Ohio State's 2015 Recruiting Needs — Offense
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buckeyes will be losing 12 seniors following the 2014 season, and will finally be freed of their NCAA penalty of being allowed just 82 scholarship players. As such, they will have room for the full 85 scholarship players in 2015, which means there will be room for at least 15 signees in the 2015 recruiting class.
Urban Meyer with RB prospect Damien Harris
Photo by Jim Davidson
That number will grow, however, through various bouts with attrition, be it through transfers or disciplinary action. The roster as it stands now won't be the roster that Ohio State releases in the spring, and the roster in the spring won't be the same roster that Ohio State releases in the summer. Things will change, they always do.
There is also the possibility for a junior or two to leave early, depending on their performances this coming season. It wouldn't be a stretch to think that Ohio State will be able to get to 20 in the 2015 recruiting class. In fact, let's go ahead and use that as a nice round number for the Buckeyes to target.
First, we'll start on the offensive side of the football.
Urban Meyer would prefer to bring in a quarterback in every single recruiting class. With the Buckeyes losing Braxton Miller after the 2014 season, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Ohio State sign a pair of signal callers in the 2015 class.
The Buckeyes have already offered a half dozen or so 2015 quarterbacks. Most notably among them is five-star Torrance Gibson (Plantation, FL). While many consider OSU the front runner, a commitment from Gibson could lead to other interested quarterbacks looking elsewhere.
Aside from Gibson, the two QBs most tied to Ohio State right now are Brandon Wimbush (Jersey City, NJ), who is ESPN's #5 dual threat quarterback, and Lorenzo Nunez (Kennesaw, GA), who is 247's #7 dual threat quarterback. Wimbush is planning on making his decision fairly soon.
Running Back (1-2)
Running Back prospect Damien Harris
Photo by Jim Davidson
Barring any transfers, the Buckeyes will only be losing Rod Smith following the 2014 season. Still, with the number of different ways OSU uses running backs, they could set out to land a few of them in 2015. As far as true running backs, however, they will only need to land one, unless they have a transfer.
Ohio State has offered nearly 20 running backs, but it's doubtful that every one of those offers is committable. The top two names to watch would be Damien Harris (Berea, KY) and Sotonye Jamabo (Plano, TX). If OSU could land one of these two, they would probably shut things down and close up shop. Harris would seem to be the easier pull than Jamabo.
Wide Receiver (2-3)
OSU will need to replace Devin Smith and Evan Spencer in 2015, so you can expect at least two receivers to be signed. With the influx of receivers over the 2013 and 2014 recruiting class, the coaches may be okay with just replacing the two losses. Given their greedy nature when it comes to playmakers, however, don't be surprised if they go for a pair and a spare.
The Buckeyes currently have one player committed who could be considered a receiver in Eric Glover-Williams (Canton, OH), albeit of the slot variety. The Buckeyes need to target some taller outside receivers, and have done that to this point.
Perhaps the number one target would be former Michigan commit George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, FL). He is one of the fastest players in the nation, and one that Ohio State would love to land. Another is 6-foot-5 Devante Peete (Fort Lauderdale, FL), who attends St. Thomas Aquinas, which is the same school that OSU defensive end Joey Bosa attended. Both Campbell and Peete have offers from all of the big-time programs.
Tight Ends (1)
The Buckeyes will be losing Jeff Heuerman and J.T. Moore after this coming season, so they will need to sign at least one tight end. They made it through with just three tight ends last season as Marcus Baugh redshirted, so they should be able to do the same in 2015.
Currently, Ohio State is very interested in Chris Clark (Avon, CT), who is likely their top tight end prospect. Clark will be visiting the Buckeyes in the spring. If Clark moves on, expect Ohio State to turn their attention to Ohioan C.J. Conrad (LaGrange, OH). Conrad does not yet have an Ohio State offer. He is the #6 tight end in the nation per Scout.
Offensive Line (3)
As long as nobody leaves early or transfers, Ohio State will only need to replace Darryl Baldwin on the offensive line in 2015. However, that doesn't mean Urban Meyer will only be looking to take one lineman. They still have to increase the talent level on the depth chart. OSU wants 16 offensive lineman, so they'll need at least two more to get to that number on scholarship. It wouldn't be a surprise to see them go out and get three offensive linemen next February.
One of the top names on Ohio State's board is Steven Gonzalez (Union City, NJ), who is the #3 offensive guard in the nation according to 247Sports. He is also an OSU lean. Drew Richmond (Memphis, TN) is one of the top tackles in the nation, and he has offers from most of the SEC. Ohio State is working him very hard. The Buckeyes have also offered James Daniels (Warren, OH), a center prospect and Buckeye legacy ( son of former OSU offensive lineman Leshun Daniels).
That's between 9 and 11 players on offense for 20 slots overall.
Up next: Defense.
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