Filling a Need: Five 2012 Signees Who Fill Immediate Needs
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buckeyes will sign a number of important prospects at positions all over the field Wednesday, but a few of them fill critical voids on Ohio State’s current roster.
We take a look at the five 2012 signees who fill the most immediate needs for the Buckeyes. Interesting enough, four of the five commitments on our list were landed by Urban Meyer after he took over in November.
OT Taylor Decker (6-8, 313, Vandalia Butler)
There was no bigger need on Ohio State’s entire roster this off-season than the offensive tackle spot. The Buckeyes did not have a single player committed who could play the position when Meyer took over the program in November. In fact, all three of Ohio’s elite tackle prospects were already committed elsewhere, but that didn’t stop Meyer from luring Decker away from Notre Dame; thanks to a little help from new assistants Tim Hinton and Ed Warinner.
At 6-8, 313 pounds, Decker is a true left tackle prospect with the ability to develop into an anchor on the outside of Ohio State’s offensive line. He has good feet and tremendous athleticism for a kid his size and esteemed Ohio scout John McCallister called him a “player you can build a team around.” Look for Decker to get some reps at left tackle early in his career.
LB David Perkins (6-2, 225, South Bend, Ind.)
Another position of need for the Buckeyes, which became painfully apparent during the 2011 season, was linebacker. Ohio State already had two linebacker prospects committed when Meyer took over, but neither is the kind of speedy outside backer the new staff was looking for.
Olentangy’s Josh Perry could play outside, but Lancaster’s Luke Roberts is almost certainly a Mike linebacker in Ohio State’s system. Perkins was being looked at as a running back by other schools, but his speed and athleticism are exactly what the Buckeyes need on the outside. He is a good pass rusher who could also play the hybrid Leo position at Ohio State, but he is also a powerful tackler who seems suited for the weakside (Will) linebacker spot that will be played by Ryan Shazier this fall.
LB Camren Williams (6-2, 215, West Roxbury, Mass.)
The fact two linebackers appear on this list demonstrates the lack of depth and talent Meyer had to work with when he took over. Etienne Sabino, Storm Klein and Jordan Whiting are all middle linebackers. It’s hard to imagine where OSU would be without Shazier, who committed to the Buckeyes only after Meyer retired from Florida. Williams is another versatile linebacker whose dad, Brent, played defensive end for 10 seasons in the NFL.
He played with the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets, and his son Camren could be a good one for the Buckeyes. He has what it takes to play the weakside (Will) linebacker spot, but could also step in and play some strongside (Sam) backer.
CB Armani Reeves (5-9, 185, West Roxbury, Mass.)
It was big for Ohio State when they landed Williams after he decided to jump ship on the mess at Penn State, but they doubled up with a commitment from Reeves, his high school teammate. That is not to say that Reeves was just following Williams around, but his other top school was Michigan, which happened to be the favorite school of Williams dad. Reeves decided he would rather play with his good friend than against him, and Michigan’s loss is Ohio State’s gain.
Reeves is a true corner with the ability to play press or back off and cover down the field. He doesn’t have great size—what good corner really does—but he is quick and moves his hips well in and out of cuts. The fact OSU has only four scholarship corners on the roster means Reeves will likely crack the two-deep in fall camp.
WR Michael Thomas (6-4, 203, Fork Union Military Academy)
This one is a bit of a dice roll, but the Buckeyes are desperate for some playmakers at the wide receiver spot. If Meyer can land a commitment from Stefon Diggs or Davonte Neal, they would immediately jump Thomas on this list, but the fact he is already enrolled at Ohio State could make a big difference.
Getting in early always has a bigger impact on the skill positions and Thomas could be a good one with some seasoning. Originally from Elk Grove, Calif., Thomas spent this past season at Fork Union with 2012 QB Cardale Jones. He a is a track guy, which is rare for a kid with his size.
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