Ohio State's 5-Star Stockpile Grows with Commitment from LB Baron Browning

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystDecember 2, 2016

Urban Meyer aims to reload his roster with elite recruits next year.
Urban Meyer aims to reload his roster with elite recruits next year.Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Add another blue chip to the Ohio State Buckeyes' astounding 2017 recruiting haul. 

Linebacker Baron Browning, one of the finest prospects in Texas, announced intentions to attend Ohio State on Thursday night. His decision occurred just days after he postponed initial Nov. 29 commitment plans: 

Browning, a 6'4", 230-pound senior at Kennedale High School, is considered the No. 2 overall linebacker in Scout.com rankings this cycle. Alternative top contenders included Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, TCU and UCLA.

"When it all came down to it, I truly felt like this was the place for me to grow as a person, athlete and student," he wrote. 

Browning becomes the sixth 5-star member of head coach Urban Meyer's latest lauded collection of young talent. Only the Alabama Crimson Tide (four pledges) also claim multiple 5-star commitments two months shy of national signing day.

The Buckeyes also hold a firm lead in terms of high-value targets, carrying 12 athletes considered top-100 overall recruits. Alabama is again second-closest in that department, notching eight top-10 commitments.

Evidence is mounting that this Ohio State class may cement itself among the most promising prospect groups in recent recruiting history when national letters of intent are signed Feb. 1. 

Ohio State, seemingly assured its second College Football Playoff appearance in three years, continues to stockpile elite prospects for future postseason runs. When NFL opportunities entice current Buckeyes to leave campus, incredible depth should help ensure sustained success.

"As guys leave the program, younger players have to step up big-time and take care of business," 5-star offensive tackle commit Josh Myers told Bleacher Report. "That's how you maintain success, and we've seen that happen every year in Columbus."

Meyer, a fixture near the apex of college football recruiting class rankings since his Florida Gators tenure, appears primed to raise that personal bar higher than ever before in February. His current class includes 12 prospects listed among the 10 peers at their respective position. 

Top-Ranked 2017 Ohio State Commits
NameOverall RankingPositionHigh School
Wyatt Davis14thOGSt. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA)
Josh Myers23rdOTMiamisburg (Miamisburg, OH)
Baron Browning25thLBKennedale (Kennedale, TX)
Tate Martell26thQBBishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Trevon Grimes27thWRSt. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Chase Young28thDEDeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD)
Haskell Garrett43rdDTBishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Tyjon Lindsey47thWRBishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Shaun Wade56thCBTrinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, FL)
Isaiah Pryor70thSIMG Academy (Bradenton, FL)

This is a class so deep we just listed its 10 top-ranked commits and still didn't reach a pair of top-10 cornerbacks (Marcus Williamson and Amir Riep), 4-star Buckeyes legacy Brendon White or Nike Football Test Ratings national champion J.K. Dobbins

"When we get to campus and actually start practicing, people are going to see we're ready to chase championships," said White, who is likely to land in the defensive backfield. "That's when it's time for us to come together, work hard and find out where this journey takes us."

Quarterback Tate Martell, one win away from finishing his career at Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop Gorman with a 45-0 record, made it known this assembling process isn't done quite yet:

The Buckeyes remain very much in the mix for additional 5-star prospects such as Mississippi running back Cam Akers (No. 4 overall) and Texas defenders Marvin Wilson (tackle; No. 11 overall) and Jeffrey Okudah (cornerback; No. 12 overall). Utah defensive tackle Jay Tufele, New Jersey athlete Markquese Bell and Nevada safety Bubba Bolden—yet another heavily pursued prospect from Bishop Gorman—also present possibilities as the final pieces of a talent-packed class come together. 

Fresh off another victory over Big Ten Conference nemesis Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines, focus is squarely on Meyer's attempt to earn a fourth national championship. Buckeyes fans are buzzing as visions of championship glory again accompany the impending arrival of winter.

"Coach Meyer is literally a king in his castle," Myers said.

Further removed from the spotlight, he and a veteran staff are putting the final touches on a masterpiece recruiting class.

Tyler Donohue is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Quotes and observations obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Prospect ratings and information courtesy of Scout.

Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake.


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