As we are closing in on National Signing day, the Ohio State Buckeyes have garnered verbal commitments from Twenty-Four high school Prospects.
Breaking it down into the offensive and defensive groups, Part One take's a look at how those players on the offensive side of the ball finished out their high school careers, and how they project at the college level.
Jaamal Berry had his season end in a Class 6A regional Quarterfinal against Miami Killian, while carrying the ball 20 times for 140 yards, netting 7 yards per carry. In Berry's previous playoff game, he contributed 176 yards and a touchdown in his team's 20-14 victory.
Berry had his share of injury problems through the course of the season, as he had wrist surgery early on in his senior season, only to return to suffer a high ankle sprain that sidelined him for four consecutive games.
Jaamal looks to contribute right away at Ohio State with the likely departure of Chris "Beanie" Wells, as he possesses elite speed combined with surprising strength.
In addition, Berry can also catch the ball out of the backfield, and has the ability to make people miss, making him an exceptional weapon to help Ohio State reload at the running back position.
Jaamal will be participating in the 2009 Under Armour All-America Game on January 4.
Jaamal's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCCDnEFZQcc
Carlos Hyde saw his season end in the Class 3A Regional Final, with his team losing 38-21 to Monsignor Pace. Hyde contributed a touchdown run, but also had a fumble that led to a Monsignor Pace touchdown.
Hyde absolutely dominated in his teams two previous playoff games, going for 266 yards and five Touchdowns in the regional Quarterfinal, and provided an encore of 203 yards and two touchdowns in the Regional Semifinal.
Carlos should provide an excellent 1-2 combination with Jaamal Berry, giving Ohio State a version of thunder and lightning.
Hyde runs with authority at 230 pounds but also shows deceptive quickness and shiftiness. His strong lower body will give opposing defenses fits when trying to bring this big power back.
Carlos' Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwF2mO_Sofo
Jordan's Jeanette Jayhawks were edged out by Beaver Falls 35-28 on a last minute score. Hall was shut down by Falls, as he had a very quiet evening on the field. This was quite the opposite from the previous week when Hall ran for 116 yards and four scores in route to his teams 46-7 victory.
Hall played along side phenom and current Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor his freshman through junior years, which should give Jordan a sense of familiarity and comfort when he steps foot in the Horseshoe.
Jordan is built low to the ground and is very versatile, giving Ohio State the option to run him out of the backfield, or split him wide in a slot receiver role. He is said to have great hands and plus route running, and will most likely make his living as a receiving target for Pryor.
Jordan's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B01XQvo9wWQ
Adam Homan and his Coldwater Cavaliers were dispatched in a highly anticipated rematch with Kettering Alter, whom Coldwater defeated in the 2007 state tourney 59-52 in Triple-Overtime.
Homan has family ties to current outside linebacker Ross Homan, but don't expect Adam to follow in his brothers footsteps. Homan has been recruited as a fullback in the Buckeye's power sets, and has the measurables to do so. His limited athleticism limits him in terms of versatility, and may be considered a "project" for his first couple of years.
Duron Carter and his St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders won their second straight Class 5A state title by thrashing Lakeland 56-7. Carter nabbed a 5-Yard touchdown pass in route to being named consensus national champions.
In his previous playoff game, Carter hauled in two touchdown grabs to help propel his team to the state championship.
Duron is the son of Ohio State and NFL icon Cris Carter, and their game strike a certain similarity. Duron is a tall, lean receiver with great hands, has knack for making the first man miss, and runs great routes. Couple that with his downfield blocking and willingness to go get the football, whether over the middle or a jump ball.
Speed isn't necessarily a big part of his game, and Duron most definitely has room to add weight to his frame, but he plays the game just like his father, making big plays when needed.
Duron will be participating in the 2009 Under Armour All-America Game on January 4,
Duron's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORLLAw7x3W4
James Jackson and his Grand Ledge Comets were no match for eventual state champion Rockford High School, losing 56-14 in districts.
James contributed a 48-yard touchdown reception, ending the game with 73 receiving yards and 19 yards running the ball, but Rockford gashed the Comets on the ground to the tune of 400-plus rushing yards.
Jackson is considered to be one of the fastest wide receiver prospects in the 2009 class, and gives the Buckeyes a vertical threat. His game is well suited for the open field, as his style is get the ball in an open space, and use his speed to outrun defenders.
Jackson is said to have terrific foot quickness but is undersized and hasn't shown the willingness to go over the middle of the field. Look for Ohio State to use hi on the outside and utilize his speed on deep routes.
Chris Fields and the Painesville Harvey Red-Raiders closed out their season by cruisig to a 47-7 victory in which Fields returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown, caught five balls for 96 yards and two more scores. Harvey finished the season out with a 4-6 record, and did not qualify for postseason play.
Chris is another receiver who can excel when getting the ball in space such as on bubble screens and reverses. Chris isn't much of a vertical threat, but is considered to have good body control.
Fields can be considered as a "project" who needs to work on route running, and recognizing coverages and schemes. He is very crafty though in working with what he has, and works within his limits. That in itself shows that if he can fine tune his strengths, he may be an impact player down the road.
Chris' Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBX-M9L9cKo
Reid Fragel and Grosse Point South did not advance into the state tournament or Pre-Districts. Fragel and his Blue Devils finished 5-4, and capped off his season with a 9-tackle performance, with a sack, and an interception.
Reid is considered to be a good blocker both in the pass and run game, and that's what he will be recruited as, a blocking tight-end. Many joke that the tight-end position is nothing more than a glorified lineman, but with Ohio State's power sets, that skill set is very much needed.
Fragel showed that he has potential at tight end as he netted 330 yards on 24 receptions, and scored three touchdowns. Reid also proved his versatility by playing defensive end, racking up 65 tackles and 5 sacks.
Reid's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HKUqTZkwO4
Jack Mewhort and St. Johns Jesuit Titans did not qualify for postseason play, and finished their season with a 7-4 record.
Mewhort has been tagged by many to be very physical, or your quint-essential "nasty" lineman. Once Mewhort locks on a defender, it's all but over. Jack also showcases in basketball, which contributes to his strength in the area of footwork. His wide arm-span also makes it difficult for defenders to get by him, and playing inside, there is already limited room for defenders.
Mewhort projects as a center or a guard, and has the potential to be a good one. Jack was selected to All-Ohio Division 1 First-Team.
Jack will also be participating in the 2009 Under Armour All-America Game on January 4.
Jack's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAVP6OEiYP4
Sam Longo and the Bellbrook Golden Eagles capped their season with a win to improve to 5-5, and went unqualified for postseason play.
Sam's biggest strength as described by scouts would be the use of his hands, and his ability to play with a high motor. The combination of the two has led to Sam being able to a very good blocker.
Another positive, especially coming out of high school, is that he has excellent knee bend, which is a pivotal factor in blocking technique.
Longo projects to be a guard at the college level, and has the ability to pull which is seen quite often in Coach Jim Bollman's system at Ohio State. He has some work to do, but has the potential to be a very good college player.
Sam's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wrrfXkOrl8
Corey Linsley and his Boardman Spartans closed out their season with a loss, and did not qualify for postseason play.
Linsley is a versatile athlete who gives the Buckeyes the option to play either side of the line. His impressive ability in reach blocks in addition to his constant churning of the legs make him a solid blocking prospect on the interior.
Athleticism is also an area where Corey possess great ability, and it shows when he's getting to the second level quickly and under control.
In addition to all of those factors, Linsley also has exceptional strength, and Buckeye coaches like him on the defensive side of the ball as well. Only time will tell as to which unit Corey will be playing in the future.
Corey's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9_y_zzTyqg