Football Recruiting

Ohio State 2018 Signing Class: Quick Thoughts, Early Notions, Dangerous Assumptions

 

Every year after signing day, I like to just give a rundown of my general thoughts on Ohio State’s recruiting class whether people want to hear it or not.

It makes me feel like a big man.

And as long as I’m talking about the guys in OSU’s class, you don’t have to read about the ones who aren’t.

We both win.

While the story of signing day was the players that Ohio State didn’t get, it doesn’t overshadow all of the guys that were signed by the Buckeyes. This was a tremendous haul of talented prospects, so don’t let the misses get you down.

Anyway, here are some quick thoughts, early notions, dangerous assumptions, and maybe some tiny pieces of insight on Ohio State’s 2018 signing class (to this point).

PlayerPos.Ht.Wt.Hometown / Last School
Kamryn BabbWR6-1189St. Louis, Mo. / CBC
Missed the season with an ACL tear. Dynamic after the catch. Strong runner. Has some Peter Warrick to his game. (FSU Warrick, not Cincinnati Bengals Warrick.)
Matthew BaldwinQB6-3195Austin, Texas / Lake Travis
The future of the position, but how soon? Ryan Day and Urban Meyer felt he was good enough to cut Emory Jones loose. Can make all of the throws and gets away from trouble. Accurate. Team-first. Leader. Plays for state title this weekend on Fox Sports Southwest Saturday at 3:00 pm central. Expected to enroll early.
Sevyn BanksCB6-1180Orlando, Fla. / Jones
Under-the-radar guy that Ohio State did not hesitate on despite an injury that cost him his junior season. Under Armour All-American. Ideal length for a corner. Fast. Has every tool. Expected to enroll early.
Cameron BrownWR6-1175St. Louis, Mo. / CBC
Teammate of Kamryn Babb. He’s fast. Like Babb, he can be used anywhere on the field. Could develop into a deep threat with his speed. Committed to Nebraska twice before signing with OSU on signing day.
Dallas GantLB6-3225Toledo, Ohio / St. John’s Jesuit
Torn a bit between Michigan and Ohio State prior to his senior season, but you see where he ended up. Army All-American. 96 tackles and 7 sacks this season. Could play any of the three linebacker spots. Maybe gets his first look at Sam. Expected to enroll early.
Jaelen GillHB6-1182Westerville, Ohio / South
If Parris Campbell ends up leaving for the NFL and K.J. Hill sticks around, that makes Jaelen Gill is the No. 3 or No. 4 H-back behind Hill, Demario McCall, and C.J. Saunders. Gill is explosive enough to play immediately, and is more nuanced as a receiver than most running backs Urban Meyer has brought in. Just needs to get stronger.
Marcus HookerSAF6-0185New Castle, Pa. / New Castle
You gotta figure the brother of Malik Hooker has to be pretty good. Marcus Hooker wasn’t just offered because he was Malik’s brother, however. Sure, the bloodlines are good, but it takes more than that. Rushed for over 1,100 yards this season. Listed as a safety by Ohio State. Tremendous athlete. Tenacious on the field and basketball court. Probably tenacious walking to the cafeteria or reaching for a library book too.
Antwuan JacksonDT6-2305Ellenwood, Ga. / Blinn J.C.
How’s the old saying go, ‘If you love something, let it go to Auburn, and if he comes back, then it was meant to be.’ Antwuan Jackson signed with Auburn over Ohio State out of high school, so he was one that got away. Urban Meyer played the long con, however, and now Jackson is a Buckeye. A First-Team All-American at Blinn Junior College, Jackson is supposed to help immediately. Quick enough to play the three-tech and stout enough to play the nose. Can he have the kind of impact as the last JUCO transfer Kendall Sheffield, or will it take some time, as it has with Malcolm Pridgeon? I’ll say Sheffield. Expected to enroll early.
Tyreke JohnsonCB6-1191Jacksonville, Fla. / TCA
Former teammate of current OSU cornerback Shaun Wade. Dynamic with the ball in his hands. Returned six of his nine career interceptions for a touchdown. Ranked as the No. 1 safety in the nation by Rivals, but will get his first look at corner. Could stay there like Jeff Okudah, or move to safety like Jordan Fuller. Either way, there are sizable expectations. Big corner with no fear of the running game. Should be seen on special teams next year. Expected to enroll early.
Matthew JonesOL6-4315Brooklyn, N.Y. / Erasmus Hall
Football is a violent sport, and based on how he plays, that’s why Matthew Jones likes it. He is a brute of an offensive lineman, but he is also mobile. He played left tackle as a junior and senior, so he’s experienced with pass blocking and being on his own against a defender. He also played center this year, which could be where he ends up. Strong hands. Can put high school defenders on their butts with a shove. Expected to enroll early.
Teradja MitchellLB6-2235Va Beach, Va. / Bishop Sull.
Impressive in pass coverage for a middle linebacker. Dropped weight over the offseason to get to a more manageable size. Senior film is quite Raekwon McMillanish. Breaks down well and tackles in open space. Can also arrive to the ball like he’s trying to break down a door.
K’Vaughan PopeLB6-2210Dinwiddie, Va. / Dinwiddie
31 tackles for loss as a junior and averaged nearly 20 yards per catch as a receiver. Plays the middle in high school, but could play either outside spot for the Buckeyes. Covers a ton of ground. Is only going to get bigger and stronger. Closes and erases.
Josh ProctorSAF6-2190Owasso, Okla. / Owasso
Quite possibly the most electric athlete in this recruiting class. Had a 100-yard interception return this season. Is an outstanding offensive player and instantly becomes a threat with the football when he intercepts it. Army All-American. Ideal center fielder in Ohio State’s defense.
Jeremy RuckertTE6-6240Lindenhurst, N.Y. / Lindenhurst
Jeremy Ruckert is the prototype at the tight end position. He’s tall and athletic. He can run. He can catch. He is already what some coaches would try to turn L’Christian Smith into. He was undefendable in 7-on-7s last summer. Urban Meyer said he may be the best tight end prospect he’s ever recruited. That’s high praise from a guy who only throws high praise around every week or so.
L’Christian SmithWR6-6205Huber Heights, Ohio / Wayne
A 6-foot-6 wide receiver is an interesting place to start with L’Christian Smith, but oh, the places he’ll go. Some question his speed and quickness, but he was plenty fast and quick this summer in 7-on-7s. He showed great hands as well. I also question his speed, but he has the size to get open in different ways as well. May take some time to learn how to get it done, however.
Brian SneadRB5-11200Seffner, Fla. / Armwood
Under Armour All-American, rushed for 1,378 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. Quiet off the field, can be loud on it. Already a strong runner, but can improve. The legs are independent of the rest of his body at times. They just keep moving. Can get out of trouble fifty different ways. Will need to be careful with that in college, however, because it usually turns into an 8-yard loss.
Master TeagueRB5-11210Murfreesboro, Tenn. / Blackman
Rushed for 709 yards in six games this season before being lost for the season due to injury. Where Brian Snead has moves on moves, Teague likes to plant his foot once and get upfield. There is a place for both in this offense. The No. 3 RB per Rivals. Ran a 4.31 at Ohio State’s summer camp. Can get upfield instantly, or can use his speed to run wide and gain the corner. Could carry 225 pounds and still be very fast. (Kind of like Ezekiel Elliott used to.)
Tommy TogiaiDT6-3290Pocatello, Idaho / Highland
Ohio State fans should be at least half as happy as Larry Johnson was to land a commitment from Tommy Togiai. There is still work to be done as Idaho isn’t Florida or Georgia or Ohio, but some players transcend state borders, and Togiai is one of them. He is big, strong, and mobile and would fit in at any high school power. Urban Meyer thinks he plays this year. If he’s good enough, they’ll move him to whichever defensive tackle spot can use him. Expected to enroll early.
Taron VincentDT6-2285Bradenton, Fla. / IMG Academy
The son of former NFL cornerback Troy Vincent, Taron Vincent was the No. 1 defensive tackle in the nation for over a year. Not the biggest guy, but uses his speed and quickness to rush the passer and track ball carriers. Even rushes from the edge as a defensive end, and does it well. Potential for days. Expected to enroll early.
Alex WilliamsATH6-7250Pickerington, Ohio / North
Which position will he end up playing? That remains to be seen. He’s a brute as a defensive lineman. There may be a need at tight end. He could grow into a defensive tackle or an offensive tackle. Asked what position he is, Urban Meyer said “big athlete”, which could not be more accurate. One of the famous “late bloomers” that Ohio produces. Will need some patience here because he may not be playing the same position in 2019 that he plays in 2018.
Max WrayOT6-6289Franklin, Tenn. / Franklin
Signing Max Wray was imperative given the unknown where Jackson Carman was concerned. Wray is a strong run blocker and an experienced pass blocker. Could be 6-foot-7 by the time he finally arrives in Columbus. Expected to enroll early.