Tag Archives: Recruiting

Just your typical 91-point win (and recruiting other notes)

Ohio State 2014 signee Makayla Waterman personally tied Springfield 11-11 Wednesday night in Greater Western Ohio Conference girls’ basketball action. Meanwhile, Waterman’s Kettering Fairmont teammates outscored the Wildcats 91-0 as the defending Ohio Division I state champions improved to 14-1 on the season (H/T).

Makayla Waterman shoots against Twinsburg (courtesy Fairmont HS)

Makayla Waterman shoots against Twinsburg last season. (Photo courtesy Fairmont HS.)

As you might expect, the 102 points for the Firebirds is their season high, but they have rolled early in GWOC play with an average margin of victory of 43.2 points during a 5-0 start.

Their level of competition will ramp up considerably this weekend when they head to Berlin, Ohio, for the annual Classic in the Country, where they are scheduled to play Toledo Notre Dame and Solon. TND (despite what ESPN might think) is led by Tierra Floyd, one of the top junior prospects in Ohio.

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Ohio well represented in Scout Top 300 | FOX Sports on MSN

The final 2014 Scout 300 had 17 Ohio State verbal commitments and 19 players from Ohio.

There are 21 four-star prospects in Ohio, and those Buckeye Staters who aren’t going to be Buckeyes are going to the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and – believe it or not – the Ivy League.

Read on: Ohio well-represented in Scout Top 300 | FOX Sports on MSN.

Per ESPN, highly regarded Ohio girls’ basketball prospect attends all-boys school

Tierra Floyd is a highly regarded junior guard from Toledo who figures to get plenty of looks from big-time programs between now and next fall when she can sign a national letter of intent.

Hopefully big-time schools already recruiting her such as Ohio State don’t rely on information from the ESPN database to find her, though, because the Worldwide Leader erroneously lists the Notre Dame Academy standout’s school as St. John’s (Actually it says, “Saint Johns,” but we’ll assume that’s a typo). FloydProfileScreenshot

Tierra Floyd 2015 High School Girls’ Basketball Profile – ESPN.

But if a coach were to show up at St. John’s Jesuit looking for Floyd, it’s safe to say he or she wouldn’t find her – or any other potential women’s basketball standouts, for that matter.

Why? Because St. John’s is an all-boys school.

Ohio State Signing Day Roster Analysis: Offense

After breaking down the defense previously, it’s time to take a look at the offense.

The 2012 season was a fascinating one on that side of the ball for Ohio State as the Buckeyes worked to absorb the new spread offense of head coach Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who also serves as quarterbacks coach.

It will be no less interesting this year with that pair hoping they have more parts to allow the unique and innovative attack to truly take flight.

Meyer expressed frustration regularly last season about the lack of playmakers on offense even as the Buckeyes led the Big Ten in scoring and finished just four touchdowns shy of tying the school record in a single season (they had 60).

He hopes to have tackled that problem this winter by adding a trio of players that are tough to bring down in the open field: Jalin Marshall, Dontre Wilson and James Clark.

Marshall was the first to commit (in January 2012) and might have faced a heavy load as the Buckeyes’ slot receiver if not for the recent decisions of Wilson and Clark to jump on. The top-rated player in Ohio, Marshall is a solid 6-0, 190 pounder who played quarterback at Middletown and brings a variety of skills to the Buckeyes. Wilson (5-10, 174) and Clark (5-11, 170) are smaller, scat-back types whom Meyer hopes can stretch defenses horizontally with pure speed and make yards after the catch with their agility.

The youngsters probably won’t be able to walk right into a starting role, though, as the addition of a couple more athletes might result in a re-shuffling of the wide receivers already on hand. In addition to the slot receivers, Meyer secured signatures from Corey Smith and Gareon Conley, two bigger prospects (6-1 and 6-2, respectively) who can go down the field and battle corners for catches, creating space for the others to work underneath.

A four-star cornerback prospect, Conley could end up on the defensive side of the ball, but Smith is expected to compete immediately for playing time on the outside. A junior college prospect, the 180-pounder’s presence could allow senior Corey “Philly” Brown to move inside to the slot. The speedy Brown led the Buckeyes in catches last season but might be miscast as the possession receiver he essentially became as the 2012 campaign wore on.

Tight end Marcus Baugh figures to find playing time hard to come by this season, but the 6-4, 245-pound Californian might be able to carve out a niche as a change-of-pace when compared to veterans Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett. The elder players don’t lack athleticism, but they are more traditional Big Ten tight ends who excel as blockers while Baugh is known for his ability as a receiver in the open field.

The only traditional running back in Ohio State’s class of 2013, Ezekiel Elliott will not be lonely when he shows up for his first position meeting. Thanks to Jordan Hall’s medical redshirt, the Buckeyes have six running backs on scholarship for the coming season. The group includes power backs Carlos Hyde (who will be a senior after running for nearly 1,000 yards last season), junior Rod Smith, sophomore Bri’onte Dunn and redshirt freshman Warren Ball as well as the smaller, shifty Hall.

Offensive line is the only area Meyer expressed some disappointment, admitting the ability to sign only two players puts the coaching staff on notice to stock up on big uglies in 2014. Neither Evan Lisle, a four-star prospect ticketed for tackle, or Tim Gardner, a three-star who seems fit for guard, figures to be pressed into duty any time soon as four starters return for 2013 and the staff is high on the potential of rising sophomores Chase Farris, Taylor Decker and Jacoby Boren. However, four starters will graduate after next season, so a strong freshman campaign could set up one or both of the new signees for a run at major playing time as a sophomore or redshirt freshman. The 6-6, 290-pound Lisle in particular is considered a major prospect for his long, athletic frame.

Lastly there is quarterback. There is no spot less primed for an immediate impact than signal caller, but that is probably fine with everyone involved. J.T. Barrett is a four-star recruit who enrolled in January, but the 6-1, 225-pound Texan is still rehabilitating a knee injury that cut short his high school career. Meyer and Herman have already observed a work ethic and leadership they love in the youngster, who will find himself fourth on the depth chart this fall and is likely ticketed for a redshirt.

All in all, it should be fascinating to watch the staff put together the new pieces. Herman spoke at the signing day press conference about using the additional speed and shiftiness at receiver (out wide but especially in the slot) to “protect” the running game that revolved around dynamic quarterback Braxton Miller and Hyde last season. That represents something of a twist on the old “run to set up the pass” mentality, and it is a reality of playing spread football in the 21st century.

Michigan and Wisconsin provided a blueprint for slowing down the OSU attack last November by crowding the line of scrimmage on early downs and doing just the opposite when the Buckeyes fell behind the chains, but speedsters in the slot could create new ways to punish such strategies in 2013.

Ohio State Signing Day Roster Analysis: Defense

National Signing Day is over for another year. The presents have been unwrapped. Letters have come in and been filed. Now what?

Well rather than haggle over ranking and ratings, why don’t we take a look at where the newest Buckeyes fit on the roster for this and coming seasons?

Two positions jump out: Wide receiver and linebacker. From those two groups it is fair to judge the most immediate impact could come, although head coach Urban Meyer and defensive coordinator Luke Fickell agreed they viewed the whole defense as in need of upgrade or support.

We’ve got to start somewhere, though, so how about linebacker? Ohio State picked up a pair of highly sought players in Mike Mitchell and Trey Johnson, both of whom committed just after the start of the new year.

Mitchell is considered the superior physical specimen (6-4, 225), but Fickell praised Johnson’s football acumen. The pair join a group that will be very young this season as only one starter (First-team All-Big Ten selection Ryan Shazier) returns from 2012. Shazier is also the elder statesman of the group, joining fellow junior Curtis Grant as the only linebackers who will be more than two years removed from high school this fall. The rest of the group consists of five sophomores who had little-to-no impact on the defense last season, though several of them are highly rated prospects of whom much was expected when they were in the shoes of Mitchell and Johnson (6-2, 220) one year ago.

Mitchell could prove to be too talented to keep off the field while Johnson’s sense of how to play the game might appeal to Fickell, who wants a middle linebacker who will take charge of things when the bullets are flying on the field. Fickell will have little choice but to put an inexperienced player in the middle, so it’s hard to bet against either frosh earning a spot if he does something to stand out when camp commences in August.

While the linebackers are relatively new, the majority of the star-studded defensive line class was in place for most of this recruiting cycle. It started with Billy Price of Austintown (Ohio) Fitch right after Signing Day 2012 and continued in the spring with commitments from ends Tracy Sprinkle of Elyria, Ohio, and Joey Bosa of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas. Tackle Michael Hill committed in June with end Tyquan Lewis jumping in late in September. The class closed with tackle Donovan Munger in December.

The freshmen frontmen will find all four starting spots open (something that has not happened at Ohio State since the move to a 4-3 defense in the early 1990s), but there figures to be heavy competition at all of them thanks to the presence of last season’s highly touted defensive line class.

Lewis (6-3, 223) and Sprinkle (6-2, 241) might have the best shot to make an early impact as they are the only linemen to enroll early. They join a group of “Leo” rush ends headed up by sophomore Noah Spence, who flashed star potential last season in spot duty.

At tackle, Ohio State does not lack space-eaters to play on the nose, but line coach Mike Vrabel figures to be on the lookout for an athletic option to put at the 3-technique following Johnathan Hankins’ decision to skip his last year of eligibility. That could be where Price or Hill (both of whom go 305 pounds) could find a spot pending where Adolphus Washington lines up (inside or out) for his sophomore season.

There is a glut of players for the other end position, where Bosa figures to end up eventually unless he is done growing now at 6-5, 270. Washington could also line up there, but Michael Bennett and Se’Vonn Pittman provide two more intriguing options there after both had their 2012 seasons marred by injury.

As for the secondary, only one spot is open for 2013 but lots of playing time figures to be around the corner in 2014. Starting safeties Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett as well as top reserve Corey Brown are all seniors with only sophomores Ron Tanner and Devan Bogard behind them. That means five-star Vonn Bell as well as four-stars Jayme Thompson and Darron Lee could be in the mix in year two and will want to spend the upcoming season positioning themselves for a run at the starting lineup.

Cornerback does have an open spot, though that is likely to be filled by Doran Grant, a highly touted recruit who had an up-and-down sophomore season in 2012. Four-star prospects Cam Burrows and Eli Apple enrolled in January and will take part in spring practice, where they can expect to fight for a spot in the two-deep if not Grant for a starting role. Four-star prospect Gareon Conley, a former Michigan commit, could join the mix in preseason camp if he is not playing wide receiver.

Then there is the ever-popular Star position, a hybrid linebacker/safety that replaces the Sam linebacker in the nickel defense Ohio State has run for more than a decade.

There figures to be an open competition here with Orhian Johnson, the only player who filled the role even somewhat capably last season, having used up all his eligibility. Lee and three-star linebacker Christopher Worley both bring the body type to play there. Perhaps they have the intangibles, too. The coaches loved the competitiveness Lee showed at a pair of camps last season, and Worley has been compared to fellow Cleveland Glenville alumnus Jermale Hines, a heady player who spent two years at the Star position.

Bryant has experience at Star, leaving open the possibility of a move there if Brown or one of the young safeties shows well this summer.

We’ll take a look at those incoming wide receivers and the rest of the freshmen on offense in our next post.