Ohio State National Signing Day 2016: 5 Takeaways from Buckeyes' Class
The Buckeyes did most of their work before national signing day, but they still made a splash by picking up commitments from 4-star JUCO offensive tackle Malcolm Pridgeon and 3-star athlete Malik Harrison on Wednesday. That dynamic pair vaulted the Buckeyes up the rankings, where they finished with the No. 4 overall class.
From Ohio State's next great quarterback to a superstar defensive end in the mold of Joey Bosa, Ohio State's 2016 class is absolutely loaded with potential. And with the Buckeyes looking for 16 new starters for their '16 campaign, a number of first-year players will have an opportunity to make an impact right out of the gate.
Ohio State's new quarterback envisions himself winning the Heisman Trophy some day, as he put out on his Twitter account.
Dwayne Haskins, the No. 7 quarterback prospect and the No. 87 recruit overall, was a longtime Maryland commit before Urban Meyer flipped him to the Buckeyes. The 6'3", 198-pound signal-caller is more in the mold of Cardale Jones than J.T. Barrett, relying on his strong arm to get the ball down the field more often than his legs.
When Barrett's time is up Columbus, Haskins will have the opportunity to take over, but he'll have to earn it over former 4-stars Joe Burrow and Torrance Gibson. But Meyer is high on his new quarterback, as he told Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports, and he'll have the opportunity to take the No. 2 roll behind J.T. Barrett as early as this fall.
Urban says Dwayne Haskins is the best QB he’s ever seen at this stage in terms of release, arm strength & footwork: "He’s so well-coached."
A Huge Boost at Wide Receiver
Ohio State's wide receiver corps took a huge hit with the graduation of Braxton Miller and the early departures of Michael Thomas and Jalin Marshall, but Urban Meyer made sure he refilled the cupboard with this year's recruiting class.
The Buckeyes signed two of the best pure pass-catchers in the country in Austin Mack (the No. 10-ranked wide receiver) and Binjimen Victor (No. 12). Both are lanky playmakers who bring polished route-running ability to Columbus, and with Mack at 6'2" and Victor at nearly 6'4", Ohio State will have a pair of lethal red-zone threats.
But the player who has the potential to make the biggest splash is Demario McCall, a high 4-star all-purpose back out of North Ridgeville, Ohio.
McCall played running back primarily at the high school level, but he projects to Ohio State's H-back position that was filled by Miller last season. The Buckeyes will have Dontre Wilson back in 2016, but McCall will have every opportunity to earn playing time alongside him and see the field this fall.
Reloading at Defensive End
How do you replace a player as talented and disruptive as Joey Bosa?
If you're Urban Meyer and Ohio State, you just go out and get his younger brother—5-star strong-side defensive end Nick Bosa.
The Buckeyes earned Nick Bosa's commitment in July, pairing him with 4-star weak-side defensive end Jonathon Cooper. Nick Bosa, the top strong-side end, and Cooper, the No. 3 weak-side end, are the most formidable pass-rushing duo in the 2016 recruiting cycle.
Nick Bosa's senior season was derailed when he tore his ACL last fall, but he's ahead of schedule in his recovery and has a great chance of being 100 percent when he reports to fall camp. Cooper is already on campus after enrolling early to take part in spring practice, giving him a head start on his collegiate career.
Meyer plans to unleash both this fall, per Bill Landis of Cleveland.com.
Returning starter Tyquan Lewis will reclaim his role on the weak side and Sam Hubbard, Joey Bosa's top reserve last year, will likely step into a starting role on the strong side. But with the heavy rotation Ohio State uses up front, Nick Bosa and Cooper should see plenty of action.
Replenishing the Secondary
Just like the wide receiver corps, Ohio State's secondary will need to identify three new starters with the early departures of cornerback Eli Apple and safeties Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell.
That mass exodus of talent made defensive backs one of the biggest needs for the 2016 recruiting cycle, and Urban Meyer did an excellent job of filling that need.
The group is headlined by 4-star Jordan Fuller, who committed to Ohio State on Monday over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State and Michigan, among many others. The 6'1 ½", 196-pound standout was rated the No. 6 overall athlete in the country, and though he played quarterback at the high school level, he'll line up at cornerback for the Buckeyes.
Urban Meyer Is Still the King
Jim Harbaugh and Michigan couldn't keep pace with the runaway Buckeyes in a 42-13 rout last November, and the Wolverines fell short again on Wednesday when the Buckeyes signed the Big Ten's best recruiting class for the fifth straight year.
Harbaugh had Michigan in position to leapfrog the Buckeyes, using his unusual recruiting tactics to gain momentum ahead of national signing day. But Meyer and Ohio State closed strong, getting big commitments from 4-star standouts Dwayne Haskins (quarterback), Keandre Jones (linebacker), Binjimen Victor (wide receiver) and Malcolm Pridgeon (JUCO offensive tackle).
That helped Ohio State sign the nation's No. 4 class, while Michigan finished at No. 5.
The Wolverines made a huge surge, highlighted by the signing day addition of 5-star defensive tackle Rashan Gary—the No. 1 overall prospect in the country. But it wasn't enough to overcome Ohio State in the recruiting rankings, which is something Meyer and Ohio State take seriously.
"We do keep score against the rival in everything we do," Meyer said after signing day in 2015, according to of Ari Wasserman of the Plain Dealer. "Absolutely you keep score on that one."
After Wednesday, Meyer can put another strike in the win column for Ohio State.
All recruiting rankings and information via 247Sports.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.