Recruiting Rundown

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Last updated: 12/19/2011 10:36 AM
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Football Recruiting
Recruiting Rundown — The Dust Begins to Settle
By Tony Gerdeman

Another week, another five-star commitment for Urban Meyer. With spots becoming harder to come by, Pennsylvania defensive end Noah Spence ended the suspense by committing to Ohio State Sunday night following his official visit.

Granted, there would have always been a spot for Spence, but he saw no reason to drag things out any further. This allows Meyer to move his attentions forward now that Spence is in the barn.

With defensive ends Spence, Adolphus Washington and Se'Von Pittman all committed, Meyer's attention now will turn to offensive line and linebacker, and there could be action there later this week.

It also needs to be mentioned that the NCAA-mandated Dead Period started on Monday, which means no more in-person contact from coaches to players until next month. Coaches can still call players, but they can't visit. This means that it will be very hard for any opposing coaches to undo what Urban Meyer has done.

Dunn Finished

Following his official visit to Ohio State last weekend, five-star running back commit Bri'onte Dunn (6-2 215) out of Canton GlenOak stated that he still planned on taking an official visit to Michigan, which was planned for this past weekend.

A Tuesday in-home visit by Urban Meyer changed everything for Scout's sixth-ranked running back in the nation. After speaking with Meyer, and having his family speak with him as well, Dunn reaffirmed his commitment to Ohio State and has since closed off the rest of his recruiting.

I had been told for a while that Dunn's switch to Michigan was an inevitability, but that was before Urban Meyer and his kevorka stepped into Dunn's house and sealed the deal.

While it was just one player, this was the first battled between Michigan and the Meyer-led Ohio State Buckeyes, and we saw who came out on top.

Of particular note, after his official visit to Ohio State, Dunn said that he wouldn't be graduating early. However, now that he is firm in his decision, he is once again going to try to enroll early at Ohio State—possibly as soon as next month.

The Class As It Stands Now

1. Cardale Jones (6-5 217) QB, Fork Union Military Academy
(ESPN: 3-star; Scout: 3-star; Rivals: 3-star; 247: 4-star)

2. Warren Ball (6-2 200) RB, St. Francis DeSales
(ESPN: 3-star; Scout: 4-star; Rivals: 4-star; 247: 4-star)

3. Bri'onte Dunn (6-2 215) RB, Canton GlenOak
(ESPN: 4-star; Scout: 5-star; Rivals: 4-star; 247: 4-star)

4. Roger Lewis (6-1 195) WR, Pickerington Central
(ESPN: 3-star; Scout: 3-star; Rivals: 3-star; 247: 3-star)

5. Ricquan Southward (6-2 190) WR, Lakeland (FL)
(ESPN: 4-star; Scout: 2-star; Rivals: 3-star; 247: 3-star)

6. Mike Thomas (6-4 203) WR, Fork Union Military Academy
(ESPN: 3-star; Scout: 4-star; Rivals: 4-star; 247: 3-star)

7. Frank Epitropoulos (6-3 195) WR, Upper Arlington
(ESPN: 3-star; Scout: 3-star; Rivals: 3-star; 247: 3-star)

8. Blake Thomas (6-4 240) TE, Cleveland St. Ignatius
(ESPN: 3-star; Scout: 3-star; Rivals: 3-star; 247: 3-star)

9. Jacoby Boren (6-3 273) OL, Pickerington Central
(ESPN: 3-star; Scout: 3-star; Rivals: 3-star; 247: 3-star)

10. Patrick Elflein (6-3 285) OL, Pickerington North
(ESPN: 4-star; Scout: 3-star; Rivals: 3-star; 247: 3-star)

11. Adolphus Washington (6-4 230) DE, Cincinnati Taft
(ESPN: 4-star; Scout: 5-star; Rivals: 4-star; 247: 5-star)

*12. Se'Von Pittman (6-5 245) DE, Canton McKinley
(ESPN: 4-star; Scout: 4-star; Rivals: 4-star; 247: 4-star)

*13. Noah Spence (6-4 245) DE, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
(ESPN: 5-star; Scout: 5-star; Rivals: 5-star; 247: 5-star)

*14. Tommy Schutt
(6-3 301) DT, Glen Ellyn, IL
(ESPN: 4-star; Scout: 5-star; Rivals: 4-star; 247: 4-star)

15. Joshua Perry (6-4 228) OLB, Olentangy
(ESPN: 4-star; Scout: 4-star; Rivals: 4-star; 247: 4-star)

16. Luke Roberts (6-2 230) LB, Lancaster
(ESPN: 3-star; Scout: 3-star; Rivals: 3-star; 247: 3-star)

17. De'van Bogard (6-1 175) DB, Glenville
(ESPN: 3-star; Scout: 4-star; Rivals: 4-star; 247: 4-star)

18. Najee Murray (5-11 172) DB, Steubenville
(ESPN: 3-star; Scout: 4-star; Rivals: 3-star; 247: 3-star)

19. Tyvis Powell (6-4 185) DB, Bedford
(ESPN: 2-star; Scout: 4-star; Rivals: 3-star; 247: 3-star)

*Committed in the last week.

The Final Four

Our stance has always been that 23 commits for the 2012 class is the safe number to go with, so with that in mind, let's try to project the way this class will finish up.

20. Kyle Dodson (6-6 315) OT, Cleveland Heights
(ESPN: 3-star; Scout: 4-star; Rivals: 4-star)

Dodson, currently a Wisconsin commit in name only, has offers from USC, Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State, to name a few others. Those offers still weren't enough to impress ESPN into giving Dodson a fourth star. He visited Auburn this past weekend and has a visit to USC set for the second weekend in January. If he does take the visit to USC, expect a decision shortly thereafter, unless the folks at the Army All-American Game can get him to save his announcement for their air. I've been told that he wants his family to be able to see him play, especially his grandmother, so those trips to Auburn and USC shouldn't be anything more than life experiences for Dodson. There is also an outside chance that he could end it all this week and commit to Ohio State

21. Camren Williams (6-2 215) LB, West Roxbury, Mass.
(ESPN: 3-star; Scout: 4-star; Rivals: 4-star)

Williams visited a week ago and had nothing but good things to say. He still has an official visit to Penn State scheduled for mid-January, and will then likely make his decision between the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions. Penn State will probably have named a coach by then, which will help their odds. However, if a choice is being made between Penn State and Ohio State right now, it's hard to imagine somebody choosing the Nittany Lions. That being said, Williams' head coach Alex Campea told the Boston Globe that he expects Williams to stick with Penn State, and only if he fails to mesh with the new coach will he choose to go elsewhere.

22. Jamal Marcus (6-2 219) LB, Durham, North Carolina
(ESPN: 4-star; Scout: 3-star; Rivals: 3-star)

Marcus told ESPN in an interview last week that his top four were Florida, East Carolina, North Carolina and Ohio State. He said that he is close to committing, but could also wait until Signing Day. He also mentioned that Urban Meyer "is a huge part of my recruitment". Then on Saturday he gave his top three as Florida, East Carolina and Ohio State. If he is already chopping down his list of schools, then it would seem like he's getting closer to committing. The expected addition of North Carolina interim head coach Everett Withers to Urban Meyer's staff would certainly seem to help Ohio State's chances here. He plans on visiting all three schools in January, but clearly if this list holds it would be a battle between Florida and Ohio State. He is scheduled to visit the Gators on January 13th, but has not yet set a date to visit the Buckeyes. Both Florida and Ohio State have just two linebackers currently committed.

23. Bam Bradley (6-2 200) S, Trotwood-Madison (OH)
(ESPN: 3-star; Scout: 3-star; Rivals: 3-star)

Bradley was another player who wasn't really considering Ohio State prior to Urban Meyer's arrival, but has obviously softened his stance now. He finished his official visit to Ohio State this past weekend and the momentum is certainly picking up for Bradley to land a spot in this class. He is reportedly planning on making his decision known at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl on January 3rd. With offers from all over the midwest, as well as places like Arizona, Stanford and Tennessee, Bradley is the type of intimidating presence at safety that defenses like to use close to the line of scrimmage. Bradley would give the Buckeyes three safety commits in this class.

The Others

Depending upon how quickly the yearly attrition begins for the Buckeyes, this class could actually be larger than the 23 being talked about right now. Even if the NCAA hands down a scholarship limit, Ohio State will be able to back date their early enrollees, of which they will have a few this year.

With that in mind, let's take a serious look at who else is out there for Ohio State.

Jordan Diamond (6-6 289) OT, Chicago, Illinois
(ESPN: 4-star; Scout: 5-star; Rivals: 4-star)

Diamond, who visited Ohio State a week ago, took his official visit to Auburn this past weekend. He has visits to Arkansas and Wisconsin in January. He seems to be really enjoying the recruiting process, which makes him very hard to read. I have been told that he is not expected to leave the midwest. Even if Ohio State has 23 commits when Diamond decides he wants to be a Buckeye, they will take him. Keep in mind, we are just making an informed guess regarding the room for 23 players.

Joey O'Connor (6-4 295) OL, Windsor, Colorado
(ESPN: 4-star; Scout: 4-star; Rivals: 4-star)

O'Connor was originally a Penn State commitment who has since decommitted and reopened his recruiting. He doesn't have ideal size, but most believe he can play right tackle, which is what Ohio State would want from him. Per Rivals, O'Connor has an official visit to Ohio State scheduled for January 13, but as of yet has no scholarship offer. Right now it appears that he is a fall-back option if Jordan Diamond goes elsewhere.

Joel Caleb (6-2 201) WR, Midlothian, Virginia
(ESPN: 4-star; Scout: 4-star; Rivals: 4-star)

Last week, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Cincinnati Moeller coach John Rodenberg was told by Ohio State that they were full at receiver, which is why Moeller receiver Monty Madaris wasn't offered. Does this go for Joel Caleb as well? Of the remaining receivers offered by the Buckeyes, Caleb seems the most likely to end up in Columbus. Even with offers from Georgia, Florida, LSU, Clemson, Alabama, Notre Dame and Oklahoma, this still appears like a battle between Ohio State and Virginia Tech.

There are others out there as well, though they appear much less likely to end up in the Scarlet and Gray. Baltimore receiver Cyrus Jones won't be visiting and has likely dropped Ohio State. Stefon Diggs, also a receiver out of Maryland has always been a long shot, and the longer he goes without actually scheduling a visit the further he gets from becoming a Buckeye.

Linebackers Keith Brown (Miami, FL) and David Perkins (South Bend, IN) are still on the radar as well. Perkins has a visit to Ohio State scheduled for January 13, while Brown still says that he is committed to Illinois.

Jameis Winston (Hueytown, AL), the nation's top quarterback per Rivals is still in the picture, but until he schedules an official visit, don't get your hopes up.

A surprise may pop up here or there, but right now the Buckeyes need to close on offensive linemen and linebackers, so expect that to be the case on Signing Day.

Ultimately, Ohio State may not be able to wait on Jordan Diamond, and may have to try to secure Joey O'Connor just to make sure they get one more tackle in this class. They will wait as long as they possibly can, however.

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