Eli Woodard, a four-star cornerback, has officially committed to Ohio State over offers from Alabama, Miami (FL), Michigan, and Notre Dame. The New Jersey native is considered one of the best defensive back prospects in the country and could even attain that coveted fifth star before the recruiting services finalize their rankings next January.
Long seen as an Ohio State lean before Jim Tressel's resignation, Woodard affirmed his childhood love for the Buckeyes when he visited Ohio State with his parents and met with Urban Meyer last week. Soon after the visit, Woodard announced his intentions to make public his college choice, and the writing was on the wall for his other suitors.
The 6''1, 185 pound Woodard fills a gap on Ohio State's roster, the tall, physical corner who can play man coverage. Following their separate legal troubles, Meyer dismissed cornerbacks Derjuan Gambrell and Dominic Clarke, which reduced the defensive back depth chart significantly. In Spring and Fall camps, Clarke would have competed for a starting position, and at worst would have been the first cornerback off the bench, while Gambrell was only entering his second season in Columbus. Woodard is more highly regarded, and holds better offers, than either Clarke or Gambrell were during the recruiting process. This means little in direct comparison between the three players, but it serves as proof that Meyer is replacing talent with talent and not merely reaching for depth.
Woodard joins Cameron Burrows, Jalin Marshall, and Billy Price as the fourth commitment in Ohio State's 2013 class, a class that has picked up right where the 2012 group left off. Burrows, a five-star cornerback on Rivals.com, further solidifies the future defensive back roster for Meyer and his new coaching staff. The explosive athlete Jalin Marshall and the gritty defensive tackle Billy Price are each rated at four stars by Rivals.com and possess offers from national programs like Michigan, Nebraska, and Notre Dame.