Ever since Urban Meyer and crew came to Columbus, the coaching staff has made sure to keep a close eye on top talent from the Queen City. This recruiting cycle was no different.
Plucking multiple prospects from the Cincinnati area in 2017, one of the biggest recruiting wins was landing a verbal pledge from four-star defensive back Amir Riep. Nearly seven months after choosing Ohio State over reported scholarship offers from programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Tennessee, the Colerain senior standout has signed his national letter of intent with the Buckeyes.
While he received over 45 scholarship offers throughout the process, Riep was always thought to be a Buckeye lean, and never blinked twice after making his decision to attend Ohio State last July.
A 5’11, 185-pound cornerback who is talented enough to make the step back to safety if needed, Riep is considered the 23rd cornerback and 183rd overall prospect in the class of 2017, according to the 247Sports Composite. While Riep was on the field for Cincinnati Colerain, most teams tried to stay clear of throwing in his direction. In limited action last season, he finished his year off with around 20 total tackles and four interceptions for the 11-1 Cardinals.
Even though the OSU defensive backfield has a few holes to fill with Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conley, and Malik Hooker chasing their NFL dreams, Riep could still be one of the many incoming freshmen to redshirt during their first season with the program. After missing time as a senior with a nagging hamstring injury, taking a year off to get 100% healthy, get stronger, and learn the Buckeyes’ playbook might not be the worst thing to happen to him. Just ask the aforementioned Lattimore, Conley, and Hooker. It seemed to work out for the best for them, and many other former and current Silver Bullets.
For Riep, coming to Ohio State is a dream come true:
Riep is the latest long and athletic cornerback to make his way to Columbus. The fourth-ranked overall prospect in Ohio, Riep dominated at Colerain in all three phases of the game. He’ll stick to the defensive side of the ball for the Buckeyes, where he’ll be asked to play a bunch of man coverage and cover-four at outside cornerback.
Luckily for Riep, he’s already well-accustomed to Ohio State’s style of defense. He consistently lined up in man coverage in high school and never had safety help over the top. Riep showed the ability to shut down receivers in man coverage, largely thanks to his great recovery speed and ball skills. He consistently showed the ability to not only get his head around in coverage, but also to make a play on the ball. Riep has shown a tendency to keep his eyes in the backfield and this could come back to bite him at the next level once he faces better quarterbacks who will take advantage of his risk-taking nature. Still, this trait also allows him to make great breaks on the ball at times and his athletic ability makes for some fun highlights after he gets the ball in his hands.
Riep is one of six cornerbacks that Ohio State signed this year and he’s a candidate to redshirt. He’ll need to work on his press coverage, but he figures to find his way onto the field sooner rather than later thanks to his tackling ability and effort. With the ball skills of a wide receiver and the mindset of a safety, Riep is a great get for the Buckeyes and another long cornerback who can match up with the best outside receivers in the country. — Ian Hartitz