May 19, 2016
Ohio State already has seven elite defenders in its No. 1-ranked recruiting class, highlighted by 5-star cornerback Shaun Wade. But Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes are looking to tighten their grip on that top spot by recruiting some of the nation’s top blue-chip prospects.
These 5-star standouts, in particular, would not only help Ohio State maintain pole position in the recruiting standings, but they would also be perfect fits in an already-dominant defense.
Last week, we identified three players who would take Ohio State’s offense to the next level. This week, we’re providing a look at three recruits who would make the Buckeyes a defensive nightmare over the next four years.
Dylan Moses, 5-Star Linebacker
Ohio State has loaded up on linebackers in recent years, signing eight prospects in the last three classes, so the position group wasn’t one of the highest priorities for the 2017 recruiting cycle. That urgency lowered even more when the Buckeyes landed 4-star linebacker Antjuan Simmons from Ann Arbor, Michigan.
But when a kid as talented as 5-star linebacker Dylan Moses is interested in your school, those priorities change.
That’s the reality for Meyer and Ohio State after Moses tweeted about his desire (via Cleveland.com) to visit Columbus. Rated as the nation’s No. 1 outside linebacker and the No. 2 overall prospect nationally, Moses has offers from pretty much every school worth mentioning.
He’d be an incredible fit in Ohio State’s defense, especially when lined up in the spot that was recently vacated by Darron Lee. The Buckeyes put Lee there to make their defense more athletic and aggressive, and those are the two most obvious traits Moses brings to the field.
Meyer will have a tough time pulling him away from the SEC, though, as 247Sports’ Crystal Ball has Alabama and LSU as heavy favorites for his commitment.
Jeffrey Okudah, 5-Star Safety
Another athletic freak Ohio State could benefit from is 5-star safety Jeffrey Okudah.
The Grand Prairie, Texas, product is rated as the No. 7 overall prospect and the nation’s top safety, and he has garnered offers from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame and home-state schools Texas and Texas A&M.
But the Buckeyes are trending up for Okudah‘s commitment, and they’ve been named his current leader, per Scout.com’s Greg Powers. He talked about why he can see himself playing his collegiate football in Columbus.
“The tradition at Ohio State. It’s just a surreal atmosphere,” Okudah told Rivals (h/t Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com). “The coaching staff, Coach (Urban) Meyer wins a lot of games. Coach (Greg) Schiano, a former (NFL and college) head coach, I know he can develop me and get me to the next level.”
The Buckeyes like versatile safeties who could double as cornerbacks in the secondary. That’s the mold that former Buckeyes safety Vonn Bell fit, and he was selected in the second round by the New Orleans Saints last month.
Okudah fits that bill, which is why Ohio State will push hard for his commitment.
Chase Young, 5-Star Defensive End
With Moses fueling the linebacker unit and Okudah serving as the perfect safety net in the secondary, all the Buckeyes would need now is a lethal pass-rusher to anchor the defensive line.
Enter Chase Young, the 5-star standout from Hyattsville, Maryland.
Ohio State is among 40 other schools that have offered the 6’5″, 225-pound sack artist, and it’s easy to see why, as he’s the No. 29-ranked prospect overall and No. 2-ranked weak-side defensive end.
Young would be a fantastic fit because his talents as an edge-rusher would be a perfect complement to former 5-star strong-side defensive end and soon-to-be Ohio State freshman Nick Bosa (the younger brother of superstar Joey Bosa).
That kind of 5-star, one-two punch at defensive end is what Ohio State was building with Joey Bosa and Noah Spence in 2013. But that vision was derailed when repeated failed drug tests cost Spence his Ohio State career, and he was forced to transfer to Eastern Kentucky.
If the Buckeyes can land Young—50 percent of 247Sports’ Crystal Ball predictions have Ohio State as his destination—then Meyer would have the tools to build one of the best pass rushes not just in the Big Ten but the entire country.
All recruiting information via 247Sports.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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