Last Wednesday, the 2016 recruiting classes became solidified. While college football coaches around the country have to start looking towards the future to maintain a solid 2017 class, we have plenty of time to dissect the most recent group of incoming freshmen.
Comparing classes has already been done numerous times, and no matter the source, you will find that Ohio State's class is consistently among the best out there. Rivals.com decided to compare these classes in a different way than most other recruiting databases. They did so by comparing the top classes by offensive position. Again, the new Buckeyes were heavily featured.
Ohio State was recognized as recruiting the top class for RBs. Urban Meyer and the Buckeye recruiting staff were able to bring in two top-tier talents at the position in DeMario McCall and Antonio Williams. The two come in bringing the perfect blend of speed and power and both could fight for limited playing time this year, with the position needing to be filled after losing Ezekiel Elliot to the NFL Draft. McCall is more of a speed back and could end up staring as an H-back under Meyer. He has a quick burst off the snap and has breakaway speed if he can get into the backfield. Williams brings more of a power element to the offense and his game will remind Buckeye Nation of former RB Carlos Hyde. While Williams may not have faced the stiffest of competition in high school, one look at his highlight reel will have you convinced. Behind the Buckeyes were Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida and Michigan.
Running back was not the only position Rivals praised in their class comparisons, as they also have Ohio State listed at No. 1 at the TE position. Bringing in three four-star recruits was enough to place the Buckeyes over schools such as Michigan, Georgia, Stanford, and Ole Miss. Rivals commented that the grouping of Jake Hausmann, Luke Farrell, and Kierre Hawkins could wind up being one of the best TE classes in years. Hausmann has the size and athleticism to become an elite pass-catching and solid blocking TE. Hawkins is the wild card of the group and he could end up playing more of an H-back role.
The Buckeyes were also mentioned in the top OL hauls in this recruiting class with four four-star recruits and one three-star. Signing JUCO OT Malcolm Pridgeon on signing day gave this group a last-minute lift and Rivals has them listed at No. 4 behind Ole Miss, Alabama, and Florida State.
4-star DE still interested in OSU
Switching gears to the Buckeyes' 2017 class, four-star DE Luiji Vilain spoke with Bill Kurelic of 247Sports Monday and the Buckeyes are still very much contending for his services. Vilain has visited Meyer and the Buckeyes a couple times already, one of those being the annual Friday Night Lights camp.
Vilain mentioned that as of now, there is no leading school in his list of "15 or 16 offers," but that he does plan on visiting Columbus again this year for the next Friday Night Lights. The 6'3, 250-pounder is currently seen as one of the top ten at his position, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, and is the fourth-best player out of the state of Virginia. The current favorite to land Vilain right now is Rutgers, headed by former Buckeye assistant coach Chris Ash.
It will be interesting to watch Meyer and Ash go head-to-head in Vilain's recruitment as Ash easily has the upper-hand as of now. Ohio State offered Vilain just last month, so if Meyer and the rest of the Buckeye coaching staff decide to increase their efforts in recruiting him, anything could happen.
5-star WR target could be 'Next Great Athlete'
It is no secret that five-star WR Donovan People-Jones is one of the best at his position. No matter the source, Peoples-Jones is going to be one of the top WRs of the '17 class. Bleacher Report has dubbed Peoples-Jones "College football's next great athlete."
The Buckeye coaching staff has been actively recruiting Peoples-Jones for a while now, which shows to his talent level as he still has a year of high school football left. Last month, Peoples-Jones listed the Buckeyes in his list of top ten schools and he attended Ohio State's junior day January 31.
Top 10! #Blessed pic.twitter.com/yxlVlH8c6q— DPJ™ (@dpeoplesjones) January 9, 2016
The Buckeyes are one of the contenders for Peoples-Jones, but they will be competing with Michigan and Michigan State.