The Latest on the Candidates to Finish Ohio State's 2015 Recruiting Class

By Jordan Wagner on July 18, 2014 at 3:00p
Damien Harris and Justin Hilliard
42 Comments

Ohio State's 2015 recruiting class, termed "Elite15" by Ohio State director of player personnel Mark Pantoni, currently sits at 12 commitments. The Buckeyes are ranked 15th in 247Sports composite team rankings, which is good for second in the Big Ten behind Penn State. 

Based on the number of graduating seniors and the scholarships Ohio State will regain from expiring sanctions, there are currently 16 available scholarships for the 2015 class. Accounting for transfers, medical hardships and early NFL departures, I'd expect that number to be closer to 20 when all is said and done. I wrote more about the scholarship situation last month

The Buckeyes rode some recruiting momentum into the month of July, prompted by the commitments of Justin Hilliard and Jashon Cornell. I and a number of observers thought Larry Scott and Jerome Baker would continue the momentum, but Scott decided to commit to Michigan State while Baker pledged to Florida. 

Those misses are temporarily setbacks, but there is plenty of time for Ohio State to recover. Let's take a look at some prospects that could potentially help round out the Buckeyes' recruiting class.


QB Torrance Gibson: The five-star quarterback was once considered to be an Ohio State lean, but a failure to get him on campus for a visit caused them to move near the bottom of his top seven schools list. On Thursday, Gibson announced via Twitter that he is scheduling a visit to Columbus. The likely date for said visit would be July 23, per Jeremy Birmingham. Ohio State is content with taking only Joe Burrow at QB in this class, but Gibson might be too good to turn down. Where the Buckeyes stand will become much clearer after he makes a visit. 

RB Damien Harris: Harris, a five-star prospect, has been a frequent visitor at Ohio State since decommitting from Michigan. While he hasn't named any favorites, OSU and Kentucky are the two schools that appear to be at the top of his list. He will visit Kentucky today. Many of the current commitments, including Justin Hilliard, have already started to recruit Harris to Ohio State

WR Van Jefferson: Jefferson is fresh off an Ohio State visit with family; according to both the trip went well. The four-star receiver will announce his school of choice this summer, potentially as soon as July 26. It's shaping up to be a battle between the Buckeyes and the in-state Tennessee Volunteers, with it being too close to call. Before deciding, though, Jefferson plans to visit Georgia this weekend.

WR Christian Kirk: Could Kirk be this year's Johnnie Dixon? Not many people are giving the Buckeyes much of a shot at landing the four-star receiver, but that hasn't stopped their pursuit. Texas A&M is the clear leader on the crystal ball, but USC has made a run as of late. 

OL Matthew Burrell: Ohio State has recruited Burrell hard for months and it appears to be paying off. The Buckeyes are the current leader and will receive an official visit this fall. The four-star offensive tackle has had a busy summer with visits to Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State. Visits to Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Penn State are still coming this summer. 

OL Drew Richmond: The four-star offensive lineman tends to keep quiet about his recruitment, but it's safe to say Ohio State is one of his top schools. Richmond grew up a fan of the Scarlet and Gray, and the Memphis native will return to Ohio State for a visit for Friday Night Lights. The Vols hold a slight lead over the Buckeyes on the crystal ball

OL James Daniels: The Ohio native holds an Ohio State offer but seems to be a forgotten prospect by most recruitniks. In the past few days, the crystal ball has started to shift from the Buckeyes to Iowa, which Daniels' brother attends. 

OL Isaiah Prince: After visiting for one of OSU's prospect camps on June 21, Prince named a final six of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Maryland, Ohio State and Tennessee. Maryland might be tough to beat, but the Buckeyes will have at least one more shot to sway him as he plans to visit Columbus for a game this fall. 

DL Neville Gallimore: The Canadian prospect burst onto the scene this summer, quickly ascending to a four-star ranking after dominating at Columbus NFTC. He keeps quiet about the recruiting process, but the Buckeyes are one of his top schools following his May 31 visit. Buckeye commit Jashon Cornell roomed with him for The Opening and the pair have a strong relationship. He could be back to visit as soon as for Friday Night Lights at the end of this month. 

DL Christian Wilkins: Wilkins, a four-star defensive lineman from Connecticut, would be a perfect fit for the Buckeyes' interior defensive line. Ohio State sits in a good position to land Wilkins right now, but they definitely need to get him on campus soon. 

DL Josh Sweat: Sweat, the nation's number one overall prospect, has already drawn comparisons to Jadeveon Clowney. He is expected to visit Ohio State for Friday Night Lights, giving Larry Johnson Sr. an opportunity to work some magic. Georgia, Florida State, Ohio State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech all have crystal ball picks for the Virginia native. For now, the Hokies lead the way. 

DB Jordan Whitehead: The Pennsylvania four-star put himself on Ohio State's radar after a strong performance at Friday Night Lights last year. Whitehead, who plans to announce on Oct. 3, recently picked up an offer from Alabama. The Crimson Tide could be the Buckeyes' biggest threat. Penn State, Pittsburgh and West Virginia are also in the mix. 

42 Comments

Comments

BuckeyeGuy1973's picture

Going to be an exciting end of the Summer and Fall!  From the sounds of it, there does not appear that OSU will be "sweating" it out (sorry, had to) on NSD 2015 ...

Jbuckham94's picture

If Sweat's FNL visit has gone from tentative to expected, that's HUGE. I might be reading into the wording of that too much, but getting him on campus for a second time before the end of summer would be awesome. Great write up Jordan.

Class of 2016. Go Bucks!

+3 HS
buckeyeboy31's picture

FYI, there are 17 scholarships available at the end of the 2014 season before attrition:

Braxton Miller, Rod Smith, Devin Smith, Evan Spencer, Jeff Heuerman, Chad Lindsay, Darryl Baldwin, Joel Hale, Michael Bennett, Steve Miller, Curtis Grant, Doran Grant- 12 scholarships

We currently sit at 80 scholarship players- 2 open scholarships (might be used for Frazier & Greene)

Going back up to 85- 3 scholarships

17 total open spots before attrition, this epic class could easily get to 20 with natural attrition, yay!!!

+3 HS
Catch 5's picture

You account for Chad Lindsey? I think his addition puts you back at 81 currently. Not that it matters. With a couple NFL departures and normal attrition, OSU will probably take over 20 with ease.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

+2 HS
osubuck57's picture

Great piece Jordan and thanks for the updates. Quick question, any names, not mentioned on your list, who might be strong plan "Bs"?? Or perhaps someone we should look out for that's visiting for FNL, who may earn an offer that already hasn't?

SCOTTC.

TheVictoryBell45's picture

I wouldn't be surprised if we got a wide receiver to commit at FNL. Devante Peete is supposed to be in attendance. If he falls in love with the program he could give his pledge. A.J Alexander from VA is supposed to make the trip as well. Ohio State is heating up with him. Lastly, if Lawrence Cager earns an offer that weekend there is a very good possibility he commits on the spot.

MauricXe's picture

I'll take Sweat, Gallimore, Harris, and Burrell. that will get us right to 16. i'm not much for guessing transfers and nfl jumps.

I've given up on Gibson.

+2 HS
buckeyeguy0615's picture

Given up? He's supposed to be visiting Wednesday.

+4 HS
MauricXe's picture

we shall see how it turns out. i'm just not given much confidence because he hasn't prioritized a visit. all that could change weds but i'm not counting on it. i'm actually surprised he is coming at all.

buckeyeguy0615's picture

WOAH.. Sweat is expected to be here for FNL now? I thought he wasn't going to make it?

+2 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

Sweat at FNL would be outstanding. Give him more to think about in regards to the Buckeyes.

+2 HS
AlwayzABuckeye614's picture

Gimmie all of em! 

GO BUCKS

ECSAGESTER's picture

I want Kirk, Sweat, and Harris so bad...

+5 HS
CarolinaBuck's picture

I think Harris ends up at Kentucky. Don't know why, I just do. As far as the "Crystal Ball" goes. Ashley is a young lady who works as a waitress at Dare Devil's pizza near Nags Head on the OBX. Her dad is a OSU grad and she's a big fan as well. The information I get from Ashley is just as accurate as the "Crystal Ball"

+2 HS
Mailman253's picture

Has Sweat indicated any specific reason why Ohio State appeals to him? Johnson? Meyer? Tradition?

Seems like a long shot to me.

-2 HS
Buckeye On Elba's picture

I think I read somewhere on here that he really respects Larry Johnson and even mentioned he would like to play for him. I could be wrong on the exact quote, but I'm pretty sure that was the sentiment expressed.

+1 HS
buckeyeguy0615's picture

I don't see how it's a long shot. It's not like he has a clear leader, or a team that has been his favorite for awhile. He's about to make a 2nd trip here and only just visited a few weeks ago. He hangs with some of our recruits at The Opening (or vice versa). I think we have a legit shot, here. 

+4 HS
Lawver_5's picture

If we can get a couple more of these elite commitments in the upcoming months, it could really help our momentum down the stretch. Crossing my fingers for Sweat, Kirk and Harris!

+2 HS
EwanJobi's picture

Hold up. Torrance Gibson is thinking about visiting?
 

BroJim's picture

I liked the format of this update, it got some names strait that I was confusing. Thanks!

I season my simple food with hunger

+1 HS
CTBuckeye's picture

Landing Sweat would be like snagging Noah Spence a few years back - big get and one that could really bring this class from very good to top 3 nationally.

"Because we couldn't go for three"

+2 HS
Northbrook's picture

Here is my totally inexpert analysis...

QB: Done with Burrow. If Gibson wants on board fine but with the understanding he comes in as an athlete with a look at QB first.

RB: We don't actually need one but would take a great one like Harris.

TE: With Hubbard moving here no need this year. Get two next year.

OL: Get 4 which means 2 more. Lots of options here and new offers may be made.

DT: I think Cornell projects here but we need one more strong recruit here. Looks like Wilkins, Gallimore or ?

DE: Here we  might possibly take two more. Sweat is option A. Maybe they project Cornell to DE and would only take one more DE but two DT. Regardless, I'm thinking five DL.

LB: I think we are probably done.

DB: I'm not hearing a lot about DB recruiting but I'm thinking 5 so one more if you count Glover-Williams as a DB.

Receiver: If they slot Glover-Wiliams here probably only one more but I think GW is a DB and we get two receivers. You know the most wanted men but if they pass I'm not sure who is next on the list.

Add all that up and it is probably more than we can take. I think 20 minimum and wouldn't be surprised to see it higher like 22.

swainpm's picture

Last I heard Malik Jefferson a 5* LB out of Mesquite, TX has tOSU down as one of his officials. Gotta think we would take him if Urbs and Herman impress.

+3 HS
Mortc15's picture

If half our remaining commits come from that list, which I expect to be around 8-10 more, it would be a very solid overall class. 

Buck-I4Life

+1 HS
Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Yea but id add that the commitments need to come at certain positions. 

Read my entire screen name....

jonping67's picture

I believe these 10 will make up the balance of our 2015 class.....

  1. QB Torrance Gibson
  2. RB Damien Harris
  3. WR Van Jefferson
  4. WR Christian Kirk
  5. OL Matthew Burrell
  6. OL Drew Richmond
  7. DL Neville Gallimore
  8. DL Christian Wilkins
  9. DL Josh Sweat
  10. Jerome Baker (Will decommit)
buckeyeboy31's picture

If we get those 10, that would be

+9 HS
WhySoSerious's picture

lol

Rare&Uncommon

Like the ball in the stands, we balls out

+1 HS
nfischer's picture

This should more accurately be labeled a wish list.  But an awesome wish list it is.

NuttyBuckeye's picture

I want Sweat the most, and a close second is Harris.  Don't know why, but I like Gallimore, too.  We need a WR or two from this group, but I don't think Kirk will be an OSU commit.

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

+1 HS
chemicalwaste's picture

I said the same thing a week or two ago about sweat and harris. I'm one of those that loves defense, and there isn't anyone uncommitted that is rather see than sweat in scarlet and gray. Harris looks like he could be special too. Fingers crossed.

Shangheyed's picture

Great list, would love to get them all, but over 50% success rate there would be still an outstanding class.

dubjayfootball90's picture

LJSr was a huge pickup at D-line. He is going to be bringing in some top talent, especially with the rest of the coaching staff as who they are.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

btalbert25's picture

It sounds as though the 11w community really embraces the idea of signing 20 when there are only 17 schollies available.  A couple years ago I would argue that over signing wasn't that big of a deal in this exact situation and would get blown up over it.  Funny how Urban has changed people's opinion after a couple monster classes

+1 HS
Crimson's picture

You've been around longer than I have, but I don't remember that being a problem.  Mostly, people are just speculating about how many spots will be available around signing day.  Today, there are 17.  By February, there will almost certainly be a few more.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I'm neutral in regards to the over signing. But can you refresh me - did Tressel have this same level of attrition?  It seems with Meyer we lose 3-5 every year. I don't remember this being the case with Tressel, not to this extent.  Anyone recall?

Read my entire screen name....

saltybuck61's picture

I would assume so. I believe the number of attrition still takes into account the juniors that decide to leave early. Last year two members of the team left early (Shazier and Roby). Tressel certainly had many years where several guys decided to leave early. Outside of leaving early for the draft, it isn't unreasonable to assume one or two guys transferring due to lack of playing time or injury. I would say the numbers are pretty equal between Meyer and Tressel, although I do not have hard data to back it up.

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

You're making a pretty big leap in logic trying to grind an ax.

Attrition happens. Most years 1-3 spots will open up between the first game & national signing day. Injuries, early NFL entries, transfers due to the depth chart etc all occur regularly.

Assuming that the final number signed will reflect that reality is a very long way from 'embracing' over-signing.

+1 HS
bleedscarlet's picture

The way I understand it over signing is a must, it's the amount and timing of attrition that has created the controversy. Signing 28 kids while only having 22 scholarships open and then magically having just the right amount of attrition between signing day and the day scholarships are counted (sometime in May I think) stinks of abuse. I would also point out that new coaching staffs would naturally have more players leaving than a staff that has been in place just because the players weren't recruited by the new coaches.

I'm too drunk to taste this chicken

HilltopHustle's picture

Wilkins trending heavily to Penn State this week with some solid and reliable 247 picks. What's happening there, Jordan? Did he visit them?

-1 HS
bafiesta's picture

Great summary of where things are now.

My questimate is there will be about 4 guys not mentioned who will end up in the Buckeyes class.  Kids who have a great senior season and turmoil after some programs have disappointing seasons will produce more candidates. 

NorthwestOhioBuck's picture

Anything on Malik Jefferson, Terry Becker Jr., or Lawrence Cager?

In Urban we trust. That is all