Ohio State’s recruiting class grew by one last night when Stockbridge, Georgia’s Brenton Cox gave his verbal pledge to the Buckeyes. Cox picked Ohio State over the in-state Georgia Bulldogs after visiting both programs over the past few weeks. After seemingly being a Georgia lock for so long, a trip to Ohio State for the Spring Game put the Buckeyes over the top, as Larry Johnson and Urban Meyer were able to beat out Kirby Smart for this talented defensive end.
What kind of impact will Cox’s commitment have on Ohio State now and going forward? Let’s take a look.
Cox is a 6-foot-5 250-pound strongside defensive end from Stockbridge, Georgia. He is ranked as the No. 2 SDE in the class of 2018, and is the No. 7 prospect from the state of Georgia. He, along with the rest of the OSU’s 2018 commits, all rank inside the 247Sports composite Top 100 players in the nation.
With 25 offers on the table, at one point this felt like a done deal to Georgia. It seemed like his family wanted him to stay close to home, however the lure of Ohio State was too much. The Buckeyes were always in the picture, especially with in-state pal Emory Jones pushing for him to visit Columbus. Jones’ wish came true two weeks ago when Cox made his way north to campus for the Spring Game. From there, Larry Johnson took over, and the next member of the Rushmen family was added.
The comparison I am about to make might make you shudder, but just remember how good he was in college before you rush to judgement. Cox reminds me a lot of Vernon Gholston while he was with the Buckeyes. In Gholston’s sophomore and junior seasons he was a force to be reckoned with off the edge, racking up 22.5 sacks along with 86 total tackles. He was such a force that he shot up the draft boards and was taken No. 6 overall by the New York Jets in 2008. We will end the comparison there, as the NFL career of Gholston leaves little to talk about.
I see the same type of player out of Brenton Cox that I saw while watching Gholston in college. He has the speed and agility to get off the ball early and get in the backfield quickly. He is a nightmare for high school offenses right now, and while the college game is a bit more challenging, I think he is up to the task. You can only hope that Cox has a similar college career to Gholston, yet unlike Vernon he goes on to have a long and prosperous NFL career as well.
Ohio State is recruiting defensive linemen much like they did defensive backs last year, and that should be worrisome for opposing offenses in the future. Along with 5-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent this year, and Chase Young, Jerron Cage and Haskell Garrett last year, the star power that Ohio State is putting together is quite impressive.
The Buckeyes don’t look to be done at the defensive end position either, as they are at or near the top for the likes of 5-star Micah Parsons and 4-star Tyreke Smith. Parsons recently decommitted from Penn State and has been a frequent visitor to Ohio State, while Smith is taking the recruiting process slowly but seems destined to end up in Columbus.
The Depth Chart
The Buckeyes defensive ends will take a serious hit next year when seniors Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Holmes depart, along with probable NFL early entrant Sam Hubbard. Thus it is important that the Buckeyes continue to bring in top-level talent to replace these future NFL stars. Coach Larry Johnson has created a culture at Ohio State that is developing players for the next level, as we have seen the likes of Joey Bosa, John Simon, Michael Bennett, and Adolphus Washington all get drafted to the NFL.
It will certainly be fun to watch a possible defensive line of Chase Young, Taron Vincent, Haskell Garrett, and Brenton Cox, along with possibly Micah Parsons and others, wreak havoc on opposing offenses for a few years.
While the future looks bright at Ohio State with the additions of all of these talented athletes, the rest of the Big Ten is probably wondering what they can do to keep up at this point. Outside of Michigan and Penn State, the rest of the Big Ten isn’t recruiting anywhere near where the Buckeyes are at this point, and that should have them worried.
As for the play on the field, if the four guys listed above are all on the field at the same time, along with Micah Parsons and Tyreke Smith, then buckle in for some high-intensity defensive football for the next three to four years. Along with the defensive back class of 2017, the defensive front of 2018 could be just as impressive when it is all said and done, and it will make Ohio State a championship contender for years to come.