McMillan Commit could be big for Buckeyes

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Last updated: 12/16/2013 0:50 AM
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Football Recruiting
Raekwon McMillan Set to Decide, Could Kickstart Strong Close for OSU
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer has a history of closing strong on the recruiting trail, and Monday could be the start of more of the same for the Buckeye head coach. Raekwon McMillan, the nation's #1 2014 middle linebacker per Rivals, 247 Sports and ESPN, will be making his college choice Monday on the NBC Sports Network's mid-day show “Sports Dash”.

Scheduled to make his decision around 12:30 pm, the 6-foot-2 241-pound five-star linebacker out of Hinesville, Georgia will be deciding between Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, Auburn and Georgia. McMillan is planning on being an early enrollee, so whichever school lands him will be receiving him relatively soon, and the impact that he has could be almost as immediate.

For the Buckeyes, a commitment from McMillan would come at a position of need. Meyer lamented the lack of depth at linebacker this past season, though part of that was his own doing with the redshirting of Mike Mitchell. Depth is always a good thing, and McMillan would certainly provide that.

There is also the small matter that McMillan has been an Ohio State lean for a very long time now, and if they were to lose him at the last minute, it would be a loss in more ways than one. First it would be a hit to next year's depth, and second it would be a hit to the pride of a coaching staff who surely felt good about their chances heading into Monday's decision.

One good thing for the Buckeye coaches is that they were the last ones to see McMillan, as several of them – including Meyer – spent Sunday visiting with the linebacker and his family. In recruiting, the last visit tends to carry a little more weight, be it a coach's visit or an official visit.

The Buckeyes haven't had a commitment in the 2014 class since receiver Noah Brown back in early September, and now that the regular season is over, this is when business tends to pick up. From this point last year until signing day, Ohio State landed commitments from five-stars Mike Mitchell and Vonn Bell, as well as four-star high school All-Americans Trey Johnson and Dontre Wilson.

The Buckeyes landed nine total commitments after the New Year last year, so that gives you an indication of the movement that can happen in the final month of the recruiting season. If McMillan gives the Buckeye coaches a verbal commitment, then the momentum that every school wants to have down the stretch will be splashing down in the middle of Columbus, Ohio.

Coincidentally, it was a commitment from a linebacker out of Georgia a year ago that started the Buckeyes' run of verbals. Central Gwinnett's Trey Johnson committed to Ohio State while he was at the Under Armour All-American Game. Two days later, Mitchell committed at the Army All-American Bowl. The Buckeyes closed about as well as they could have hoped, and this year, the plan is to do the same.

Florida receiver Johnnie Dixon (5-11 197), whom ESPN ranks as the #4 receiver in the nation, is set to commit at any time. He knows where he's going, he just hasn't made anybody else aware of his decision. Right now, things are trending Ohio State's way, but Miami is also in the picture. There is also the Glenville defensive back pair of cornerback Marshon Lattimore and safety Erick Smith, both of whom are set to announce at the Army All-American Bowl on January 6.

There are a few other prospects out there, and maybe the coaching shakeups could result in a flip or two, and it just wouldn't be a recruiting season without a pleasant surprise for the Buckeyes on signing day.

Regardless of what Raekwon McMillan ends up doing on Monday, the Buckeyes will finish well, because that's what they do. With McMillan in the fold, however, they can finish the way Urban Meyer tends to finish, which is better than just about anybody in the nation.

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