The Ohio State Buckeyes have an exciting crop of prospects in their 2013 recruiting class, several of whom are well worth closer examination.
Head coach Urban Meyer has taken his recruiting magic from Gainesville to Columbus, as the Buckeyes have the No. 2 class in the nation, according to 247Sports.com. Ironically, that's one spot ahead of his former powerhouse program, the Florida Gators.
After an undefeated season in 2012, the Buckeyes have all the makings of a dynasty if they can continue to recruit as well as they have this time around. And the class will be even better should 5-star safety Vonn Bell join the fold on national signing day.
Here is a breakdown of the true standouts in this future OSU bunch.
Note: All photos are courtesy of 247Sports.com.
Eli Apple, CB, Eastern High School (Voorhees, N.J.)
A sizable, physical cornerback, there is little reason that Apple can't help out the Buckeyes secondary immediately.
If there was an Achilles heel or nit to pick with the most recent Ohio State team it was in the defensive backfield, where the Bucks finished just 76th in the nation in pass defense.
Apple already has a leg up on the competition from his classmates, as he is already enrolled at OSU. He will be around for spring practices and be able to vie for playing time even as a true freshman.
What makes Apple so exciting is his natural anticipation and play recognition. Not only does he understand where receivers are going in terms of route concepts, but he also packs a punch in run support. There is also potential for him to put on even more weight to his 6'1" frame.
All of these factors should translate to Apple seeing the field very early for the Buckeyes. He should at least be a strong competitor for the nickelback position, as he could jam smaller slot receivers and disrupt critical passing plays.
Down the road, though, don't be surprised if Apple develops into a lockdown corner on the outside.
Jalin Marshall, WR, Middletown High School (Ohio)
Marshall will convert to wide receiver in Columbus after excelling as a quarterback, but he has big-time game. 247Sports.com's composite rankings have him as the No. 4 receiver prospect in the entire country.
Imagine how good he could become with some grooming under the tutelage of the Buckeyes coaching staff.
It makes sense that Marshall is making the move to receiver since he doesn't possess ideal size for a signal-caller at 5'11" and has such explosiveness as a ball-carrier in the open field. Another advantage is that Marshall will already understand basic route concepts in the Buckeyes spread formation.
With excellent leaping ability and soft hands, there is a lot of potential for Marshall to contribute for Ohio State right away.
Joey Bosa, DL, St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Yet another outstanding football player from the national powerhouse that is St. Thomas Aquinas, Bosa has been groomed for big-time football throughout his high school career. That will likely translate to him not being intimidated by the big stage in the Buckeye State.
Not to mention, Joey's father, John, was a first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins (h/t Miami Herald). You could say that this Bosa has been born to play football.
Beyond the intangibles of his recent experiences on the gridiron, there is plenty to love about Bosa's measurable physical traits. Look no further than the following video, which was posted nearly a year ago and depicts him doing a standing backflip.
That sort of size and incredible athleticism makes Bosa a nightmare to handle against the run and a dynamic force to collapse the pocket in the passing game. He has the frame to play in the Big 10 from the start.
J.T. Barrett, QB, Rider High School (Wichita Falls, Texas)
Don't get too excited for Barrett in the immediate future, but do look for him to be the heir apparent to likely 2013 Heisman Trophy contender Braxton Miller.
Barrett is a dual-threat dynamo, although he's not quite in the mold of Miller. What separates Barrett is that he is already a pass-first player from the pocket and will only run when necessary. His accuracy is a huge asset, as he can put touch on the ball on all throws and possesses a good deep ball.
But that's not to dismiss Barrett's ability with his feet. A 4.6 time in the 40-yard dash is nothing to scoff at, and he played in a spread offense at Rider and was dialed up for plenty of designed runs.
The only knock on Barrett is his modest height at 6'1", but that's just about all there is to not love about his talents.
At Ohio State, he'll have time to learn from Miller and already has the natural tools of a successful passer to thrive in the years to come for the Buckeyes.