Top Ohio Linebacker Kyle Berger Commits to Buckeyes
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State Buckeyes received their seventh verbal commitment of the 2014 class on Monday afternoon. Kyle Berger, a 6-foot-3 205-pound linebacker out of Cleveland St. Ignatius, pledged to the Buckeyes, breaking the news via Twitter.
Over the past couple of months, this had turned into a battle of Ohio State versus Michigan. Berger, who calls Wolverines linebacker Jake Ryan an "idol" (even wearing Ryan's old number 39), has driven up the hopes of Michigan fans of late, only to let them come crashing down following Monday's announcement.
A Michigan fan's loss is an Ohio State fan's gain, and they could be gaining quite the prospect.
"I think he's a big sleeper," John McCallister of the McCallister Scouting Report said this past winter.
"I really like him. He's tough. He's got a good frame, but he's got to add weight. But the best thing about him is that he has closing speed. I think he's got a chance to be really good. He can run, he's got good hips, and he'll just hit you. He runs downhill well. He fills well, he finishes plays and he's intense. I think he could be one of the better linebackers we've seen for a while. He's a lot like Jake Ryan. Maybe a little bit better runner, but he's got that mentality of Ryan. I think Kyle Berger is gonna be a special guy."
Berger also had offers from Penn State, Tennessee, West Virginia, Michigan State, Arkansas, UCLA, Maryland and Illinois.
All three recruiting services rank Berger as a four-star prospect, though Scout likes him more than Rivals and 247 Sports. Scout lists him as their #2 outside linebacker in the class, and the #48 prospect overall.
Rivals has Berger as their #14 outside linebacker and the #204 player overall. 247 Sports lists him as the #22 outside linebacker, and the #246 player in their top 247.
Berger was a third-team All-Ohio selection this past season, following a year where he recorded 105 tackles, 44 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks.
"I wasn't one of those kids who grew up dreaming of going to Ohio State," Berger told the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Monday. "I grew up just dreaming of getting a college scholarship. I didn't care where, I just wanted to play college football."
Urban Meyer now has five Ohioans in his 2014 class, which currently numbers seven prospects.
Meyer is still looking to land another linebacker or three, most notably top prospects Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, GA), Dante Booker (Akron, OH) and Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, IL).
Recent commitment Sam Hubbard may very well end up at linebacker as well. He is such a fantastic athlete that he could also end up on the offensive side of the ball.
Ohio State also recently extended an offer to Pennsylvania linebacker Chase Winovich, who also has offers from Florida State, Pitt, Miami (FL) and Virginia Tech.
With the Ohio State Spring Game on Saturday, this may not be the last verbal commitment for the Buckeyes this week.
Class of 2014
Marcelys Jones OG (6-5 325) Glenville (Cleveland, OH)
Damon Webb CB (5-11 180) Cass Tech (Detroit, MI)
Kyle Trout OT (6-6 285) Lancaster (Lancaster, OH)
Parris Campbell RB (6-0 179) St Vincent-St Mary (Akron, OH)
Dylan Thompson DE (6-5 270) Montini Catholic (Lombard, IL)
Sam Hubbard ATH (6-6 225) Moeller (Cincinnati, OH)
Kyle Berger OLB (6-3 205) St. Ignatius (Cleveland, OH)
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