The 2014 Ohio State recruiting class stands at 18 members, a number that has remained stable for six weeks and might not change until the end of the season barring a quick commitment from one of the top recruits in the state or around the country.
At the moment, the Buckeyes have the No. 5 class according to Scout and the No. 3 class on Rivals.com’s rankings. Only Alabama (No. 1) and Tennessee (No. 2) are ahead of OSU on both sets of rankings.
Driving the class are three nationally ranked linebackers from the state of Ohio, Kyle Berger (6-foot-2, 200 pounds, St. Ignatius), Dante Booker (6-foot-3, 210 pounds, St. Vincent-St. Mary) and Sam Hubbard (6-foot-6, 223 pounds, Cincinnati Moeller). All three are four-star recruits. Deciding which of the three has the most talent depends on which scouting service you choose to trust the most — Rivals.com has Booker as the best of the bunch, Scout.com has Booker third and Berger in first. Berger, though, will miss his senior season after having surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and partially torn MCL and meniscus in his left knee.
The top recruit in the class is cornerback Damon Webb, who is fittingly from Detroit, Mich. Webb has good size for the position already (5-foot-10, 179 pounds) though not quite as good as what some of the scouting services have reported (5-foot-11 and even 6-foot). Webb was listed at 5-foot-10 at The Opening in Oregon in July.
What garnered his high ranking, though, is his speed, ability to play the ball and aggressive style without being too reckless. He’s also a standout in either man or zone coverage, adding some versatility.
After Webb and after the linebackers, this class is built on speed, led by running back Parris Campbell (St. Vincent-St. Mary), athlete Noah Brown (Pope John XXIII High School in New Jersey), wide receiver Terry McLaurin (Cathedral High School, Indiana), wide receiver Curtis Samuel (Erasmus Hall High School, New York), wide receiver Malik Hooker (New Castle High School, Pennsylvania) and athlete Lonnie Johnson (West Side High School, Indiana).
Campbell is a state champion and track star at St. V-M. Brown is a wide receiver built like a running back who has given defensive backs loads of trouble when trying to bring him down. Samuel is so fast his high school coach said he was like a glitch in a video game. And Hooker has the size (6-foot-2, 183 pounds) to go with it. All are four-star recruits with the exception of Johnson, a three-star.
Urban Meyer has also done a nice job recruiting the “big uglies” to block for that speed with four four-star offensive lineman in this class. Along with linebacker, the Buckeyes have brought in the leading lineman class in the Big Ten as well.
The “big” part of that phrase is well deserved with this group. Offensive tackle Kyle Trout (Lancaster High School) is 6-foot-6, 280 pounds. Guard Marcelys Jones (Glenville High School) stands an immovable 6-foot-4, 354 pounds. Guard Demetrius Knox (All Saints Episcopal School, Texas) is the shortest of the group, 6-foot-4, 287 pounds. And tackle Jamarco Jones (De La Salle Institute, Illinois) is 6-foot-5, 295 pounds. According to Scout.com, Jones and Knox are in the top 10 nationally at their respective positions. Trout is top 20.
Meyer has brought in several high-ranking defensive lineman in his time in Columbus already. The 2014 class has little depth but a defensive end, Jalyn Holmes from Lake Taylor High School in Virginia, could join the ranks as another talented young defensive lineman for the Buckeyes. Holmes stands 6-foot-5, 235 pounds and is the No. 3 weakside defensive end according to Rivals.com. Joining him along the line is Dylan Thompson, a powerful 6-foot-4, 271 pound three-star recruit from Illinois who could end up at end or tackle.
For the third consecutive year, it appears Ohio State will add one quarterback to its roster. That’s three-star recruit Stephen Collier from Lee County High School in Louisiana. Collier, a pocket passer, has good height at 6-foot-4 and plays with poise under pressure but barely cracked the top 50 at his position (Scout.com’s rankings) at No. 49.
Finally, the Buckeyes have their first offer-and-commitment from a kicker since Drew Basil joined the 2010 class. Ohio State has brought in Sean Nuernberger from Oldham County High School in Kentucky. Nuernberger, a big kicker at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, is listed as the No. 9 kicker on ESPN.com.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Ohio State blog at http://www.ohio.com/buckeye-blogging. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.