Sunday Recruiting Rundown: Predicting the 2014 Class Part 2
By Michael Chung
So how does Urban Meyer celebrate another top 5 recruiting class? He entertains seven to eight potential commits for 2014 and getting 3 new verbal commits for 2014, numbering the class at five. OL Kyle Trout, DE Lawrence Marshall out of Michigan and Akron ATH/RB Parris Campbell.
Before this big weekend, it was a week of surprises for Ohio State recruiting. The 2013 recruiting season officially came to an end. The beginning of the week saw Ohio State gain the signed letters-of-intent from Dontre Wilson, then James Clark, and finally Vonn Bell. On top of that, there was some uncertainty on longtime verbal pledge Ezekiel Elliott. Coaches were assured that Elliott would sign but the real drama came from no where when long time verbal commit Johnny Townsend de-committed at the last hour and then signed with his favorite childhood team, the Florida Gators.
With 2013 behind us, Ohio State has maybe 20 spots for 2014 and five of them have already been filled by Marcelys Jones, Damon Webb, Lawrence Marshall, Parris Campbell, and Kyle Trout. Ohio State is desperate for offensive linemen and has already secured the services of two of Ohio’s best while stealing one of the top DB prospects in the nation out of the heart of Wolverine country, Cass Tech High School in Damon Webb and another from Wolverine country in Lawrence Marshall.
With the loss of Townsend, Meyer will likely extend an offer to a punter unless someone on the current roster “knocks it out of the park.” Basil will also be gone so a place kicker and punter could be part of 2014. Here is my second attempt at predicting the 2014 class, guaranteed to change.
Lonnie Johnson (6-2, 180, WR/DB, Gary, IN)
Johnson has dreamed about being a Buckeye since he was a youth and has an Ohio State offer. His high school coach is a former NFL player and believes that the combination of his height and speed will make him a unique corner back but Johnson himself prefers wide receiver. Johnson likes the fast paced attack of Tom Herman’s offense and the pace will likely get faster as spread offenses evolve. Look for this Indiana speedster to speed up to Columbus.
Drew Barker (6-4, 205, QB, Hebron, KY)
Deshaun Watson is the only offer but he cancelled his visit to OSU this weekend and is all but guaranteed to sign with Clemson. Braxton is likely returning for his senior season and Tajh Boyd is in his last year (Remember Jim Tressel trying to recruit him after signing Terrelle Pryor?), opening up the QB spot for 2014. With J.T. Barrett ahead, it looks like OSU will offer another QB and with all the competition, Drew Barker may be the one who is offered. A natural leader, Barker does not have an offer but fits Tom Herman’s offense where one needs a solid passer and a run threat.
Myles Autry (5-11, 170, ATH, Norcross, GA)
Myles Autry himself has told the-Ozone that Ohio State is one of his top choices. He knows Urban Meyer is trying to recruit the South because the top athletes are there and knows Urban Meyer is trying to build an Alabama type dynasty. His brother plays for Georgia Tech but do not be surprised if Autry comes north with other fellow Georgians continuing a Georgia pipeline that has already produced players like Anderson Russell, Cam Heyward, and Bradley Roby.
Parrker Westphal (6-0, 170, DB, Bolingbrook, IL)
Parrker told the-Ozone that he already has really good relationships with coaches Vrabel and Coombs, two of the best recruiters period. He surprised both with a visit at the Michigan game but will not be a surprise if he comes to The Shoe with other Illinois prospects.
Marshon Lattimore (6-0, 175, ATH, Cleveland-Glenville, OH)
With Marcelys Jones in the fold, the Glenville pipeline is already flowing for 2014. Lattimore can play either CB or WR and will be one of the top players in OH for 2014. He and Marcelys and Chris Worley would like to play together so Lattimore will have to pledge Buckeye for that to happen.
Erick Smith (6-1, 185, DB, Cleveland-Glenville)
This safety prospect has an Ohio State offer and will hopefully follow Chris Worley and Marcelys Jones to Ohio State. With offers from West Virginia, Michigan, Louisville, and NC State, Smith will not come to OSU easy but will be part of the class if he decides early enough like Marcelys Jones.
Jonathan Haden (5-8, 190, RB, Washington D.C.)
With a name like Haden, he has to be good. He has been offered scholarships from schools ever since he was in the 8th grade. Young Jonathan grew up watching Urban Meyer. He saw his older brother Joe thrive at Florida and is currently in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. Jonathan told the-Ozone months ago that Ohio State leads and has done nothing since our the-Ozone interview to deter this. Look for young Jonathan to follow in his brother’s footsteps and play for Urban Meyer.
Jalen Hurd (6-2.5, 210, RB, Hendersonville, TN)
Jalen Hurd is the ideal Percy Harvin candidate. He can rush the ball with the best in the country; setting a state record 3,357 yards and 43 touchdowns in 2012 and can catch the ball, with 31 catches, 437 yards and 3 TDs in 2011. Hurd has Ohio State and Florida as his top two right now but everyone in the country has offered including Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame, and Michigan. Do not be surprised if he and Hayden form an unstoppable one-two punch. With Carlos Hyde and Jordan Hall gone after this season, the Bucks will likely take two RBs in 2014.
Raekwon McMillan (6-3, 235, LB, Hinesville, GA)
He told the-Ozone back in August of 2012 that Ohio State was his leader and after visiting a number of schools, it does not appear that Ohio State has left this 5-star prospect’s mantle as the No. 1 choice. Look for Raekwon to lead an exodus of Georgia talent up into B1G country making Ohio State the SEC of the north. Players know Meyer’s focus is on the BCS Championship, they know that he is trying to recruit the best and McMillan is one of them.
Clifton Garrett (6-3, 220, LB, Joliet, IL)
This kid was no ordinary 16 year old when I interviewed him. He is so poised and mature in his speech but does it translate into linebacker greatness? Garrett has already formed friendships with some other 2014 targets like Raekwon McMillan so look for this Illinois product to be part of the “Fab . . . three or four or five” at the linebacker position in 2014.
Dante Booker (6-3, 210, LB, Akron, OH)
He and Raekwon have already talked about playing with each other as far back as Friday Night Lights. Raekwon told the-Ozone that Dante has OSU interest and that both would like to play together and play together they will. Meyer will work hard to make sure the best of the best in state stay in state and will challenge Dante to be part of SEC north in Columbus.
Kyle Berger (6-3, 205, LB, Cleveland, OH)
The saying the early bird gets the worm could ring very true for Berger. Before any school – even MAC universities – offered, Ohio State made it clear that they wanted Kyle to be part of the 2014 class. He seems to receive D-1 scholarships on a weekly basis and would like to decide sometime in the spring but that could be harder given all his options. Michigan will be a threat and has offered as well as Stanford if they offer. He has told me he will visit Boston College. He desires to study Pre-Med and Ohio State has a former football player, John Frank, who not only donned the Scarlet and Gray but also had a short career in the NFL before heading off to medical school and now practicing as a medical doctor. Look for Berger to follow.
Jamarco Jones (6-5, 285, OL, Chicago, IL)
Knowing that OSU needs depth at OL, Meyer will recruit Jones hard. Many in college football will hotly pursue Jones and Meyer will be one of those. Look for him to be part of an Illinois exodus to Ohio and one of the cornerstone prospects of the future OL, which will lose 4 starters off the 2013 squad.
Alex Bars (6-6, 275, OL, Nashville, TN)
He has a brother who plays at Michigan, another at Penn State and he currently lives in Tennessee. BTW, his father played at Notre Dame so that means Bars has to be his own man. Look for all the afore mentioned schools as well as the Volunteers to challenge for this Bars.
Orlando “Zeus” Brown (6-9, 375, OL, Duluth, GA)
The city he lives in has already produced Cameron Heyward and Bradley Roby, so why not add an offensive lineman into the mix? His dad, the late Orlando Brown, had a stint with the Cleveland Browns, so Zeus already has some Ohio in his blood. His top 8 is out and Ohio State is one of them but recently picked up an offer from Oklahoma, a team he cheered for during childhood. It would be a surprise if Zeus committed anywhere early and whatever school is in the running will wait for him.
Drake Harris (6-3, 175, WR, Grand Rapids, MI)
This current Michigan State commit has expressed lots of interest in other schools, so much so that local Michigan State fans have already written Harris off for the Spartans. Ohio State is pursuing hard along with Michigan, Alabama, Florida, and Notre Dame so Harris de-committing from Mark Dantonio is a strong possibility.
Kyle Trout is in and look for at least three more offensive linemen to commit before NSD 2014. Lawrence Marshall is in at DL, furthering Meyer’s push to have the best D-line in football. This list will change like the wind because Urban Meyer is relentless at recruiting. Ozone will try to update the 2014 class beginning next week. Lonnie Johnson visits next weekend and if his offer is committable, look for him to be #4 for 2014.