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Last updated: 02/02/2012 4:16 AM
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Football Recruiting
Future Buckeye Jamal Marcus Has a Fan in Urban Meyer
By Tony Gerdeman

When Urban Meyer took to the podium to talk about Ohio State's bounty on Signing Day, he didn't want to go through and mention all 25 players that had been signed. In fact, he only mentioned a small fraction of that number.

However, one member of the class that he was quick to talk about was Durham, North Carolina linebacker Jamal Marcus.

Meyer made it a point to talk about Pennsylvania defensive end Noah Spence, whom ESPN ranks as the fourth-best prospect in the entire nation.

The towering pair of offensive tackles Taylor Decker and Kyle Dodson also got a mention. A couple of weeks ago it looked like the Buckeyes wouldn't land any tackles, and here they are with a pair of monsters. It obviously merited discussion.

But it didn't take long for Meyer's talk to turn to Marcus.

"The guy that when you flip him on tape, and not knowing anything else, without reading rankings or without listening to everybody else's opinions, the guy that is really impressive to me is Jamal Marcus," he said.

Meyer mentioned the rankings because Marcus isn't ranked like the five-star stud that would be becoming of such praise.

Scout has him rated as the 70th-best defensive end in the nation. Rivals liked him better than that, listing him as their 32nd-best outside linebacker. Both have him rated as a three-star prospect, for whatever that's worth.

ESPN and 247Sports like him a bit better, both ranking him as a four-star prospect. However, an offer list of Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina, Notre Dame, USC, Florida and Ohio State should speak far louder than any ranking ever could.

It would only take one glimpse of his highlight tape to make you understand why some of the nation's top schools were battling for him over the past year.

Or, in Ohio State's case, the past month.

"I just heard about him two weeks ago," Meyer admitted. "We put on the film. He just blew us away on the videotape. I never heard of him."

According to Rivals, the Buckeyes offered Marcus a scholarship on December 3rd, so that "two weeks ago" might be a bit of an exaggeration. But we can forgive the Ohio State head coach if his mental calendar is be a bit off. After all, he's been pretty busy of late.

Still, the amount of ground that the Buckeyes made up on everybody else is pretty remarkable. In late October, Marcus had a top five of Auburn, East Carolina, Florida, Georgia Tech and North Carolina.

These were schools that had been recruiting him for a very long time, and yet they stood no chance against Urban Meyer and his coaches when they decided that this was a kid that they definitely wanted. That should probably tell you what this staff thought of him.

"And I invite you at some point—it's easy to do on Youtube— watch that highlight video," Meyer said. "It borders on ridiculous as far as his ability level."

Seemingly imploring others to learn the truths that he now knew, Meyer also plugged Marcus' highlight video during his call-in show.

"I think fans ought to watch him on the video," he said.

"There's ways to do it. I think you just punch his name up in the Google and watch his highlight video. It's very impressive. He rushed on the outside in the 4-3 defense, but he also dropped. We're certainly going to keep him as a linebacker."

He was like a kid with a new toy running up and down the block, stopping at all of his friends' houses on the way, showing them this glorious new thing that he had.

This happiness doesn't just come from the fact that Marcus is a tremendous athlete, but also from the fact that he is a tremendous athlete playing a position of need for the Buckeyes.

With just five healthy linebackers on the roster, it was imperative to bring in a large group to provide necessary depth. But Ohio State needs more than depth—they need playmakers.

According to Luke Fickell, however, they may have found everything they need in Jamal Marcus.

"He's obviously something that when you pop on the film, it jumps off the screen at you very quickly," he said.

"It's also somebody that is at a position of need. We have the ability to put him in a position where you need somebody to step up in that role. Obviously he has the great abilities. Jamal might be in a position where this is a spot of immediate need."

Those abilities will be put to the test pretty quickly it seems. Meyer stated that they don't recruit players to redshirt, and that would certainly hold true for the bulk of the linebackers in this class.

Clearly, if he is mentioning a player by name within the first two minutes of his Signing Day press conference, then he has plans for that player.

And those plans will ultimately lead to more highlight videos that will then be found on Youtube and "the Google".

But this time the footage won't be so grainy.

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