Urban Meyer and his coaching staff have been loading up on slot receivers and h-back types since taking the reigns of the football program a few years ago. But what they'd really like to do this go around is add a couple of big targets, who could excel on the outside in this class.
Ohio State is in the mix for many of the nation's top wide receivers and one or two might even be close to making their college decisions.
Today, Land-Grant Holy Land is going to forecast the Buckeyes' 2015 class when it comes to the wide receiver position. We'll take a look at the players who are on top of the staff's board and examine the chances Ohio State has at landing those recruits. We'll close things out by naming a couple of under-the-radar guys that could eventually emerge onto the Buckeyes' recruiting radar.
Christian Kirk, Scottsdale (AZ) Saguaro
Best of the best when it comes to guys who could play in the slot at the college level. He was one of only five 2015 prospects invited to The Opening last summer and was invited again for this summer's event.
There's no questions it's going to be a battle between multiple top schools for Kirk's commitment. Teams firmly in the mix right now include the Buckeyes, Texas A&M, Oregon, UCLA, and others. I personally think Texas A&M and Oregon stick out a little, but Ohio State has a legitimate shot. He had an excellent first trip to Columbus a couple of weeks ago and plans to be back in the future.
Devante Peete, Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas
When in comes to big receivers in this class, the St. Thomas Aquinas standout is one of the best. He would be a perfect fit for the Buckeyes on the outside and reminds a little of former Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin.
Right now five stand out for Peete in the form of Florida State, LSU, Ohio State, Alabama, and Miami. Peete has yet to visit Ohio State, but is very high on the Scarlet and Gray early in the process and really liked what he saw from the offense when he attended an Orange Bowl practice in December. I have the Buckeyes out in front for his commitment as things currently stand.
Van Jefferson, Brentwood (TN) Ravenwood
Just like Peete, the Ravenwood standout and son of former NFL wide receiver and current Tennessee Titans wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson can offer size and speed on the outside, which is something the Scarlet and Gray could use in this class.
Last week Jefferson told me he would like to make his college decision at the end of this month or sometime in April and visited Ohio State recently. Right now Ohio State is my pick for the standout wide receiver, with Penn State and Tennessee also firmly in the race to land his commitment. He could very well be the next player to join the Buckeyes' 2015 class.
DaMarkus Lodge, Cedar Hill (TX)
The Buckeyes have an outside chance to land the number one wide receiver in the 247Sports Composite rankings, but not much of one as things currently stand. He has good size, solid speed, and is also one of the best route runnings and pass catchers in the class.
Ohio State made Lodge's first cut of schools a couple of months ago, but an in-state trio of Baylor, Texas, and Texas A&M have the early edge for his commitment. Urban Meyer and company will need to get the standout wide receiver on campus before we can consider him a potential member of the Ohio State class. Right now, my pick is Baylor.
Alex Ofodile, Columbia (MO) Rock Bridge
Another one of the good size, good speed types, he would fit well in Ohio State's offense, but I think it's pretty likely he stays home to play his college football.
Ohio State extended him an offer a couple of weeks ago and he says he would like to eventually take a visit to Columbus. While I think the Buckeyes have an outside shot here, I'm pretty certain he'll stay home and play his college football for the Missouri Tigers.
Tristan Payton, Jacksonville (FL) First Coast
The Florida Gator commit will likely stick with the Gators when his recruitment is all said and done, but don't rule out a visit to Columbus.
Despite verbally committing to Florida less than a month ago – just two days after he received a scholarship offer from the Gators – Payton may visit Ohio State somewhere down the road and was just offered by the Buckeyes a few weeks ago. Again, I don't think there's much to say here, but crazier things have happened in the crazy recruiting world we're witnessing today.
Names to watch
Kaleel Gaines, Frostproof (FL)
When it comes to wide receiver, I think it's most important the Bucks land guys who can play on the outside in this class, but they'll also be looking to land slot players, with Gaines being one of the top options.
Just a few weeks ago he told me the Buckeyes were in the lead for his commitment, but if Oregon offered him, the Ducks would move into first place on his list. While I think there's a chance he could end up in this class, I think it's way too early to make that prediction. He's definitely one to watch, though.
Calvin Ridley, Pompano Beach (FL)
I'm not sure he's had a ton of contact with the Buckeyes to this point – despite landing an offer a few months ago – but this is a guy that could end up at OSU if he decides to leave the south for college.
Miami definitely appears to be the team in the lead right now, but if the Buckeyes are able to get him on campus for a visit, I think they would have a much better chance at landing him than some people think. Until he visits, this is a name to put on the back burner. But if/when he does make it to Columbus, watch out.
Miles Boykin, New Lenox (IL) Providence Catholic
No offer yet, but he could definitely land one with his size (6'5) and speed (clocked at 4.41 in 40-yard dash). He could also play some tight end at the next level.
Michigan State and Notre Dame probably lead the pack for the stellar athlete's commitment as things currently stand. But if an offer from the Buckeyes came his way, which I think it very possible, the Buckeyes would offer Sparty and the Fighting Irish some stiff competition for the commitment of Boykin.
David Dowell, Lakewood (OH) St. Edward
I'm a really big fan of Dowell playing the wide receiver position and think he's good enough to land an Ohio State offer, though I'm not sure his twin brother, Andrew, is right now.
The Dowells will likely attend the same college, with Northwestern being the top school to have offered both to this date. If Andrew, a running back, impresses the Buckeye staff this summer and David keeps progressing, I could see both getting offered. If that were to happened, the Buckeyes would be tough to beat.