Between his sophomore and junior seasons, Jashon Cornell accumulated an impressive 29 sacks, making him one of the most ferocious pass-rushers in the class of 2015. Now, he'll be chasing down quarterbacks for Ohio State after committing to the Buckeyes on Wednesday.
Josh Hemboldt of Rivals.com passed along word of the news:
Just moments before, 5-star linebacker Justin Hilliard committed to Ohio State, making this a banner morning for the Buckeyes, via Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports:
The defensive end from Cretin Derham Hall in Saint Paul, Minnesota, stands 6'4" and weighs 270 pounds, so he certainly already has the frame for the college game. According to 247Sports' composite rankings, he's a 4-star recruit and is the top prospect in the state of Minnesota, the No. 3 weak-side defensive end in the country and the nation's No. 37 recruit overall.
Along with his impressive 29 sacks the past two years, he's added 122 total tackles, an insane 46 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He was justifiably a first-team All-State selection and was named to the MaxPreps 2013 All-American First Team Defense.
USA Today High School Sports offered the following scouting report on Cornell:
Cornell is a big, physical presence in the trenches who could develop inside or outside depending on scheme and his continued growth. Shows very good penetration versus the run and solid burst upfield versus the pass. Plays the game with a physical edge and should be ready to contribute early.
Confidence also isn't an issue for Cornell. Before he had even committed to a school, he told Zach Gilliland of Prep Force: "I think I can make an instant impact. I’m becoming a better player for the future."
Ohio State will certainly hope he can live up to that claim.
What makes Cornell so interesting is his scheme versatility. There's no doubt he could play as a 4-3 defensive end, and he might even be quick enough to play as a 3-4 outside linebacker, though it remains to be seen how well he would fare if asked to drop back into coverage. In that role, he'd likely be told to pin back his ears and rush the quarterback, which is definitely the strong suit in his game.
But given his size, he could potentially play as a 3-4 defensive end or 4-3 defensive tackle if he continues to add both mass and strength to his frame. The Buckeyes will see if he can adjust well to soaking up blocks in such a scheme, but he'd likely provide a solid pass rush from the position if he continued to improve his leverage.
There's far more to like about Cornell, that much is for sure. As he continues to grow and mature as a player, the ceiling appears to be the limit, and it wouldn't be shocking to see him make a major impact by his sophomore season.
The Buckeyes certainly landed one heck of a recruit bringing him aboard.