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Last updated: 07/20/2012 2:01 AM

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Football Recruiting
Buckeyes Land Maryland Speedster in Rainey Mold

By Brandon Castel

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has his 15th commitment for 2013, and possibly one of the more important pieces in the class.

District Heights (Md.) wide receiver/athlete Taivon Jacobs visited Columbus for the Ohio State Senior Advanced Camp back on June 23, and it apparently left a lasting impression on the young speedster.

The 3-star wideout from Suitland High School was being recruited hard by Maryland, where his brother Levern Jacobs was a freshman defensive back for the Terrapins this past season. He also held offers from Florida State, Miami (Fla.), Michigan State, Nebraska, UNC, Notre Dame and West Virginia, but had narrowed his list to a top three that included Maryland, Ohio State and Clemson.

The 5-11 Jacobs was high on the Buckeyes from the onset of his recruitment, but really developed strong relationships with wide receivers coach Zach Smith and offensive coordinator Tom Herman. Those relationships and the opportunity to play in Urban Meyer’s electric spread offense were enough for Jacobs to make the call this morning.

“Taivon Jacobs to Ohio State is a great get for them,” Rivals.com recruiting analyst Mike Farrell posted.

“(He) will be used like Meyer used Chris Rainey (at Florida).”

Much like Jacobs, Rainey was an undersized track star coming out of Florida’s Lakeland High School back in 2007. He was considered to be a 4-star prospect by Rivals, but narrowed his top three to Florida, Florida State and Georgia Tech.

Jacobs did not quite put up the same kind of numbers as Rainey this past season. He caught 35 passes for 921 yards and 13 touchdowns, while also returning several kickoffs for scores.

He was recently timed in the 4.35 range for the 40-yard dash, and Jacobs will get a chance to wear a number of different hats at Ohio State. He and Middletown’s Jalin Marshall provide Meyer with a pair of playmakers in the 2013 class, something the Buckeyes sorely lack at the moment.

“Saw newest Ohio State commit Taivon Jacobs at a camp this summer,” Scout.com’s Midwest recruiting analyst Allen Trieu said of Jacobs.

“(He is a) quick, polished route runner that gave DB’s fits. Not big, but a player.”

His size is the one thing that may have held some schools back from going hard after Jacobs, a natural sprinter with long strides. He played wide receiver, running back and defensive back during his junior season, but his role with the Buckeyes will be “offensive playmaker.”

Whether it’s Chris Rainey or Percy Harvin, Jacobs gives Meyer some speed at the offensive skill position. That was something Meyer wanted to get a year ago when he was hot on the trail of Maryland WR Stefon Diggs, along with others like Davonte Neal and Cyrus Jones.

The Buckeyes are only expected to take somewhere around 20-22 kids in the 2013 class. Jacobs is the 15th member of the class, joining Jalin Marshall, tight end Marcus Baugh and tailback Ezekial Elliott as the offensive firepower in the group.

Meyer also has his quarterback of the future in Wichita Falls (Tex.) product J.T. Barrett, but he will likely look to add one more receiver to the group before February. The Buckeyes are heavily recruiting a number of wideouts, including Shelton Gibson (Cleveland Heights), James Quick (Louisville, Ky.) and Devon Allen (Phoenix, Ariz.).

They could also be in the mix for guys like Robert Foster (Monaca, Pa.), Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C.), Levonte Whitfield (Orlando, Fla.) and Cornelius Elder (Nashville, Tenn.).

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