When projecting who would finish the 2015 recruiting class for the Buckeyes, the name A.J. Alexander might not have come to mind, but just like the staff always seems to do, they found a way to lock down another high upside, somewhat under the radar commitment.
Ever since Urban Meyer and his assistants came to Columbus, one of their main objectives while out on the recruiting trail is tracking down talent that can help the Buckeyes on the field in a matter of different ways. Alexander definitely fits that mold.
A standout wide receiver at the high school level, the 6'4, 220-pound playmaker will make the switch to H-Back when he joins the Buckeyes next season, similar to what current OSU freshman Noah Brown did this year. Recruited as a defensive back by some schools, if things don't work out on offense, he has the toughness and cover skills to play either safety or even linebacker, and should be able to help out on special teams once he reaches college.
Land-Grant Holy Land football analyst Christopher Jason had the following to say on the newest Buckeye commit:
A.J. Alexander passes the eye-test, standing at 6'4 and 220 pounds. Even though he plays wide receiver right now in high school, he projects as a H-Back in Urban Meyer's offense or I could even see him being moved to tight end ultimately.
Alexander does not possess elite speed or quickness off the line, but he is a solid route runner for someone of his stature and finds a way to get open. He has deceptive speed and quickness and he is able to run just about every route effectively. Alexander is excellent at using his size to box out defenders in jump ball situations and he is also great at high pointing the football. He is a red-zone monster who dominates single coverage on the goal line and short yardage. He was also used on jet sweeps, where he is a one-cut-and-go runner and highly effective.
If I were to compare Alexander to a current Buckeye I would compare him to a bigger but slightly slower Noah Brown. When Brown gets on the field by the end of the season, it should be a good preview of how Alexander will be used in Meyer's offense. Overall, Alexander brings size and different skills to a position where the Buckeyes lack right now at H-back.
With Meyer, and crew adding so much young talent on the offensive side of the ball over the last couple of years, Alexander will probably have to wait for his time to shine in the Scarlet and Gray. Redshirting could be the best option for him, as the jump from high school to college ball -- and learning a new position -- is pretty tough for any freshman football player.
Alexander, who hails from Virginia, officially starts the Buckeyes take over of the state. Ohio State is still after defensive end Josh Sweat, the top overall prospect in the 2015 class, and four-star offensive tackle Matthew Burrell, who both visited last weekend. They are also keeping a close eye on quite a few talented underclassmen from the state.
When rumors started circulating that Alexander would commit to OSU, some Buckeye fans were concerned about how that could change things in the recruitment of four-star Maryland wide receiver Lawrence Cager. With Alexander switching positions, the Buckeyes are still looking to bring in a big and physical athlete to split out wide, so Alexander's commitment shouldn't play a huge role in Cager's college decision.
Year in and year out, the Buckeyes always seem to have a top tier recruiting class, and 2015 will be no different. After adding Alexander's pledge, Ohio State is sitting at 16 verbal commitments, and should move up to the 14th class in the 247Sports Composite team rankings.