Eight prospects on offense

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Last updated: 03/08/2012 5:48 AM
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Football Recruiting
Eight In-State Prospects on Offense That Buckeye and Big Ten Fans Should Know About
By Tony Gerdeman

Ohio high school football pumps through the veins of Big Ten football year in and year out, and that doesn't ever appear likely to change.

With Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke's early successes in Ohio, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the prospects that people should get to know. After all, there's a pretty good chance that you're going to hear their names in some form or fashion in the next year or three.

We'll start with eight players on the offensive side of the ball on this list, and then follow that up with a list of a dozen players on the defensive side of the ball.

Don't read anything into the breakdown numbers other than right now there are a few more defensive prospects to watch than offensive prospects.

We've also asked John McCallister from the McCallister Scouting Report to give us a brief breakdown on each of the players listed, which he has happily done.

This list has no particular order.

Shelton Gibson (6-1 175) WR - Cleveland Heights, Cleveland
Gibson was Urban Meyer's first offer in the 2013 class, which should tell you a little bit about his abilities. Right now it looks like a battle between Auburn and Ohio State.

McCallister's Take: “I like him. He's fast, he's tough. He's big and he's a good kid. He's a tough guy. I've watched him play since he was a sophomore. He's a good player. He's the type of player who can do what Urban Meyer wants his receivers to do. He's got speed, but I think he can get faster.”

Malik Zaire (6-1 190) QB - Archbishop Alter, Kettering
Zaire has all kinds of offers, including from both Ohio State and Alabama, though to be able to accept either of those offers, he would likely have to camp at the school during the summer and impress them enough to earn an actual "committable" offer. He also has offers from Nebraska, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Notre Dame.

McCallister's Take: “I like Malik. He's not been in a passing offense, everybody knows that. He throws the ball pretty well. I think he'll be okay. I think he's the second-best quarterback in Ohio. He's pretty good. He continues to improve in all phases of the game. I really like his ability to get north and south. He has excellent burst. He's got good hips. He throws well on the run, but has a bit of a long arm delivery.”

Deveon Smith
(5-11 195) RB - Howland, Warren
Smith has offers from both Ohio State and Michigan, and those are the two schools that it will likely come down to with him.  Scout ranks him as the seventh-best tailback in the nation.

McCallister's Take: “He's the best running back in Ohio. The only thing that he doesn't have is the breakaway speed, but he's fast enough and he accelerates well. He keeps his shoulders square and changes direction really well. He's a solid 4.65 guy, but he's big and strong. He runs inside, he runs outside. He's a great kid. For me personally, he's the best running back in Ohio. Not everybody has that breakaway speed anyways. How many guys are running for 75 yard touchdowns? They're running for 20 yards or 15 yards. He just has an ability to make defenders miss. Plus, he is durable and he gets better as the game goes on.”

Jaron Dukes (6-4 197) WR - Marion-Franklin, Columbus
Dukes is another Ohioan to commit to Brady Hoke and Michigan early in the recruiting process. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Illinois and Toledo. He never had an Ohio State offer.

McCallister's Take: “He's another guy that I really like in Columbus. He's 6-4, and he's got a chance to be very special. I really like him.”

Lovell Peterson (6-3 280) OL - Wayne, Huber Heights
Peterson is expected to be one of the top offensive linemen in Ohio in the 2013 class, but right now the only offer that Scout and Rivals are listing for him is Illinois.

McCallister's Take: “He started as a sophomore. As far as an actual football player, he's really good. He's better than [current Ohio State commit] Evan Lisle right now, but maybe not down the road. He's got great feet. He's short, so I think he's going to be a center. He'll be one of my top linemen in the class.”

Mitch Trubisky (6-3 195) QB - Mentor, Mentor
Right now it appears that the only Big Ten offer for Trubisky is Ohio State. That's probably fine by him. Scout rates him as a four-star prospect, and the 20th-ranked quarterback in the nation overall.

McCallister's Take: “Mitch is the best quarterback in Ohio. When he was a sophomore, I saw him get killed by Lakewood St. Ed's. I told him to hang in there and that he would be alright. He's a tremendous competitor. He's big and strong, and he's smart. Now, you're not going to like him in camp, because he drops his arm sometimes. The purist isn't going to like him. He comes over the top sometimes. But he can really scramble and he can throw on the run. He just doesn't always have that perfect form on every throw. I really like him, but that's one of the critical parts that people would worry about in camp. As I remember, Tim Tebow didn't have the perfect form either. He got it done, that's all that matters, and Mitch will do that.”

Tra'von Chapman (6-2 200) QB - Roosevelt, Kent
Chapman has offers from Illinois and Northwestern, as well as Arizona and Cincinnati. He would appear to be a good fit at all of those places because of his athleticism. Scout ranks him as a four-star prospect and the 16th-best quarterback in the nation.

McCallister's Take: “He's got all of the qualities to be an excellent quarterback prospect. He understands coverages and can throw the 17-yard out. He can actually make all of the throws, and he runs just as well. He needs to tweak some mechanics, but he has excellent quarterback instincts and should be fine.”

And here's one to pay attention to in the 2014 class.

Deshone Kizer (6-4 205) QB - Central Catholic, Toledo
Only a sophomore at the moment, Kizer appears to be one of the top prospects to watch in the area. He already has offers from Toledo, Bowling Green and Syracuse. 247Sports named him a first-team 2014 All-American.

McCallister's Take: “I think he's by far the best in-state quarterback in his class. He's got a lot of potential. He'll still keep growing up a little bit and keep maturing. He'll be fine. It was a little tough for him this past year, but he's a really, really good athlete. He's smart. A good kid. He's a football player. He will probably be one that Ohio State will go after, but I'm sure he's also on Michigan's radar. Brady Hoke has quite an influence in Toledo. He's that kind of quarterback. He makes good decisions, especially for a sophomore. I really like him.

Up next:  Twelve In-State Prospects on Defense

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