Ohio State's Homegrown Talent Comes From All Across the State

By Tim Shoemaker on February 3, 2017 at 1:05 pm
Ohio State CB Marcus Williamson.

It's no secret Ohio State wants to heavily recruit its home state.

It'd be foolish not to, really. Ohio has some of the best high school football in the country and produces a number of high-level prospects each and every recruiting cycle. 

It's a big reason why Ohio State is one of the top programs in the country. There is a significant recruiting advantage when so much talent is right in a program's backyard. If you're an elite prospect from Ohio, odds are, you're going to wind up playing for the Buckeyes. 

On National Signing Day, however, Ohio State's 2017 class was rather light on homegrown talent. Just seven of the Buckeyes' 21 signees are Ohio natives: Brendon White, Marcus Williamson, Josh Myers, Amir Riep, Jerron Cage, Jaylen Harris and Thayer Munford.

Urban Meyer admitted it wasn't as much as he desired.

"No, it's not," Meyer said. "No, 50 percent is kind of the mark that I've been trying to — I keep it right in front of me and I stare at it and make sure that we're doing right."

2017 Ohio State Signees
From Ohio
Player High School Program
Josh Myers Miamisburg
Brendon White Olentangy Liberty
Marcus Williamson Westerville South
Amir Riep Cincinnati Colerain
Jerron Cage Cincinnati Winton Woods
Jaylen Harris Cleveland Heights
Thayer Munford Massillon Washington

But while the number of players from Ohio in this particular class may be as low as ever, there is a rather eye-opening statistic from Ohio State's last three cycles when it comes to homegrown talent: The Buckeyes signed 28 players from Ohio in the last three years. They've come from 28 different high school programs.*

* Ohio State signed Drue Chrisman in its 2016 class out of Cincinnati LaSalle, but Chrisman's hometown is technically Lawrenceburg, Indiana so he is not included in this count. Marcus Williamson and Tyler Gerald spent their final high school season at IMG Academy but are included as Ohio natives who spent three years at a high school program in the state.

2016 Ohio State Signees
From Ohio
Player High School Program
Johnathon Cooper Gahanna Lincoln
Tyler Gerald Sciotoville East
Demario McCall North Ridgeville
Jake Hausmann Cincinnati Moeller
Luke Farrell Perry
Kierre Hawkins Maple Heights
Gavin Cupp Leipsic
Jack Wohlabaugh Walsh Jesuit
Malik Harrison Columbus Walnut Ridge

The traditional in-state powerhouses — Cleveland St. Ignatius, Cincinnati Moeller, Massillon Washington to name a few — were all represented. So, too, were smaller programs many have likely never heard before: Leipsic, Sciotoville East and Perry.

The moral of the story: If a prospect from Ohio is good enough, Ohio State will find him.

You have to go back to the 2014 class to find a high school program where the Buckeyes returned for more than one prospect. Ohio State signed two groups of teammates in that class: Marshon Lattimore, Erick Smith and Marcelys Jones from Cleveland Glenville and Dante Booker and Parris Campbell from Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.

2015 Ohio State Signees From Ohio
Player High School Program
Justin Hilliard Cincinnati St. Xavier
Jerome Baker Cleveland Benedictine
Eric Glover-Williams Canton McKinley
Dre'Mont Jones Cleveland St. Ignatius
Alex Stump Lakewood St. Edward
Nick Conner Dublin Scioto
Denzel Ward Nordonia
Joe Burrow Athens
Robert Landers Huber Heights Wayne
Rashod Berry Lorain
DaVon Hamilton Pickerington Central
Liam McCullough Worthington Kilbourne

The Buckeyes also inked Sam Hubbard from Cincinnati Moeller in 2014; they signed Jake Hausmann out of Moeller in 2016. Additionally, Kyle Berger out of Cleveland St. Ignatius signed in 2014; Ohio State got Dre'Mont Jones out of the same program in 2015.

There are likely return trips to some of these programs in the 2018 haul, as well.

One of the Buckeyes' top targets in that class is Jaelen Gill out of Westerville South — the same program Williamson attended for three years before he headed to IMG Academy for his senior season. 

Other 2018 prospects Ohio State already offered from programs it signed a player from the last three recruiting cycles include: L'Christian Smith (Huber Heights Wayne; Robert Landers in 2015), Tyreke Smith (Cleveland Heights; Jaylen Harris in 2017), Christopher Oats (Cincinnati Winton Woods; Jerron Cage in 2017) and Aeneas Hawkins (Cincinnati Moeller; Hubbard and Hausmann).

The likelihood of this trend of players coming from different programs all across the state probably won't extend beyond Ohio State's most recent recruiting class. But with 28 players coming from 28 different places in Ohio alone, the Buckeyes established themselves all over the state.

So while there may be a bit of concern from some fans about the lack of players from Ohio in this particular 2017 recruiting class, there really shouldn't be. Ohio State still has a pipeline from just about every in-state program there is.

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