Ohio State Football: 5 Recruits Who Will Start as Freshmen

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IFebruary 8, 2013

Ohio State Football: 5 Recruits Who Will Start as Freshmen

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    Now that national signing day has come and gone, the time has come to officially look ahead to the 2013 season.

    Powered by a consensus top-three recruiting class including Scout.com's No. 1 class, Ohio State has a bevy of talented players that will see the field as freshmen.

    Urban Meyer loves to play freshmen, and it showed last year as all but a handful of the 2012 freshmen got on the field.

    Which freshmen will get the most playing time next season and actually maybe earn a starting job?

    Here are five that have a great chance to do so.

WR Jalin Marshall

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    As much as Buckeye fans were eager to see Braxton Miller come to OSU after years of anticipation, much the same goes to incoming freshman Jalin Marshall.

    Marshall had an outstanding season at QB for Middletown in southwestern Ohio, but will convert to a wide receiver.

    With Ohio State's lack of a game-breaker at every other position of the field sans QB and RB with Miller and Carlos Hyde returning as the starting battery, Marshall has a chance to get out on the field right away.

    Marshall runs a lot like Miller because of his speed and quickness, and getting him on the perimeter in space may favor OSU more times than not.

RB/WR Dontre Wilson

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    Percy Harvin took Florida's offense to another level when Meyer signed him in 2006. Seven years later, the Buckeyes hope Dontre Wilson can have a similar impact.

    When you watch Wilson's highlight film, it's hard not to be impressed at his pure speed. It's not just that he's fast, but he's that fast in Texas 5A football, which is very tough to do.

    That speed is what drew the OSU coaches towards him, and what may give him a great chance to get on the field immediately.

    The old adage is that you can't teach speed. Wilson has it in spades and should give a new dimension to the OSU offense in the Harvin-esque slotback role.

S Vonn Bell

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    OSU didn't know until two minutes before Vonn Bell's announcement that the blue-chip safety was going to be a Buckeye.

    When he put on the OSU hat on signing day, it gave the Buckeyes a dynamic game-changer at the safety position that they haven't had since Donte Whitner.

    Safety was a problem for the Buckeyes last season because of how up-and-down the play of Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett was. They were good at times, but only a few times.

    Bell has the range and speed to create havoc in center field and that should help him get on the field quickly.

LB Mike Mitchell

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    OSU had a desperate need for help at the linebacker position. It went looking and reeled in the big fish in Texas native Mike Mitchell.

    Mitchell is an elite athlete with college-ready size and great football IQ to be able to diagnose a play and then to attack.

    The Buckeyes return just one starter in their front seven in linebacker Ryan Shazier. The rest of the starting linebackers outside of Curtis Grant and Josh Perry are very unproven.

    That can give Mitchell along with Trey Johnson an avenue to start right away.

CB Eli Apple

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    Eli Apple enrolled early at Ohio State, and the elite corner prospect may have an inside track to starting at the second corner spot opposite Bradley Roby.

    Apple has length and speed, both of which can give him lockdown potential. OSU has been known for years for putting DBs into the NFL and Apple could be one of the next to continue that trend.

    Competing with him for the second corner spot among others is fellow freshman Cam Burrows, who could also see time at safety.

    But Apple has natural coverage skills and has the athleticism to frustrate opposing wideouts all day. With the extra time to learn OSU's defensive schemes this spring, Apple has a great chance to start from the get-go.

    Follow me on Twitter @bielik_tim for the latest college football news and updates.