When you think about Ohio State athletics, you think first and foremost about Buckeyes football – and rightfully so. With seven national titles and thirty four Big Ten titles, it's hard to start anywhere else But as most of you know, Thad Matta and the men's basketball program are building something very special in Columbus as well. In the nine years as the head man, Matta has won five conference titles, four Big Ten tournament titles, reached two final fours and finished once as NCAA runner-ups. There is also another program at Ohio State that seems to be on the rise and they have yet to play a game under their new head coach Kevin McGuff. McGuff has came to Columbus and brought a workman like mentality to the Lady Bucks and especially to the recruiting game. As a friend of mine said, McGuff is having an Urban Meyer affect on Ohio State in women's basketball recruiting. Follow along as we take a look at the three sports and where they are all ranked.
We start with what Urban Meyer and his staff are doing yet again in the recruiting world. As many expected when Meyer took over at Ohio State, things were going to change big time for the Buckeyes, and with his first two classes Meyer is surely on his way. To go along with the recruits he's already brought in, the 2014 class is looking very good and can only get better. The Buckeyes are currently ranked second by 247Composite team rankings and the best in the Big Ten. When you look at the class, you can clearly see that Urban really wanted to land some top offensive lineman in this class, something the Buckeyes didn't do last season. The big uglies are led by Army All-American Demetrius Knox and Under Armour All-American Jamarco Jones. The Buckeyes are also not hurting for speed in this class either with commitments from Curtis Samuel, Parris Campbell, Noah Brown, and Terry McLaurin. But who is still out there that could end up wearing the scarlet and gray?
There are two recruits left in the Buckeye State that Coach Meyer wants in the 2014 class in Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith, both out of Glenville. They'd both be on the defensive side of the ball with Lattimore teaming up with Buckeye commit Damon Webb at the corner position and Erick Smith at safety. Staying on the defensive side of the ball, Raekwon McMillian out of Georgia is a key recruit for Ohio State. With the Buckeyes being very slim at the position, McMillian would team up with Dante Booker as players who would look for early playing time in 2014. Switching over to the offensive side of the ball, the Buckeyes are in hot pursuit of tight end Mike Gesicki out of Manahawkin, New Jersey. Gesicki was in Columbus this past weekend for the Buckeyes' victory over Wisconsin and his recruitment seems to be coming down to a battle against Penn State, where he will be visiting next week. The staff is also still going after a couple of linemen, one of them being JUCO target Chad Mavety. Mavety will be vising Columbus when Indiana comes to town, and if the Buckeyes do get a commitment from Mavety, he could come in and be a starter from day one with four of the five starters gone after this year.
Now let's switch things up and take a look at what Coach McGuff has going on with the Lady Buckeyes. Things are on the rise for a team who had a very disappointing season last year and saw the firing of Jim Foster. McGuff has came in and raised the spirits of the entire program, landing some of the top recruits in the 2014 class in the process. The class is currently ranked second by Prospects Nation, led by the nation's number one recruit, Kelsey Mitchell. Mitchell is a point guard and is going to bring something to the position Ohio State has not seen in a long, long time. To go along with Mitchell, the Bucks also received a commitment from her sister, Chelsea, who currently is not ranked by any major recruiting sites. The fun did not stop there for the staff as they have also received commitments from three other recruits who are all ranked in the top 50 in Alexa Hart, Makayla Waterman and newest commit Asia Doss.
The only real missing piece for the Lady Buckeyes is Waterman's teammate, Kathryn Westbeld. Westbeld, who visited Columbus this past weekend, is a four star recruit ranked the 33rd best recruit in the nation. This past June, Westbeld cut her list to four schools in Connecticut, Duke, Notre Dame, and Ohio State, but recently trimmed Duke out of the picture. The plan for Westbeld is to visit Notre Dame in early October and have her decision announced later in the month. My prediction on Westbeld is for Kevin McGuff to keep the ball rolling and land the four star recruit.
Let's finish things up with Thad Matta and see what he and his coaching staff are up to. Like the women's hoops and the Buckeyes football team, Matta also currently has the second best recruiting class according to 247Sports Composite rankings. The class is led by shooting guard and five star recruit D'Angelo Russell out of Montverde Academy. Russell will come in and be a do it all guard for the Buckeyes, and should be an early contributor all over the court. To go along with Russell, the Buckeyes are also bringing in Keita Bates-Diop, Jae'Sean Tate and Dave Bell. With those four recruits already pledging their commitments to Ohio State, you can see why basketball junkies are really excited for this – but they are still missing once remaining piece.
So what are the options left for the Buckeyes when it comes to a big time big man? LGHL's own Zach Fleer believes there are really only two options for Ohio State in Elbert Robinson and Goodluck Okonoboh. Both Robinson and Okonoboh were both in Columbus this past weekend for visits, with the coaching staff trying to show both why Ohio State was the right choice for them. LSU seems a likely fit for Robinson and when it comes to Crystal Ball predictions, that is the odds on favorite. On Okonoboh, things started out strong for the Hoosier, but there appears to be some real momentum for Ohio State now. Per the Crystal Ball, Ohio State is gaining some late momentum, though Indiana remains out in front. Yesterday the basketball world found out that Okonoboh will be making his college choice tonight at halftime of the Western Kentucky vs Louisiana-Monroe game on ESPNU.
Per @Gracie_ESPN 2014 big man Goodluck Okonoboh will make his college commitment during halftime of the WKU/ULM on ESPNU tomorrow.— LGHL Recruiting (@LGHLRecruiting) October 2, 2013
Make sure you tune in to see if the Buckeyes land another bug target in the 2014 recruiting class. If Ohio State does, we'll have plenty on the big news.
- In case you missed it last night, an Ohio State commit found out what position he will be playing next year with the Buckeyes. You can check out what he said here.