Yesterday, we discussed Ohio State's 2014 football recruiting process as Urban Meyer and the OSU coaching staff reach the final quarter of the current cycle.
Today, we continue our look at Ohio State football recruiting, but you can't forget Buckeye basketball. Thad Matta is putting the finishing touches on a very strong 2014 recruiting class that includes four top-notch prospects, with the chance of adding one more player to complete the class.
Join Austin Kemp, Charles Doss, Zach Fleer, and I as we continue breaking down all things Buckeye recruiting.
Of the players currently committed to OSU, which defensive player(s) do you think can make the biggest impact from day one in Columbus?
Austin: Damon Webb has the best chance to make an impact on defense right away. His biggest challengers look to be Armani Reeves, Cam Burrows, Eli Apple, and Gareon Conley. Eli Apple did impress in the spring, but once Damon get's caught up to the collegiate level speed it'll be hard to keep a talent like his off the field.
Charles: If none of the upperclassmen step up, I could see Damon Webb coming in and having an opportunity to grab some quality minutes. Webb, a shut down corner back out of Michigan, rarely gets beat at the high school level and has a mean streak that the Buckeyes could use next season, especially with Bradley Roby more then likely headed to the NFL.
Miles: I don't think we'll see many current defensive commitments getting much playing time next year, but if we do, I think it will be either Dante Booker Jr. or Kyle Berger stepping in at the linebacker position. As I mentioned earlier, the Buckeyes are thin at linebacker and it's possible a freshmen or two might need to step in next year. One last guy to watch is Damon Webb, but the Bucks are going to be pretty deep at the cornerback position next year, especially if Roby comes back, so I don't think he'll see to much playing time in his true freshmen season.
Are the any prospects currently off Ohio State's recruiting radar that could see being a member for the Dream 14 when it's all said and done?
Austin: I think Texan Solomon Thomas has a shot to be in this class as well as JuJu Smith. Both are unlikely at this point, but Urban is a fierce closer and shouldn't be counted out of any race. These guys aren't really "off" the radar, but guys who we wouldn't be counted as the favorite.
Charles: If the Buckeyes strike out on their current offensive lineman targets, I could see Columbus native Brady Taylor finally getting his chance to play for OSU. Taylor, a current Virginia Tech commit, grew up a Buckeye fan and has shared his love for OSU with me a few times in the past. Even though he is committed to the Hokies, it has been reported that Brady visited OSU for the San Diego State game earlier this season and in my opinion could be a name to keep an eye on as National Signing Day comes near.
Miles: The sleeper most Buckeye fans know about is UCF safety commit Mike Rogers. I'm going to go to a big name from the past for mine in Clemson quarterback commit Deshaun Watson. While I HIGHLY doubt he goes to school anywhere other than Clemson, things could change in his recruitment if Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris left the Tigers for a head coaching job after the season.
It's still pretty early for 2015 prospects, but there have been a lot on campus over the past couple of months. With the scholarship sanctions expiring after the 2014 season and a big senior class graduating in 2014, the 2015 class figures to be a pretty sizable one for Ohio State. Which player(s) do you feel are most important for OSU to land in 2015? Do you see any more early 2015 commitments coming in the near future?
Austin: It's hard to determine who the most important players to land in 2015 are because we haven't yet seen the 2014 version of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Obviously it's extremely important to keep the top in-state guys at home and I think landing a big-time quarterback prospect is a must. As for early 2015 commitments, I think Drew Richmond could become a Buckeye at anytime and will before the calendar year flips.
Charles: I'm always big on keeping the best Ohio prospects in-state. Class of 2015 recruits Justin Hilliard and Jerome Baker both hold early OSU offers and in my opinion are two recruits we should go full force for. I believe Baker could be an early commitment to OSU but I look for Hilliard to hold out on a commitment till later in the process. The Buckeyes will have a lot of work ahead of them. Justin holds offers from some of top schools in the nation and has a brother headed to play for Iowa, that could come into play.
Miles: Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes are already in on a bevy of the nation's top juniors. The five players I think are most likely to end up in the class as things currently stand are quarterback Brandon Wimbush, running back Larry Scott, wide receiver C.J. Sanders, cornerback Ashton White, and athlete Jerome Baker. I also look for the Buckeyes to be in the thick of things for a couple of early five-star prospects including the likes of running back Soso Jamabo, defensive ends Terry Beckner Jr. and Jashon Cornell, and defensive tackle Tim Settle. It's still very early, but there's a lot to look forward to in what should be an elite 2015 recruiting class.
Thad Matta has already scored commitments from four very good players for his 2014 class, but it has been rumored that he covets another big man. Do you see any more recruits in this class? Who are the top targets that could join this class?
Charles: After missing out on Goodluck Okonoboh and Elbert Robinson recently, Thad Matta and staff will try to lure five star Texas center Myles Turner to Columbus. It was reported that Turner would visit campus next weekend but that is no longer the case. I doubt Turner ends up in this class but crazier things have happened. They also are very high on the list of Arizona power forward Payton Dastrup, who will visit campus next weekend. Dastrup plans to take a Morman mission trip after high school and won't be on a college campus till 2016 though. I would not be surprised to see the Buckeyes take a closer look at someone like Satchel Pierce. The three star, 7-0 250 pound Pierce grew up in Ohio and played at St.Vincent St.Mary before transferring to Kiski Prep in Pennsylvania. If the Bucks don't go after someone like Pierce, I look for them to take a more wait and see approach till after the season when coaches get fired, leave for new gigs and recruits open up their recruitment's. A transfer who can step in and play right away is not out of the question either.
Miles: I thought the Buckeyes were going to land Goodluck Okonoboh last week, but that didn't happen as he committed to UNLV. Myles Turner is still on Ohio State's board, but he's probably going be playing his college ball for Bill Self at Kansas. Payton Dastrup is another name to keep an eye on, but he's planning on taking his Mormon mission trip after he graduates high school and would't be playing college ball for two years. I think the Bucks will bank their last remaining scholarship for the 2014 class and use it next year.
Zach: With one scholarship remaining, obviously Ohio State would like to get one more recruit. Missing out on Goodluck Okonoboh and Elbert Robinson, Myles Turner is the remaining target for the class of 2014. Ohio State has also reached out to Payton Dastrup, but as many know, Dastrup is planning on taking a two year mission trip after high school, so he likely wouldn't join the Buckeyes until 2016 if he was to commit. Myles is thought by many to be headed to Kansas, but anything can happen. Turner was supposed to visit the Jayhawks this past weekend, but skipped the trip to train with Team USA. He would be an absolutely huge addition if the tides were to change and he were to commit to Ohio State. As it stands though, the Buckeyes are looking to use the final scholarship on a post presence, and if Turner isn't the man, then Ohio State will continue to look elsewhere.