It took until national signing day, but the Buckeyes finally have their man.
Linebacker Curtis Grant chose Ohio State over Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, and immediately became the highest-rated prospect on Jim Tressel's list of commitments; a tally which includes seven ESPN 150 prospects.
The Gators were considered to be the favorites to sign Grant until Urban Meyer stepped down as head coach following a disappointing 2010 season.
A native of Richmond, Virginia and a product of Hermitage High School, Curtis Grant was considered the No. 1 linebacker in the country by both Rivals and Scout. Additionally, he was ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect by Rivals, and the No. 9 by Scout, regardless of position.
The first noteworthy thing about Curtis Grant is his size. At 6'3", 225 pounds, Grant has an impressive physique and is an absolute terror against the run. He is aided by an extremely strong lower body, and a wide reach to grab running backs and pull them to the ground.
Grant is strong. He can bench 315 pounds and squat 525, which are numbers you'd expect out of a lineman. He's also very fast, as evidenced by his time of 4.5 in the 40-yard dash (cornerback/safety type speed), and his lightning-fast gap filling on film.
His size and strength alone should be enough to make him a successful player in college. Curtis Grant, however, also possesses phenomenal instincts and play recognition ability. Additionally, he's very effective in pass coverage due to his quickness and footwork. Grant could become one of the best coverage linebackers in college football if he works on improving his abilities.
Although Grant played middle linebacker in high school, it wouldn't be much of a surprise to see him move to the outside in college. Although he is a tough tackler and a great run stopper, Grant has more success moving laterally and finding the ball carrier in space rather than rolling off blockers and delivering punishing hits in the middle of the field.
A player with this size and speed would work much better off of the edge, on the quarterback's blind side, getting into the backfield and blowing up plays before they've started.
Curtis Grant is a tough kid with an excellent motor. He has all the tools that coaches look for in a linebacker, and a teammate.
If nothing else, Curtis Grant will be the Buckeyes' best special teams player in 2011, due to his ability to hustle downfield and lay the wood. With playing time, he could become a freshman All-American and position himself to receive all sorts of Big Ten accolades by the end of his sophomore year.
Curtis Grant is a good, hard-working football player who by all accounts is a fantastic teammate.
Jim Tressel has once again recruited an impressive class (Rivals: 10th, Scout: third, ESPN: seventh) but will need to avoid his yearly letdown game if he wants to return Ohio State both to the top of the polls, and the recruiting rankings.