The Ohio State Buckeyes play their first regular-season game in less than two weeks, meaning we are just days away getting our first real look at the team's promising freshman class.
Master recruiter Urban Meyer did an excellent job once again, bringing in a haul that includes many of the best players in the nation. From dominant defenders to potent offensive weapons, Meyer addressed all of the Buckeyes' pressing needs in the offseason.
While it will take some time for some of the freshmen to adjust, you can expect the following three players to contribute immediately.
Noah Spence, DE
Noah Spence is an absolute monster on the defensive line, and he will thrive in Meyer's speed-rushing schemes.
Spence is big (6'4", 245 pounds) and intelligent, and his burst off the line of scrimmage is just ridiculous. He explodes from the edge, and with his relentless aggression, he often sheds multiple blockers on his way to the quarterback.
In his senior season at Bishop McDevitt in Pennsylvania, Spence racked up 84 tackles (23 for loss) and 10 sacks. He also blocked three punts and starred on a defense that gave up only 11.9 points per game.
For his efforts, he was named the 2011-12 Gatorade Pennsylvania Football Player of the Year, and he was selected for the renowned Under Armour All-America Game, in which he terrorized opposing linemen and quarterbacks.
Spence will face high expectations, as he enters Columbus as the ninth-ranked freshman in the nation, according to Rivals.
If he stays focused and listens to Meyer, though, he will have no problems meeting them.
Adolphus Washington, DE
The Buckeyes also got the second-ranked defensive end in the nation, and he should be just as dangerous as Spence.
Like Spence, Washington is tall and lean, so he has room to pack on muscle and, with his height, will be able to disrupt passes and—potentially—punts. He will also cause nightmares for opposing quarterbacks, as he is a tough-nosed pass-rusher with elite speed.
Washington needs to improve his technique some, but that shouldn't be much of an issue. Even if he takes a while to learn the intricacies of the position, he will still impact games with his insane athleticism. Washington runs a 4.90-second 40-yard dash and was named the 2011-12 Gatorade Ohio Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Look for Washington immediately to improve the Buckeyes defense, as Meyer will use his athletic gifts to perfection.
Michael Thomas, WR
The Buckeyes also got a major difference-maker on offense, as wide receiver Michael Thomas should become a favorite target of Braxton Miller.
He's got great size and good hands, and he doesn't mind going over the middle. His speed isn't elite, but with his frame and body control, he will still be able to make big plays. He should also be a menace in the red zone, where his height and leaping ability will make him a tough cover.
Thomas likely won't start at first, but he will definitely be a contributor the Buckeyes' explosive new offense.