Wednesday officially marked the end of the 2014 Ohio State recruiting cycle. The Buckeyes got all the NLOIs that they planned on receiving. This signing day was not as drama-filled as last year, but the Buckeyes did got a bit of a surprise after missing out on '14 DE Malik McDowell, who pledged to Michigan State (though later had drama which resulted in his letter of intent still being up in the air).
The big surprise on Wednesday came when '14 DE Darius Slade faxed in his NLOI to become an Ohio State Buckeye. Slade was originally committed to the Spartans as well, but instead chose to play his college career in Columbus. The talented pass rusher spoke highly of newly hired defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who played the biggest role in Slade's decision.
"I've had the best relationship with defensive line coach Larry Johnson since I was in 6th grade," Slade said. He continued by saying "I had the best relationship overall with him throughout the process". Slade also told Land Grant Holy-Land that he is cousins with current Miami Dolphins DT Jared Odrick, who was coached by Johnson at Penn State. The 3-star from New Jersey told us, "when Larry Johnson left (Penn State) and went to OSU, that's when I knew it was meant for us to be together [at the same school]." Though his paperwork is in, Slate will be taking his official to Columbus the weekend of February 15th anyways.
Despite the Buckeyes ending the 2014 class on a good note, they did miss out on talented 2015 prospect on Wednesday. As widely expected, '15 OT Mitch Hyatt selected Clemson over Auburn, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio Stateand many others. The 6'5", 270-pound OT was rated as the number one player at his position and 4th in the entire 2015 class.
Lastly, switching gears to hoops, '15 center Daniel Giddens tweeted that he would be announcing his list of top schools very soon. Giddens is rated as the 5th best center in the class, second in the state of Georgia and 22nd overall in the nation. Giddens currently holds a 5-star ranking and has offers from Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville, Ohio State, Texas amongst a few others. The 6'10", 210-pounder is currently favored on the 247Crystal Ball to choose the Buckeyes and would definitely be a huge get for Thad Matta and the basketball Buckeyes.
- Our Luke Zimmermann, myself, Charles Doss, and Miles Joseph all finished in the top 30 of 247Sports' Expert Rankings.
- Here's Football Study Hall's Matt Hinton on why recruiting rankings actually matter.
- Ohio State finished the cycle with more signees from The Opening 2013 than any other school.
- Ohio State National Signing Day 2014: The Dream '14
- Ohio State recruiting: Top players in Ohio for 2015
- National Signing Day 2014: Mike Maduko to walk-on at Ohio State
- National Signing Day 2014 results: Big Ten rankings
- National Signing Day: Ohio State signees react to inking National Letters of Intent