Better Know a Buckeye: Arvell Reese’s Size, Speed and Instincts Give Him Intriguing Potential As Linebacker Who Could Also Play on the Edge

By Josh Poloha on May 11, 2023 at 10:10 am
Arvell Reese

Better Know A Buckeye is our look at every member of Ohio State’s 2023 recruiting class and how they became Buckeyes as they prepare to begin their OSU careers this fall.

The first Glenville product to become a Buckeye since Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith in 2014, Reese is looking to continue the once-well-known tradition of Tarblooders becoming excellent players for Ohio State. From 2002 to 2017, 21 players from Glenville suited up for the Buckeyes. OSU is hoping Reese's commitment will start the Glenville-to-Ohio State pipeline once again.

Arvell Reese

  • Size: 6-4/225
  • Position: LB
  • School: Glenville (Cleveland, Ohio)
  • 247 Composite: ★★★★
  • Composite Rank: #22 LB
  • Overall Rank: #209

Ranked as the No. 22 linebacker (No. 209 overall) in the 2023 class, Reese is the only new scholarship linebacker joining the Buckeyes this season.

How He Became A Buckeye

When Reese received an offer from Ohio State during a visit to Columbus for a spring practice in March 2022, he was ranked as the 40th-best linebacker (462nd-best player) in the 2023 cycle. While Ohio State was a bit late to the party when it came to offering Reese, they were the program that recruited him the hardest once the offer came to fruition.

Reese always thought he would take his time and wait until after his senior season to make his commitment. Not only because he wanted to make sure it was the right decision and take more official visits because he was a late-rising prospect, but that's typically what Glenville players have done in the past.

Ohio State made Reese such a priority that the linebacker committed to the Buckeyes on August 6, 2022, five months after receiving his offer. Following multiple trips to Columbus for camps, he felt comfortable enough with Jim Knowles and the rest of the coaching staff that he knew he didn't have to wait any longer to commit.

“I would say relationships, that's the school that’s really recruited me the most,” Reese said of Ohio State last June. “Also, it’s Ohio State. I’m from Ohio and I play for Glenville. It’s Ohio State, what else can you say?”

The time was right, even if it was earlier than expected.

“I just felt like it was the right time for me,” Reese told Eleven Warriors of why he committed earlier than originally planned. “I feel like I knew what I wanted to do already … It was the best decision for me, my mom, my dad. It truly was just the best school for me.”

High School Years

Reese played for Euclid High School, where he started just five games as a junior before transferring to Glenville prior to his senior season. After putting on around 20 pounds during the summer, he proved he was one of the best in-state prospects in the 2023 class in his only full season as a linebacker.

He was named Ohio Division IV Defensive Player of the Year while leading Glenville to its first-ever state championship last fall, recording an interception in the title game. In fact, the Tarblooders' state title was the first-ever by a school in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Whether it was his ability to bull-rush opposing linemen or shedding blocks and getting to the ballcarrier, Reese showcased a wide variety of skills during his lone season at Glenville. He demonstrated an impressive combination of physcality, speed and instincts throughout the year.

Immediate Impact

With Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers returning as starters, Cody Simon and C.J. Hicks backing them up and Gabe Powers also pushing for playing time, there won't be much opportunity for Reese to see the field as a freshman this fall.

Reese still has plenty to learn as a linebacker considering he was a safety until his junior year of high school. His first season as a Buckeye will be an opportunity for him to learn the intricacies of the linebacker position while adding muscle to his 6-foot-4 frame.

Reese could have an opportunity to contribute on special teams as a freshman, as he excelled in kickoff coverage and was a willing special teams contributor during his lone season at Glenville.

Long-Term Impact

With Eichenberg and Chambers both entering their fifth-year senior seasons, Ohio State will be looking for two new starters at linebacker in 2024.

That will give Reese an opportunity to compete for a starting job as a sophomore, though the competition will be stiff with only two starting spots at the position and Hicks, Simon and Powers likely to be ahead of him on the depth chart.

Once he has an opportunity to earn a spot on the two-deep, Reese will likely play inside linebacker for Ohio State, though he could eventually develop into an edge rusher depending on how much he bulks up.

“They see me as an inside linebacker,” Reese said in June 2022. “Blitzing off the edge on third downs, but being an inside linebacker on first and second down. I like playing all over the place. Coming up to the edge and blitzing and sitting in coverage.” 

How Reese develops over the next couple of years will determine whether he becomes a future starter for the Buckeyes and where he lines up for the majority of his snaps.

Reese could also make an impact for the Buckeyes as a peer-recruiter, as Ohio State is looking to add two of his former Glenville teammates to its 2024 recruiting class. Cornerback Bryce West is ranked as the No. 1 prospect in Ohio while tight end Damarion Witten is also a top-15 recruit in the state, and both of them are primary targets for the Buckeyes in the current recruiting cycle.

Player Comparison: Joshua Perry

Perry's size paired with his athleticism made him a weapon in the middle of the Buckeye defense from 2012-15. As a junior, Perry racked up 124 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and one interception while helping lead Ohio State to a national championship as its 6-foot-4, 254-pound starting middle linebacker.

Reese has the physical ability to make a similar impact on Ohio State’s defense over the course of his career once he refines his skill set and acclimates to the speed of the college game.

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