Nation's Top Linebacker Commits to Ohio State
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Five-star linebacker Justin Hilliard (6-2 230) from Cincinnati St. Xavier committed to Ohio State Wednesday morning during a ceremony at his high school.
Hilliard, the nation's top 2015 linebacker according to both ESPN and 247Sports, chose the Buckeyes over Notre Dame, Iowa, Michigan and Alabama.
Both 247Sports and ESPN project him as an inside linebacker, while Scout and Rivals see him as an outside linebacker. Regardless, all four services rate him as the top player at his position.
Justin Hilliard and Raekwon McMillan
If a college football program can only achieve their goals by landing the state's best players, then Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes are on the right rack with Wednesday's commitment of Hilliard
A couple of months ago it may have looked like Ohio State was running second to Notre Dame in this battle, but on Wednesday he left no doubt about his desire to play for the Buckeyes. He cited his closeness with current Buckeyes Raekwon McMillan and Sam Hubbard, as well as his desire to stay in-state and win a National Championship with OSU.
Hilliard is being recruited as a Will linebacker for Ohio State, which is the position that junior Joshua Perry will play this season
Hilliard's commitment came just minutes before five-star defensive end Jashon Cornell's commitment to OSU. Following the coordinated ceremonies, Hilliard said that both he and Cornell will be recruiting five-star running back Damien Harris when they all attend Nike's The Opening this month.
Playing in just seven regular season games last season as a junior, Hilliard tallied 76 tackles in those games, with seven for loss and four sacks.
The commitments of Cornell and Hilliard mark the first time in the Rivals and Scout Era (since 2002) that the Buckeyes have landed two commitments from five-star prospects on the same day.
2015 Ohio State Recruiting Class
ATH Eric Glover-Williams (5-11 165) Canton McKinley
CB Jamel Dean (6-1 180) Cocoa (Cocoa, FL)
QB Joey Burrow (6-4 205) Athens (The Plains, OH)
DB Tyler Green (6-3 195) DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD)
OL Grant Schmidt (6-6 275) Roosevelt (Sioux Falls, SD)
LS Liam McCullough (6-3 230) Worthington Kilbourne
LB Nick Conner (6-3 225) Dublin Scioto (Dublin, OH)
DE Dre'Mont Jones (6-5 250) Cleveland St. Ignatius
CB Denzel Ward (5-11 170) Macedonia Nordonia
OT Kevin Feder (6-9 305) Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, NJ)
LB Justin Hilliard (6-2 230) Cincinnati St. Xavier
DE Jashon Cornell (6-3 265) Cretin-Hall Derham (St.Paul, MN)
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