Urban Meyer and his coaching staff hauled in a consensus top five recruiting class as 23 commitments for the class of 2014 submitted their National Letter of Intent as the fax machine at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center was humming earlier today. Two sites, 247Sports.com and Rivals.com both list Ohio State with the No. 3 recruiting class in the country, while Scout.com tabs the Buckeyes at No. 5.
The biggest coup of the day was when Meyer was able to flip Darius Slade’s commitment from Michigan State to Ohio State on National Signing Day.
Slade, a 6-foot-5, 238-pound strongside defensive end from Montclair High School in Montclair, N.J., is a three-star recruit according to the websites listed above who originally committed to Nebraska last December. But he changed his mind last month by committing to Michigan State, then Slade began to have second thoughts as Signing Day drew near.
Slade’s cousin, Miami Dolphins’ Jared Odrick, played at Penn State under then-defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who was hired by Meyer last month to coach the Buckeyes’ D-line. Slade was offered by Ohio State on Jan. 16.
According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Slade had 67 tackles, 23.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries for a Montclair defense, which allowed 96 points in 12 games and posted four shutouts.
Along with Ohio State, Michigan State and Nebraska, Slade also had offers from Penn State, West Virginia, Boston College, Connecticut, Kansas, Miami (Fla.), Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Temple.
Head coach Urban Meyer at his press conference to discuss the 2014 class:
We signed 23 players. Emphasis is on linebacker. Going to give you a quick analysis of our roster and where I think the strengths, there are some obvious strengths and weaknesses but the linebacker position is one that we’re going through an overhaul right now. That’s far too many mistakes have been made in either lack of development or whatever and it’s just not where we need to be. So there’s four linebackers been recruited – Raekwon McMillan, Sam Hubbard, Kyle Berger and Dante Booker. Four guys I’m putting pressure on them, Coach Fickell, and myself to get ready for next year. They have to play for us in addition to the players we have on our roster already. So just so everybody knows, there’s no redshirt plans for those players at all. We thought about that during the recruiting process.
Offensive line is an area that performed very well for us a year ago but four players have left. And we plan on moving Taylor Decker to left tackle, and right now Darryl Baldwin is penciled in at right tackle and we signed five offensive linemen. Of the five, the two that I see the maturity, Jamarco Jones and Demetrius Knox, are guys that I would like to see. Typically you don’t put freshmen in there early, but these guys got mature bodies, and they’re fairly mature young men and you have Marcelys Jones and Kyle Trout and Brady Taylor.”
The Rest of the Class of 2014:
Taylor, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive tackle from Bishop Ready High School in Columbus, Ohio, is a three-star recruit by the three main recruiting websites. 247Sports.com lists Taylor as the 43rd-best OT prospect in the nation, Rivals.com tabs him at No. 42, while Scout.com has Taylor all the way down at No. 77.
Taylor originally committed to Virginia Tech last July, but that all changed when OSU’s offensive line coach Ed Warriner extended an offer to Taylor on Jan. 12.
Along with Ohio State and Virginia Tech, Taylor also had offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Wisconsin, among others.
Lattimore, a 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback from Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio, is a four-star recruit, one of the top high school prospects from the state of Ohio for the class of 2014, and the No. 6 cornerback in the nation according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings.
Other recruiting services such as Rivals.com and Scout.com also have Lattimore as a four-star prospect. Rivals lists him as No. 7 athlete in the country, while Scout ranks Lattimore as the eighth-best cornerback in the land.
Along with Ohio State, Lattimore also had offers from Alabama, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee and USC, among others.
Smith, also from Glenville, is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound safety who garners a four-star rating and is the No. 2 prospect in the country at his position according to 247Sports, No. 4 by Scout, while Rivals ranks him fifth-best.
Smith chose Ohio State over Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Kentucky and Cincinnati.
Dixon, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound wide receiver from Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla, is rated a four-star recruit by all the major websites. 247Sports.com lists Dixon as the seventh-best WR in the nation, while Rivals.com tabs him at No. 15 in the country.
Along with Ohio State, Dixon had more than 20 offers and choose the Buckeyes over Alabama and Miami (Fla.).
McMillan, a 6-foot-2, 242-pound inside linebacker from Liberty County High School in Hinesville, Ga., is a five-star recruit by 247Sports and Rivals. Both sites also list McMillan as the No. 1 ILB prospect in the country.
At his announcement in December, McMillan had five different caps on the table. At first he picked up an Alabama cap, but put it back to grab an Ohio State one and said, “I think I’m gonna roll with Ohio State,” as his family and friends cheered.
Along with the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide, McMillan also had offers from Clemson, Auburn, and Georgia, plus many others. McMillan played in the Under Armour All-American Game on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
McMillan, who was named the 2013 High School Butkus Award winner as the country’s top linebacker, finished his senior season with 159 total tackles, 107 of those solo, along with three forced fumbles and an interception.
Brown, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound wide receiver from Pope John XXII High School in Sparta, N.J., is a four-star rated recruit by all three major websites.
According to Rivals.com, Brown is the ninth-best athlete in the country, while 247Sports.com tabs him at No. 13.
Brown also had offers from Boston College, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Michigan State and Minnesota, among others.
Samuel, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound running back/wide receiver from Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., received a four-star rating by all three sites.
During his junior season at Erasmus Hall, Samuel gained 1,047 yards on just 91 carries for an average of 11.5 yards per touch and 18 all-purpose touchdowns. He also runs the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds and was invited to play in the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Along with Ohio State, Samuel also had Rutgers in his top two along with offers from Alabama, Boston College, Clemson, Connecticut, Florida, Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Tennessee, USC, Virginia and Maryland.
Hooker, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound safety from New Castle Senior High School in New Castle, Penn., is a four-star rated recruit by Scout.com and 247Sports.com.
Hooker played just two seasons of football on the high school level. Though he played football through junior high school, Hooker did not set foot on the gridiron during his freshman and sophomore years while concentrating on basketball.
In his first season of high school football according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Hooker played wide receiver, cornerback and wildcat QB and scored 11 times during the 2013 season. He had 13 catches for 324 yards and five TDs. On the basketball court, Hooker averaged 17.2 points per game as a junior and was named as one of the top 10 roundballers in the Pittsburgh area.
Along with Ohio State, Hooker also had offers from Michigan, Penn State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Arizona and Temple.
Knox, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive guard from All Saints Episcopal School in Fort Worth, Tex., received a four-star rating by the three main recruiting services. Rivals lists Knox as the No. 2-ranked OG prospect in the nation, while Scout ranks him as the seventh-best.
Along with Ohio State, Knox also had UCLA and Texas Christian in his top three, plus offers from Alabama, Baylor, Florida, Florida State, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Washington, among others.
Jones, a 6-foot-5, 315-pound offensive tackle from De La Salle Institute in Chicago, Ill., is a four-star rated recruit by the three main sites as 247Sports and Rivals ranks Jones as the seventh-best OT prospect in the nation, while Scout lists him one spot higher at No. 6.
Along with Ohio State, Jones also had Michigan State and Michigan in his top three, plus offers from Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas Tech, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.
Jones, though, paid a visit to Michigan State last weekend, but reaffirmed his earlier verbal commitment to Ohio State on Tuesday night. Jones played in the 2014 Under Armour All-American game in January.
McLaurin, a 6-foot, 190-pound wide receiver from Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, Ind., is rated as a four-star by Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports.com and is the 28th-best WR prospect in the nation according to 247Sports.
Along with Ohio State, McLaurin also had Purdue and Missouri in his top three, plus offers from Indiana, Iowa, Cincinnati, Boston College, Toledo, Western Michigan and Western Kentucky.
As a junior, McLaurin had 33 catches for 820 yards and 12 touchdowns and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds.
Collier, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound quarterback from Lee County High School in Leesburg, Ga., receives a three-star rating by the three major sites. 247Sports lists Collier as the 11th-best dual-threat QB in the country.
Along with Ohio State, the only other BCS schools that offered Collier a scholarship were Boston College, Cincinnati, and Wake Forest. With a 4.0 grade point average, Collier also had an offer from Harvard.
As a junior, Collier threw for 1,887 yards and gained another 485 yards on the ground with 23 passing touchdowns and 11 rushing TDs for Lee County.
Holmes, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound weakside defensive end from Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk, Va., garnered a four-star rating by the three main recruiting services and is ranked as one of the top prospects at his position by both Rivals.com and 247Sports.com. Both also list Holmes as the third-best weakside defensive end in the country.
Along with Ohio State, Holmes’ top three included Florida State and Clemson with more offers coming from Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia, among others.
Nuernberger, a 6-foot-1, 235-pound from Oldham County High School in Buckner, Ky., received four stars from Rivals and Scout. Both 247Sports and Rivals lists Nuernberger as a top-10 kicking prospect.
As a junior, Nuernberger showcased a big leg making 7-of-12 field goal tries with a long of 46 yards. The native of Germany made 29-of-32 extra points and put 38-of 44-kickoffs in the end zone for touchbacks. He also averaged 43.2 yards per punt, with a long of 63.
Booker, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound outside linebacker from St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School in Akron, Ohio, garnered five stars from 247Sports and four stars by Rivals and Scout and is a consensus top-five OLB prospect in the nation.
Along with Ohio State, Booker also had scholarship offers from Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Penn State.
During his sophomore year, Booker had 157 tackles, 11 sacks and three fumble recoveries. He made 81 tackles and had nine sacks while dealing with injuries as a junior.
Hubbard, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound outside linebacker from Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati, is a five-star recruit by Scout.com and that site lists him as the second-best OLB prospect in the country.
Interestingly enough, Hubbard originally committed to Notre Dame to play lacrosse, but rescinded that verbal. Hubbard also had scholarship offers to play football from Boston College, Illinois, Louisville, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Michigan State and Stanford, among others.
Thompson, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound strongside defensive end from Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, Ill., is a three-star recruit by the three main sites. 247Sports.com lists Thompson as the 16th-best strongside defensive end prospect in the country.
Along with Ohio State, Thompson also had offers from Arkansas, Clemson, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Mississippi, Missouri, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Trout, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound offensive tackle from Lancaster High School in Lancaster, Ohio, received a four-star rating from Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports.com. Scout lists Trout as the 23rd-best OT prospect in the nation, while 247 Sports has him one spot higher at No. 22 and Rivals ranks him in the top 20 at No. 17.
Along with Ohio State, Trout also had offers from Cincinnati, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, among others.
Campbell, a 6-foot-1, 184-pound wide receiver from St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School in Akron, is a four-star recruit by Rivals, Scout and 247 Sports. He also had offers from Indiana, Michigan State and Tennessee.
As a 15-year old junior, Campbell rushed for 1,353 yards on 160 carries with 28 touchdowns. He also added two punt returns and one kickoff return for scores. Campbell doesn’t turn 17 until July 16th.
Webb, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound cornerback from Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Mich., is a four-star recruit by the major sites. Rivals and 247Sports lists him as a top-five cornerback prospect in the nation, while Scout has him at No. 6.
Spurning his home-state schools of Michigan and Michigan State, Webb also had offers from also had offers from others that include Illinois, LSU, Mississippi State, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Jones, a 6-foot-5, 325-pound offensive guard from Glenville High School in Cleveland became the first recruit to tender his verbal on Christmas Day 2012. He’s a four-star recruit by 247Sports and Rivals and is a top-20 prospect at his position.
Seven who enrolled early for 2014 Spring Semester classes:
Stephen Collier, Johnnie Dixon, Marcelys Jones, Raekwon McMillan, Sean Nuernberger, Curtis Samuel, Kyle Trout
Breaking down the 2014 class by position:
Quarterback – 1, H-Back – 1, Wide Receivers – 1, Offensive Linemen – 5, Defensive Linemen – 3, Linebackers – 4, Defensive Backs – 4, Place-Kicker – 1.
Breaking down the 2014 class by state:
Ohio – 11, Georgia – 2, Illinois – 2, New Jersey – 2, Florida – 1, Indiana – 1, Kentucky – 1, Michigan – 1, New York – 1, Pennsylvania – 1, Virginia – 1.