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.
When the Ohio State coaches got a close-up look at Fort Wayne Indiana's Craig Young during a June recruiting camp, it became clear he was just too talented to pass up.
The Young File
- Class: 2019
- Size: 6-foot-4, 200 pounds
- Pos: ATH
- School: Wayne (Fort Wayne, IN)
- Composite Rating: ★★★
- Composite Rank: 33 (ATH)
The three-star athlete came to Columbus expecting to work out exclusively at safety, and ended up doing drills for Urban Meyer and all five defensive coaches at three different positions – safety, linebacker and defensive end.
He was so impressive, he earned an offer, and committed just three days later.
The best part: Young was actually a star wide receiver and basketball player in high school. That's the kind of raw athleticism and versatility the Buckeyes are getting from the Fort Wayne prospect.
His senior season as a receiver, Young had 35 catches for 700 yards and 12 touchdowns. He had plenty of offers to play wide receiver elsewhere, but Young is coming to Ohio State, knowing he might never see the field on offense ever again.
He's fine with that – he just wants to help his team.
“I mean, anything to help my school and help my team win, that’s the main priority,” Young said. “I won’t be hurt if I don’t play on the offensive side of the ball. I can really be a dawg on the defensive side of the ball because everything came naturally today and I feel really good about it.”
Though it seems Young will get his first crack at linebacker when he arrives on campus, he's versatile enough to play safety or defensive end as well – much like Sam Hubbard coming out of high school.
Wherever he lines up next fall and for the remainder of his college career, Young's personal trainer and 7-on-7 coach Dre Muhammad is confident that he'll thrive, given the opportunity to focus on one position on defense.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) December 19, 2018
“In my humble opinion, Craig is the best player in the country on defense," Muhammad said. "He’s more natural [at that position]. If he were to focus on it, he’d be the No. 1 player in the country.”
As far as his versatility and athleticism, Muhammad says Young is rare, calling him one of the most athletic players he's ever coached, which puts him in the same company as Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith, Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert, and current Buckeye Austin Mack.
“We’re all aware of how explosive and athletic he is. He’s a rangy guy,” Muhammad said. “I think he can play any position as long as he stays focused on one of them. His versatility is what really separates him. Jaylon and Craig are just two rare athletes in that respect.”
Young might be raw, but the tools and upside are clearly there. The Buckeyes saw that during the June camp, and hope to see it materialize in the coming years.