May 16, 2016
Ohio State burst out of the gate and surged to the head of the pack in the 2017 recruiting cycle, and with 13 verbal pledges already in the fold, Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes have a strong grip on the country’s No. 1 class.
A pair of 5-star studs who committed all the way back in January 2015 gave the coaching staff a solid foundation to build on. Over the last year-and-a-half, the Buckeyes have dominated, and nearly half of their current commitments (six) are ranked within the top 65 players nationally.
Here’s a breakdown of Ohio State’s recruiting efforts so far for 2017.
Ohio State’s offensive recruiting will center around its keystone pledge in 5-star offensive tackle Josh Myers.
The 6’6″, 306-pound standout is an absolute mountain on the left side of the line and looks like someone who should’ve been selected in last month’s NFL draft and not preparing for his final year of high school. Rated the No. 4 player nationally and the No. 1 overall offensive line prospect, his strength and athleticism set him apart as a special player Ohio State can build its future around.
The Buckeyes gained a verbal pledge from 4-star offensive tackle Jake Moretti to anchor the other side of their line.
The rest of Ohio State’s offensive attention has been paid to the backfield, headlined by 4-star all-purpose back J.K. Dobbins.
The No. 47 overall recruit and the third-best APB nationally, Dobbins has a stellar offer list that included Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas and USC. The La Grange, Texas, product announced his commitment to Ohio State in the first week of March, giving Meyer two outstanding ball-carriers with 4-star running back Todd Sibley already in the fold.
Then there’s Danny Clark, the 4-star pro-style quarterback who became the first member of Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting class when he committed as a freshman in December 2013.
The only thing Ohio State needs to complete its offensive overhaul is some pass-catchers, and on that front, Meyer is chasing an epic 5-star haul of wideouts.
Until they land some receivers, though, the group won’t be complete.
Defense and Special Teams
Ohio State’s defensive recruiting is much more well-rounded than the offense at this point.
It all starts up front for the Buckeyes, who finally landed some top-flight defensive tackle talent after years of missing on its top targets. In 2015, Terry Beckner Jr., Christian Wilkins and Neville Gallimore all spurned the Buckeyes for other schools, and last year, Ohio State failed to land Rashan Gary, Antwuan Jackson or Rashard Lawrence.
Outside of defensive tackle, Meyer and the Ohio State coaching staff have made a huge effort to load up their secondary. The unit is headlined by 5-star cornerback Shaun Wade and high 4-star safety Isaiah Pryor of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The Buckeyes paired them with fellow 4-star safety Brendon White and 4-star cornerback Marcus Williamson.
Linebacker isn’t a huge need in 2017 after the Buckeyes loaded the unit up in 2015 and 2016. But that didn’t stop Meyer from stealing Ann Arbor, Michigan, prospect Antjuan Simmons from Michigan’s backyard.
And even Ohio State’s special teams recruiting is elite. The Buckeyes have put an emphasis on recruiting specialists under Meyer, and that paid off this year with a commitment from Blake Haubeil, the No. 2 kicker in the country.
The Buckeyes are still after a number of elite prospects such as 5-star safety Jeffrey Okudah and 4-star cornerback Lamont Wade, two targets they have a considerable lead for, according to 247Sports Crystal Ball Predictions.
But even without them, Ohio State’s defensive and special teams recruiting has been on point.
All recruiting information via 247 Sports.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
Read more Ohio State Football news on BleacherReport.com