COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer has signed three recruiting classes now at Ohio State, and each of those three classes have been ranked among the top five classes in the nation.
Five for Friday: 2015 Signees Who Would Bring OSU Another Top 5 Class
By Tony Gerdeman
With a class of around 20 projected for the 2015 cycle, Meyer could be looking to sign his smallest class as Ohio State's head coach, and that's even with the scholarship restrictions being lifted this year.
As such, for Meyer and the Buckeyes to sign another top five class, he probably needs to lock up more highly-ranked prospects than he ever has at OSU. In other words, since the quantity will be down, the quality will need to go up.
Still, most expect Ohio State to have another top five class in 2015, they just don't know how the Buckeyes will get there. What I have decided to do is find a path towards that fourth-straight top five destination and present it to you here and now.
The names below all have significant interest in Ohio State. Just do me a favor -- don't come back and look at this in February.
1. QB Torrance Gibson (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Gibson, a five-star prospect, is the nation's top dual-threat quarterback and the #14 player over all in the 247 Composite ranking. While he may not be leaning anywhere at this point, Ohio State would probably be the best guess for where his first leanings may sway. At 6-4 200, he is a taller quarterback, but has unbelievable speed and agility, which also makes him a very effective receiver right now in 7-on-7 tournaments. He is exactly the type of quarterback that would thrive in the Ohio State offense, and "much more importantly", he would represent a significant step in the direction of a Top Five class.
2. RB Damien Harris (Berea, KY)
Harris is the top running back in the nation per the 247 Composite. You may remember him from such decommitments as his decommitment from Michigan back in January. When Harris chose Michigan, it was the Buckeyes who finished second. It's rare for a player to commit to the same school twice, which has many thinking that Ohio State is the school to beat here. Without a true running back in the 2014 class, the Buckeyes are looking for a couple of them in 2015. Harris (5-11 205), who ran a 4.34 hand time at the Best of the Midwest Combine last month, is definitely a true running back.
3. LB Justin Hilliard (Cincinnati, OH)
Hilliard (6-2 230) is the top player in the state of Ohio per most services, and one of the top overall prospects in the Midwest. Being an Ohioan, obviously the Buckeyes are going to try to keep him in state. Notre Dame and Michigan are also in the mix, and Hilliard has offers from Alabama, USC and Clemson, among others. Rivals ranks him the #1 inside linebacker in the nation, while 247Sports has him the #1 outside linebacker. Overall, the 247 Composite has Hilliard as the #2 outside linebacker in the class. Hilliard is not only a priority because of his location, but there is still work to be done on the OSU linebacker depth.
4. ATH Jerome Baker (Cleveland, OH)
If Justin Hilliard isn't the best player in Ohio, then it's Baker. He is a top 50 247 Composite player and the #4 overall athlete in the nation. The reason he is listed as an athlete is because he is both an excellent running back as well as a defender. At 6-1 205 and with a 4.54 40-yard dash under his belt, he could project to either linebacker or safety in college. Given his production on offense, however, the First Team All-State running back could also continue his rushing ways in 2015 and beyond. Ohio State is in a great spot with Baker, and landing yet another top 50 player will help in securing another Top Five recruiting finish.
5. DT Tim Settle (Manassas, VA)
Settle is a five-star defensive tackle and is ranked the #18 player in the nation overall in the 247 Composite. He has offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan, Clemson, Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and many, many others. He visited Ohio State last June, but the Buckeyes obviously need to get him on campus again if they are going to make a serious run at him. Settle is an Under Armour All-American, and it wouldn't be a huge surprise if he decides to wait until that game to announce. Urban Meyer is on a streak of one consecutive classes without a five-star defensive lineman, and Settle could end that streak by himself.
Bonus: WR Christian Kirk (Scottsdale, AZ)
Kirk was at Ohio State last month and thoroughly enjoyed his visit. He is currently ranked the #2 receiver on the 247 Composite. He is very similar in size and style to Buckeye freshman Johnnie Dixon. At OSU, Urban Meyer has yet to sign a five-star receiver who actually played receiver in high school, so maybe Kirk would "break the seal", so to speak.
Bonus: LB Jeffery Holland (Jacksonville, FL)
Holland is a five-star prospect on the 247 Composite, and is the #3 OLB in the class. He is the high school teammate of current Buckeye commit Ben Edwards, but it remains to be seen how much Edwards will recruit for OSU when he himself is still looking to take visits to other schools. Holland is one of the top linebackers in 2015, and OSU will work hard to land him.
Bonus: WR George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, FL)
Like Jeffery Holland, Campbell is a bit of a long shot, but since he was once committed to Michigan, distance wouldn't seem to be a factor. Ohio State is in contact with him plenty, but that contact needs to lead to a visit or two. Campbell is a big receiver (6-3 184), yet he is also one of the fastest players in the nation, being timed under 4.4 routinely at camps and combines.
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