"The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their college careers, as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent."
Like it or not, Ohio State no longer recruits as many Ohio prospects as it used to. The Buckeyes do, however, still recruit the best players from the state, and four-star linebacker Dallas Gant certainly fits that bill.
Out of St. John's Jesuit High School in Toledo, Gant is the top linebacker and the No. 5 player overall in the state of Ohio. Nationally, Gant ranks No. 9 at his position and No. 157 overall.
The Gant File
- Class: 2018
- Size: 6-foot-3, 225 pounds
- Pos: OLB
- School: St. John's Jesuit (Toledo, OH)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: 9 (OLB)
Somewhat amazingly, that makes him just the 14th best player currently committed to Ohio State – and that rank could fall even further by the time this class comes to a close.
Entering a loaded linebacking corps in the middle of a loaded recruiting class, the reality is Gant is going to have to fight for playing time as long as he's in Columbus. The good news us, he's well equipped to thrive in that fight.
Gant was a four year starter at St. John's Jesuit High School. During his time there, Gant did everything he could on both sides of the ball to help his team, playing his familiar linebacker position as well as special teams, tight end, wide receiver and on some occasions, a wildcat quarterback.
That versatility translates between linebacker positions as well. At 6-3, 225 lbs., Gant has the size to be successful at any of the three linebacker positions while also possessing sub-4.8 speed, helping him go sideline to sideline with ease.
It's that versatility and rare combination of speed and athleticism that had schools, namely Ohio State and Notre Dame, coveting the young linebacker. Ultimately, his decision became a matter of familiarity versus proven success.
“Notre Dame is similar to my school in the aspect of religion and great tradition. I know they haven't the best year there, but that's all right. They're going to turn it around,” Gant told Eleven Warriors at Nike Football's The Opening Cleveland Regional in April. “Ohio State is very comfortable. They tend to their players, they [have] great NFL players and they just make the place successful.”
Another factor to consider was playing time. While Notre Dame is recruiting well, finishing with the No. 10 class last year and currently boasting the nation's No. 6 class, there was still a much clearer path to early playing time with the Irish.
Ultimately though, Gant chose to battle for playing time at Ohio State. Though the Buckeyes could see a few departing starters at linebacker following this season, with Chris Worley graduating and Jerome Baker facing an NFL decision, Ohio State's linebacking corps is still loaded.
Gant, along with fellow four-star linebackers Teradja Mitchell and K'Vaughan Pope, join a position group led by will-be redshirt sophomore Tuf Borland at the middle linebacker position along with Dante Booker, Malik Harrison and Keandre Jones who all have potential to start at the outside linebacker positions in 2018.
Behind them are Baron Browning and Pete Werner, who've each shown promise during their first year in Columbus, dominating on special teams and seeing mop-up action at the end of blowouts.
With the talent in the linebackers room already, it's unlikely Gant will see meaningful, first-team reps next fall. His action will likely be limited to special teams and mop-up duty, like Browning and Werner in 2017.
But that doesn't mean Gant doesn't have a promising Buckeye career ahead of him. There's going to come a time when Gant will compete for a starting role at Ohio State, and he's already shown he has the skills and confidence to thrive.