We're back with our second edition of our "Top 15 targets for 2015", which will be updated during the first week of every month from here on out. There are quite a few changes from last month's edition of top 15 targets and there probably will be every month with the craziness in the world of recruiting these days.
So let's take a look at some of the top top players Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes are recruiting for their 2015 class.
We will continue to look at three main variables: Player's overall talent, interest in Ohio State/probability the Buckeyes land the player, and how much of a need the player is for the Buckeyes. With that in mind, here is the most current list:
15. QB Lorenzo Nunez, Kennesaw (GA) Harrison
Nunez clings to his spot on this month's board, but barely, as I'm beginning to think Ohio State only gets one quarterback in this class, with Gibson being the guy. I think Gibson is keeping other top signal-callers from coming to Columbus because some don't want to compete with him. Maybe that's not the case with Nunez, but it has to be considered a possibility.
I'm keeping my pick of Nunez to Ohio State for now, but I grow less confident in that pick with each passing day. This will be an interesting recruitment to follow as I think he would like to announce his college decision relatively early in the process.
14. WR Van Jefferson, Brentwood (TN) Ravenwood
One of the most complete wide receivers in the 2015 recruiting class makes his first appearance on the board this month. Jefferson is one of the best route runners in the class, has good size, and is pretty fast as well, though isn't a burner.
I think this comes down to Ohio State and Penn State, with the Buckeyes holding the early edge right now. Tennessee could also play a role because they're the top school in state. He grew up rooting for the Buckeyes and would like to visit again in the next month or so. I could see a decision coming before his senior season begins.
13. OG/OT Steven Gonzalez, Union City (NJ) Hill
After Richmond, Gonzalez is the second best offensive linemen on Ohio State's board, and is also probably the best linemen they have a great chance of landing. He could play anywhere on the offensive line in college, but I see him ending up playing inside at the guard position.
Gonzalez has had the Buckeyes as his leader for a couple of months now and he plans on visiting as soon as possible, maybe as early as this spring. He currently plans to pick a school on National Signing Day.
12. DT Christian Wilkins, Suffield (CT) Academy
Like I mentioned before, I think it's important to add a few solid interior defensive linemen in this class and Wilkins is definitely one of the top targets. The 6'4, 295-pound tackle has the potential to be a force in the middle of a college defense.
Wilkins is another guy who's relatively quiet about his recruitment, but he visited Ohio State lasted August and came away very impressed with the Scarlet and Gray. Following the visit he said he had no timetable for a college decision and added he would decide whenever he felt ready.
11. WR Devante Peete, Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas
It's great to have a lot of speed at receiver, but it's also important to have a big physical guy on the outside. I think Peete could be the guy to assume that role for the Buckeyes. He reminds me a little of former Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who was an absolute force for the Seminoles last year during their run to the National Championship.
Ohio State is going to be in this race all the way to the end, but I don't think he's very close to a decision. The Buckeyes are in his top five along with Alabama, Florida State, LSU, and Miami. He said he will be visiting Ohio State this spring or summer.
10. LB Sh'mar Kilby-Lane, Hallandale (FL)
The athletic linebacker from the Sunshine State makes his debut on the board at the ten spot. He's one of the defensive players I'm most excited about in this class and think he could come into Ohio State and compete for early playing time.
I think he will end up at either OSU, Alabama, or Florida State with the Buckeyes being the favorite right now. He's rumored to be visiting for the Spring Game on April 12th, where I think he could become the next member of the class if he does indeed make the trip.
9. OT Drew Richmond, Memphis (TN) University School
Even though the Bucks landed five very solid offensive linemen last year, they probably want to add three more in this class. The Volunteer State product will be a tackle at the college level.
Ohio State has to like the position they're in right now, but can't be too comfortable as Tennessee, Ole Miss, Alabama, and many other SEC powers are going to be major players in the race for Richmond. He has really enjoyed his previous trips to Columbus and should be back this summer.
8. WR Christian Kirk, Scottsdale (AZ) Saguaro
The speedy wide receiver makes his debut on the board coming of his first trip to Columbus, which went very, very well. He has the ability to excel as a slot receiver in the spread offense and holds offers from many of the nation's top schools.
To be honest I think Oregon would be the best fir for Kirk's skill set, followed by Texas A&M, then Ohio State, but all three are very close in the types of offense they run, so it won't make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things. Texas A&M in my currently pick, but the Buckeyes, Oregon, and other are still firmly in the mix. Expect a decision no later than an All-American game, as he plans to enroll early.
7. DT Tim Settle, Manassas (VA) Stonewall Jackson
I think one of the biggest needs in this class is an elite interior defense linemen and the 6'3, 305-pound Settle is arguably Ohio State's top target at the position right now. Settle is ranked as the number five defensive tackle and as the 16th best player in the nation in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
It's really difficult to get a read on where Settle is leaning right now. He plays his recruitment pretty close to the vest and to be honest, I don't even think he's very focused on recruiting right now. That being said, I think the Buckeyes are in a good spot here. He loved his first trip to Columbus last June and plans to make a return trip this summer to check out Ohio State's campus for the second time.
6. CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Jersey City (NJ) St. Peter's Prep
Urban Meyer and company added many quality defensive backs in last year's recruiting class and they would like to add to the strong base. There's no question that their top target right now is the 6'0, 185-pound Fitzpatrick, who is one of the top overall defensive players in the class.
Alabama is my early pick for Fitzpatrick, but there is still a lot of time left in this race. He's planning on attending Ohio State's spring game next month where things could swing towards Ohio State. In addition to the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide, South Carolina, Florida State, Penn State, and others could play a major role in his recruitment.
5. LB Justin Hilliard, Cincinnati (OH) St. Xavier
After landing an elite crop of linebackers in last year's recruiting class, the position isn't as much of a priority in this class, though they coaching staff would never turn down the chance to grab another playmaker. Hilliard is the state's pure linebacker (in addition to the number to overall player in the state) and only slides a few slots because other guys impressed enough to move ahead of him.
There doesn't appear to be a clear leader for Hilliard's commitment, but the teams firmly in the mix include the Buckeyes, Iowa, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and others. My pick right now is Ohio State, but this race is far from over.
4. TE Chris Clark, Avon (CT) Old Farms
After failing to sign a tight end in the 2014 class, the Buckeyes desperately need to sign one in this class and Clark is clearly the top target of the coaching staff right now. Clark could be a force in any offense as he's a good blocker and can be a very good pass catcher too.
The standout tight end received his 40th scholarship offer yesterday- with likely more still on the way. I think the Buckeyes are in the top four or five schools for him right now, but his upcoming visit swing this month, to go along with his visits this summer will be huge in deciding where he'll be playing his college football. Right now Ohio State is my pick, but I'm not confident about it.
3. RB Damien Harris, Berea (KY) Madison Southern
One of the biggest risers on my Ohio State recruiting board is Harris, who de-committed from Michigan a month or so ago. I think he's the best overall back in the class and is a once in a lifetime talent. He's the kind of guy who could come in and be a major contributor immediately with his great combination of size, power, and speed, to go along with excellent vision.
He's not planning on committing for the second time until National Signing Day- which is a timetable I don't see changing. There's still a long way to go, but the Buckeyes are in a very good position as things currently stand. I think Auburn, Alabama, and USC will be the biggest competition for Ohio State, with Michigan also still firmly in the picture, though I don't see him re-committing there.
2. QB/ATH Torrance Gibson, Fort Lauderdale (FL) American Heritage
The standout quarterback/athlete remains high in the rankings, but falls one spot to number two on the board. There are still question marks about his ability to develop into a good passer at the quarterback position. Many people in the recruiting industry, including SB Nation's Bud Elliott, think Gibson could be an elite wide receiver if things don't work out behind center.
I still think the Buckeyes are in a good spot for Gibson right now, but there is still quite amount some time before he is planning on making a commitment, though he has indicated he might move it up from his original plan to commit a week or so before signing day. He is expected to be on campus for the first time this spring or summer.
1. ATH Jerome Baker, Cleveland (OH) St. Benedictine
After checking in at number two in last month's rankings, Ohio's number one player claims the top spot in this month's rankings. The elite athlete could be a very good running back or linebacker at the college level. Right now I like him the most at linebacker, proving he grows a tad bit more and puts on some weight in order to have the proper frame for the position. He could also be a very good running back, but I think others like Damien Harris could be much better starring in the offensive backfield.
I think Ohio State is in a very good position to land the local star as his recruitment currently stands. He has taken many visits to Columbus and enjoyed each one of his experiences on Ohio State's campus. As things currently stand Penn State is the only serious threat to the Buckeyes and I think the chances of him going to Happy Valley for college are pretty low.
Just missed: LB/DE Ricky DeBerry (will be added back after he visits), DB Marcus Lewis, RB Larry "LJ" Scott, RB Jacques Patrick, and WR Damarkus Lodge.