Ohio State Football Recruiting: Meet the Buckeyes' 2018 Class

Brian Pedersen@realBJPFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates with the trophy after their 27-21 win over the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Ohio State has been a magnet for college football prospects since Urban Meyer took over the program in 2012. Each of his recruiting classes have been ranked in the top seven nationally by 247Sports, and this year is no different.

With 22 players added during the early signing period and four more picked up on national signing day, the 2018 Buckeyes class ranks second overall. That marks the third time in seven years Meyer has landed a top-two class, including in 2013 and 2017.

One of Ohio State's national signing day commitments was Nicholas Petit-Frere, the top-rated offensive tackle in the country.

Here's how OSU's latest haul of young talent shakes out:


Kamryn Babb

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Height/Weight: 6'1", 189 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star wide receiver/No. 73

High School: Christian Brothers College (St. Louis)

Kamryn Babb may not get to play much as a true freshman, if at all, with Ohio State returning seven wideouts who had at least 17 receptions in 2017. If he does get on the field, it will be due to his impressive route running and catch radius.


Matthew Baldwin

Height/Weight: 6'2.5", 195 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star quarterback/No. 331

High School: Lake Travis (Austin, Texas)

It won't be as high-profile as 2015, when Ohio State had to decide between J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller, but there will be a quarterback competition this offseason. Matthew Baldwin will get a look alongside Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell, but the No. 12 pro-style passer in the country is most likely going to be redshirted to project for the future.


Sevyn Banks

Height/Weight: 6'1", 180 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star cornerback/No. 221

High School: Jones (Orlando, Florida)

Sevyn Banks has enrolled early, which makes it more likely he'll get into the rotation at cornerback where Ohio State is replacing Denzel Ward. His speed and open-field running ability also make him a candidate to contribute immediately on special teams.


Cameron Brown

Height/Weight: 6'1", 175 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star wide receiver/No. 322

High School: Christian Brothers College (St. Louis)

Ohio State won a back-and-forth battle with Nebraska for Cameron Brown, who kept wavering between the schools throughout 2017. He's capable of playing receiver or cornerback, and it's likely that his first season in college will be spent figuring out where he fits best rather than seeing the field.


Tyler Friday

Height/Weight: 6'3", 263 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star defensive tackle/No. 93

High School: Don Bosco Prep HS (Ramsey, New Jersey)

Tyler Friday committed to Ohio State on Jan. 19, picking the Buckeyes over Alabama, Miami (Fla.), Michigan and Penn State. He has starred as both an offensive and defensive lineman, playing primarily on the interior on defense to this point, but OSU will try him out on the edge first.


Dallas Gant

Height/Weight: 6'3", 225 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star linebacker/No. 165

High School: St. John's Jesuit (Toledo, Ohio)

The 10th-best outside linebacker in the country, Dallas Gant has enrolled early in an effort to crack Ohio State's deep rotation in the middle of the defense. Early on he'll be used more on special teams because he has a high motor that translates well to the aggression needed on punt and kickoff coverage.


Jaelen Gill


Height/Weight: 6'1", 182 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star all-purpose back/No. 30

High School: Westerville South (Westerville, Ohio)

Urban Meyer loves his hybrid offensive weapons who can line up in odd places in the backfield and be used in both the run and pass game. That's why he so badly wanted Jaelen Gill, the No. 2 all-purpose back in the class, who has tremendous upside and could give Ohio State a weapon it was missing this past season.


Marcus Hooker

Height/Weight: 6'0", 185 lbs

Position/Ranking: 3-star cornerback/No. 637

High School: New Castle (New Castle, Pennsylvania)

Marcus Hooker could play receiver or corner but won't do either in a 2018 game unless he gets significantly stronger during the offseason. Good coverage instincts make defense the best route, and he'll get plenty of practice against Ohio State's deep wideout corps.


Antwuan Jackson Jr.

Height/Weight: 6'2 ¼", 305 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star defensive tackle/No. 1 (JUCO)

Junior College: Blinn College (Brenham, Texas)

A former Auburn signee from the 2016 class, Antwuan Jackson Jr. excelled in junior college and comes to Ohio State ready to contribute. He'll no doubt be part of the interior rotation—particularly because of his knack for operating out of the 3-technique.

Javontae Jean-Baptiste

Height/Weight: 6'5", 215 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star linebacker/No. 219 overall

High School: Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.)

Javonte Jean-Baptiste committed to Ohio State on national signing day over offers from Nebraska, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin. The No. 16 outside linebacker and sixth-best New Jersey prospect has a frame that could end up holding a defensive end, which may mean he redshirts in 2018 to bulk up.


Tyreke Johnson


Height/Weight: 6'1", 191 lbs

Position/Ranking: 5-star safety/No. 21

High School: Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Florida)

With Damon Webb graduating, Ohio State needs a new starting safety, and Tyreke Johnson will be given every opportunity to earn that job. The No. 2 player at that position enrolled early and will have the spring to show his knack for both hitting and covering receivers.


Matthew Jones

Height/Weight: 6'4", 300 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star center/No. 68

High School: Erasmus Hall (Brooklyn, New York)

Matthew Jones is a versatile interior lineman who could be the next Ohio State product to shine at multiple positions like Billy Price and Pat Elflein. He's rated as the No. 1 center in the country, though his skills translate better to someone who deals with edge-rushers.


Teradja Mitchell


Height/Weight: 6'2", 232 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star linebacker/No. 44

High School: Bishop Sullivan Catholic (Virginia Beach, Virginia)

The No. 2 inside linebacker of the 2018 class, Teradja Mitchell will probably end up redshirting his first season because of both Ohio State's depth in the middle and his need to get a little stronger. It would be a waste for someone with his instincts to only get a few snaps, mostly in mop-up time.


Chris Olave

Height/Weight: 6'1", 170 lbs

Position/Ranking: 3-star wide receiver/No. 397

High School: Mission Hills (San Marcos, California)

Chris Olave committed on Jan. 28 over UCLA, USC and Utah, as the Buckeyes stole one from Pac-12 territory. Massive depth at the wide receiver position almost ensures Olave will redshirt in 2018 unless he can contribute on special teams.

Nicholas Petit-Frere

Height/Weight: 6'6", 272 lbs

Position/Ranking: 5-star offensive tackle/No. 7 overall

High School: Berkeley Prep (Tampa, Fla.)

Nicholas Petit-Frere picked Ohio State on national signing day over Alabama, Florida, Michigan and Notre Dame. The top-ranked offensive tackle in the 2018 class gives the Buckeyes a prospect with major upside, and though he's on the smaller side for a tackle when it comes to his weight, that's nothing a college strength program can't fix. The important thing is that packing on extra pounds and muscle doesn't affect his great flexibility, which makes him effective slowing down pass-rushers and clearing paths for ball-carriers.


K'Vaughan Pope

Height/Weight: 6'2", 210 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star linebacker/No. 217

High School: Dinwiddie County (Dinwiddie, Virginia)

K'Vaughan Pope is the lowest-rated of the three linebackers Ohio State added in December, which puts him behind the eight ball at a position where the Buckeyes have major depth. Matching his aggressive nature with improved technique will lead to handling run and pass assignments, but probably not until 2019.


Josh Proctor

Height/Weight: 6'2", 190 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star safety/No. 71

High School: Owasso (Owasso, Oklahoma)

Ohio State was able to steal Josh Proctor out of Oklahoma's backyard. The No. 7 safety in the country committed in April and held firm with that pledge. He'll be in action as a freshman, looking to hit someone hard over the middle.


Jeremy Ruckert


Height/Weight: 6'5 ½", 238 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star tight end/No. 37

High School: Lindenhurst (Lindenhurst, New York)

Marcus Baugh's 28 catches and five touchdowns in 2017 were the best production Ohio State has had from a tight end during the Urban Meyer era. With Baugh's graduation, there's an opening for Jeremy Ruckert to step right in and give the Buckeyes a ready-made target. Baugh was used as a receiver in high school, so he could create some major mismatches depending on who he's lined up against.


L'Christian Smith

Height/Weight: 6'6", 205 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star athlete/No. 126

High School: Wayne (Dayton, Ohio)

L'Christian Smith could end up playing all over on offense, a candidate for H-back, tight end or even as a big receiver on the outside because of his tremendous length. Not particularly fast, the fifth-best athlete in the 2018 class could end up being a go-to player in the red zone.


Tyreke Smith

Height/Weight: 6'3", 260 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star defensive end/No. 34

High School: Cleveland Heights (Cleveland)

Tyreke Smith has a flair for the dramatic, having secretly signed with Ohio State in December until he announced at the Under Armour All-America Game. The fourth-best weak-side defensive end in the country comes in at the perfect time as the Buckeyes saw three of their best edge-rushers graduate or turn pro.


Brian Snead

Height/Weight: 5'11", 200 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star running back/No. 80

High School: Armwood (Seffner, Florida)

Had Mike Weber declared for the NFL draft, Brian Snead would have been a candidate to pick up some of his touches in 2018. Instead, the No. 3 running back prospect in the country may end up redshirting to keep Ohio State flush with rushers for a long time.


­Master Teague

Height/Weight: 5'11", 210 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star running back/No. 228

High School: Blackman (Murfreesboro, Tennessee)

Master Teague doesn't just have a great name; he also has a heck of an ability to make defenders miss. He's big enough to take the hits but makes smart business decisions that will keep the wear off his tires—though Ohio State's backfield depth might keep him out of action in the fall.


Tommy Togiai

Height/Weight: 6'3", 290 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star defensive tackle/No. 55

High School: Highland (Pocatello, Idaho)

The first player from Idaho to sign with Ohio State during the Urban Meyer era, Tommy Togiai committed a week before the early signing period over USC, Utah and Washington. If the Buckeyes hadn't added two other elite prospects at defensive tackle he'd be in line to get some snaps this season but instead should redshirt.


Taron Vincent


Height/Weight: 6'2", 285 lbs

Position/Ranking: 5-star defensive tackle/No. 20

High School: IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida)

The highest-rated player in Ohio State's class, Taron Vincent is the No. 1 defensive tackle in the country and picked the Buckeyes over Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Michigan and many other blue-chip programs. He could get moved outside at some point or develop into a road grader inside, though there are a lot of veterans in front of him.


Alex Williams

Height/Weight: 6'7", 250 lbs

Position/Ranking: 3-star defensive end/No. 611

High School: Pickerington North (Pickerington, Ohio)

Alex Williams flipped from West Virginia a day before the early signing period, keeping home another in-state prospect who could find his way onto the field in multiple ways. Known more for his defensive skills, Williams could convert to tight end and be used as a run-blocker or big target over the middle.


Max Wray

Height/Weight: 6'6 ½", 289 lbs

Position/Ranking: 4-star offensive tackle/No. 119

High School: Franklin (Franklin, Tennessee)

The frame is there, but Max Wray needs to add a lot of weight before he'll be ready to crack the rotation at tackle. As long as the size increase doesn't affect his technique, look for him to start making his mark in 2019.


NOTE: Text on certain recruits also appears in Bleacher Report's "National Signing Day 2018: Tracking Top 100 College Football Recruits" article. Recruiting rankings from 247Sports' composite unless otherwise noted. Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.


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