Urban Meyer and his staff didn't take a pure running back in the 2014 recruiting class, so it will be a priority to land one in the 2015 class.
None of the running backs Ohio State has at the top of their board are close to a college decision, but they are firmly in the mix for many of the nation's best at the position.
Today, Land-Grant Holy Land is going to forecast the Buckeye's 2015 class when it comes to the running back position. We'll take a look at the players who are on top of the staff's board and examine the chances Ohio State has at landing those recruits. We'll close things out by naming a couple of under-the-radar guys that could eventually emerge onto the Buckeyes' recruiting radar.
Damien Harris, Berea (KY) Madison Southern
I think it's pretty clear that Harris is Ohio State's top target when in comes to running backs. The 5'11, 205-pound back is the whole package and almost every college in the nation wants him to be a part of their football program. I think he's the top running back in the class as a whole.
After decommitting from Michigan a few months ago and taking a visit to Ohio State – which went very well – I think the Buckeyes are in the lead right now. However, there's still a long way to go before he announces his school of choice on National Signing Day of 2015. I don't think he goes to Michigan. I think there's even a less of a chance he goes to Kentucky, so I think this boils down to Ohio State, Auburn, USC, or Alabama.
Jacques Patrick, Orlando (FL) Timber Creek
The big back from Florida is another guy I really like. I love his combination of size, power, and speed and think he is one of the top 5-10 backs in this class.
Originally, I was going to put him in the long shots category, but I think the Buckeyes have an actual shot here. Right now, I think he stays in the state of Florida to play his college football, but if he were to leave the Midwest to play closer to his brother, then I think either Ohio State or Michigan would be the choice. As of now I have him pegged to attend Florida State.
Dexter Williams, Orlando (FL) West Orange
This is a name I would keep a very close eye on. Williams has flown a little under the radar, but he is quietly one of the best running backs in the class as a whole.
There's not really a clear leader in the race to land his commitment right now, but he spoke very highly of Ohio State after receiving his offer and would like to make it to campus as soon as he can. He might not be as good as Harris or Patrick, but he's a whole lot closer than people think and would be a great option for the Buckeyes.
Soso Jamabo, Plano (TX) West
He reminds me a little bit of Patrick. Another big back with decent speed that could fit into almost any offense. He rushed for 1,077 yards on only 120 carries as a junior.
With the transfer of Mike Mitchell (who has a relationship with Jamabo) I think the Buckeye's chances here went from low to even lower, though there's still a chance the Buckeyes get him on campus this spring or summer. I think he ends up staying in state to play for Texas as his recruitment currently stands. Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and others will also have a big role in his recruitment.
Taj Griffin, Powder Springs (GA) McEachern
When it comes to all-purpose backs in the 2015 class I think the Peach State star is as good as it gets. He fits any spread offense like a glove.
I think there's a better chance here than some people might think, but Ohio State certainly doesn't have that great of a shot. However, if the staff gets him on campus, I would move him into the "top targets" category. Right now, I think Oregon is where he goes and where he should go. He fits Oregon's offense perfectly and could be a force in the Ducks' offense for years. In state Georgia will be a major player for his commitment, too.
Mike Weber, Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Here's another intriguing name. Very good overall running back, but I think it's likely he stays in the state of Michigan to play his college football.
A couple of months ago I thought the Buckeyes had a real chance in the race. But now I think this is a pretty clear Michigan-Michigan State battle, with the Wolverines holding the slight edge right now. Could Ohio State jump back in this? Maybe, but I doubt it.
Names to watch
Larry Scott, Hubbard (OH)
Quite the talent on the football field, but will need to see some improvement in the class room if he wants to play college ball immediately out of high school for a program like Ohio State.
He finally earned an offer from Ohio State yesterday, and it's likely committable as the Buckeyes aren't going to be handing out uncommitable ones to someone with an offer sheet like his. He just needs to make sure everything is taken care of in the classroom before his senior year concludes. The Buckeyes will battle Michigan State, Kentucky, West Virginia, Alabama, Auburn, and others for his commitment.
Andrew Dowell, Lakewood (OH) St. Edward
Very good high school player with some potential, but he will need to camp at OSU again in order to be considered for an offer.
I'd be willing to bet that he and his twin brother David (who I think is OSU caliber right now) attend the same college. He's a good looking player, but he's not quite Ohio State ready at the running back position right now, especially with some better players considering the Buckeyes right now. If offered, I think Ohio State would be pretty tough to beat.
Chris Warren, Rockwall (TX)
He's more of a power back, though does have some speed and has been in Columbus for a visit before, which he spoke pretty highly of.
Warren's name isn't brought up a whole lot, but I think he's a pretty good prospect. Right now, he seems to be favoring a pair of in state schools in the form of Texas and Baylor, but there's still a long way until he signs. Whenever I've spoken to him he talks very highly about the Scarlet and Gray. This is definitely a name I would monitor in between now and National Signing Day 2015.
Best of the rest: Eric Swinney, Darrin Hall, Joshuwa Holloman, and Traveon Samuel