Cincinnati Will Be Key to Success for Ohio State's 2016 Recruiting Class

By Jordan Wagner on July 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm
Jake Hausmann

When five-star linebacker Justin Hilliard decided to commit to Ohio State over Notre Dame and a host of other schools, the Buckeyes took a big step forward with their recruiting efforts in Cincinnati. 

With Hilliard and 2014 signee (and four-star athlete) Sam Hubbard, Urban Meyer has two second Cincinnati pledges since taking over the helm in Columbus. Meyer has stated that recruiting the area is a priority for his staff. Our Kyle Rowland wrote about Cincinnati becoming Ohio State territory under Meyer on Friday. 

While Ohio State has landed Cincinnati's top prospect in the past two recruiting classes, Meyer and staff have also missed on a few Queen City prospects. Before Hilliard's commitment last week, the Buckeyes missed out on the two other Cincinnati-area prospects with an OSU offer.

Cincinnati Moeller four-star defensive tackle Elijah Taylor held offers from the likes of Cincinnati, Duke, Florida State, Illinois, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Miami(FL), Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee and West Virginia. At first most thought the Buckeyes had a good shot at landing Taylor, but he eventually committed to Notre Dame. 

Three-star offensive tackle Noah Listermann of Winton Woods also spurned Ohio State's offer. Just a few days before he was set to select Michigan State, Listermann was offered by the Buckeyes. While he was very interested, Ohio State simply offered him too late in the process. The 6-foot-7, 293-pound prospect also held offers from Cincinnati, Connecticut, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Rutgers, Toledo, Virginia and Wisconsin. 

In the previous recruiting class, Ohio State went one for two in Cincinnati. While the Buckeyes managed to land Sam Hubbard, they missed out on four-star wide receiver Derek Kief

Early in the process, many Ohio State insiders penciled the 6-foot-5, 197-pounder in the Buckeyes' 2014 recruiting class. After the LaSalle product took a visit to Alabama, the crystal ball quickly shifted to favor the Crimson Tide. Shortly after an unofficial visit to Tuscaloosa, Kief committed to Nick Saban and Alabama over Ohio State.

With a loaded class of 2016, Cincinnati will be a priority for the Buckeyes. According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Ohio's top two prospects hail from the Queen City. Two other Cincinnati natives made the top 16. 

Not only is Elder's Tommy Kraemer one of the best prospects in Ohio, he is the 16th overall ranked prospect in the nation. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound offensive tackle has named a top five of Boston College, Duke, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Ohio State. 

The Buckeyes and the Fighting Irish are Kraemer's perceived favorites, but Michigan could instantly move up his list if they decide to offer. While his crystal ball heavily favors Ohio State, his recruitment is far from over. 

Four-star defensive end Prince Sammons of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy originally named Michigan his leader, but a recent Ohio State offer led him to name the Buckeyes his new leader. The 6-foot-8, 260-pound prospect checks in as the nation's 36th-ranked prospect. 

Following OSU's prospect camp in June, Sammons named a top two of Ohio State and Duke. He also holds offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee and Toledo. 

The Buckeyes have had only a few setbacks on the recruiting trail since Urban Meyer took over. Two recurring complaints could be the struggle to recruit a top tight end recruit and the recruiting of Cincinnati. Four-star tight end Jake Hausmann of Cincinnati Moeller could address both of those concerns. 

Hausmann checks in as the nation's 107th-overall ranked prospect and third-ranked tight end. The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder tight end has the ability to block and be a pass catching threat. 

He holds offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes are the perceived favorite. 

Loveland's Jake Saunders is the next best prospect from Cincinnati. He is considered to be a high three-star talent. Saunders doesn't have an offer from Ohio State, but he visited Columbus for a spring practice. The 6-foot-3, 275-pound defensive tackle does have an offer from Illinois.

While the Buckeyes have had some struggles recruiting Cincinnati in the past, that isn't stopping them from focusing on some of the area's top 2016 prospects. It's only the summer, but Ohio State is sitting in a good position to pull Kraemer, Sammons and Hausmann out of Cincinnati. 

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