Yesterday, we released part one of our Ohio State 2016 recruiting discussion. Today, join Charles Doss, Dan Hessler, Caleb Houser, and myself once again for part two of that conversation.
With 19 members currently on board, what would you consider the strengths and weaknesses of the class thus far?
Charles Doss: I personally don't see a flaw in this class. Needing to add depth at the tight end position, I love seeing what the Buckeyes did by closing the fence around Ohio and keeping Cincinnati Moeller Standout Jake Hausmann and Luke Farrell of Perry home. The defensive line haul is also quite impressive, and has the chance to get even better in the coming months.
Bret Favachio: Like I mentioned yesterday and Charles mentioned above, Ohio State has done a tremendous job at stockpiling talent along the defensive line in this class and another defensive tackle is in the plan. The other spot that the Buckeyes needed to hit big on was Tight End and they did just that as they kept two very talented in-state prospects in Farrell and Hausmann home. I'm not sure "weakness" is the best word to use because they have the top class in the country at the moment. But surely adding more help along the secondary should be a priority as Signing Day nears.
Dan Hessler: The strength of this class has to be the defensive line, no question. Five-star DE Nick Bosa alone would make this group the strength of the class. Combine that with rising four-star DE Jonathon Cooper and fellow four-stars Terrell Hall and Malik Barrow, and this group could be special for Ohio State. The running backs in this class are also quite impressive with four-stars Kareem Walker and DeMario McCall but again the recent Bosa addition and the possibility of landing another D-lineman in Antwuan Jackson sets this group apart from all others.
Caleb Houser: With 19 commits in 2016, there really are strengths all over the board. One strength of note is the running back load Ohio State owns. Kareem Walker, Demario McCall, and George Hill are all part of the class. Although they will be on the field in different ways, currently, they are each listed as running backs. Another strength of this class is the defensive line. Nick Bosa and Jonathon Cooper are already five-star prospects with Terrell Hall and Malik Barrow as four-star prospects across the line. There are plenty of strengths in this class with little reason to believe there are any, if one, weakness. One area some may think is a weakness is the linebacker position due to having just one commit. However, with the incredible haul last year with the likes of Justin Hilliard, Jerome Baker, and Nick Connor, the Buckeyes did not need to recruit the position heavily. With that said, 2016 commit, Tuf Borland is a great prospect and fits well with this list of commits.
As things stand today, Ohio State has the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. With space being limited, will the Buckeyes be able to maintain that spot and end Alabama's streak of five consecutive top ranked classes?
Doss: Recruiting rankings don't mean much to me personally. Urban Meyer, and the Ohio State coaching staff know exactly what kind of prospect they want on their squad. With that being said, I can definitely see the Buckeyes finishing with the top class in the country. Still in the running for many highly rated recruits and the chance that current pledges move up in the rankings, unless some kind of unlikely meltdown happens the Buckeyes should finish the class off rather strong and keep grasp of the #1 spot.
Favachio: Admittedly, I'm not exactly ready to say the Buckeyes would be the team to end the streak. They are definitely a team in the mix to have the top ranked class when it's over but so will others. If Ohio State can end by adding Jackson at DT, one of Binjimen Victor, Ahmir Mitchell, or Donnie Corley at WR and Andrew Pryts or Damar Hamlin at DB, maybe they could end the streak. But that's easier said than done. In regards to this question, I highly recommend taking a look at Bud Elliott's piece, in which he broke down this very topic.
Hessler: The Urban Meyer vs Nick Saban debate will never end, but Alabama’s streak of top recruiting classes will - and Meyer will be the one to do it. Currently as it stands, both teams have 19 verbal commits in the 2016 class, and Ohio State is already three spots higher than Alabama, according to 247sports. Also, the majority of Saban’s biggest targets are also considering Ohio State, see Rashan Gary, Gregory Little, Rashard Lawrence and Nate Craig-Meyers. Bama may have better chances at landing Little and Lawrence, but I’d say it is a toss-up between Gary and Craig-Meyers - who will both probably choose to play for neither of these two schools. Saban and the Crimson Tide would have to land multiple of these five-star recruits to overcome the Buckeyes, and that’s ignoring the possibility of Buckeye commit Jonathan Cooper earning a fifth star by NSD and the possible commit of Antwuan Jackson. I just don’t see it happening.
Houser: I firmly believe that Ohio State will end the 2016 recruiting class with the number one class and end Alabama's five year reign of the top class. With prospects like Antwuan Jackson and Damar Hamlin still out there and looking at the Buckeyes heavily, there is no reason for me to believe that they would lose the top class ranking. Not to mention, there is still strong interest from many of the nations top recruits besides Jackson and Hamlin that are seriously considering the Buckeyes. Again, look for Ohio State to stay atop of the recruiting rankings at the end of the year.
One thing that Urban Meyer seemingly does every year is flip at least one committed prospect from another program and brings him to the Buckeyes. At the moment, that has yet to happen in this class. When it's all said and done, will it happen in this class? If so, who could be the possibilities?
Doss: Tough question. Can't really close the door on that idea just yet, but at the moment I don't see the Buckeyes flipping anyone this year unless it happens late in the process. With recruits just starting to set up official visits for college games this fall, the Buckeyes always have a chance to impress a committed recruit during a trip to Columbus in the coming months.
Favachio: Right now, I'm not sure I see this being the case this year and I will probably regret saying that as February gets closer. In order for this to be a scenario in which a flip could occur in the Buckeyes favor, they would probably have to miss out on some of their higher targets. Maybe in-state guys like A.J. Rose (UK commit) or Jacob Long (Purdue commit) become options if other defensive back targets head elsewhere. But after taking a look at prospects currently committed to other programs, it's tough to find many that have indicated that they would even consider flipping to Ohio State.
Hessler: Does former Michigan State commit Gavin Cupp qualify for this? If so, it’s him, but I’m going to try and not choose the obvious selection. Current Purdue Boilermaker commit Jacob Long could end up dawning the Scarlet and Gray when it’s all said and done. The Columbus, Ohio, native committed to Purdue in June, but that hasn’t kept him from attending camps at Ohio State. Long attended an Ohio State camp back in June, just 10 days after committing, and July’s notorious Friday Night Lights camp. It isn’t likely that Long will flip, but if Meyer’s streak continues, this will be the guy to keep it going.
Houser: When all is said and done, I could see Urban Meyer flipping yet another prospect in the 2016 class as he has done many times before for Ohio State. It's not set in stone that Meyer will, due to the strength of the class already, but when Urban wants a prospect, he rarely loses. One prospect I could see flipping to Ohio State is Jaylon Jones of Texas, who recently committed to Ole Miss.
Doss: It would be surprising to see someone decommit from OSU at this point. The class as a whole seems pretty close. Rumors have gone around about Hubbard running back George Hill being on the fence, and considering Michigan State, where his friend and former high school teammate Larry Scott plays. Keeping his recruitment on the down low, and staying away from the media, it's hard to judge how exactly accurate those rumors were. With other pledges such as Kareem Walker taking visits around to other schools, there is always a chance of someone ends up elsewhere, but I don't see that happening at the moment.
Favachio: The ones getting any buzz at all about possibly flipping would be Kareem Walker, Terrell Hall, and George Hill. Walker and Hall have taken a few visits and Hill plays things close to the vest and hadn't been on the Buckeyes campus for quite some time until FNL. When it's time to sign on the dotted line, I expect all three of these guys being Buckeyes. Recruiting is very fluid, however and things could change with the blink of an eye.
Hessler: This is tough, as I don’t see any recruit leaving Meyer’s side after they’ve decided he’s the guy to get their game to the next level. However, if there is one to go it would ironically be George Hill out of Hubbard, Ohio. Hill was Meyer’s first commit of the 2016 class, but he hasn’t spoken much since committing to the Buckeyes in June of last year. Hill also hadn’t been on Ohio State’s campus much recently, until Friday Night Lights. I don’t see Hill leaving OSU, but if he were to choose to go, I would guess he would flip to Michigan State, the other school he was heavily considering, Plus his former teammate, Larry Scott, joined the Spartans last year.
Houser: If there was one current Ohio State commit who signs with another school on 2016's signing day, the most likely to do so may be George Hill of Hubbard, Ohio. I say this due to the fact that Hill does not talk much about his recruitment and many wonder if the running back class is "too full" to keep him. However, when all is said and done, I don't believe any current Ohio State commit signs anywhere but Ohio State. Personally, look for Hill to stay quiet wuth his recruiting process, but don't worry. He was the first commit in the 2016 class and I believe he truly wants to be a Buckeye.