Moments ago, Ohio State did something that is becoming a habit for this years recruiting cycle — they landed a verbal commitment from a blue-chip prospect. This time it was ‘18 OLB Dallas Gant of St. John’s Jesuit (OH), the 126th highest graded player in the class, who decided he will be making the short trek down to Columbus from Toledo to ultimately become a Buckeye at the next level.
Gant, the fifth best outside linebacker in the class, is a long-time target for the program and the Scarlet and Gray wound up outlasting schools like Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Penn State for his commitment. Make no mistake, this is a major pull for Head Coach Urban Meyer and Ohio State. That’s why we are going to take an in-depth look at what the newest commitment means for the Buckeyes.
Class reaches double digits
The commitment of Gant, who was primarily recruited by offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and linebacker coach Bill Davis after the departure of Luke Fickell, now means Ohio State has their tenth pledge in the fold. The Buckeyes join Baylor, BYU, Duke, LSU, Miami (FL), Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, and Penn State as the only programs to reach double digit commitments to this point.
Gant will look to shut down opposing offensives in Columbus with prospects like cornerback Sevyn Banks, defensive end Brenton Cox, safety Josh Proctor, defensive tackle Taron Vincent, and safety Jaiden Woodbey on his side. He will also spend his fair share of time attempting to slow up guys like running back Jaelen Gill, quarterback Emory Jones, running back Brian Snead, and offensive tackle Max Wray in practice.
Closing in on the ‘Canes
The inclusion of Gant moves Ohio State past Big Ten foe Penn State and SEC powerhouse LSU in the 247Sports Composite Team Rankings. The Buckeyes, who came into the day at the four spot, now sit at No. 2 overall in the rankings only behind Miami (FL), who has put together an exceptional class that already features 17 prospects.
With that being said, while it may take some time to reach the top spot, Ohio State’s current class of ten holds a higher average star ranking than the Hurricanes, and any other program in the country. Yes, even Alabama.
Finally, another Ohioan
Remember back on National Signing Day in February when Meyer and Mark Pantoni preached that they would like to reel in more in-state talent in the future? They had seven Ohioans in that class, including cornerback Marcus Williamson, who played his senior season at IMG Academy (FL) after transferring from Westerville South (OH). With the addition of Gant today, who is the second best player within the state, it gives them just their second Ohio prospect to make their commitment to the Buckeyes in this cycle.
Now, there is no cause for concern here, because there is about nine months until National Signing Day 2018. However, the reason to talk about it is because at this time last year, Ohio State actually had four in-state commits — Jerron Cage, Josh Myers, Brendon White, and the aforementioned Williamson.
This will be something to monitor going forward. As I said, do not put too much stock into at this very moment, but it is an interesting tidbit. The reason not to overreact here is because the Buckeyes are currently the 247Sports Crystal Ball leaders for six in-state players including offensive tackle Jackson Carman, wide receiver Meechi Harris, defensive tackle Aeneas Hawkins, linebacker Christopher Oats, defensive end Tyreke Smith, and running back Tavion Thomas. There is also a host of other Buckeye state prospects that Ohio State is recruiting, and the Bucks could always decide to offer a player later as well.
What’s next at LB?
After bringing in two linebackers in last years class — Baron Browning and Pete Werner — it seems that Ohio State is set on adding a few more in the current cycle. I look for three to be the magic number here and with their first linebacker joining the fold in Gant, let’s talk about some other options that could potentially pair up with him.
Obviously, the biggest name to watch is Teradja Mitchell of Bishop Sullivan Catholic (VA). The Buckeyes are very much in play here for the commitment of Mitchell, a five-star standout, who should be making his pledge sooner rather than later. The other program in a good spot for the 6-foot-2, 243-pounder is Florida State and Mitchell is fresh off of a visit to Tallahassee. We will see if Ohio State did enough prior to that visit to fight off the Seminoles pursuit.
Other names to watch include Winton Woods (OH) defensive star Christopher Oats. Oats, like Gant, is a four-star prospect in the class. Another in-state name to watch is Xavier Peters of Lakota West (OH). Peters, who does not have an offer from the Buckeyes at this time, could be a name that could garner some momentum in the near future depending on how things shake with a guy like Mitchell.
Not to be forgotten, Ohio State is also pursuing guys like Michael Harris of Tucker (GA), K’Vaughan Pope of Dinwiddle County (VA), and Solomon Tuliaupupu of Mater Dei (CA). Surely the Buckeyes are going to remain in the ear of Palaie Gaoteote as well— who has been committed to USC since February.