As the clock struck midnight on the 2012-13 college football season on Monday night, the Ohio State Buckeyes were left to wonder what might have been had they not been banned from postseason play.
Despite that, this promises to be a very eventful offseason for Urban Meyer and his staff. Meyer is entering his second season as head coach. Considering how successful his first season was, it will be hard to top it next year.
But given Meyer's track record of success, it won't be a shock to see the Buckeyes playing in the BCS once again. Recruiting classes are starting to take shape and the Buckeyes figure to have one of the best in the country.
Among the players who have already committed, here are the ones that will make it one to remember.
Commits courtesy of 247Sports.com
Defensive end Tyquan Lewis
In the Big Ten, you have to be strong in the trenches to have success. Lewis is a great 4-3 defensive end with the potential to get better as he adds more muscle to his frame. He is currently listed at 6'4", 227 pounds, which is soft for a weak-side pass-rusher.
The good news is he has such incredible burst and speed at the snap that he can run around bigger offensive linemen, which will serve him well as he bulks up.
Ohio State has a very good defensive line. The Buckeyes ranked 38th in the country with 30 sacks, but there is room for improvement. Lewis will need work as a run-stopper to reach his full potential.
Athlete Jalin Marshall
While his ultimate position is still to be determined, Marshall does have the body and skills to be an impact wide receiver at the college level. That would be an ideal transition for Ohio State, as the program needs to find more players on the outside who can help Braxton Miller develop.
Marshall did start at wide receiver in the Under Armour All-America Game, so it appears he is transitioning there for a potential move.
The Buckeyes had a huge disparity between their No. 1 and 2 receivers in terms of catches last season. Philly Brown led the team with 60 receptions, followed by Devin Smith who had 30. Smith did average nearly 21 yards per catch, so he made the most of his opportunities.
But if the Buckeyes offense wants to take that next step, they need more weapons to play with on the outside. Marshall is a burner with good size at 6'0", 190 pounds. He has all the intangibles necessary to start in the Big Ten right away.
Cornerback Eli Apple
It is amazing what one elite cornerback can do to shape an entire defense, even in a running conference like the Big Ten. Apple is a special player already, with an incredible physical style that can frustrate the best receivers in the game.
Ohio State already has a solid defensive nucleus, though there is plenty of room for growth. Apple brings the potential for that growth. He does not have great top-level speed, but his instincts and ability to wrap up opponents makes him special.
Cornerbacks need to understand how to read a quarterback and then get in the face of a receiver who is going to come right at them. Apple does more than enough right now to step in as a freshman and be a starting defensive back for the Buckeyes.
There is also the added bonus he brings as a potential special teams player. He has such great field vision that he can return punts, similar to what Tyrann Mathieu did for LSU in 2011.
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