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BPRT's Recap of the Class of 2018 (Early Signing Edition)

Discussion in 'Football Recruiting' started by BP Recruiting Team, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. BP Recruiting Team

    BP Recruiting Team Moderator Staff Member BP Recruiting Team

    General Thoughts

    "A great class, to be sure, despite the underwhelming stretch run. Urban Meyer's legendary closing skills were certainly not on display this year." Those were my exact words to describe last year's class, and the same holds true this year. The Buckeyes lost 5-star prospects DE Brenton Cox, OT Jackson Carman, QB Emory Jones, and DB Jaiden Woodbey on or just before the early Signing Day. Some of this was due to kids who were more concerned with the journey than the destination, some of it was Urban Meyer's desire to avoid kids he doesn't want to coach. Missing out on so much talent so late in the process definitely looks bad, but in the long run Ohio State might be better off without the look-at-me!!! ZOMG shock-the-world!!! recruits whose acts probably won't change too much once they actually get on campus. Check out Miami's class of 2004 for the classic example of how five-star recruits can morph into five-alarm fires.

    While most fans are upset over the "loss" of several long-term committed prospects and losing out on Jackson Carman, this is still a GREAT class and it's not finished yet. While there's still some needs that need filled, I have no doubt the staff will address those and close with a monster class.

    Earliest Impact
    Marcus Baugh is a senior. A.J. Alexander's career is over due to injury. Kierre Hawkins is transferring. The other three scholarship tight ends on Ohio State's roster have a combined 8 receptions for 119 yards, and one of those three might be moving over to the defensive line. Enter Jeremy Ruckert, the #1 tight end prospect in the country. If ever there was a golden opportunity for impactful early playing time, then Ruckert would certainly seem to have it.

    Tough question to answer, given the fact we don't know who is declaring early for the NFL draft.... as stated above, Ruckert likely has the best shot, but to provide another answer, I'll go with Antwuan Jackson. Someone who should've been a Buckeye to begin with, Jackson has finally made his way to Columbus and I expect him to be in the rotation early.

    Most Star Potential
    Even though he was a five-star recruit, all-purpose back Jaelen Gill has been somewhat overlooked in this class as the fan base became obsessed with the Twitter All Stars and ignored the quiet local kid. The Buckeyes have two traditional running backs in this class (Brian Snead and Master Teague), but Gill looks like he has the ability to be the next Curtis Samuel from the H-back position.

    Given the matchup nightmare he creates, I'm going with Jeremy Ruckert here. Arguably the best TE prospect the Buckeyes have ever signed, I think Jeremy shows early that he's going to have a great Buckeye career.

    Surest Thing

    Marcus Hooker may not end up being a first round draft pick like his older brother Malik, but he will definitely prove the experts wrong by out-performing his lowly three-star rating (#57 CB, #619 overall). And that's a sure thing.

    Teradja Mitchell - somewhat of a forgotten man in the 2018 class, Mitchell is exactly what the Buckeyes want at the inside backer position. He likely isn't a 3-down backer, but will shut down the run & has underrated cover skills.

    Most Upside
    Sevyn Banks was the #26 cornerback and #236 overall prospect according to 247 Sports, but he has excellent size (6'1" 180 lbs) for a cornerback and that's why the Buckeye staff homed in on him early in the recruiting process. If Banks can stay healthy, then he should easily out-perform his recruit ranking and become yet another Ohio State defensive back who is selected high in the NFL draft.

    Love the Banks pick... I'll go with Jaelen Gill. The H-Back has always been a prime position within Coach Meyer's offense and Gill has the making of being a super star. He'll be a matchup nightmare, whether he's lined up in the backfield or in the slot.

    Biggest Reach
    Quarterback Matthew Baldwin. He has all the tools and a great high school pedigree, but Baldwin was clearly a Plan B guy after five-star QB Emory Jones wouldn't firm up his commitment to Ohio State. Baldwin has what it takes to play at the FBS level, but will he be able to distinguish himself at a place like Ohio State? And will a passing quarterback like Baldwin ever truly fit Urban Meyer's read-option offense?

    Easiest answer for me is Alex Williams. I see the upside... but where does he project? OT? DE? Both of those positions needed filled & Alex was someone they snuck in before the early signing period. All that being said, he's an Ohio kid & they've been known to have special powers.

    Master Teague was much more of a sleeper when he committed to Ohio State back in June (3-star, #505 overall), but even after his rapid rise up the recruiting rankings he's still just the #11 running back and #220 overall prospect in the country. Teague should be the heir apparent to J.K. Dobbins and he has the talent to put up huge numbers in Ohio State's offense.

    Sevyn Banks is my sleeper of the class. Coming off an injury his Junior year, Sevyn made an appearance at The Opening Orlando Regional & put on a show. 4.5 40, 4.32 20yd shuttle, 41.5' powerball toss & a 41.7" vertical. Provided he can stay healthy, Sevyn may be the next great OSU corner.

    Biggest Surprise
    When Josh Proctor verbally committed to Ohio State on April 15th, he was 100% crystal balled to Oklahoma. And why not? The #2 high school player in the state of Oklahoma usually ends up signing with the Sooners. Ohio State pretty much came out of nowhere, getting an unofficial visit for the Spring Game followed by a quick commitment. Often such decisions are impulsive and the good feelings fade away over the following months. But not in this case - Proctor stayed firm to Ohio State the entire time and there were very few rumors about him even looking at another school. Which was kind of refreshing, given the Jaiden Woodbey and Emory Jones recruiting sagas.

    Tommy Togiai... have the Buckeyes ever landed a recruit from Idaho? Let alone even recruited one? There aren't any that I know of. Not only was his commitment somewhat of a surprise, he's a GREAT talent and fills a huge need at defensive tackle.

    The One Who Got Away

    What we learned from Early Signing Period: An Ohio State offer trumps a Virginia Tech OFFER, but it does not trump a Virginia Tech Letter of Intent. In the past, top schools like Ohio State could slow play a borderline recruit with a conditional offer - "we want you in our class, but you're #3 on our list, so can you please hold off making a decision until #1 and #2 let us know what's up?" That was generally good enough to keep the third-place kid hanging around until the final week before Signing Day, but not now. If a second tier program hands a kid an LOI on December 20th, is he really going to tear it up with hopes that his dream school will eventually deliver the goods on the first Wednesday in February? Not very likely. And that was the case with offensive tackle Walker Culver. Culver was an under-the-radar prospect from a small school in Tennessee who made an early commitment to the University of Colorado. Then Ohio State suddenly discovered Culver and he made an official visit to Columbus on November 18th. That visit led to a Buckeye "offer" and set off a firestorm of late recruiting activity that saw Auburn, Virginia Tech, and others getting into the mix during the final month before Early Signing Period. Ohio State tried to slow play Culver past the Early Signing Period to see where they stood with higher-rated offensive tackle prospects, but Virginia Tech had an all expenses paid four year trip to Blacksburg on the table. Guess which school signed Walker Culver? Guess which school now needs an offensive tackle?

    Emory Jones... to me, he was one of the better QB prospects that the Buckeyes have recruited in recent memory. While he isn't your prototypical Urban Meyer read-option QB, Emory can absolutely sling the rock. I wouldn't be surprised to see Emory have a great career in Gainesville before heading to the NFL. Forget the Carman's & Woodbey's of the world, Emory was the biggest loss in my opinion.

    What This Class Lacks

    Are you kidding me? After years of striking out at the position, Ohio State signed the #1 high school defensive tackle, the #1 JUCO defensive tackle, and #9 high school defensive tackle, all of whom appear to have the size to handle the all-important 1-tech duties. That's the good news. Now for the bad news. After years of signing top-flight defensive end prospects (Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, Chase Young, Jonathan Cooper, Jalyn Holmes), the Buckeyes have struck out at defensive end in 2018 so far....

    As stated above, defensive end is lacking and is a huge need for the 2018 class, but thankfully there's still time between now & February. I expect Tyreke Smith & Jayson Oweh to both commit to the Buckeyes at the Under Armour Game on January 4th.

    Top Targets for February

    The Buckeyes have struck out at defensive end in 2018 so far.... But they are the favorites to sign Tyreke Smith (#4 WDE, #60 overall) and Jason Oweh (#5 SDE, #106 overall), and they remain in contention for combo lineman Tyler Friday (#3 DT, #85 overall). Another name to consider is Daniel Carson (#22 SDE, #519 overall), a sleeper prospect who seems to be holding out hope that better offers will materialize between now and February, and Ohio State is on his short list. The Buckeyes could also use an offensive tackle (understatement), and Nicholas Petit-Frere is the #1 guy on their board. Petit-Frere is the rare five-star recruit who takes care of his business quietly, so it's difficult to say whether he is seriously considering Ohio State at this point. If he makes a (rumored) January official visit to Columbus, then it's game on. If not, then it's scramble around for a late bloomer like Thayer Munford from the class of 2017, or wait until next year.

    Tyreke Smith, Jayson Oweh & Rasheed Walker will be the main targets. New names will obviously pop up between now and February 7th, but there remains an obvious need at DE, OT & possibly corner as well.
    pnuts34, 808 Buck, LitlBuck and 10 others like this.

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