With Ohio State’s 2017 football season wrapped up following a dominating 24-7 win against USC, Columbus is likely already starving for more football. Luckily, multiple future Buckeyes are participating in this year’s US Army All-American Bowl.
The first practices for the event took place Monday, and due to inclement weather, the schedule was slightly different this year. Both teams in the event practiced indoors at different times, but the schedule change didn’t prevent members of Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class from standing out.
Ohio State safety commit Tyreke Johnson (Jacksonville, FL/Trinity Christian Academy) might have had the best practice among all participants Monday. The four-star lined up as both a safety and a cornerback and excelled at both.
Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports attended the event and labeled the future Buckeye as his day 1 alpha dog performer.
The #Clemson commits were terrific during the first practice for the East team at the @ArmyAllAmerican Bowl but it was #Buckeyes commit Tyreke Johnson that earned Alpha Dog Honors. News and notes on the top performers here: https://t.co/D4tBKyzXRK— Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) January 1, 2018
“From 1-on-1s to the team competition portion, future Buckeye defensive back Tyreke Johnson impressed with his coverage ability and physicality,” Wiltfong said about the four-star prospect. “Johnson took reps at cornerback and safety, covered receivers and tight ends and showed a complete skill set in the secondary.”
Johnson is of prototypical size to excel at the next level. The 247Sports Composite Rankings have him listed as the No. 5 S in the class and the No. 42 overall prospect regardless of position, but he will likely play at CB for Ohio State.
Another Ohio State commit to shine at the first day of practice was inside-linebacker commit Teradja Mitchell (Virginia Beach, VA/Bishop Sullivan Catholic.) The four-star future Buckeye looked the part of an Ohio State ILB and appears dedicated in ensuring that future.
Mike Farrell of Rivals.com listed the four-star linebacker as one of the players to stand out to him throughout the first day of practice.
“Mitchell looks like he’s slimmed down a bit,” Farrell said, “and fits the mold of that inside linebacker who will fill the gap and can take on bigger blockers, as well."
Mitchell is regarded as one of the best prospects in the country and the Buckeyes have to like what they are getting with him. The 247Sports Composite Rankings have him listed as the No. 2 ILB in the class and the No. 40 overall player regardless of position.
Both Mitchell and Johnson could likely see a fifth star added next to their names when the college football recruiting databases release their final rankings.
Another future Buckeye to separate himself from the impressive field Monday was tight end commit Jeremy Ruckert (Lindenhurst, NY/Lindenhurst.)
The four-star TE found himself on the receiving end of numerous throws from some of the best incoming QBs in the country, including multiple from both Jarren Williams, committed to Miami, and Trevor Lawrence, committed to Clemson.
Adam Friedman of Rivals.com listed Ruckert as one of his top performers of the event. On top of this recognition, Keith Niebuhr of 247Sports hinted that the Buckeyes may be getting the top TE in the class.
#OhioState might have the best incoming TE in the country — Jeremy Ruckert. #ArmyBowl pic.twitter.com/YJK3LJOxbq— Keith Niebuhr (@Keith247Sports) January 1, 2018
Ruckert showed off his impressive athleticism and his sure-fire hands on Monday, which led to multiple big receiving gains. On one of those plays, the aforementioned Johnson was in coverage on Ruckert and landed a big hit on his future teammate following one of those big receptions.
#ARMYBOWL Future roommates at #OhioState? #Buckeyes signees Jeremy Ruckert and Tyreke Johnson in a practice collision on day one in San Antonio. @MarcGivlerBG LIVE PAGE: https://t.co/6XIXCzJ5K0 pic.twitter.com/jABunNl326— Rivals.com (@Rivals) January 1, 2018
Other future Buckeyes who made big plays in Monday’s practices included:
- Four-star defensive tackle commit Tommy Togiai (Pocatello, ID/Highland)
#GoBucks DL signee Tommy Togiai has probably had the best practice of any West DL at #ArmyBowl. Quick first step has been the difference pic.twitter.com/8QP9hrv7uX— Brandon Huffman (@BrandonHuffman) January 1, 2018
- Five-star all-purpose back Jaelen Gill (Westerville, OH/Westerville South)
#OhioState signee @jaelengill21 #ArmyBowl. pic.twitter.com/yigzkSTVE0— Bill Kurelic (@Bill_Kurelic) January 1, 2018
- Five-star DT Taron Vincent (Bradenton, FL/IMG Academy)
#OhioState commit @t_lova23 at #ArmyBowl practice pic.twitter.com/GTQMrKb5cm— Bill Kurelic (@Bill_Kurelic) January 1, 2018
- Four-star offensive tackle Max Wray (Franklin, TN/Franklin)
#OhioState signee @maxwray10 #ArmyBowl. pic.twitter.com/vS1qNwqgJt— Bill Kurelic (@Bill_Kurelic) January 1, 2018