Meyer Fills Another Major Need With Reeves
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Much has been made about Ohio State’s deficiencies at linebacker and on the offensive line, but the cornerback position had suddenly become a position of need for the Buckeyes.
As he had done with Ohio State’s other major weaknesses, Urban Meyer addressed that need Sunday, landing a big commitment from 4-star cornerback Armani Reeves.
The 5-9, 185-pound corner out of Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, Mass. picked the Buckeyes over his other finalist, Michigan, on Sunday night. He made the commitment public through social media before confirming his decision with a number of online recruiting services.
“I'm going... (to) BuckeyeNation, SilverBullets, GoBucks!” Reeves said via Twitter.
“God led me here (and) in god I trust! Lets go BuckeyeNation!”
Reeves was one of the few big prospects left on the board for Meyer, who has now landed commitments from eight players since taking over the Ohio State program back in November.
He had been committed to Penn State, but like a number of other high profile prospects, Reeves decided to reopen his commitment after the scandal involving Jerry Sandusky led to the end of Joe Paterno’s time in Happy Valley.
It also meant the end for former defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, which could explain why four of the players who have given verbal commitments to Meyer came directly from Penn State’s class.
That doesn’t include 5-star defensive end Noah Spence, who was never committed to the Nittany Lions but was considered a Penn State lock before the scandal broke during the season.
Spence has since verbally committed to the Buckeyes, and he is expected to sign his National Letter of Intent with Ohio State on Wednesday, along with Tommy Schutt, Joey O’Connor and Camren Williams, a 4-star linebacker who played with Reeves at Catholic Memorial.
Reeves said that Williams, who committed to OSU back on Jan. 20, being at Ohio State with him was a major factor in his decision to pick the Buckeyes over the Wolverines following in-home visits from both schools this week.
His relationship with new co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers, who will be involved with coaching the secondary, was also a factor in Reeves’ choice, but so was the current depth chart at Ohio State.
It was a week ago that Meyer announced his decision to kick two players—Dominic Clarke and DerJuan Gambrell—off the team of violating (multiple) team rules. Both Clarke and Gambrell were cornerbacks at Ohio State, with Clarke having started three games for the Buckeyes during the 2011 season.
Without them—and Gambrell was a redshirt freshman who was still considered to be a bit of a project—the Buckeyes have only four scholarship cornerbacks returning for next season.
One of them is Adam Griffin, the son of two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin. He is 5-7, 180 pounds and would have been brought in as a preferred walk-on if not for the scholarship opening created when Seantrel Henderson picked USC over OSU in the class of 2010.
Both of Ohio State’s starting corners return next season, with Travis Howard going into his senior year and Bradley Roby slated to be a redshirt sophomore. Doran Grant, a true freshman this past season, slides up to the No. 3 corner spot in Clarke’s absence. He played in all 13 games on special teams this past season, recording six tackles.
It is possible Grant could push Howard for playing time in 2012, but the more important issue right now is the lack of depth behind him. Corey Brown, a 6-1 junior out of Monroeville, Pa., is capable of playing corner, but OSU’s defensive staff likes him better as a safety.
He could be asked to help provide depth at both spots, but there is a real chance Reeves could crack the two-deep by the start of the season. The only other corner in OSU’s class of 2012 is Tyvis Powell who was actually the first recruit to commit to the Buckeyes after Jim Tressel left the program.
Powell is a 3-star prospect according to both Rivals.com and Scout.com, and the Bedford product could end up playing safety at the college level. He is already enrolled at Ohio State and was told he will get a chance to play corner, but at 6-3 or 6-4, it will be interesting to see how well he moves his hips.
The Buckeyes do a have a walk-on named Taylor Rice who can play some corner if needed, but the Dublin Scioto product is hardly equipped to playing meaningful downs on defense at a place like Ohio State.
With a commitment from Reeves, the Buckeyes are likely done at cornerback from the class of 2012, and probably in the secondary altogether. The Buckeyes are still looking at 4-star defensive back Demetrious Cox out of Jeannette, Pa. and 3-star safety Bam Bradley out of Trotwood Madison, but they already have commitments from two safeties in De’van Bogard and Najee Murray.
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