Even though it was the middle of the offseason, July was a very good month for the Ohio State football program. The Buckeyes landed seven verbal commitments during the month:
DE Nick Bosa (Class of 2016; Ft. Lauderdale FL St. Thomas Aquinas; 6' 3" 265 lbs) is one of the best prospects in the country, earning a five-star, top-20 ranking from Rivals, Scout, and 247Sports. Nick is the younger (but not little) brother of current Buckeye All American defensive end Joey Bosa.
DT Jerron Cage (Class of 2017; Cincinnati OH Winton Woods; 6' 2" 275 lbs) is currently the "sleeper" recruit in this class because only two of the three recruiting services lists him as a four-star prospect (Rivals has him at three-stars). Rankings aside, Cage fills a position of need for the Buckeyes.
DB Wayne Davis (Class of 2016; Norfolk VA Lake Taylor; 5' 11" 170 lbs) is a consensus 4* cornerback prospect who was a high school teammate of current Buckeye DE Jalyn Holmes. Davis continues the Buckeyes' recent run of success in the Chesapeake region (3 signees in 2015, 3 verbals in 2016).
TE Luke Farrell (Class of 2016; Perry OH; 6' 6" 240 lbs) is ranked as a four-star, top-7 tight end prospect, and a top-200 overall prospect by all three major recruiting services. Farrell already reminds us of current Buckeye tight end Nick Vannett.
PK Blake Haubeil (Class of 2017; Buffalo NY Canisius; 6' 3" 200 lbs) is not currently ranked by the major recruiting services, but he is generally considered one of the top kicker prospects in the country.
OL Jake Moretti (Class of 2017; Arvada CO Pomona; 6' 5" 265 lbs) is a consensus four-star, top-12 offensive tackles prospect. Moretti was somewhat of a surprise commitment who was offered in late April, visited in mid June, and verballed on July Fourth.
DB Isaiah Pryor (Class of 2017; Lawrenceville GA Archer; 6' 2" 185 lbs) is a consensus four-star, top-100 prospect at defensive back, but he has the potential to grow into a linebacker at the college level (think Darron Lee).
Friday Night Lights
The highlight of the month was Friday Night Lights (July 24th), the annual one-day camp/competition that is the biggest recruiting event of the year. The Buckeyes received verbal commitments from Luke Farrell and Blake Haubeil (see above), and secured their position with Class of 2016 blue chip DT Antwuan Jackson (Ellenwood GA Cedar Grove; 6' 3" 285 lbs) and Class of 2017 superstar ATH Richard LeCounte (Hinesville GA Liberty County; 6' 1" 171 lbs). The Buckeyes have long been the leader for LeCounte (a former high school teammate of Buckeye linebacker Raekwon McMillan), and are tied (with Auburn) at the top of Jackson's list.
Another Peach State star attended Friday Night Lights and promptly earned himself a Buckeye offer. Trey Sermon (Class of 2017; Marietta GA Sprayberry; 6' 1" 206 lbs) is one of the top running backs in country and he solidified his reputation with his strong showing at FNL. Although the Buckeyes do not really need another running back (they already have three committed for 2016 and one more for 2017), Sermon is the type of blue chip prospect that you always have to find room for.
The staff also found a diamond in the rough at Friday Night Lights. Offensive lineman Gavin Cupp (Leipsic OH; 6' 6" 275 lbs) is a three-star prospect who entered FNL as a Michigan State verbal and left with an Ohio State offer. Cupp, whose FNL appearance caused Sparty to revoke his offer in a fit of pique, is expected to become the 20th member of the Buckeyes' Class of 2016 in the very near future. Two more players who received offers after their respective FNL performances were DL Donovan Jeter (Class of 2017; Beaver Falls PA; 6' 4" 260 lbs) and DB Jaylen Kelly-Powell (Detroit MI Cass Tech; 6' 0" 183 lbs).
A pair of highly-ranked defensive back prospects for the Class of 2017 entered Friday Night Lights with Ohio State among their leaders, but gained differing impressions of the Buckeye football program during their time in Columbus. Paris Ford (Pittsburgh PA Seton-LaSalle; 6' 1", 180 lbs) left FNL complaining that the Buckeyes already had too many blue chip recruits in the secondary, and shortly thereafter released a top-5 list that did not contain Ohio State. On the other hand, Lamont Wade (Clairton PA; 5' 10" 185 lbs) said that he didn't have any problems with the number and quality of Ohio State's defensive back recruits. Wade knows that he will always have to work hard to earn his spot, regardless of who is competing against him.
Upcoming Official Visits
Linebacker Aaron Hansford (Class of 2016; Washington DC St. John's; 6' 2" 200 lbs) has scheduled an official visit to Ohio State for the Buckeyes' September 12th game against Hawaii. Hansford is a teammate of current Buckeye defensive end commitment Terrell Hall (Class of 2016; Washington DC St. John's; 6' 5" 250 lbs). Another official visitor for the Hawaii game will be defensive back Brandon Burton (Class of 2016; Gardena CA Junipero Serra; 6' 2" 195 lbs), while wide receiver Javon McKinley (Class of 2016; Corona CA Centennial; 6' 2" 185 lbs) will make his official visit for the Western Michigan game on September 26th.
Ohio State Making the Cut
In July, Ohio State also made the initial cut for four of the top prospects in the country. DB Nigel Warrior (Class of 2016; Atlanta GA Westlake; 6' 0" 177 lbs) has the Buckeyes in his top 10 and plans to make an official visit to Columbus. However, Nigel is the son of former Tennessee great Dale Carter, and the Vols are the presumptive leaders. DB Darnay Holmes (Class of 2017; Calabassas CA; 5' 10" 185 lbs) also has Ohio State in his top 10, but we really have no clue where the Buckeyes currently stand with this consensus 5* recruit. There are still eighteen months until his Signing Day, which gives Urban Meyer and company plenty of time to pitch the merits of Ohio State. WR Keyshawn Johnson, Jr. (Class of 2017; Calabassas CA; 6' 2" 195 lbs) has Ohio State in his top 8, and we have a much better idea of where the Buckeyes fit into this picture. Keyshawn's father was a star at Southern Cal, so of course the Trojans are going to be high on Junior's list. But Ohio State has also made a huge impression with both father and son, and the Buckeyes should be considered a real threat to steal this Trojan legacy. Class of 2016 offensive tackle Jean Delance (Mesquite TX North Mesquite; 6' 5" 270 lbs) put Ohio State on his top-5 list, which means that an official visit is likely this fall. However, home state schools Texas and Texas A+M will be tough to beat.
Even though July was a good month for the Buckeyes, there is always some negative news in the world of recruiting. A trio of four-star defensive back prospects committed elsewhere: Jaylon Jones (Class of 2016; Allen TX; 5' 11" 175 lbs) selected Ole Miss over Ohio State; Jared Mayden (Class of 2016; Sachse TX; 6' 0" 190 lbs) pledged for Oregon; and Marlon Character (Class of 2016; Atlanta GA Grady; 6' 0" 170 lbs) verballed to South Carolina.
Class of 2017 wide receiver Jaquon Green was supposed to attend FNL in Columbus, but instead he went to FNL in Gainesville and promptly committed to the Florida Gators. Class of 2016 quarterback Jawon Pass (Columbus GA Carver; 6' 5" 200 lbs) had an early offer from Ohio State but was no longer being pursued after the Buckeyes received an April commitment from Tristen Wallace (DeSoto TX; 6' 3" 210 lbs). Pass issued a verbal commitment to Louisville.
In the glass-half-empty department, blue chip wide receiver Sam Bruce (Class of 2016; Ft. Lauderdale FL St. Thomas Aquinas; 5' 8" 165 lbs) issued a verbal commitment to Miami, but almost immediately thereafter announced his plan to make an official visit to Ohio State. If the visit does eventually take place, Ohio State has enough to offer on offense, and enough history with the STA program (the Bosa brothers, Damon Arnette, Duron Carter, Nate Salley), to make a favorable impression with Bruce.
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Month in Review - July 2015