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Ohio State Football Recruiting: Breaking Down the Top Target at Each Position

David RegimbalFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2014

Ohio State Football Recruiting: Breaking Down the Top Target at Each Position

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    AJ Mast

    Urban Meyer and Ohio State signed a top-five recruiting class for the third consecutive year last February, but with just two commitments in the fold for 2015, that streak is in serious jeopardy. 

    In recruiting, though, it's not how you start, but how you finish. The Buckeyes have targeted a number of the country's top prospects, and with Meyer at the helm, they're looking to surge.

    Ohio State has big needs at quarterback and tight end, but Meyer's wish list spans the entire depth chart.

    Here's a look at the Buckeyes' top recruiting target at each position.

Quarterback: Torrance Gibson

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Urban Meyer places a huge importance on finding the right quarterback, and in 2015, he's going hard after the nation's top-rated dual-threat prospect. 

    Torrance Gibson, the 6'4", 200-pound blazer from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., would be a huge get for the Buckeyes.

    Gibson burst onto the recruiting scene during his junior season, when he threw for 1,789 yards and 19 touchdowns (against three interceptions) to complement 1,063 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.

    The 5-star prospect has offers from programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, LSU and Notre Dame, but Ohio State, Miami and Tennessee lead for his services, according to 247 Sports' Crystal Ball.

    Gibson has set official visits with the Buckeyes and the Volunteers, and with his intentions to commit early, those trips will be a big factor in his decision.

Running Back: Damien Harris

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    Urban Meyer wants speed at running back, and Damien Harris, the 5-star prospect out of Berea, Ky., is one of the fastest players in the country.

    Harris was a one-time Michigan commit, but he reopened his recruitment following Al Borges' departure.

    Rated the No. 1 running back in the country, Harris has offers from programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, USC and Wisconsin. The experts, though, are forecasting a race between Ohio State and Michigan, and the Buckeyes are a few strides ahead at the moment. 

    Harris had an incredible junior season last year, rushing for 2,621 yards and 42 touchdowns. Stealing his commitment away from Brady Hoke and the Wolverines would be a huge win for the Buckeyes.

Wide Receiver: Christian Kirk

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Ohio State has broadened its search to the West Coast for its top receiver prospect.

    Christian Kirk, the 5-star athlete out of Scottsdale, Ariz., is a big-time playmaker whom Meyer would love to have in Columbus.

    Kirk visited the campus at the end of February and had a great time, according to Jeremy Birmingham of Eleven Warriors.

    "I had high expectations coming in, but Ohio State exceeded them by a lot," Kirk said.

    The 5'11", 197-pound blazer made an impact as a receiver and a running threat last year. Kirk caught 65 passes for 1,183 yards and 17 touchdowns while adding 832 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.

    That outburst landed him offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas, but Texas A&M is the huge favorite.

Tight End: Chris Clark

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    Credit: 247Sports

    It looked like Ohio State had lost out on its top tight end target, Chris Clark, when he committed to North Carolina last month.

    That commitment was short-lived, however, as the nation's No. 5 tight end reopened his recruitment last week.

    Clark had a busy Easter weekend, as he visited Michigan and Ohio State on back-to-back days. Much like Damien Harris, his recruitment is turning into a two-horse race between the Buckeyes and the Wolverines.

    Ohio State has plenty of other options at tight end, but it doesn't want to lose its top target to Michigan.

Offensive Line: Drew Richmond

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Ohio State brought in five offensive linemen in its 2014 class—a pivotal move for a team that just lost four senior starters along a line that didn't have much depth to begin with.

    Urban Meyer wants more depth there, and he's targeting a number of great players such as Matthew Burrell, Sterling Jenkins and James Daniels

    Drew Richmond, the 6'5", 320-pound standout from Memphis, Tenn., is the highest-rated prospect of them all.

    Richmond lives in the heart of SEC country and has offers from nine programs within the conference, but the Buckeyes are still in the thick of things. 247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions currently have the home-state Volunteers as a slight leader over Ohio State, but there's still a long ways to go in his recruitment.

Defensive Line: Tim Settle

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    Ohio State's defensive line is expected to be one of the best in the country in 2014.

    If Meyer is able to land a commitment from Tim Settle, the 5-star defensive tackle out of Manassas, Va., the Buckeyes will have one of the nation's most dominant space eaters for years to come.

    The 6'3", 318-pound mountain of a prospect moves incredibly well for his size, and his strength on the interior makes him nearly unblockable at the high school level.

    That has helped him earn offers from programs such as Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Texas and USC. The Buckeyes are considered the favorite, but they're battling with the home school—Virginia—and the hottest recruiting team in the country—Alabama.

    Despite Ohio State's success recruiting defensive linemen over the years, Meyer failed to secure a defensive tackle in 2014. Landing Settle is pivotal for the Buckeyes.

Linebacker: Justin Hilliard

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    Justin Hilliard isn't just Ohio State's top linebacker target—he's one of its top targets overall. 

    The 5-star standout from Cincinnati is one of the most highly recruited prospects in the entire country. With offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Nebraska and Penn Stateamong many others—Hilliard can essentially play anywhere he wants.

    Ohio's top prospect is looking to stay in the Midwest, though.

    Meyer and the Buckeyes have a slim lead over Michigan, Iowa and Notre Dame, according to 247 Sports' Crystal Ball

    Landing Hilliard is a high priority for Ohio State. The Buckeyes recently lost a pair of instate 5-star linebackers when Jordan Hicks signed with Texas in 2010 and Trey DePriest chose Alabama a year later.

    Meyer is hoping to buck that trend.

Defensive Back: Kendrell McFadden

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Ohio State has just two commitments for this year's class, both of whomEric Glover-Williams and Jamel Dean—are 4-star cornerbacks. 

    The Buckeyes had a third defensive back in the fold with Ben Edwards' commitment, but the 4-star safety spurned Ohio State for Auburn last weekend.

    With Edwards' deflection, Ohio State will can turn up the heat on Kendrell McFadden.

    McFadden is a 4-star safety out of Hollywood, Fla., who is currently committed to West Virginia. That commitment is a soft one, though, as he told 247Sports (via Wesley Sinor of AL.com) that Auburn and Ohio State are in the running.

    The Buckeyes want at least one safety to pair with their cornerbacks, and stealing McFadden from West Virginia would be an ideal outcome.

     

    All recruiting information via 247Sports.com.

    David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.

    Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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