Illinois Visitor Preview: Visitors Could Fill Out 2015 Class

By Mike Rockstedt on October 30, 2014 at 2:15 pm
Rashad Roundtree

Once again, Ohio State is playing under the lights at home.

This Saturday, the Buckeyes are playing their fourth game of the season in prime time – the third at home – and as always, prime time games attract recruits.

A dozen or more 2015 and 2016 prospects are making their way to Columbus for the 8 PM showdown between Ohio State and Illinois. While the coaching staff has to gameplan for the Illini, the staff must also devote some of their time on hosting recruits. Seeing as the Buckeyes are a four touchdown favorite, the staff may spend a bit more time on recruiting.

I'm going to focus on three 2015 recruits I think Ohio State is in good position with: Rashad Roundtree, Branden Bowen, and Joshua Norwood.

Rashad Roundtree

Rashad Roundtree, a safety from Evans, Ga., is one of the best defensive backs in the nation. Georgia is a talent-rich state, and the Buckeyes have recruited from the Peach State well over the past two classes.

In the 2013 class, the Buckeyes beat out Tennessee for five-star safety Vonn Bell, who played in the Orange Bowl as a freshman and is starting as a sophomore. In 2014 the Buckeyes landed two Georgia prospects, Raekwon McMillan and Stephen Collier. Raekwon McMillan has gotten significant playing time at middle linebacker as a true freshman. The Buckeyes hope Collier, who is taking a redshirt, will be the quarterback of the future.

Roundtree has camped in Columbus before, but this will be his first real visit to Ohio State. Although he is uncommitted, 97% of experts' crystal ball predictions have him going to Georgia. Eleven Warriors' Jeremy Birmingham has him going to Ohio State.

While his recruitment may be closer than many experts think, I will not switch my prediction from Georgia. A good visit to Ohio State could change things, but Georgia just makes a lot of sense for him.

Branden Bowen

Another top prospect visiting this weekend is Utah offensive lineman Branden Bowen, who committed to Utah in September. Bowen took an unofficial visit in June, and now he is taking an official visit.

Bowen was set to have a football game this weekend, which would have postponed an official visit to Ohio State. The game was moved to Friday, so Bowen will be able to attend the Illinois game on Saturday night.

Bowen is a talented offensive lineman, one who impressed over the summer but left confused about whether he had a committable offer. This visit should go a long way in showing how the staff feels about him.

Whether he sticks with Utah or flips to the Buckeyes, Bowen will not make his decision this weekend. I think he'll stay committed to Utah, but let's come back to this after the visit.

Joshua Norwood

Another top prospect is Joshua Norwood, another defensive back from Georgia. Norwood was a one-time Cincinnati commit, but he recently decommitted after letting people know he was visiting Ohio State. He received an offer from OSU in October and quickly made plans for an official visit.

As you might guess from the accelerated timetable, there is mutual interest between Norwood and OSU. At the moment his crystal ball is an 83/17 split between Ohio State and Georgia. I believe he will end up in this class, sooner rather than later if his visit goes well.

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