Ohio State Football: 7 2013 Commits Most Likely to Become Stars
With less than a week before signing day, the Buckeyes have all but two spots filled up in their recruiting class. Meyer and his staff have done an excellent job on the recruiting trail and it has shown with a top-three recruiting class in 2012 and another possible top-three class in 2013.
In this year's class, Meyer focused a lot of his attention on skill players, linebackers and, of course, defensive linemen. He also managed to haul in a stud QB for the future and countless highly regarded secondary players. The new head coach recruited well within his home state, but he also ventured out into competitive states like Texas, California and Florida with a great deal of success.
But let's face it.
Projections on these high school athletes are just that: projections. There have been countless highly touted recruits that haven't panned out at the next level and there have been lowly 3-stars that convert to All-Americans in college.
Nonetheless, there are a few players in this class that have really caught my eye.
If a team's lucky, one-third of its recruiting class will really transform into studs at the next level.
These are the future Buckeyes I think will make that transformation.
CB Eli Apple
Committed since November of last year, Eli Apple has been a cornerstone for this recruiting class. The product out of Voorhees, New Jersey is already enrolled at Ohio State, and he could very easily see the field in his first year in Columbus.
According to 247Sports, Apple is the sixth-best CB in the 2013 class and the top player in his state. The 4-star prospect possesses excellent size at 6'1" and a solid knowledge of his position. Along with his physical stature, Apple brings a great deal of flexibility and athleticism to the table that will be more and more effective as he perfects his craft at Ohio State.
Before it's all said and done, I see Apple following in the footsteps of past CB greats at OSU like Antoine Winfield, Shawn Springs, Nate Clements and Malcolm Jenkins, and that's just to name a few.
DE Joey Bosa
If I could only describe Joey Bosa's play with one word, I would have to use the plain old simple adjective "mean." The guy is absolutely relentless and his constant motor makes him one of the best defensive ends in the entire nation.
Scout rated the future Buckeye as a 5-star and the fourth-best defensive end in the 2013 class. The product out of Florida plays in the highest class of football in his state and absolutely dominates.
At the next level, Bosa will continue to grow into his brawny 6'6" frame and either become an extremely athletic interior lineman or a huge and physical defensive end.
Either way, after just watching a few minutes of this guy's tape, it's safe to assume he'll continue to dominate while in Columbus. His physical style is a perfect complement to Noah Spence's speed rush, and with other top-tier defensive linemen like Michael Bennett and Adolphus Washington taking the field as well, teams won't be able to double-team him.
This could get ugly.
ATH Jalin Marshall
The first player to come to mind when watching Jalin Marshall's tape was Ted Ginn Jr. Marshall's world-class speed and "leave you in the dust" runs brought back fond memories of Ginn's glory days at Ohio State, and boy, were they glorious!
Well believe it or not, folks, the Buckeyes may have found a similar talent in Jalin Marshall.
Not only is Marshall a serious sprinter, but the future Buckeye possesses solid agility and balance as a runner, more like Percy Harvin.
The Ohio native is the No. 1 athlete in the 2013 class according to Rivals, and for good reason. His uncanny blend of speed and athleticism makes him a home run threat from any spot on the field, and under Meyer, he's going to do some special things.
The sky's the limit for Jalin Marshall and so are all the beneficial touches he'll get in Meyer's spread attack.
TE Marcus Baugh
One of the more overlooked members of the 2013 class, Marcus Baugh brings a lot to the table. During Urban Meyer's time at Florida, he took an athletic tight end in Aaron Hernandez and turned him into a Mackey Award winner...
And Marcus Baugh's skill set fits this offense perfectly.
At 6'4", the California native is a physical and athletic target that belongs in a spread attack like Meyer's. His speed and quickness will make it difficult on opposing linebackers, and his solid size will give safeties nightmares.
Rated as a 4-star and the third-best TE in the nation by Scout, Baugh has the unique combination of size, athleticism and hands to become a staple in this offense for the next few years.
LB Mike Mitchell
Mike Mitchell is the definition of a "combine freak." The future Buckeye earned the highest SPARQ combine rating at this past year's "The Opening" with ridiculous numbers. One of these numbers happened to include 4.39 40-yard dash time, which is almost unheard of from the linebacker position.
This impressive blend of size and speed leads me to believe that Mitchell will dominate during his time in Columbus. Meyer always stresses athleticism and speed when it comes to defense, and as long as Mitchell can handle the playbook, there's no reason why his physical assets shouldn't shine.
According to Scout, Mitchell is a 5-star prospect and the second-best linebacker in the entire nation.
With lofty projections comes ridiculous expectations, but in this case, Buckeye Nation shouldn't be disappointed.
DT/OL Billy Price
All the recruiting sites list Billy Price as a defensive tackle, but Meyer and his staff may have other plans for him. The Ohio native also played guard for his high school and is very capable of playing either side of the line in college.
Ultimately, I think the coaching staff decides to move Price to the offensive line and this will pay off in the long run for a number of reasons.
First of all, the Buckeyes will more than likely haul in just two offensive linemen in this year's class with plenty current ones heading out of the door after 2013. Moving Price will give OSU some much-needed depth on the offensive line that could come into play next season.
But Price won't just be adding depth while in Columbus. The product out of Youngstown, Ohio seems to be a very hard-working athlete with a high motor and a necessary mean streak—the kind of streak you need to excel as an interior offensive lineman.
This is where Price can become a star at OSU.
His combination of toughness, size and athleticism make him a perfect fit at guard or center under Urban Meyer.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
Meyer's obvious goal this recruiting season was to bring in weapons for his potent offense. He clearly wanted this offensive recruiting class to be riddled with athleticism and speed that could be effective in space and give the Buckeyes more varying attacks.
This mission was accomplished to some extent with the commitment of Ezekiel Elliot.
Elliott has worried Buckeye Nation recently with an unexpected visit to his hometown school in Missouri, but I fully expect him to sign with OSU on the February 6.
If all goes as planned, this is a huge pickup for Meyer and his staff. Elliott is considered to be a 4-star prospect and the ninth-best running back in the nation. Not to mention, he's a great fit for Meyer's spread attack. The speed back has shown solid vision and agility as a ball-carrier but is also a very effective receiver out of the backfield.
With his blend of speed, hands and versatility, Ezekiel Elliott and Urban Meyer will give opposing defensive coordinators migraines.