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Ohio State recruiting: Top in-state prospects for 2016

The crop of talent in Ohio's 2016 class is very strong. Who are the best prospects, and who might the Buckeyes target?

Tommy Kraemer could be the best player in Ohio in 2016.
Tommy Kraemer could be the best player in Ohio in 2016.

Urban Meyer was hired to be the head coach of Ohio State on Nov. 28, 2011. After the hire, the Buckeyes received pledges from in-state prospects Taylor Decker (Butler), Kyle Dodson (Cleveland Heights) and Se'von Pittman (Canton McKinley).

Meyer only had a few months of recruiting for the 2012 class because of the late hire. The 2013 recruiting class was Meyer's first full class at Ohio State. The Buckeyes would receive commitments from nine prospects from the state of Ohio in that class. The pledges included Cameron Burrows (Trotwood-Madison), Gareon Conley (Massillon), Darron Lee (New Albany), Evan Lisle (Centerville), Jalin Marshall (Middletown), Donovan Munger (Shaker Heights), Billy Price (Austintown-Fitch), Tracy Sprinkle (Elyria) and Jayme Thompson (Central Catholic).

The second full recruiting class for Meyer came just last year when he picked up nine in-state players, again. Things got started on Christmas of 2012 when Marcelys Jones (Glenville) verbally committed. Joining Jones in the 2014 recruiting class were Kyle Berger (St. Ignatius), Dante Booker and Parris Campbell (St. Vincent-St. Mary), Sam Hubbard (Moeller), Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith (Glenville), Brady Taylor (Bishop Ready) and Kyle Trout (Lancaster).

This year, Meyer is working on his third full class as the OSU coach. He currently has verbals from Joe Burrow (Athens), Nick Conner (Scioto), Eric Glover-Williams (Canton McKinley), Justin Hilliard (St. Xavier) Dre'Mont Jones (St. Ignatius), Liam McCullough (Kilbourne) and Denzel Ward (Nordonia). Some other in-state players that could potentially join the seven previously mentioned are Jerome Baker (Bendictine), James Daniels (Harding) and Larry 'LJ' Scott (Hubbard). If the Buckeyes could land those three, it would be the largest amount of in-state prospects to come to Ohio State under Urban Meyer with ten.

But with 2015 in relative cruise control, let's take a look forward at the ten best in-state prospects next year in the 2016 recruiting class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings and talk about where the Buckeyes stand in their recruitment.

10. Ethan Tucky, OLB, Rutherford B Hayes

The 6'2, 210-pound four-star linebacker only has offers from lesser FBS programs at this point (Boston College arguably his best to point), but is attracting interest from lots of Big Ten powers, including Ohio State. Tucky recently camped at Ohio State and will visit next month, and most experts agree that Tucky will probably become a Buckeye.

9. Tyler Gerald, OG, Sciotoville

The 6'5, 300-pound four-star has been dominating the competition at Sciotoville, and recently committed to Ohio State over Virginia Tech, Toledo and others. He may be a little raw right now, but he has great size and already has strong run blocking fundamentals, and could become a very nice piece for Ohio State in the future.

8. Jake Hausmann, TE, Moeller

Ohio State is hunting for more depth at tight end, and Hausmann could be a great fit. The Archbishop Moeller product has great size (6'5, 235), and has both an offer and strong interest from Ohio State. He's also being pursued by Kentucky, Michigan, Notre Dame and Tennessee. His Crystal Ball is currently 100% Ohio State.

7. Demario McCall, RB, North Ridgeville

Ohio State's depth chart at running back might get crowded with all of the great players that will be joining the team soon, but that doesn't mean there isn't strong mutual interest in McCall. Demario is currently listed as the sixth best running back in the country in his class, and the strong back from North Ridgeville also is 100% to Ohio State on 247Sports' Crystal Ball. He has offers from Pitt and Bowling Green, but some major programs are very interested, and his offer list could expand greatly soon.

6. Justin Layne, WR, Benedictine

Layne might be the first player on the list who isn't a perceived lock to end up as a Buckeye. A consensus top 100 player, Layne has offers from Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, and doesn't have one from Ohio State yet. He will be camping at Ohio State on July 25 though, and that could certainly change things then. Layne is probably a Buckeye lean, but this recruitment isn't a slam dunk.

5. Brendan Ferns, ATH, St. Clairsville

This one should be an interesting recruitment to watch. As we all know, Michael Ferns is the big brother of Brendan and is currently enrolled at Michigan. The Wolverines haven't had much contact with the younger Ferns lately, though. The thing to watch here is that Brendan did, in fact, grow up as a fan of the Buckeyes. This one should come down to OSU and Oklahoma.

4. Liam Eichenberg, OT, St. Ignatius

The battle for Eichenberg may be a tough one. The St. Ignatius product has already named Michigan and Notre Dame as a leader previously. So, the Buckeyes will have to fight hard to land the big-time offensive lineman with the Fighting Irish and the Wolverines already putting themselves in great position, clearly.

3. George Hill, RB, Hubbard

Hill became the first commit of the 2016 recruiting class on June 14. Hill gave the pledge the same day he took an unofficial visit to the campus. He visited Ohio State multiple times previously as well. He and 2015 RB Larry 'LJ' Scott form a dynamic duo at Hubbard High and could ultimately bring that tag team to the next level.

2. Prince Sammons, DE, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy

A few weeks ago, Sammons worked out at Ohio State football camps where he spent plenty of time with defensive line coach Larry Johnson. The CHCA product performed well enough to pick up an offer from the Buckeyes and quickly named Ohio State his leader. Michigan and Kentucky are right there, too.

1. Tommy Kraemer, OT, Elder

Ohio State recently was listed in the top five for the No. 1 overall player in the state. The other four programs included were Boston College, Duke, Northwestern and Notre Dame. As of today, it seems to be an Ohio State-Notre Dame battle and a very close one at that.

Matt Brown contributed to this report.