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 Two take's a look at how those players on the defensive side of the ball finished out their high school careers, and how they project at the college level.
John Simon and the Mooney Cardinals were defeated by Steubenville in the OHSAA Division IV Regional Semifinal 28-16. The loss denied Mooney a chance at a fifth straight appearance in the State title game.
Simon is a mountain of a young man who has a high motor to go with his lean frame. He is a solid tackler as well as an above average pass rusher, making him tough to block as he is relentless.
Despite his good size, he needs to add more bulk to play at defensive tackle, as well as develop a wider range of pass rush moves.
His awareness at the high school level is a positive, but still has work to do to become a disruptive force in the middle.
If he sharpens his game, he could be a good one.
John will be participating in the 2009 Army All American game on January 3.
Johnny's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Lnnw_cuLB8
Adam Bellamy and his Aurora Greenmen completed a very successful season by claiming the Division III State Championship over Eastmoor Academy 21-10.
The Greenmen finished their season with a 13-2 record, and Bellamy anchored the defensive line. Adam was the only Ohio commitment to Ohio State to both compete and win a state title in his senior season.
Bellamy is a kid with the needed frame for the defensive tackle position and shows good quickness for his size.
Bellamy just has a nose for the ball as he seems to always be around the play when the whistle blows. He is very physical once engaged and does a decent job of shedding blockers, and finishes plays off with solid tackling.
In addition, Adam also played offensive line and did not allow a sack, continuing Ohio State's philosophy of recruiting versatile athletes who can potentially play numerous positions.
Bellamy was a 2008 First-Team All-State Division III selection.
Adam's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxxXwY4Fx9g
Melvin Fellows and Garfield Heights finished their season with a 4-6 record and did not qualify for postseason play. Melvin was a 2008 First Team All-State Division I selection.
Fellows is a Defensive End who is good in run defense and has a very physical style of play. While a bit undersized, his lower body strength allows him to create separation and with his good footwork, he has the workmanship to get to the quarterback.
His style doesn't jump out at you, but he get's the job done and should be a plus defender against the run, with the athleticism to build off of to get to the quarterback.
Melvin will be participating in the 2009 Under Armour All-America Game on January 4.
Melvin's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8EGkTj5kfA
Jonathan Newsome and his Glenville Tarblooders fell to Cleveland St. Ignatius 8-7 in the OSHAA Division I Regional Semifinal. Glenville finished out with an 11-1 record.
Newsome plays defensive end at the high school level, but has an ideal skill set and size to play a hybrid defensive end and linebacker that Ohio State runs. One of his strengths is described in his ability to get up-field and backside pursuit.
Combined with his short area change of direction and solid job in shedding blocks, he should fill the role of the hybrid position nicely, as long as he adds size and improves his pass rushing skills.
Jonathan's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uIc2uZzF9g
Jordan Whiting has a resume that most high school players can only dream of as he and his Trinity Shamrocks won their fourth straight KHSAA Class 6A State title. Trinity took care of Independence Simon Kenton 48-0 thanks in most part to the shutout put up by Whiting and the defense.
Whiting is a compact player with some thickness who plays downhill and is a strong tackler. Jordan has good short range quickness and speed considering his build, and is a run stuffer by definition.
His height may be an issue as far as shedding blocks with his shorter arms, but his instincts may help him offset those limitations. Whiting also shows good ability in dropping back into a zone, a scheme that Ohio State likes to run with their linebackers.
Jordan was a 2008 First Team All State selection, to go along with his four state titles, and was Ohio State's first verbal commitment of the 2009 class.
Jordan's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_2iZwwW2dk
Zach Boren and the Pickerington Tigers fell 24-10 in the OHSAA Division I State Semifinal to powerhouse Cincinnati Elder.
Boren is the brother of the now famous Justin Boren, whom transferred from Michigan to Ohio State.
Zach was part of a three headed running attack along with teammate and current Buckeye commitment Jamie Wood, and was also a contributor at linebacker for their stout defense.
Zach may be a fullback or a linebacker a the next level, but has been told by Buckeye coaches he will get a look at linebacker right off the bat. Boren is built like a beast, and can stuff the run because of his build.
He doesn't have great speed, but when he gets momentum built good luck stopping him. Fullback would be the ideal position at the next level, but Buckeye coaches see something in him at linebacker, and that's good enough to convince me.
Zach was a 2008 First Team All-State selection.
Zach's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqK4CFzBd3k
Storm Klein and his Licking Valley Panthers had their return trip to the OHSAA Division III State final denied by Columbus Eastmoor Academy by a score of 14-10.
Storm was limited to 90 yards on 25 carries and was held off the scoreboard, finishing out his career with 99 touchdowns.
Klein rushed for 115 yards and three scores in the regional final to give his team a chance at a title berth.
Storm is a workhorse and who plays very physical and herd on every play and every down. He plays both sides of the ball rather well, and should be a linebacker at the next level, but his skillset as a runner may be lucrative to Ohio State's offensive coaches.
Klein has good power and leverage on both sides of the ball, making him a hard hitter on the defensive side. He has a long way to go as a defender due in most part to being the featured running back on his team.
Klein has all the tools necessary to succeed at the college level no matter what position he lands at.
Storm was named the Ohio ESPN Rise Gatorade Football Player of the Year as well as a Division III First Team All-State selection.
Storm's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IzycIi2Gos
Dorian Bell and his Gateway Gators had their season come to an end with an upset loss to Bethal Park 10-6, in the WPIAL Class AAAA Title Game.
Bell scored gateway's only touchdown, a 1 yard run, finishing their season 12-1. In the previous playoff game to reach the state title game, Bell rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Dorian could be considered the crown jewel of this incoming class, as he is talented and versatile enough to play any of the three linebacker positions at the college level.
Bell is your quint-essential big hitter, and can cover a lot of ground very fast. Despite his lack of size, Dorian does a good job shedding blocks and his very impressive explosiveness, making him ideal on the outside giving him the opportunity to blitz.
Dorian made some noise in the newly introduced Hawaii Prep Football Classic pitting the Hawaii all stars against the mainland all stars. Bell had an interception to go along with his three tackles.
Dorian will be participating in the 2009 Army-All American Game on January 3.
Dorian's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuL1RGemQEA
Jaime Wood and his Pickerington Tigers fell in the OHSAA Division I State Semifinal 24-10 to powerhouse Cincinnati Elder.
Wood scored his teams only touchdown in the loss, and contributed mightily along his teams path through the postseason, whether on offense or defense.
Wood was a 2008 All-State First Team selection.
Jamie is your ideal Safety prospect at the college level, bringing a style of aggressiveness and physicality to the table. With his size and linebacker type mentality, he will have the opportunity to make big plays happen on the defensive side of the football.
He tackles through the ball carrier and is a force on blitzing situations, to go along with his exceptional blocking skills. With all of these tools, you can bet Wood will see the field early and often at Ohio State.
Jamie will be participating in the 2009 Army All-American game on January 3.
Corey Brown saw his season end in the WPIAL State AAAA Title game along side his teammate Dorian Bell. Brown was effectively shut out on the scoreboard by Bethel Park, but had a big part in leading his team to the State title game, netting 83 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Corey has the skill set to play either side of the ball, wide receiver or corner back, with his good burst and plus change of direction. As a receiver, Brown has great hands and has very good awareness in terms of reading defenses.
On defense, his explosion and burst allow him to go get the ball, and along with his skills in changing direction, gives him the "hips" to play the corner position.
Brown stole the spotlight in the inaugural Hawaii Prep Football Classic picking off three passes and making one tackle in the game. That performance may have sealed his fate as to what position he plays on Saturdays.
Corey will be participating in the 2009 Army All American Game on January 3.
C.J. Barnett and his Northmount Thunderbolts did all they could to pull off the upset against Cincinnati Elder in the OHSAA Division I Regional Semifinal, but fell short in a 13-10 decision. Northmount finished with a 10-2 record, and C.J. garnered a 2008 All-State Fist Team selection
Barnett is an ideal corner prospect, with good build, a physical style, and a good skill set in a zone defense. C.J. is no slouch in man-to-man either, with good upper body strength to jam and bump receivers off their routes. His instincts and reactions make him a strength in zone coverage, and can lay the wood as well.
Barnett is also very versatile, but needs to improve in run support. He has good speed, especially closing speed, and likes to jump receiver routes. C.J. looks to be a good one at the corner position.
C.J.'s Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joCSDkFjQUs
Dominic Clarke and the Tuscarora Titans were defeated 3-0 by Urbana in the MPSSAA Class 3A West Semifinal, a game that was marred by rain and bad weather. The Titans finished out with a 8-3 record, their best season ever on the gridiron.
Dominic came out of nowhere to receive an offer from Ohio state, but watching his film, Clarke shows you why they did. While he is undersized for a cornerback, Clarke has a nose for the football and always seems to making the right read to get in on a play that comes his way.
Clarke has good ball skills to go along with his great angles and pursuit. He also comes up to support the run with his physical nature of play, and with his overall skill-set, may be headed for the safety position.
Dominic's Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKeh3JnkFHw
Justin Green and the Male Bulldogs suffered a season ending loss to Independence Simon Kenton in the Class 3A State semifinal after blowing an early 10-0 lead. Green was limited to 65 yards on 17 carries as the Bulldogs went on to lose 28-10.
Green got his team to the semifinals on a five touchdown, 254 yard rushing, and 76 yard receiving performance.
Justin is classified as an athlete coming into Ohio State, meaning he can play numerous positions, whether it be cornerback, wide receiver, or a "Percy Harvin" type role.
He has exceptional speed to go along with his cutting ability and receiving skills. Justin can reach his top end speed very quickly, making him a threat any time he touches the ball, a true playmaker.
Defensively, he's not quite as polished, but with his recovery speed, and excellent hips, he may make a great cornerback. Green was a 2008 All-State First Team selection.
Justin will be participating in the 2009 Army All American Game on January 3.