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Last updated: 01/17/2014 2:13 AM
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Football
Revisiting the 2014 Ohio State Commitments from Ohio – Defense
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — We have already looked at the four 2014 commitments from Ohio on offense, so now we'll move to the other side of the ball and get John McCallister's thoughts on the four defensive commitments heading to Ohio State.

The back seven has been an area of major concern the last two seasons for the Buckeyes, and based solely on the in-state prospects, Urban Meyer is addressing that concern with both barrels. All four players listed below are some of the highest-ranked players at their position in the nation. With a renewed desire for aggression on defense, the talent that the Buckeyes will land from Ohio in 2014 should fit in just fine with the new mindset.

Dante Booker (LB Akron St. Vincent – St. Mary, 6-3 212)
“I think he's improved over the last year. He's big and he's athletic and he runs really well. He is explosive, and he's able to get to the outside. Honestly, though, I would love to see him put his hand down and come off of the edge because he has really good quickness and burst and closes well. I think he will get bigger and more athletic. He'll be okay.”

Kyle Berger (LB Cleveland St. Ignatius, 6-3 215)
“He's a downhill guy who can play in space, but not playing this year is really going to hurt him. He's a really athletic linebacker who can run. I don't know that he'll be able to help this year, but he'll get there. He's a physical player who has good hips. He's able to get through blocks and he is an explosive closer.”

Erick Smith (DB Cleveland Glenville, 6-1 185)
“I think he's the best player in Ohio. He brings toughness and he really wants to win. He's a little ornery at times, but he's the kind of guy – I compare him to Donte Whitner or Teddy Ginn Jr. when I talk to college guys about him. I'm an Erick Smith guy. What I would do is work him at cornerback as much as possible because he's big, and then he could also slide over and play either safety spot. He closes well on the ball carrier and he finishes tackles. He's just physical. He's a good player, and I've been telling everybody that for a long time now.”

Sam Hubbard (LB Cincinnati Moeller, 6-5 225)
“I like Sam Hubbard on defense, but he's really athletic, and if you were to put him over on the offensive side of the ball as a receiver, I think that he could be really good. Everybody talks about defense with him, and he can't play free safety because he's so big, but if you would put him on offense, I think he could be a really good slot-type of receiver because of how big he is and how well he runs. He's just a little bit stiff in the hips. He's just a football player, and he'll get better. If he stays on defense, I think he could be a linebacker or move down to defensive end at times and do they hybrid thing. I think he'll be able to do both. He can really come off of the edge. He changes directions well, and he reads plays well. He's explosive.”

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