Initial 2014 'Rivals 100' Loaded With Buckeye Targets
By Tony Gerdeman
Rivals has released their initial 'Rivals 100' for the 2014 recruiting class. While Damon Webb is currently the only Buckeye commit on the list, Ohio State's name certainly dots the landscape when it comes to interest.
Urban Meyer and his staff currently have offers out to a good portion of this list, as they are targeting the best that the nation has to offer. (Yes, they are still recruiting Ohio, and they always will, so please stop worrying about it.)
To give you an idea of the type of talent that the OSU staff is working on, listed below by their overall rating is the majority of the prospects in the 'Rivals 100' that Ohio State is targeting.
#1 Da'Shawn Hand (6-4 245), DE (Woodbridge, VA) Has tweeted his top five recently, which included Michigan and did not include Ohio State. He then added that the Buckeyes were number six. Don't expect Meyer and company to be deterred just yet, though he is certainly a long shot.
#2 Jabrill Peppers (6-1 210), ATH (Paramus, NJ) Rivals lists him as a defensive back, but he can play virtually anywhere that requires speed and athleticism. Ohio State and Stanford are his top two right now per 247 Sports.
#4 Quin Blanding (6-2 196), S (Virginia Beach, VA) Blanding is one of the top safeties in the nation, so the Buckeyes are certainly interested. It will be a difficult pull, however.
#6 Andrew Brown (6-4 292), DT (Chesapeake, VA) Brown is the third Virginia high school player in Rivals' top six, if that gives you any kind of indication of the talent level in the state right now. On Sunday he tweeted his top ten in this order (which was in no order): Ohio State, Michigan, Virginia Tech, Virginia, North Carolina, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Alabama and Georgia Tech.
#9 Lorenzo Carter (6-5 221), DE (Norcross, GA) Carter has an Ohio State offer, but he's going to be a difficult pull. The only reason he's listed here is because he's from Georgia and the Buckeye coaches are going to be in the Peach State quite a bit over the next year.
#11 Deshaun Watson (6-4 195), QB (Gainesville, GA) Watson is Rivals' top-rated quarterback. He is currently committed to Clemson, but has Ohio State as his number two. If Tigers offensive coordinator Chad Morris was to leave for a head coaching gig, the Buckeyes would have to love their chances here. Currently, Watson is the only quarterback Ohio State has offered.
#12 Elijah Hood (6-0 212), ATH (Charlotte, NC) Hood is a tremendous running back, though Rivals lists him as an athlete. If Meyer really, really wants Hood, don't be surprised to see him get the Everett Withers full-court press. It still won't be easy.
#13 Tony Brown (6-0 182), CB (Beaumont, TX) This might be a long shot for the Buckeyes, but when you team up Tom Herman and Kerry Coombs, they have the ability to form a recruiting Voltron.
#15 Jalen Hurd (6-3 210), RB (Hendersonville, TN) Hurd destroyed the competition last season, rushing for over 3,000 yards, and will likely do it again this year. The Buckeyes are squarely in the mix here.
#16 Raekwon McMillan (6-3 235) LB (Hinesville, GA) McMillan is Rivals' top-ranked linebacker, and he has said on numerous occasions that Ohio State is his clear leader.
#21 Malik McDowell (6-6 292) DL (Detroit, MI) McDowell is one of four Michigan prospects with Ohio State offers, and so far the Buckeyes have received commitments from two of them. McDowell would be the biggest get, both figuratively and literally.
#27 Jalen Tabor (6-0 181) CB (Washington, DC) Tabor has been a top prospect for a couple of years now, so everybody knows about him. Ohio State is in the mix, but there is a long way to go.
#28 Solomon Thomas (6-3 263) DE (Coppel, TX) It's doubtful that any other school can offer the same history of defensive ends named Solomon Thomas that Ohio State can.
#31 Damian Prince (6-7 310) OL (Forestville, MD) Prince is one of the top tackle prospects in the nation. He attended an Ohio State camp last summer, and with the Buckeyes' focus on the offensive line, expect them to keep working hard on this one.
#32 Damon Webb (6-0 175) CB (Detroit, MI) Webb is the only Buckeye commit on this list for now. You can safely assume that this will eventually change.
#39 Elisha Shaw (6-6 299) DL (Atlanta, GA) The Buckeyes have offered him, but they've offered just about everybody over 6-4 and 270 pounds.
#41 Marshon Lattimore (6-0 185) ATH (Cleveland, OH) Most everybody expects this Glenville athlete to eventually become a Buckeye. He is most likely Ohio's top prospect.
#47 Montae Nicholson (6-2 200) ATH (Monroeville, PA) Nicholson grew up a Buckeye fan, which could give Ohio State some type of edge here. He is being looked at as a safety. The Buckeyes will also be battling the likes of Michigan, Florida State and Stanford.
#49 Tyler Luatua (6-4 230) ATH (La Mirada, CA) Rivals lists Luatua as an athlete, but he is one of the top tight ends in the nation. Ohio State pulled in a California tight end in the 2013 class, though this one will likely prove much more difficult.
#53 Clifton Garrett (6-3 220) LB (Joliet, IL) The Buckeyes are squarely in the mix for Garrett, who has performed well at every camp and combine he has attended. Most consider Ohio State the favorite here.
#55 Alex Bars (6-6 290) OL (Nashville, TN) Bars has a brother at Michigan and another brother at Penn State. It would seem only fitting that his parents have to learn to love a third Big Ten team, right?
#56 Drake Harris (6-4 180) WR (Grand Rapids, MI) Harris committed to Michigan State to play both basketball and football, but has since decided to just play football. Because of that, he has re-opened his recruitment, though he is still committed to MSU. Kerry Coombs will be in Grand Rapids so often that by the time he is done, the rapids will have been smoothed over and the city renamed "Lazy River".
#58 Dillon Bates (6-3 218) LB (Ponte Verde, FL) Bates is a combine warrior, and is also the son of former Dallas Cowboy Bill Bates, so not only does he have the bloodlines, but he has the athleticism as well.
#59 Todd Kelly (6-1 190) DB (Knoxville, TN) Kelly is certainly interested in Ohio State, and the Buckeyes are interested in him. Though getting a kid out of Knoxville seems like an uphill battle, especially with the Vols' new energy.
#67 Demarre Kitt (6-1 195) WR (Tyrone, GA) Kitt is one of the caboodle of Georgians who all talk about attending Ohio State together. Currently, he has Clemson and Ohio State as his leaders, and you would have to think the Buckeyes would move up if Chad Morris lands a head coaching job after this coming season.
#70 Nyles Morgan (6-2 220) LB (Crete, IL) Even though Ohio State has to feel good with where they stand with certain linebackers, they can't rest on any laurels, and have to continue recruiting several more. Morgan has offers from everyone in the midwest, as well as a few SEC schools.
#72 Josh Malone (6-5 187) WR (Gallatin, TN) Another Tennessean on this list for the Buckeyes. Malone was fantastic at the Army All-American Junior Combine. Ohio State has offered, as has just about every other team in the nation.
#85 Andrew Williams (6-4 245) DE (McDonough, GA) Williams has a tremendous offer list, which will make this an almost impossible task for the OSU staff. Once they get him on campus, however, anything can happen.
#87 Mark Andrews (6-6 225) WR/TE (Scottsdale, AZ) Depending on how the tight ends look on the field in 2013 for the Buckeyes, Ohio State could have their pick of the litter. Expect Andrews to be on their short list for a while.
#88 Demetrius Knox (6-5 300) OL (Fort Worth, TX) Knox is committed to Texas, but has mentioned a desire to visit Ohio State in the future. It would be rude of the Buckeye coaches not to fulfill that desire.
#93 Artavis Scott (5-11 180) WR (Tarpon Springs, FL) Scott performed well at both receiver and cornerback last summer at Ohio State's Friday Night Lights. If you like swagger in your receivers, you'd love Scott.
#94 Jamarco Jones (6-5 285) OT (Chicago, IL) Jones just visited Ohio State this weekend, and managed to leave without committing to the Buckeyes. It may be just a matter of time, however.
#95 Nick Chubb (5-10 208) RB (Cedartown, GA) Another of the Georgia contingent with interest in the Buckeyes.
#99 Dante Booker (6-3 210) LB (Akron, OH) Booker is a teammate of current OSU commit Parris Campbell. It should only be a matter of time before Booker joins Campbell in this recruiting class.
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