Without going too inside baseball on the recruiting industry, it’s safe to say that this commitment was a long time coming. Cade Stover has been on commitment watch for Ohio State for what feels like the better part of the last two years, or at least since he took an unofficial visit to Columbus back in October of 2016.
At that point, the Lexington High School (Mansfield, OH) product didn’t yet hold an Ohio State offer, but it was generally assumed that when that offer came, he’d be a Buckeye. That offer did come, during a visit in March 2017, but Stover held off, much to the surprise of many, myself included. His wait continued through five more visits and camps in the last year, though his interest in Ohio State never wavered.
Stover did his due diligence, visiting Penn State twice and taking an official visit to Oklahoma two weeks ago, but those visits only further cemented Ohio State as the leader in his mind. A trip to Columbus last weekend for his official visit sealed the deal, and after taking a week to think it over, just minutes ago, Stover finally made the announcement that could’ve come anytime in the last year. Let’s look at what this commitment means for Ohio State.
On the field
Cade Stover is the definition of a Greg Schiano linebacker. He’s a long, 6-foot-4, 225 pounder, with a ton of speed (4.65 40 time) and a serious disdain for the ball carrier. He’s a violent hitter that finds his way into the backfield with ease. He’s a natural pass rusher, and an absolute handful for offensive linemen
He excels at shredding blocks, and knows how to use his hands effectively to get clear shots at the running back, quarterback, or anyone else unfortunate enough to have the ball near him. He plays safety, linebacker, defensive end and quarterback for his high school team, and is capable of playing in coverage, though I expect he’ll likely end up at outside linebacker or defensive end for Ohio State.
He needs to add weight to play either of those positions at the next level, but he has the frame and athleticism to play a very similar style to Darron Lee if he ends up at linebacker, or Sam Hubbard if they want him on the line. He’s not the most technically sound pass-rusher at this point, but if Ohio State wants him on the edge, Larry Johnson will get him right very quickly.
Wherever Stover plays, Ohio State is getting a high-motor player that loves to hit, and never gives up on the play. That’s exactly what they want.
In the class
Stover is the eighth member of Ohio State’s class, and the first linebacker, or the second defensive end, depending on where the Buckeyes want him. My prediction right now is on the line, meaning that he could line up alongside Noah Potter at some point in the future. He compliments Potter very well, as I see Potter more as a run-stuffer than a pass-rusher.
Stover is the second commitment of the weekend, joining safety Bryson Shaw, who committed last night. He likely won’t be the last commit of the weekend either, as Texas receiver Garrett Wilson is set to announce his pledge tonight, and I’m very confident that he’ll be a Buckeye.
Stover’s commitment jumps Ohio State up to tenth nationally, and they currently have the second best class with eight or fewer commits, behind just Georgia. They have a number of top targets left, so it should be another great recruiting cycle for the Buckeyes.