An Important July on the Recruiting Front

By Jordan Wagner on June 30, 2014 at 2:56p

Though Ohio State's 2015 recruiting class got off to a slow start, they picked up seven commitments in the last month. The Buckeyes now sit at 10 commitments after June's torrid pace, and July is setting up to be even bigger.

Five of Ohio State's top targets are set to make their decisions in July, and four of them are leaning towards the Buckeyes. Let's take a closer look at the five.

Justin Hilliard and Jashon Cornell

Five-star linebacker Justin Hilliard and four-star defensive end Jashon Cornell will both announce their decision on Wednesday at 10 a.m. Hilliard and Cornell have made it clear they plan to attend the same school.

Hilliard, Ohio's top prospect, has narrowed his choices down to Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State. Cornell has named a final five of Iowa, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State.

The three schools both prospects have in common are Iowa, Notre Dame and Ohio State.

For Hilliard, it has been a battle between Notre Dame and Ohio State for his commitment. While his brother is committed to Iowa, the Hawkeyes don't appear to be a threat to the Buckeyes.

The St. Xavier linebacker has been a frequent visitor at Ohio State, connecting with some current players including freshman Raekwon McMillan. The Buckeyes lead on the crystal ball by a large margin over the Fighting Irish for Hilliard, the nation's second-ranked outside linebacker.

Much like Hilliard, Jashon Cornell appears to be down to Notre Dame and Ohio State. Since he visited Columbus for a football camp earlier this month, Cornell has been trending to Ohio State on the crystal ball. OSU turned down a commitment from three-star defensive end Darius Fullwood, a sign that the staff is confident about their chances of landing Cornell, the nation's 37th-ranked prospect.

The 6-foot-4, 260-pound defensive lineman from Minnesota had planned to decide in late August, but instead decided to move his date up to Wednesday. Both prospects will attend "The Opening," which starts on July 7.

My prediction: Cornell and Hilliard will commit to the Buckeyes.

Jerome Baker

Four-star linebacker Jerome Baker announced yesterday that he will make his college decision on July 11. The Cleveland native had planned to wait until after the football season.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker will select from Florida, Florida State, Miami (FL), Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Tennessee. His crystal ball currently reads 100% Ohio State.

Baker, the nation's 42nd-ranked prospect, has long been considered an Ohio State lean. He could join Hilliard and Nick Conner as linebackers in Ohio State's recruiting class.

Prediction: Buckeye.

Larry Scott

Hubbard (Ohio) four-star running back Larry Scott was once considered a Michigan State lean, but now Ohio State appears to be the team to beat. While Scott doesn't have a specific decision date set, he has said he plans to decide sometime during July.

Scott, who plays with 2016 Buckeye commitment George Hill, is the nation's 4th-ranked running back according to 247Sports' composite rankings. The six-foot, 205-pound running back rushed for 1,681 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior.

Prediction: Buckeye.

Van Jefferson

Just a couple months ago, Van Jefferson was on commitment watch for the Buckeyes. With a July decision looming, Tennessee has emerged as a strong contender for his commitment. Georgia and Ohio State are also in the mix.

The four-star receiver hopes to visit Ohio State before making a decision later this month. Though Jefferson has not set a decision deadline, his birthday on July 26 would be a viable date. He will also be at "The Opening," which will give some of Ohio State's recruits a chance to work some magic.

Prediction: Tennessee, but don't count out Ohio State if he does visit again.

Landing Hilliard, Cornell, Baker, Scott and Jefferson would be a boon for the 2015 class. Using 247Sports' class calculator, commitments from all five would catapult Ohio State to fourth in the team rankings.

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