As the summer winds down and coaches prepare for fall practice, recruiting is not at the forefront of the college football landscape. However, with Ohio State's Friday Night Lights only a few weeks away, the Buckeyes coaching staff still has a chance to sway the tables in their favor with some recruits. The Buckeyes have received commitments from 14 high school seniors and are on their way to filling the 2014 class. With a number of graduating seniors and the possible departure of underclassmen for the NFL Draft, the class is projected to range, in number, of between 20 to 22 commits.
Ohio State has a random assortment of positions in the 2014 class, and wide receiver looks to be a position of strength. With Nike's The Opening standout Terry McLaurin and 3-star receiver Lonnie Johnson already committed, the Buckeyes will likely only take on one more wideout.
Pope John XXIII High School (Sparta, NJ) athlete Noah Brown will be visiting Ohio State for the second time on July 24th. The four-star athlete made his first trip to Columbus for the season-ending game against Michigan. Brown has said that Ohio State coaches told him he is the number one wide receiver target on their board.
"They are a national powerhouse with Coach Meyer. They told me I'm their number one receiver on their board, right now. I'm a priority for them and I can flourish in their offense."
At 6'2", 210 pounds, Brown is the all-around receiver that the Ohio State offense has lacked in recent years.
"I just attack in everything I do. I'm really aggressive at the line of scrimmage with the press," said the New Jersey native. "I'm aggressive down the field (as well) and attack the football. I'm an all-around receiver."
Competing with Brown for a spot in the 2014 class is New Castle (PA) athlete Malik Hooker. Hooker recently trimmed his list to five schools, and Ohio State is included. The ninth-ranked prospect in the state of Pennsylvania, Hooker also listed Michigan, Penn State, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia as possible destinations.
"I know that I'm going to take official visits to Michigan and West Virginia because I haven't seen those schools yet," Hooker told Wolverine247. "I've seen Pitt, Penn State, and Ohio State and I really enjoyed them all."
The 6'2", 190 pound wide receiver also excelled at defensive back at the prep level, resulting in offers from other schools at that position. It is unknown whether Hooker would play just one position or attempt to play both ways.
"I'm just looking for a school I can feel comfortable with the coaches and the players. All five schools have great football history and good academics."
One name not mentioned in connection to Ohio State in some time is current Florida State commit, Mavin Saunders. While he remains a wild card, at best (particularly given the Buckeyes' courtship of both New Jersey product Mike Gesicki, Indiana native Austin Roberts, and California top talent, Tyler Luatua), Saunders hasn't completely ruled out the prospects of an official visit to Columbus.
In terms of visits, Mavin Saunders may visit Nebraska, tOSU (if they keep showing interest). But proximity to native Bahamas big for #Noles.— Wescott Eberts (@SBN_Wescott) July 11, 2013
Most recruits want to feel comfortable at their school of choice and quarterback target Brandon Harris is one of them. When asked what separates Ohio State, Auburn, and LSU from one another, Harris responded, "Auburn has the nicest dorms."
It's tough to gauge how much of that was gamesmanship, if he was being tongue-in-cheek, or if he genuinely just admired the living quarters, but a lighter hearted take on the lengthy, stressful recruiting process is refreshing.
Harris is set to declare his intentions on July 18th at 3 p.m. ET at Parkway High School in Bossier City, Louisiana.
One recruit to keep an eye on down the road is Norcross (GA) athlete Miles Autry. At 5'9", 175 pounds, Autry is the type of athlete that could fill the vaunted role of Percy Harvin in Urban Meyer's offense. While he has seemingly fallen off of the coaching staff's radar, Autry recently expressed a renewed interest in playing his college ball in Columbus.
Whether there will be a spot left in the class for Autry or if the coaching staff has decided to move in a different direction is unknown at this point. However, if a recruit like Harris or Jermaine Eluemunor decides to play elsewhere, Autry may get to play at his "dream school".
Meyer and his staff have begun working on future recruiting classes as well, most notably with Rockwall (TX) running back Chris Warren. Warren, the son of a former NFL standout by the same name, has offers from many of the top programs around the country, including Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, and USC.
Although most recruiting analyst predict that Warren will end up at Texas, Meyer and the rest of the coaching staff will host the 6'2", 215 pound running back on an official visit on July 22nd.
With Braxton Miller only a year or two away from leaving Columbus and J.T. Barrett expected to run the offense after Miller’s departure, it’s never too early for Urban Meyer to look for his quarterback of the future.
Look no further than the proud football city of Massillon. At 6’3", freshman Danny Clark already has the size, athleticism and arm strength that is possessed by top recruits. A lot can happen in four years, but Clark could be one of the best recruits to come out of Ohio since Massillon’s own Justin Zwick. Although, Zwick isn’t necessarily somebody that Ohio State fans want a future target to be compared to.