COLUMBUS: As recruiting weekends go, Ohio State just had an interestingly productive one.
The Buckeyes flipped a former Michigan commitment, receiver/defensive back Gareon Conley. They gained a commitment from reluctant in-state recruit Donovan Munger, a defensive lineman from Shaker Heights. And they appeared to take a major step toward landing blue-chip linebacker Mike Mitchell.
Ohio State’s 2013 class stands at 19 and is ranked No. 4 in the country, according to 247sports.com, behind Southern California, Alabama and Florida, and just ahead of Notre Dame and Michigan.
Massillon coach Jason Hall confirmed Conley was in Columbus on Friday to finish up his official visit to the school and gave OSU coach Urban Meyer a commitment.
Conley, who is 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, played wide receiver and defensive back for the Tigers and earned Division I first-team All-Ohio honors.
Conley helped the Tigers reach the state playoffs as a two-way standout with exceptional speed. He had 50 receptions for 1,096 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown, contributed on 25 tackles, recovered two fumbles and intercepted one pass.
The OSU class is still lacking a true linebacker. Meyer indicated a couple of weeks ago that it was vital to land at least two before the class tops out at 21 or 22 players.
OSU hosted Mitchell, from Plano (Prestonwood), Texas, on an official visit over the weekend.
“If I was going to pick a final destination for Mike Mitchell, I would pick Ohio State, after talking to his father by phone after the visit,” said Bill Kurelic, an analyst for Bucknuts.com and 247sports.com. “I think Ohio State is sitting in a pretty good position with him right now.”
Mitchell had been expected to commit to OSU in late summer, but he postponed and since has indicated Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Florida State also are in the running. Whether he takes any other official visits remains to be seen.
Munger reportedly had wanted to postpone his official visit to OSU this past weekend, but at the urging of the coaches, insiders said, he made the trip with his mother. He committed at midday Sunday.
At 6-foot-4, 290 pounds, he is considered a four-star defensive line prospect, but he is considered to have the ability also to play on the offensive line. The Buckeyes have five defensive linemen in the 2013 class and just two offensive linemen.
Off to NFL
All-Big Ten defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins has announced he will give up his senior season at Ohio State to make himself available for the NFL Draft.
Hankins appeared in 38 games the past three years and started every game the past two seasons. He was fourth on the team in tackles in 2011 with 67, including 11 for minus yardage. This past season he was fifth in tackles with 55, including four tackles for a loss.
Hankins, 6-foot-3, 322-pounds, ends his Buckeyes career with 138 tackles, including 16.5 tackles for a loss and five quarterback sacks.