Twelve In-State Prospects on Defense That Buckeye and Big Ten Fans Should Know About
By Tony Gerdeman.
Following our look at eight in-state prospects on offense, we now turn to the defensive side of the ball.
You will notice that there are a few Michigan commits on this list, but as we all know, a verbal commitment is only as binding as the paper that it was written on.
These twelve players represent just a handful of the defensive prospects who will end up with Big Ten offers, and that number goes up almost daily.
Ben Gedeon (6-3 215) LB - Hudson, Hudson
Gedeon has offers from just about everybody in the Big Ten, including Ohio State and Michigan. There is talk that he is a Michigan lean, but the Wolverines only have two slots left for linebackers, and Gedeon might be third on their list. The same goes for Ohio State, who probably has room for three 'backers, but Gedeon might be number four on their list. It will be interesting to watch it play out.
McCallister's Take: “He's got all of the intangibles, he's got everything, he just needs to get faster. And he has to develop a little bit more of a burst. He's athletic, but for me he just doesn't have great speed at linebacker. I know he plays running back, and he does all of those things, he's got all of the intangibles, he's a good kid, he's strong, he's smart, he's played a long time, but he just doesn't have the burst for me right now, or the closing speed. I think he'll be okay. He's athletic and he stays on his feet. He runs downhill well, but can also drop into coverage.”
Shane Jones (6-1 220) LB - Moeller, Cincinnati
Jones has offers from nearly the entire Big Ten, including Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Penn State. Ohio State has yet to offer, however. Scout rates him a three-star prospect and the 33rd-best outside linebacker in the nation. Rivals tabs him as a four-star guy.
McCallister's Take: “He's going to be okay. He's blowing up for some reason early. He's got to play harder and get a little bit bigger, but I like Shane."
Courtney Love (6-1 222) LB - Card. Mooney - Youngstown
Love could be committing to Ohio State any day now. He also has offers from Oklahoma, USC and Michigan State. Michigan hasn't offered him, nor are they likely to do so.
McCallister's Take: “Courtney Love runs, but he just needs more playing time. He'll be okay. He can run and he can hit. He passes the eye ball test. He closes well and explodes on contact. He's still getting comfortable at the linebacker position though.”
Gareon Conley (6-2 165) CB - Washington, Massillon
Conley is a prospect who is a bit under the radar at the moment. Scout does have him as their 20th-ranked cornerback, however. His Big Ten offers are Michigan and Northwestern. He appears to be a Wolverine lean at the moment.
McCallister's Take: “He's okay. He's big. A lot of people don't know about him as much because he hasn't played much football. I like him because he runs and because he's big. He'll be a good player, but I don't think he's an early offer kind of guy yet. He closes well and comes up in run support. He needs to continue to improve his recovery speed though.”
Donovan Munger (6-3 278) DT - Shaker Heights, Shaker Hts
Munger just received his Ohio State offer on Wednesday. He also has offers from Penn State and Illinois, as well as Auburn, Notre Dame and Tennessee. Scout ranks him as a four-star prospect.
McCallister's Take: “I really like him a lot. He bends well and I like his footwork. He's got strong hands and he's got really good movement. He's strong, he's tough, he's a good kid, he just has to get into shape, and he hasn't done that. If he does that, then he'll be okay. Going both ways has been tough on his endurance. I think he's a defensive guy first because he's so big. He can play either side, but just like I told [Notre Dame TE/DE commit] Jacob Matuska, 'Heck, I can go down the street and get tight ends, you can't get defensive linemen.' He's good. He's just big and strong, but he's really got to get into shape.”
Tracy Sprinkle (6-4 245) DL - Elyria, Elyria
Sprinkle has been getting bigger and better offers by the week. Purdue and Penn State have both offered him, as has Arkansas, who knew of Sprinkle from former Ohio State assistants Paul Haynes and Taver Johnson.
McCallister's Take: “I like him because he can play defensive end and maybe even slide inside. 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.”
Taco Charlton (6-6 240) DE - Pickerington Cent., Pickerington
Charlton is another of the Ohio kids committed to the Wolverines. While he doesn't have an offer from Ohio State, Nebraska and Notre Dame thought enough of him to offer.
McCallister's Take: “His best football is ahead of him. I've watched him mature, I've talked with him. I told him that he wasn't very good last year, and when I saw him at the end of the season I told him that he's really going to be good. He still doesn't fully understand the game, and those are the kind of guys that sometimes you like to get. Their whole future is still ahead of them. Sometimes we're guilty of taking those kids that are very well coached, or they're in the a great system. They might be at the height of their game right now, that happens sometimes in your bigger programs. His potential is unlimited, he's just gotta reach it. But he's getting there.”
Christopher Worley (6-2 185) ATH - Glenville, Cleveland
Right now Worley's major offers are from Arkansas and West Virginia, but more will roll in over the next few months.
McCallister's Take: “I like him. He's a lot like [2012 Ohio State signee and former Glenville player] Devan Bogard. He's playing linebacker for them, but he's probably going to be an outside linebacker or a strong safety. He's fast, he's strong. I think he's the best 2013 player at Glenville this year, so you've always got to look at those guys.”
Dymonte Thomas (6-1 175) DB - Marlington, Alliance
Thomas is currently a Michigan commitment, and has been since September. He has offers from Ohio State and Notre Dame, as well as most of the Big Ten.
McCallister's Take: “I think he's one of the top players in Ohio, and I've liked him ever since he was a freshman. He's just a really good athlete. He's probably a strong safety. He's really tough and he closes well. I like him a lot. He's been playing a long time. I think he's a really good player. He's fast, has a great burst and changes direction well. He also finishes his tackles.”
Mike McCray (6-4 230) LB - Trotwood-Madison, Trotwood
McCray committed to Michigan earlier in the week. He is a Buckeye legacy, but Ohio State never offered, nor did schools like Penn State, Notre Dame or Wisconsin.
McCallister's Take: “He'll have to find that position. I think he's going to be an outside linebacker. He'll be okay. He runs really well. He just continues to get bigger. He can do a lot of things. He can even play tight end. He has good hands. He just has to get bigger and stronger. He's an excellent athlete who is also a tough competitor and he plays hard on every down.”
Caleb Day (6-0 175) ATH - Hilliard-Darby, Hilliard
Both Scout and Rivals list Day with an offer from Ohio State, and being from Columbus, it would appear the Buckeyes are the team to beat. He is most likely a defensive back in college, but has an interest in playing receiver as well
McCallister's Take: “I think he's going to grow into a safety more than a corner. He's played corner, but I think he's probably going to be more of a free safety. He had a good camp at Ohio State last year. He's a good kid.”
Marcus Ball (6-3 170) ATH - Westerville South, Westerville
Ball is below the radar right now, but is a guy who will likely get more offers over the summer camp circuit. His biggest offer right now is Arizona State, but he's talking to Big Ten schools like Northwestern at the moment. His brother Ray was a freshman at Wisconsin last year. He also plays quarterback, but is probably a safety at the next level for most schools.
McCallister's Take: “I really like him. He's a big, tall 6-3 free safety. He's playing quarterback right now, but I really like him. He hits and he has really good closing speed. I just like him. He doesn't have great speed, but he's fast enough. I just think he's overlooked right now.”
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