be a difficult "pull" for the Buckeyes — as will Ridley and Clark — but Ohio State made what I think will be a lasting impression on him and his family. 

Zack Smith Hopes to land Calvin Ridley
Calvin Ridley is a top target for Ohio State.

Do I have too much confidence in Zach Smith? Nope, I don't think I do. Ohio State's wide receiver coach, especially when combined with Urban Meyer as a dynamic duo, is becoming pretty hard to beat. I've kept Brentwood (Tenn.) wide receiver Van Jefferson on the list, although that would have changed had Urban Meyer not taken over his recruitment within the last ten days. Meyer has to sell Jefferson's father, the wide receiver's coach for the Tennessee Titans, that Ohio State's offense can utilize his son's skills, and I think that he can do just that. 

Clark is an interesting case because while Ohio State was involved early in his recruitment — and he's very high on the Buckeyes — Meyer will have to find some way to show a top-flight tight end that yes, Ohio State can use the tight end. He and his family will visit the Buckeyes in two-and-a-half weeks and it will be a very important meeting. Meyer was "late" offering his top tight end target in 2014 (Mike Gesicki) and he doesn't want to let another one get away, especially after not taking one last year.

OFFENSIVE LINE // DEFENSIVE LINE

The first change is that Sterling Jenkins, the 6-foot-8 behemoth from Pittsburgh, is off the list. I think Jenkins will stay home in Pennsylvania at either Pitt or Penn State, another casualty of James Franklin's "War on The Region." In his place, I've got Matthew Burrell, a big ol' tackle from Virginia, another player that Zach Smith has made a priority. For his part, Burrell says that he and Smith are "tight," and that he has a great relationship with the staff at Ohio State. I've also removed Hubbard's Matthew Jones, who has committed to West Virginia and replaced him with fellow Ohioan Rob Dowdy. Dowdy, a Columbus native, was offered by Michigan State this week and I think Ohio State will be forced to act soon if they want to keep him from leaving the state.

Coincidentally, I do not have Warren lineman James Daniels on the list. For whatever reason Daniels, whose father played at Ohio State, just doesn't seem to be that "into" the Buckeyes. Maybe I am wrong? I'm probably wrong, but when an in-state guy — especially a legacy player like Daniels — doesn't jump all over an early Buckeye offer I think it's possible he may decide to blaze his own path elsewhere. 

Adam McLean
Michigan State leads for McLean, can Buckeyes make a move?

On the defensive line, I've swapped out the entire defensive line unit. The Buckeyes offered Dre'Mont Jones from Ignatius last week, and I imagine he'll be the first of this group to commit to the Buckeyes, probably at the end of the spring. Connecticut defensive lineman Christian Wilkins doesn't talk much, but Ohio State continues to pursue him heavily and people close to him say he's not shy about how much he likes the Buckeyes. Maryland star Adam McLean and Virginia's Ricky DeBerry (who could be a linebacker) are two players that Larry Johnson, Sr. could help bring Ohio State's direction, although Zach Smith is still the man when it comes to DeBerry's recruitment.

LINEBACKER // DEFENSIVE BACK

Two more groups that have seen considerable change, the back half of the Buckeye defense will likely see more names popping up and dropping off than any groups. Gone from the linebackers group is Bowling Green (Kentucky) star Eli Brown. Brown's not really interested in the recruiting game, and he's still interested in the Buckeyes, but with two spots "reserved" for Justin Hilliard and Jerome Baker, Brown may force the Buckeyes to wait a bit longer than they'd like to. Nick Conner and Sh'Mar Kilby-Lane are two players very high on Ohio State, and each of them is likely to make a decision by the time summer rolls around. 

Could the Buckeyes lose out on Hilliard and land Florida's Jeffery Holland instead? That would be a tough loss, but a decent trade if they have to lose the state's top player. Holding on to safety Ben Edwards is a key element to the pursuit of Holland.

David Dowell is an intriguing prospect at defensive back, and someone I think earns a Buckeye offer this summer. Marcus Lewis had committed to Virginia Tech in November (and decommitted in December), but Ohio State positioned themselves very nicely in his recruitment after a visit this past weekend. Lewis has a size and speed combination that has college coaches all over the country coveting his signature. Will he be the first "big win" for new Buckeye defensive coordinator Chris Ash?

 

REVISED 2015 PREDICTION
PLAYER POSITION HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL)
Torrance Gibson Quarterback Ft. Lauderdale, FL (American Heritage)
Damien Harris Running Back Berea, KY. (Madison Southern)
Andrew Dowell Running Back Lakewood, OH (St. Edward)
Christian Kirk Wide Receiver Scottsdale, AZ (Sagauro)
Van Jefferson Wide Receiver Brentwood, TN (Ravenwood)
Calvin Ridley Wide Receiver Pompano Beach, FL (Monarch)
Chris Clark Tight End Avon, CT (Avon Old Farms)
C.J. Conrad Tight End Lagrange, OH (Keystone)
Drew Richmond Offensive Line Memphis, TN (Memphis University School)
Steven Gonzalez Offensive Line Union City, NJ (Union Hill)
Rob Dowdy Offensive Line Westerville, OH (South)
Matthew Burrell Offensive Line Woodbridge, VA (C. D. Hylton)
Dre'Mont Jones Defensive Line Cleveland, OH (St. Ignatius)
Ricky DeBerry Defensive Line Richmond, VA (St. Christopher's)
Adam McLean Defensive Line Gaithersburg, MD (Quince Orchard)
Christian Wilkins Defensive Line Suffield, CT (Suffield Academy)
Jerome Baker Linebacker Cleveland, OH (Benedictine)
Sh'Mar Kilby-Lane Linebacker Hallandale, FL (Hallandale)
Nick Conner Linebacker Dublin, OH (Scioto)
Justin Hilliard Linebacker Cincinnati, OH (St. Xavier)
Jamel Dean Defensive Back Cocoa, FL (Cocoa)
Marcus Lewis Defensive Back Washington, DC  (Gonzaga)
David Dowell Defensive Back Lakewood, OH (St. Edward)
Ben Edwards Defensive Back Jacksonville, FL (Trinity Christian Academy)
Eric Glover-Williams Athlete Canton, OH (McKinley)
64 Comments

Comments

WesPatterson23's picture

Like you said in the article, Kirk is from Scottsdale, AZ, (not Canton, Ohio)

osu07asu10's picture

Soso Jamabo is off the list, a byproduct of Damien Harris' decommitment from Michigan,Jacques Patrick's continued interest and Mike Mitchell's pending transfer out of Columbus. 

If Mitchell's departure heavily affects Jambo's decision we can probably kiss Mickey's bball services goodbye as well

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

-1 HS
Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Without first-hand knowledge of this fact, I believe it's almost inevitable.

sidz-z's picture

So is there any other real information about the Mitchell transfer ?  Seems that the reason/excuse for his transfer was because of the illness of his father, but at the time it seemed that it may or may not have any influence on Mickey.  I also heard that chances are he'll never step on a football field again.  Are there "sour grapes" because of the red shirt, or is the reason truly because of the family illness?  Seems like his impending transfer is "hurting" us in a way with recruiting in that area.  From watching Mike's tape, I always thought he was a freakish athlete, but his skills were "raw" and really needed to be coached. 

Good player's make the play's they're suppose to, great player's make the play's they're NOT !!!

gm3jones's picture

Not this again. Let it go man. He is gone and never coming back.

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

+1 HS
Michsux's picture

Your not feeling Tim Settle?

 

+2 HS
DeepSouthBuckeye's picture

Or Beckner? I thought early on OSU was in good shape for both of those 5 stars.

Loving all things Buckeye from SEC country in Alabama.

"How firm thy friendship....O-HI-O"

+1 HS
Jeremy Birmingham's picture

The "Ohio State leads for Beckner" narrative is roughly a year or so old and Terry had numerous chances to come visit OSU and has not done so. He did not list the Buckeyes in his top five recently and it seems that ship has - at least for now - sailed.

Tim Settle is someone I still think the Buckeyes are in decent shape with, just in better shape with the guys listed. Settle is keeping things very quiet, but I think he'll either stay home or follow Da'Shawn Hand south.

sidz-z's picture

I have to agree with Birm, I think if given a chance Settle will follow Hand.

Good player's make the play's they're suppose to, great player's make the play's they're NOT !!!

SilverState's picture

Gibson, Harris, and Kirk...

 

+5 HS
Ahh Saturday's picture

Damn fine looking class, and I'll be all dancing bananas if that's the class we sign, but I have to admit I'm a little disappointed to see Settle off the list.  You feel pretty strongly that the Buckeyes are out of it with Settle?

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Out of it? No, not at all. Just in better shape with other players, at least to my knowledge. 

RunEddieRun1983's picture

What happened with terry beckner and Tim settle?

I don't always downvote, but I do always downvote a Michigan fan trolling the Buckeye boards.

+2 HS
Duccivespucci's picture

I just have a weird feeling about this class. Seems to be lacking something.. I don't know... Leadership? Cohesion? It sure will rank high by the end, I don't feel a top 5 class, I'm thinking 10-12ish, which is damn fine. A depth filler class.

Michael

-1 HS
ohst8buxCP's picture

Dude, I disagree completely. I think this will end up being Meyers best class by far at OSU. So many Big name kids we have good shots at getting. Gibson, Kirk, Clark, Settle, Hilliard the list goes on.

+3 HS
Mercurius's picture

Really??? I think this will be the highest ranked class in Urban's tenure thus far--and he has already had a #2 ranked class; so...

If this even comes close to fruition, (and we don't get Tim Settle & Minkah Fitzpatrick)  we'll have the number one class in the nation. Even ESPN will have to have us in the top three. Just for fun, I did the 247 class calculator on these 25 and came up with 311.89.

+1 HS
oregonianbuckeye's picture

3 quick thoughts.

1) Birm, great coverage and update. Thank you.

2) Number expanded to 25. You think it gets that big, or are you sticking with your 22-23 prediction?

3) Feel like we need a leader to step up and rally the class. A lot of the big names seem to be holding off for a while. Can Kirk and/or Baker assume a leadership position in this class? Who will be this year's Webb?

+1 HS
Killer nuts's picture

~~I'm operating on a full, 25 player class here as well, which is probably 2-3 players heavier than the Buckeyes will actually take.

-Birm (in this article)

+1 HS
Jeremy Birmingham's picture

1) You're welcome, appreciate you reading it.

2) I think they'll end with 22-23, but I picked 25 for fun.

3) I've been wondering the same thing. Someone needs to fill that role and badly. Even the next wave of guys (Dre'Mont Jones, Kilby-Lane and others) aren't necessarily going to be the "go out and get guys" type. Nick Conner, if he gets offered, could definitely be that sort of lightning rod, I think. 

gm3jones's picture

I thought Meyer choose Glover-Williams as that guy?

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

osubuck57's picture

No Jordan Whitehead or Minkah Fitzpatrick?? I'm already crying!! J/K. That would be another great class!!

SCOTTC.

+1 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

Nice write up Birm.  Still way too early, the ink still isn't dry from signing day.  I like a local kid from Allen, Texas for a look at quarterback, Kyler Murray.  The kid only led his team to two consecutive Texas state championships as a sophomore and junior.  Dual qb with wait in the pocket coolness and leadership.  It was like the middle of last season when he traded in his quick feet to staying in the pocket.  Check him out or ask D. Wilson.

Buckeye in Texas

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Murray is a beast, on the level with Torrance Gibson. Buckeyes just don't have much of a real "chance" with him.

ODEEZ330's picture

You see both Dowell boys getting offers? If we land those 4 at Linebacker watch out. Top wants on offense : Gibson Harris Kirk Richmond. Top wants on defense: deberry settle Hilliard n keep ben Edwards. Ath: baker . Birm sees most of my biggest wants in i like it

O'Deez330
stark county football

+2 HS
Jeremy Birmingham's picture

I think Ohio State NEEDS 8-10 players from Ohio in this class and I think that both Andrew and David are players - and more importantly people - who can make a positive impact in Columbus. 

NCBuckeye2011's picture

I noticed you took Devante Peete out of St. Thomas Aquinas off the new list. Is this because his interest in the Buckeyes has simmered down or because of new involvements with other receivers who would get priority over Peete? I really like his size (6'5) because it seems like the buckeyes are short on "Red-Zone Threat" receivers (I know this is a spread and speedsters will gain priority over more traditional receivers).

I'm not sure how well the typical red-zone threat fits into this offense's philosophy, but M. Thomas and Jeff Greene seem like the only guys on the current roster who fit that mold and their eligibility will be up in a few years leaving nobody behind them unless Urbz can grab somebody. 

Guys like Kelvin Benjamin and Mike Evans really really helped their respective Qb's this season (J. Winston, J. Manziel) because they could snatch passes out of the clouds, IMO Braxton really needed somebody like that the past few seasons.....paging Michael Thomas

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

It seems OSU has some questions about Peete that haven't been answered up to this point, so Ridley and Jefferson are ahead of him. Very talented player.

NCBuckeye2011's picture

Thanks for the info, always love reading the latest scoop on recruiting

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I really want Scott in this class.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

So do I, but I think he's Michigan State bound. Recent "offers" from Alabama and Auburn mean that the Buckeyes are going to have to make a decision on him soon, though.

FROMTHE18's picture

I'll cry tears of joy if this prediction happens. 

Ahh Saturday's picture

Doesn't appear that Birm is in a question-answering mood, but I'll ask anyway.  When do we see the next commit?  Spring game?

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Dre'Mont Jones, end of spring?

buckguyfan1's picture

I'm ready for the next BOOM!  

I know it will be a while, but... I'm ready none the less. 

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Give me like an hour folks, then I'll try and go through and do some answering.

 

ITWASME's picture

Who do you see as the first really big name to commit?

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Different folks have different ideas of who is a really big name, but Kilby-Lane is a player who could be committed before the start of May.

Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

I really thought Jordan Whitehead was OSU's to lose.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Looking like West Virginia/Pitt could be tough to beat at this time. 

laishley15's picture

Great write up as always!!!  Is Calvin Ridley being included in the class just you kind of going out on limb? I just haven't seen to much about Ridley and his interest in OSU. I know Coach Smith was able to steal Johnnie Dixon from the U last year? 

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Calvin Ridley is my "going out on a limb" prediction of the year, like I did with Dixon last year. 

Patriot4098's picture

But is it really going out on a limb if you're right? #toughquestions

"Evil shenanigans!"     - Mac

+1 HS
Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Something about a blind squirrel and a broken clock and nuts?

Patriot4098's picture

Maybe.  #toughquestions require #toughanswers.  I don't know that I'm deep enough to ponder upon these things.  hah

"Evil shenanigans!"     - Mac

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Great info Jeremy!  Love it. You always do a fantastic job keeping us informed.

Go Bucks!!

+1 HS
Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Thanks for taking the time to read it.

FitzBuck's picture

Birm = weight in gold

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+2 HS
ab1993's picture

Hey Birm, I haven't really followed recruiting until end of last cycle, how common is it for recruits that say they want to wait until after their senior season or national signing day to commit much earlier than expected?

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Not common, really. Guys that want to wait until signing day or late in the process are either waiting to get things started or just enjoy the process in general. It's hard for me - as an outsider - to even consider that anyone could LIKE it.

ab1993's picture

Well it's clear from TG's tweets/RTs he LOVES it

nburns18's picture

this could be the best class for Urban ever if he can pull it off

"You win with people." -Woody Hayes

Ericgobucks's picture

Jeremy, you mention about being "able to keep Ben Edwards." Do you really think he might waver? Just wondering what you gave you that impression. Thanks

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

He's taking other visits, he's from Florida, he committed very early and his recruitment will most certainly continue to "blow up" ever more than it has. It's a challenge on a lot of fronts.

Ericgobucks's picture

Wasn't he the the commit who said "i'm done," when he committed? He seemed to be completely solid, but sounds like from what you said, certainly not the case. Damn...I hate seeing attrition...we need forward momentum. Thanks! 

D. Anthony's picture

No glennville kids this year, huh? All heading to Kentucky? :)

D. Anthony

+2 HS
DefenceWinsChampionships's picture

This is an exciting piece, but I want to take a minute to have everyone rein in their emotions a little bit. Every year I see people on here talking about how "this year will be a dream class". I can already see it happening again, and I urge for people to have patience. Its not that I dont think we'll have a top class (I fully expect us to be in the top 3 again), its just that this year, even more so than others, I believe will be very short on star power for a good long while. Most of the top guys on the board have come out saying that they will wait until after the season, or at an all star game to announce, and that might mean we get into mid summer with only local boys and kilby-lane or someone else already in the fold. I just want everyone to remember that Urban always wins... so when the time comes, we need to keep the chicken little crap to a minimum, step back from the ledge, and remember that we had all the same hype - then all the same "this class is not what we expected" posts - then all the "i knew we'd be top 3" posts, last year. Recruiting is a hell of a ride and it wont happen on our (the fans) timetable, but we'll get what we need in the end. So enjoy topics like this (I love the piece Birm) but dont start going crazy 3 weeks from now when we still dont have guys like Gibson and Harris committed.

+2 HS
Buckabroad's picture

That is a damn fine list. Would take it in a heartbeat.

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

FROMTHE18's picture

Went through and read some of the additional comments and great answers by Birm. Could be a special class. Im really interested to see how this list stacks up with the list on NSD '15. Its one of the more interesting parts of recruiting: kids that are very high on a school and holding an offer but somehow/someway things change, particularly over the summer, and that school is no longer in the running by the time fall rolls around. As Kwon was my #1 want in the 2014 class, Gibson is definitely my #1 for 2015. Hope we land him and land him soon so the rest of the elite dominos can start to fall our way. 

TresselourgodUrbanoursavior's picture

I believe I have seen tweets about Jashon Cornell and Hilliard going to the same school. I would be surprised if they both didn't go to Notre Dame.

BUCKSOMIES's picture

Thanks Jeremy, great stuff as usual.  The train called Urban just keeps on chugging down the tracks.

HattanBuck85's picture

My Dream Team for 2015:

QB- Torrance Gibson (FL)

RB- Larry Scott (OH)

RB- Damian Harris (KY)

TE- Chris Clark (CT)

WR- DeVante Peete (FL)

WR- Christian Kirk (AZ)

WR- Calvin Ridley (FL)

OL- Steven Gonzalez (NJ)

OL- Drew Richmond (TN)

OL- Rob Dowdy (OH)

DE- Dre’Mont Jones (OH)

DE- Josh Sweat (VA)

DT- Christian Wilkins (CT)

DT- Adam McLean (MD)

LB- Ricky DeBerry (VA)

LB- Justin Hilliard (OH)

LB- Nick Conner (OH)

CB- Jamel Dean (FL)

CB- Eric Glover-Williams (OH)

S- Ben Edwards (FL)

S- Marcus Lewis (DC)

LS- Liam McCullough (OH)

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." - Woody Hayes