Urban Meyer and company may of picked up their biggest commitment for the 2015 recruiting class as a whole earlier today when they scored a commitment from Cincinnati (OH) St. Xavier linebacker Justin Hilliard, who is rated as the top commitment for the class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
It's neck and neck between Hilliard and Benedictine linebacker Jerome Baker for the top player in the state of Ohio, with Hilliard holding a slight edge in the composite rankings right now. I favor Baker as the top player in the state, but it's extremely close.
In Hilliard the Buckeyes are getting someone with the potential to be a very good linebacker. I think he's going to play on the outside at the college level, but he also has the ability to play the mike linebacker position. I think Hilliard is a pretty safe bet to be an instant contributor at the college level.
Hilliard is a very good pass rusher already, which is one the the reasons he might have the chance to get on the field from day one in Columbus. He's also very good in run support and is a very sure-handed tackler judging by his highlight tape.
I think Hilliard is going to be an every down linebacker for the Buckeyes and a very good one at that. It will be fun to monitor his progress at Ohio State, starting when he arrives on campus next summer.
Here's what Land-Grant Holy Land football analyst Christopher Jason had to say about the newest Ohio State linebacker commitment:
Justin Hilliard is the most complete linebacker in the 2015 class. He already has the body, athleticism and instincts to make a day one impact in Columbus.
He makes plays sideline to sideline in the running game and explodes through gaps, making plays in the backfield. He drives through ball carriers and makes the running back pay on almost every tackle. He possesses great lateral quickness and can make plays down the field.
When coming off of the edge, he consistently beats tackles inside or outside with his lightning quick first step. He blows up running backs who stay in for pass protection with his already elite strength and delivers jarring blows to the quarterback. He is an elite blitzer.
Overall, Hilliard is a stud. He will be one of the next great linebackers at Ohio State as he can do it all.
Not only can Hilliard potentially make a big impact on the football field for the Buckeyes, but he is also somebody who is going to recruit for Ohio State's "Elite '15" recruiting class. He'll get a start on it at Nike's "The Opening 2014" camp next week, where he'll have the chance to spend some time with many of the nation's top players, including some top Buckeye targets. One player he's close with, who is supposed to be at the event is Berea (KY Madison Southern running back Damien Harris.
I think the Buckeyes will take one more linebacker in this recruiting class and I'm expecting that guy to be Baker, who announces his college decision on July 11.