Two days after Urban Meyer and his staff signed, sealed, and delivered a 23-man 2014 recruiting class, it's time to start handing out positional grades for the class.
Today we're going to take our final in-depth look at the 2014 recruiting class the Buckeyes signed Wednesday by handing out positional grades for the "Dream 14".
Without further adieu, we present the Land-Grant Holy Land recruiting class positional grades:
Ohio State missed on its top targets Deshaun Watson (Clemson), Jerrod Heard (Texas), and Brandon Harris (LSU), but were able to secure a signature from Stephen Collier, who has already enrolled in classes. Collier is a bit of a project, but has the potential to be solid behind center and it was important just to get a quarterback in this class after missing on the guys in their top group.
Just a year after taking Ezekiel Elliott, who I think is going to be a stud for the Buckeyes over the next couple of years, the staff didn't take a pure tailback in this class. They did land two speed guys who could see a couple of carries (similar to Dontre Wilson last year) in Parris Campbell and early enrollee Curtis Samuel, who are two of the most electric players in the 2014 class as a whole.
Urban Meyer and company did a great job of landing offensive playmakers for the second consecutive class, headlined by early enrollee Johnnie Dixon, who is the only pure receiver the Bucks landed in this class. In addition to Dixon, Ohio State received signatures from four electrifying slot-receiver types in the likes of Noah Brown (who might be able to play a little on the outside), Curtis Samuel, Terry McLaurin, and the athletic Parris Campbell, who will likely switch between running back and wide receiver.
This is the one area in which the staff really struggled as they made Penn State signee Mike Gesicki their priority and were unable to land him in the end. With Marcus Baugh getting into trouble off the field and his status being unknown, coupled with the graduation of starting tight end Jeff Heuerman following the 2014 football season, they will likely need two tight ends in the 2015 class.
Ohio State struggled mightily in the offensive line department in the 2013 class as only one line signee arrived on campus in Evan Lisle and Billy Price was moved from defensive tackle to center/guard in fall camp. The staff did a great job of filling this need landing two players who will probably make the two deep in Demetrius Knox and Jamarco Jones, high upside tackle Kyle Trout, then two projects in the form of Marcelys Jones and Columbus native Brady Taylor who was flipped from Virginia Tech last month.
It's usually important to land 1-2 interior defensive linemen in each class, which was something the Buckeyes failed to do in this class. There is a chance 6'5, 270 pound Dylan Thompson could make the move to the inside, but it would've been nice to land a natural defensive tackle. Landing an elite one will likely be a priority for the coaching staff in the 2015 class.
Headlined by Jalyn Holmes, the Buckeyes landed another very good class of defensive ends. I think Holmes is going to be a very good player during his time in Columbus and they also landed two high upside guys in the likes of the aforementioned Dylan Thompson (35 TFL/17 sacks as a senior) and Darius Slade (23.5 sacks as a senior) who the Buckeyes flipped from Michigan State on signing day.
Ohio State excelled in the linebacker area in this class, which was huge due to the lack of depth at the linebacker position. Inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan will compete with Curtis Grant for the starting job this year, while Kyle Berger, super-athlete Dante Booker Jr., and late blooming Sam Hubbard will all be firmly in the mix to make the two deep and also have an outside chance of cracking the starting linebacker. Nevertheless, Urban Meyer said all four of the guys need to be ready to play from day one. The staff hit a home run here.
Ohio State scored yet another great class of cornerbacks as they landed Damon Webb and Marshon Lattimore at the position. I think Webb, who the Buckeyes stole from the state of Michigan, is one of the top three corners in the 2014 class as a whole. Lattimore is another guy who has all of the tools needed to be a lockdown cornerback and could even play a little offense at the college level.
After an awful year of safety play last year, this is an area the Buckeyes really needed to address, which they did by landing two solid safeties. I'm growing more and more confident that Erick Smith could see quite a bit of playing time next year, coming off a strong senior season at Cleveland Glenville. The other guy they landed, Malik Hooker, has only played football for two seasons, but has quite a bit of upside and could be a big contributor somewhere down the road as he hones his skills.
Ohio State simply needed to land a kicker to replace Drew Basil and they were able to land a very good one in Sean Nuernberger, who will probably kick for Ohio State the next four years.
Final class grade: A
- Ohio State made the top 10 for 2015 Stephenville (TX) quarterback Jarrett Stidham
- Check out Land-Grant Holy Land's top ten players in the state of Ohio for the 2015 class
- Check out Land-Grant Holy Land's top 15 targets for Ohio State's 2015 recruiting class