Offensive line talent in future classes

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Last updated: 06/09/2014 0:46 AM
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Football
Scouting the Plethora of In-State Offensive Line Talent for 2016 and 2017
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Having talked to John McCallister of the McCallister Scouting Report recently about Buckeye quarterback commit Joey Burrow, I also asked him about a few of the notable 2016 and 2017 prospects out there.

While 2015 may have been a bit of a down year, there are quite a few prospects in the 2016 class to keep an eye on, and according to McCallister not all of the names are out there yet.

The highest-profile names right now belong to the offensive linemen, and those names also hold half of the in-state offers that Ohio State has already sent out.

To this point, Urban Meyer has offered three 2016 in-state offensive linemen in Tommy Kraemer (Cincinnati Elder), Liam Eichenberg (Cleveland St. Ignatius) and Tyler Gerald (Portsmouth Sciotoville). Kraemer and Eichenberg are already five-star prospects according to the 247Sports Composite, while Gerald remains unranked.

Gerald (6-5 300) may be unranked for now, but that will soon change. He already has offers from Ohio State and Virginia Tech, and McCallister likes what the small-school lineman can do as an athlete.

"I've seen him play basketball and for only playing for a couple of years, he has picked up the sport pretty well. He's a hard worker and a tough kid, a big kid. He runs well but his quickness is impressive. On the basketball court he uses his body well and shows good balance. On the football field, he still needs to continue to work on his pass blocking, but that's the norm. He is explosive and bends well, which helps him to get out quickly and lead block."

Kraemer (6-5 305), meanwhile, is ranked the #8 tackle in the nation per the 247Sports Composite. He holds offers from Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State and Tennessee so far. Those offers will increase over the coming months.

Tommy Kraemer
Tommy Kraemer

"He is going to have to keep getting better," McCallister said of Kraemer.

"He'll have to run better and things like that. I guess everybody is rating him the #1 offensive lineman in the class, but I don't know that. I think there are some other ones out there.

"Watching him on the basketball court, he showed strength and carried himself well. He runs well enough, but he gets up and down the court. I think he needs to continue getting quicker, but he has solid feet and competes. He needs to be a better knee bender as well."

The third of the group, Eichenberg (6-5 275), is also the most notable. He is rated the #3 tackle and the #7 player overall in the 2016 class per the 247Sports Composite.

Ohio State offered him as a freshman, and schools like Florida State, Miami and Notre Dame have followed suit.

"After watching him play last season, I can see why Ohio State offered when they did. He plays left tackle for St. Ignatius, but he's athletic enough to play several positions on the offensive line. He has long arms and a long frame, he's still growing. He runs really well and he finishes his blocks. He has good hips and he's a very good bender. I've seen him run up and down the basketball court with ease. He has unlimited potential."

So what is it with watching offensive linemen play basketball all the time?

"I like to watch them move their feet in basketball, run the court, catch and throw, things like that," McCallister said. 

"And then see how tough they are. I've watched games where linemen get one foul in a half, and that scares me. You should get at least one for just letting them know who you are. There's a lot of things to look at, but those are some of the things that I look at for linemen. That's why I really liked the kid down at Ohio State now, the kid from Lancaster (Kyle Trout)."

Another lineman to watch will be Gavin Cupp (6-6 280), out of tiny Leipsic, Ohio. Cupp holds offers from nearby Toledo and Bowling Green, and will be camping at Ohio State this summer. Whether or not he is OSU caliber is still evolving, but he'll end up somewhere, which is pretty impressive for a kid from a town that's really only known for its dairy bar.

"He's an up and coming guy," McCallister said.

"I think he's gonna be in the mix, but I don't know if he's an Ohio State guy or not. I haven't seen him in camp or anything, so I don't know. But any time you're that big and you're a catcher on the baseball team, you've got something going on. His dad has really taught him well. He's a long snapper too. His dad told him to make himself as valuable as he can be."

There's even a 2017 offensive lineman who already has an offer -- Miamisburg's Josh Myers (6-5 275). Myers also has offers from Michigan, Florida and Tennessee. After talking to McCallister about the 2016 kids, I asked him about Myers.

"He's the real deal," McCallister said.

"He's probably, potentially, as good as anybody you've talked about. Josh is going to be a really good player. He's a great kid. He's gotten a little taller. He can run, he can move, he's got a good frame. He's got a lot of potential. I don't want to say anymore. He's pretty decent."

And yes, he plays basketball too.

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