A Finish to Remember?
By Ozone Staff
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A year ago, Urban Meyer closed out his first recruiting class at Ohio State with a flurry of big commitments in the final week leading up to National Signing Day.
It was as much a statement then as Ohio State’s undefeated season under Meyer in 2012.
Cornerback Armani Reeves, a former Penn State commit, sparked Meyer’s big finish with a commitment to the Buckeyes on Jan. 29, 2012. That was just three days before signing day. He was followed a few days later by former Wisconsin verbal Kyle Dodson and Jamal Marcus, an exciting linebacker out of North Carolina.
Both Dodson and Marcus were signing day decisions, or at least commitments, with Dodson taking home the honors for most memorable and unique public announcement. The Buckeyes were hoping to add one more playmaker to the class, but Meyer’s first class was as close to a home run as anyone could have imagined.
Now Meyer is closing in on an even bigger finish in year two. Ohio State’s 2013 class already ranks among the best in the country. It may not reach the top spot on any major recruiting service, but Meyer has a chance to put this class into the stratosphere with a finish to remember.
It could start tonight.
ATH Dontre Wilson (5-10, 175, DeSoto, TX)
The first domino to fall this week could be 4-star athlete Dontre Wilson out of Texas. The Oregon commit recently visited Ohio State and he took his final visit to Austin over the weekend where he met with Mack Brown, Major Applewhite and the Texas Longhorns. Now he’s finally ready to make his decision, which will be announced this evening at 9 p.m. CT.
The overwhelming feeling, even after his Texas visit, is that it will be Oregon or Ohio State. Our own Michael Chung officially predicted Wilson would stick with the Ducks in Sunday’s Recruiting Rundown, but the latest buzz on Monday is that Ohio State appears to be in the lead. Jeff Howe of Hookem.com and 247Sports called the Buckeyes the front-runner after Wilson’s visit to Texas.
Gerry Hamilton, a national director of scouting & recruiting for 247Sports is also projecting Wilson to pick the Buckeyes on Monday evening. Hamilton is based out of the Houston area and typically has a good feel for what is going on down the Lone Star State. That being said, Ohio State fans know to be cautiously optimistic until National Signing Day.
Announcement: Monday, 10 p.m. ET (Ohio State, Oregon, Texas)
Monday Prediction: Ohio State
RB Ezekiel Elliott (6-0, 198, St. Louis, MO)
If Wilson sticks with Oregon, or surprises everyone by staying close to home to play for the Longhorns, that should displace some of the anxiety surrounding Ezekiel Elliott and his signing day announcement. If, however, the latest reports turn out to be true, and Wilson pulls the trigger for Ohio State on Monday evening, it certainly makes for a more interesting day on Wednesday in Columbus.
Elliott caused a stir when he decided to take an official visit to Missouri, his mom and dad’s alma mater. He has not spoken to the media since that visit, but his dad has hinted a number of times that Ohio State is still very much his leader. Of course this is a kid who has been committed to the Buckeyes since back in April of 2012. He is considered to be one of the top guys in the class on the offensive side of the ball, and the Buckeyes don’t want to lose him. Even if they get Dontre Wilson tonight.
Sources have indicated to The Ozone that Elliott is likely to sign with the Buckeyes on Wednesday, but the fact he has a public announcement scheduled for 3 p.m. CT leaves the door open for interpretation. By the time Elliott makes his pick, he will have had a few days to mull over Dontre Wilson’s decision. Meyer and running backs coach Stan Drayton have stressed to Elliott that he and Wilson are not being brought in to play the same position – Elliott is going to be a tailback while Wilson would be a playmaker/wideout in the slot – but you never know what will affect a 17 or 18 year old kid.
Announcement: Wednesday, 4 p.m. ET (Ohio State, Missouri)
Monday Prediction: Ohio State
WR James Clark (5-11, 170, New Smyrna Beach, FL)
Another name in the mix here is James Clark. The Florida speedster is more of a true wideout than Wilson, but they are being recruited to play the same position at Ohio State. Both are highly-rated and both have Ohio State near the top of their list. Clark took an official visit to Columbus during the last weekend in January, but he went back to Gainesville on an unofficial visit over this past weekend. Florida also hosted OSU target Ryan Timmons over the weekend, and it seems inevitable one of them is going to end up with the Gators. Like Ohio State, Florida prefers Clark over Timmons, and the latest we’re hearing is that Will Muschamp is out in front to land this 4-star wideout.
Announcement: Wednesday, 9 a.m. ET (Ohio State, Florida, Clemson)
Monday Prediction: Florida
DB Vonn Bell (6-1, 190, Rossville, GA)
If Urban Meyer is really going to hit the ball well out of the park on National Signing Day, it’s probably going to come down to 5-star defensive back Vonn Bell. This is a kid who nearly committed to Alabama during the season and has been viewed as a Crimson Tide lead basically from the moment he picked up an offer. He took visits to Ohio State, Alabama and Tennessee over the last month, but there seems to be momentum against Bell ending up in Tuscaloosa. First it was Ohio State, but now the latest intel has Tennessee as the front-runner to land Bell on National Signing Day. Our own Michael Chung was one of the first to predict he would end up in Knoxville, but even he admitted it was only an educated guess.
Where Bell is going to end up, only he and his family truly know at the moment. OSU defensive backs coach Everett Withers was brought in for one last closing pitch, and we were told Bell was all ears to what Withers had to say. He wants to play for a big-time program, which is why OSU might have some leverage on Tennessee, and he also wants early playing time. That would give the Buckeyes and Vols an edge over Alabama, where Saban is pretty stacked on defense at the moment.
Ohio State returns both starters at safety – Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett – but the position is wide open after that. The top-returning guys for 2014 would be Ron Tanner (Jr.) and De’van Bogard (Jr.).
Announcement: Wednesday, 10 a.m. ET (Ohio State, Alabama, Tennessee)
Monday Prediction: Tennessee
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