Sprinkle Commits to OSU

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Last updated: 04/17/2012 11:21 PM
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Football Recruiting
Defensive Lineman Tracy Sprinkle Commits to OSU

By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A week after reaching into California to get tight end Marcus Baugh, the Buckeyes went back to some familiar stomping grounds to secure a commitment from Tracy Sprinkle, a defensive lineman out of Elyria.

Sprinkle (6-4 270), a third team All-State selection this past season, is an athletic big man who will probably start out at defensive end, but will likely continue to grow and eventually move down to defensive tackle.

Sprinkle was offered by Ohio State a little over a week ago and didn't need to take too much time to make his decision.

He selected Ohio State over offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, Michigan State, Penn State and Purdue. South Carolina and Georgia were also recently close to offering, though that is unlikely to happen now following Sprinkle's commitment.

Considered an under-the-radar recruit because of his lack of camp appearances and video tape, he is rated a three-star recruit by all three recruiting services. Had he been able to participate in more camps, he would have received more offers, but that didn't stop Sprinkle from becoming one of the hottest recruits in the midwest of late.

Over the last six weeks he had picked up offers from Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue, Louisville and Ohio State. Michigan was also talking to him during this time, but never pulled the trigger on an offer.

Sprinkle is the second commitment from Elyria High School in the last three years for the Buckeyes, joining former teammate and fellow defensive lineman Chase Farris in Columbus.

A lifelong Buckeye fan, it wouldn't have been completely unexpected if Sprinkle had committed immediately following his offer, but he still wanted to take some time and think it over.

"I didn’t want to commit as soon as I got the offer," he told ESPN.com. "I talked to my brothers, family and coaches ... and prayed on it and it came up I wanted to commit to them."

Given last year's defensive line haul, and the limited space in the 2012 class, it wasn't clear if the Buckeyes would have room for Sprinkle, but his versatility along with his ability apparently made him a must get for the Ohio State coaching staff.

“I like him because he can play defensive end and even slide inside," said John McCallister, the director of the McCallister Scouting Report, which scouts Ohio High schools for various college football programs.

"He plays really hard, he's big and he's strong. He's a really good athlete, but I really like the fact that he plays hard. I know that he's a tough competitor. He's one of the better defensive line guys in the class. He changes direction well and plays pad under pad. His desire to play hard and finish plays can make him special."

While there may not currently seem to be a need for defensive linemen, Ohio State will be losing defensive ends Nathan Williams and John Simon, as well as defensive tackle Garrett Goebel following the season. There is also the very real possibility that tackle Johnathan Hankins will be leaving early for the NFL as well. Depth on the line is always an issue, and Sprinkle can fill multiple needs.

Despite last year's haul of defensive linemen, there is still a need to bring in the type of interior linemen that fit Urban Meyer's desire for speed. That certainly fits Sprinkle's game, as his 80 tackles, eight sacks and 25 tackles for loss last season can attest.

"He got recruited as a pass rusher, but Ohio State projects him as an inside player," Elyria coach Kevin Fell told the Columbus Dispatch.

"That may be their new philosophy—taking those athletic guys and moving them inside. I can’t say that I’m positive about that. But when they talked to me, a lot of the questions were about whether he can play inside."

With Billy Price and now Sprinkle, the Buckeyes have two defensive linemen committed in the 2013 class. They are still after at least one more lineman, most specifically Florida defensive end Joey Bosa (6-5 260), whom Rivals, Scout and 247 Sports all consider a top 25 prospect in the nation.

The Ohio State class now stands at nine strong, with expected room for around 19 or 20 prospects.

The 2013 Commitments

1. Cameron Burrows (6-1 195), DB Trotwood, Ohio

2. Jalin Marshall (6-0 190), ATH Middletown, Ohio

3. Billy Price (6-4 280), DT Youngstown, Ohio

4. Eli Woodard (6-1 185) CB Voorhees, New Jersey

5. Evan Lisle (6-6 265) OT Centerville, Ohio

6. Ezekiel Elliott (6-0 200) RB St. Louis, Missouri

7. Jayme Thompson (6-2 184) DB Toledo, Ohio

8. Marcus Baugh (6-4 229) TE Riverside, California

9. Tracy Sprinkle (6-4 270) DL Elyria, Ohio

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