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Ohio State recruting: State Secrets, 9/20

Ohio State men's hockey looks to build foundation under new coach Steve Rohlik, plus an update on the latest football and basketball targets and commits.

New OSU hockey coach Steve Rohlik at B1G Media Day.
New OSU hockey coach Steve Rohlik at B1G Media Day.
Ohio State Athletics

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Football and basketball usually get all of the headlines at Ohio State, but head coach Steve Rohlik hopes to change that by making the hockey team into a Big Ten powerhouse.

The Buckeyes were pegged to finish 5th in the inaugural season of Big Ten hockey, but Rohlik feels that the sky is the limit for his team.

Rohlik, who served as an assistant the past three seasons under former head coach Mark Osiecki, knows about molding his team into a championship contender after leading Minnesota-Duluth to two NCAA tournament appearances and a Frozen Four in 2004.

Fortunately for Rohlik, the Buckeyes return 19 letter winners from last year's team that went to the CCHA semifinals.

Not only is hockey hoping to ramp up recruiting, the Board of Trustees is as well. Ohio State has hired R. William Funk & Associates, a Dallas executive recruiting firm, to find a successor for former President E. Gordon Gee. The university will pay Funk & Associates $200,000 for their services.

When former President Karen Holbrook retired in 2007, Ohio State hired Chicago-based Heidrick & Struggles International Inc. before deciding to give Gee a second tenure.

The only football coach hired under Gee, current head coach Urban Meyer has been very active on recruiting front lately. Meyer's staff's taken a recent increased interest in Xavier's Justin Hilliard, the top player in the state for the class of 2015.

Ohio State offered the junior linebacker a scholarship after HIlliard made the trip to Columbus for the school's camp back in June. Along with the Buckeyes, Hilliard has received offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Florida State, Texas A&M, and as recently as Wednesday, Clemson.

At 6'2", 225 pounds, Hilliard is not only the top-ranked linebacker in the state, but also the fourth-best outside linebacker in the class. Hilliard stars for St. X along with his brother, C.J., a 2014 Iowa running back commit. While it's unlikely that they end up playing their college ball together, it's not impossible.

Here's some of highlights from Hilliard's sophomore season:

Another player in the class of 2015 to watch out for is athlete Brian Cole. The top-ranked player in the state of Michigan, Cole will be making an official visit on September 28th, when the Buckeyes take on Wisconsin.

The junior, who plays both receiver and corner for Heritage High School (Saginaw, MI), has received offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Tennessee.

Shifting gears to hoops, Ohio State basketball coach Thad Matta was at Pickerington Central High School on Thursday night to check out 2014 commit Jae'Sean Tate, according to Tigers assistant coach Devin Howard.

Finally, Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph's Carlton Bragg will be in Columbus to watch the Buckeyes take on Florida A&M. The top-ranked player in the state of Ohio for the 2015 class has a host of offers from the likes of Ohio State, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, and Kansas.