With a long list of programs such as Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame. Kentucky, Indiana, and Pittsburgh having quite a bit of success recruiting the state of Ohio over the last few years, it's became critical for the Buckeyes' coaching staff to get in on Ohio's top high school talent early and close the fence around the state.
Today, Urban Meyer and the OSU coaching staff did just that, by locking up a verbal pledge from Maple Heights H-Back Kierre Hawkins during an unofficial visit for the game against Rutgers.
The semi-under-the-radar Hawkins should be able to help the Buckeyes' offense out in many ways, which is something he is already more than used to doing for Maple Heights. With experience playing running back, wildcat quarterback, receiver, and on defense, the 6'4, 210-pound junior will eventually add another big and physical athlete to an OSU squad that is looking to beef up at the skill positions.
Land-Grant Holy Land football analyst Christopher Jason had the following to say on the newest Ohio State commit:
"Kierre Hawkins is a versatile, and interesting prospect, similar to Noah Brown and A.J. Alexander. He has great size, standing 6'4, 210 pounds, and has the ability to fill out with more muscle mass, as he gets older. Like Brown and Alexander, Hawkins projects as an H-Back at Ohio State with the possibility of playing tight end or wide receiver as well.
Most of his tape is of him lined up at running back, where he shows good vision and the ability to break tackles. I would like to see him used more as a pass catcher or H-Back next season to get a better grip on his talents.
Overall, Urban Meyer has landed another big, athletic H-Back that will be used all over the field, creating mismatches for opposing defenses."
Still two years away from suiting up for the Bucks, Hawkins has plenty time to mature his all-around game and work on pass catching before heading to Columbus. With Noah Brown and 2015 commit A.J. Alexander most likely holding down the fort at H-Back, redshirting wouldn't be the worst case scenario for the three-star prospect, who would have a year to learn the system and work with Mickey Marotti, Anthony Schlegel, and the OSU strength and conditioning program.
Already holding commitments from in-state recruits George Hill of Hubbard, Sciototville offensive guard Tyler Gerald, and now Hawkins, the Buckeyes are off to very strong start to next year's recruiting cycle. As a whole, Ohio's 2016 class might be one of the state's best in recent years.
The OSU coaching staff have offered a number of top in-state prospects as well, and are keeping a close eye on many more. Like Hawkins, look for more lifelong Buckeyes to join the fold in the months ahead.