OSU at Top for Three of Nation's Top 2016 Quarterbacks?
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — They say it's lonely at the top, but when it comes to recruiting, that's just the type of solitude that a college football coach can revel in.
For Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes, being at the top of recruiting lists is exactly where they want to be, and when talking about a certain trio of top 2016 quarterbacks, that is precisely where they are.
Despite only just finishing up their sophomore years of high school, each of Malik Henry, Jawon Pass and Dwayne Haskins has been targeted by the Ohio State coaches, and all have received offers. The better news for OSU is that each has reciprocated interest, though there may be a few disagreements in how strong those interests are.
For instance, Malik Henry, the nation's #1 quarterback per Scout and the #4 player overall per 247Sports recently told Rivals.com that the Buckeyes led for his service. He then soon tweeted that he didn't have any leaders.
At the same time, Jawon Pass, the nation's #1 dual-threat quarterback per 247Sports told 247 that Notre Dame and Ohio State are tied at the top for him. He did not later tweet a retraction.
Then there is also Dwayne Haskins, the #3 pro-style quarterback in the nation per 247Sports. While he hasn't declared Ohio State his leader, anybody who follows recruiting will tell you that no school is in a better position than OSU is right now.
Of course, "right" and "now" are the key words here. Henry (6-3 180) plays for Westlake in Thousand Oaks, California, so Columbus is a long way from home for him. That being said, he attended the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in Michigan recently, so traveling doesn't seem to be a problem with him.
He had apparently declared Ohio State as his leader even prior to visiting Columbus, and after visiting last week, the Buckeyes were reportedly still at the top for him. At least until he tweeted that he had no leaders.
While he is listed as a "pro-style" quarterback, Henry is definitely athletic enough to escape and make plays, but he chooses to make those plays with his arm more often than not. He would compare favorably to former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in that regard.
Pass (6-5 225) plays at Carver High School in Columbus, Georgia, and he recently blew everybody away at an Ohio State camp. The Buckeyes had offered him before he arrived, but nothing that he did while on campus made the coaches question their decision.
Pass threw for nearly 2,200 yards last season, with 23 touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran for over 400 yards and 11 touchdowns.
As far as comparisons go, he is reminiscent of current Buckeye quarterback Cardale Jones, but probably more advanced at the same stage.
Then there is Haskins (6-2 185), from The Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland. Of the 17 "Crystal Ball" predictions from various recruiting analysts on 247Sports, all 17 of them have Haskins choosing Ohio State.
With offers from OSU, Florida State, Clemson, Michigan, Notre Dame and the like, Haskins obviously has his pick of places to play, though the Buckeyes seem to be out in front.
Like Henry, Haskins can certainly run, but he also prefers to distribute the ball through the air. If you want a comparison, maybe look toward Meyer's first quarterback at Florida -- Chris Leak. While Leak could run -- and was asked to run -- he was definitely a passer first.
It should be reiterated that it is still a very long way until February of 2015, and the Buckeyes have been in good positions with top players this early before.
Even six months ago, most thought they were in the lead for 2015 five-star quarterback Torrance Gibson, but that ship appears to have sailed south quite emphatically.
Which quarterback would the coaches prefer? Probably the one who would commit first and not back out. Who will that be and when will that be, that's still way up in the air.
Still, Ohio State is in an enviable situation at the game's most important position. Even if they only bat .333, Meyer and Tom Herman will happily take it. In fact, that's all they're shooting for.
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