March 26, 2012

Class Outlook: Defense

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Recently, we took a broad look at the Ohio State recruiting efforts on the offensive side of the football. Now it's time to look at the defense where the Buckeyes are in on several of the nation's top prospects at all three levels. Below, we break things down position-by-position on where Ohio State stands with some of their top targets.

Defensive End (1): After loading up on big-time defensive ends in the 2012 class, Ohio State has the luxury of being picky in the 2013 cycle and will likely only take one player at the position. The biggest target at the moment is Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas product Joey Bosa. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound prospect can play either inside or outside and is the nation's No. 14 overall prospect. Bosa will be in Columbus for the spring game in April and right now the Buckeyes are battling the likes of Alabama, Florida, Wisconsin, and many others for Bosa's services.

Also on the radar is Hope Mills (N.C.) South View product Greg Gilmore. Like Bosa, Gilmore is an inside/outside combo defensive lineman that could very well grow into a tackle at the next level. Gilmore holds approximately 20 offers at the moment and is wide open in his recruitment.

Continuing with the theme of inside/outside guys is Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood product DeMarcus Walker. Walker will not be an easy pull out of the Sunshine State as the 'Big 3' have all offered as has most of the Southeastern Conference.

In the Midwest region, the Buckeyes are targeting Avon (Ind.) four-star Elijah Daniel. The 6-foot-4, 253-pound prospect was one of the first class of 2013 offers handed out by Meyer but will be a tough pull for the Buckeyes as Daniel is thought to be headed south to play his college ball.

In terms of the more traditional pass-rushers, the Buckeyes have targeted two out-of-state prospects in Somerville (N.J.) Immaculata product Tashawn Bower and Wilson (N.C.) Hunt product Lewis Neal. Both prospects have spoken highly of Ohio State and the Buckeyes would have to be considered in the top group of schools for each prospect.

Defensive Tackle (2): Ohio State is off to a strong start with four-star Billy Price already in the fold. With likely just one more spot left at the position, this is another place where the Buckeyes can be picky and they are setting the bar high by targeting a pair of outstanding prospects from the Atlantic East region in Sicklerville (N.J.) Timber Creek four-star Greg Webb and Baltimore (Md.) Gilman four-star Henry Poggi.

At this point Poggi looks like a long shot but the Buckeyes have made a major move for Webb over the last six weeks and Webb will be in Columbus for the weekend of the spring game. Outside of the above two, Shaker Heights (Ohio) three-star Donovan Munger is also a prospect that is generating a lot of interest. Munger has reported an offer from Ohio State but would likely need to camp first before being able to issue a commitment.

Linebacker (2-3): After signing five linebackers in the 2012 class, Ohio State will still be looking for a few more in 2013. The Buckeyes have offered two Ohioans in four-star Ben Gedeon and three-star Courtney Love.

With Gedeon, a lot of the rumblings have the Hudson product heading north to Michigan with the Buckeyes trying to play catch up. On the other hand, the Buckeyes are considered the leader for Love and it would not be a surprise if the Cardinal Mooney product issued a commitment by the end of the spring.

Out-of-state, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers four-star Jaylon Smith and Wyomissing (Pa.) four-star Alex Anzalone are the two biggest targets. Smith looks to be a Notre Dame/Ohio State battle from here on out with most giving the Fighting Irish the edge right now. With Anzalone, the Buckeyes are battling some of the nation's premier programs in Florida, Penn State, and Notre Dame. Ohio State will get a second unofficial visit from Anzalone at the end of March and the Buckeyes are in as good of shape as any team in this race.

Other linebackers the Buckeyes are pursuing include Virginia products Matt Rolin and E.J. Levenberry Jr., Maryland four-star Dorian O'Daniel, four-star North Carolina product Peter Kalambayi, and Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central four-star Tim Kimbrough. All but Kimbrough have been offered so far.

Safety (2): The number here is likely two and this is one of the most important positions in the class as many of the current safeties on the roster are upperclassmen. Nationally, the Buckeyes will chase five-star Su'a Cravens out of California, four-star Von Bell out of Georgia, and Florida four-stars Marcell Harris and Leon McQuay III . All of those prospects will be tough pulls, though the Buckeyes are in the game for McQuay and Bell specifically.

Locally, a pair of committed Ohio prospects are still being pursued in Michigan commit Dymonte Thomas and West Virginia verbal Jayme Thompson. Of the two, only Thomas currently holds an offer but that could change by the start of the summer. By now, everyone knows the story on Thomas, the cousin of Ohio State running back Bri'onte Dunn but even in the most optimistic of scenarios, there isn't likely to be much movement in that recruitment in the near future.

Cornerback (2): With commitments from Eli Woodard and Cameron Burrows, Ohio State is likely done recruiting the cornerback position. The Buckeyes would certainly take elite national prospects such as Kendall Fuller or Mackensie Alexander if one wanted in the class, but as of right now, that doesn't appear to be a realistic scenario.


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