COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buckeyes lost a commitment this week when Jacksonville safety Ben Edwards flipped to Auburn, leaving Ohio State with just two 2015 commitments and shy one safety.
Sunday Recruiting Rundown — April 20
By Tony Gerdeman
The Buckeye roster is currently young and fruitful at safety, but Urban Meyer will still attempt to replace the loss of Edwards. As he has shown in his first three recruiting classes at Ohio State, he is pretty adept at replacing decommitments with recruits ranked as high, or higher, than the player he loses.
With that in mind, let's take a look at a few safeties on the OSU board with whom the Buckeyes have a legitimate shot at landing.
The first is Kendrell McFadden (6-3 193) out of Hollywood, Florida. McFadden is the #13 safety in the nation per the 247Composite, but is currently committed to West Virginia. He has offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Florida State, Florida, LSU, and Texas A&M as well.
He is still planning on making other visits, and was reportedly visiting Auburn this weekend. He has Ohio State in his top three, behind WVU and Auburn. The Buckeyes need to get him on campus if they want a real shot at him, however.
Another player to watch is Brian Cole (6-2 190) out of Saginaw, Michigan. Cole is the #1 athlete in the nation per 247Sports, and could end up on offense or defense. While most consider this an in-state battle between Michigan State and Michigan, the Buckeyes have made an impression on the entire Cole family during a recent visit.
In fact, OSU cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs was in Saginaw last week, as well as other portions of the state. The Buckeyes would love to land Cole, and if he does end up on defense, he would go a long way in making up for the loss of Edwards.
A third safety to watch is Rashad Roundtree (6-1 195), from Evans, Georgia. Roundtree is rated the #1 safety in the nation per Rivals. He is a bit of a long shot, but has said that he plans on making Ohio State one of his official visits.
More names are out there, and more will emerge, including some possible in-state names following OSU's summer camps. If they do not land a safety, there is still the possibility of sliding a cornerback over, which is what they have done with both Tyvis Powell and Cameron Burrows.
Former cornerbacks can very easily fit what the Buckeyes want to do with their free safeties, considering their man coverage duties on many snaps.
Five-Star Linebacker Enjoys His OSU Visit
Ricky DeBerry (6-2 245), the #3 OLB in the nation per Scout, spent Thursday and Friday visiting Ohio State, and had quite a good time if his Twitter account is to be believed.
Braxton Miller (L) and Ricky DeBerry (R)
DeBerry is from Richmond, Virginia and is being recruiting by both defensive line coach Larry Johnson and receivers coach Zach Smith. He has had a relationship with Johnson since the DL coach was still at Penn State.
The Buckeyes have had some success in the state of Virginia over the years, and it's definitely one of their target states in the 2015 cycle.
DeBerry has one of the more impressive offer lists in the nation with Ohio State, Alabama, USC, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, LSU, Florida, Penn State and many others all vying for his signature.
Following his visit he tweeted, "Just ended my visit at Ohio State. It was great!!! I will be back."
The Buckeyes hold a slight lead for DeBerry's services per 247Sports' Crystal Ball feature.
Yes Virginia, There is More From Virginia
Ricky DeBerry wasn't the only Virginian visiting Ohio State this past week, as offensive tackle Matthew Burrell (6-6 290) was also taking in the Buckeye sights and sites.
Burrell is from Woodbridge, Virginia and is the #6 tackle in the nation per ESPN. He holds offers from OSU, Alabama, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and many, many others.
Like DeBerry, he enjoyed his visit and shared much of it via Twitter.
and Mathew Burrell
Some consider the Buckeyes a leader for Burrell, but he has not come out with a cut-down list just yet. Expect Ohio State to be in it for a long while, however.
Tight end Chris Clark (6-6 247) from Avon, Connecticut was visiting this weekend as well, getting to Columbus one day after a visit to the University Michigan.
Clark is the #2 tight end in the nation per Scout and is a recent North Carolina decommitment. As of now, this looks like a race between Ohio State and Michigan.
Like Ricky DeBerry and Matthew Burrell before him, Clark displayed portions of his visit via social media, tweeting that "there is no doubt" that he wants to go to the same school as Burrell.
( L - R) Chris Clark, Urban Meyer, Mathew Burrell
Clark has offers from all of the major programs, including Ohio State, Michigan, Auburn, Alabama, Notre Dame and Georgia. The Buckeyes are looking to take two tight ends in the 2015 class, and landing Clark would get them on their way to an ideal haul.
Another tight end to watch is the recently-offered Miles Boykin (6-4 212) out of New Lenox, IL. Boykin is the #10 receiver in the nation per Rivals, but many schools are looking at him as a flex tight end.
With the Buckeyes wanting two tight ends, Clark and Boykin would more than fit the bill.
Cincinnati Moeller defensive tackle Elijah Taylor (6-3 285) was on Ohio State's campus again last week as he looks to find a committable home sometime this summer. Right now it looks like Notre Dame may have an edge. Taylor has offers from OSU, the Irish, Michigan State and Tennessee.
Robert Washington (5-10 205) is a 2016 running back prospect out of Huntersville, North Carolina, and he earned an Ohio State offer while on a visit early last week. He has plans to make it back for OSU's Friday Night Lights in July per Scout.com. He has offers from Ohio State, Tennessee, Wisconsin and UCLA.
Another 2016 prospect earning an offer on a visit was offensive lineman Ben Bredeson (6-4 255) out of Hartland, Wisconsin. Bredeson is currently ranked the #7 offensive tackle in the 2016 class per 247Sports. He also holds offers from Wisconsin, Michigan and Tennessee. The Buckeyes should be in this one for a while.
While speaking of safeties at the outset, Oklahoma City's Will Sunderland (6-3 187) probably could have merited a mention, as the Buckeyes offered him last week. However, he is looking like an in-state battle between the Sooners and the Cowboys. If he makes a trip to Columbus, then the Buckeyes' chances of landing him can be re-evaluated.
Five-star dual threat quarterback Torrance Gibson (6-4 205) from Fort Lauderdale, Florida tweeted last week that there was an 85% chance that he would be going to college out of state.
Of course, all that means mathematically is that the Miami Hurricanes are in his top six, which isn't exactly news.
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