College football: Meet the newest Buckeyes

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Karen Schiely | Akron Beacon Journal
Dante Booker of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary was named Mr. Football of Ohio 2013 by the Associated Press, the first linebacker to earn the honor since Andy Katzenmoyer of Westerville South in 1995.
By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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The Ohio State football program has recruited and received commitments from another highly regarded class of players. Linebacker Sam Hubbard and receiver Terry McLaurin were the first two players to submit their signed letters of intent this morning. "Technical difficulties" made linebacker Kyle Berger of Cleveland St. Ignatius the last, at about 10:30 a.m.

>> Relatively little drama on signing day

>> Click here for video highlights of the class of 2014

>> Seven OSU recruits got early start

 

Ohio State's Class of 2014:

>> Kyle Berger LB (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-2, 225

Cleveland (St. Ignatius)

He committed to Ohio State in April while also holding offers from a host of schools, including Alabama and Notre Dame. Coming off a stellar junior season in which he led his team with 44 tackles for loss on the way to the state championship game, he took part in The Opening, a skills showcase in mid-summer for elite national prospects. He suffered a knee injury in August that wiped out his senior year. With reputed 4.7-second speed in the 40-yard dash, Rivals.com ranks him 17th among outside linebacker prospects nationally while ESPN has him No.23 with a 4-star rating
 

>> Dante Booker LB (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-3, 215

Akron (St. Vincent-St. Mary)

He was named Mr. Football of Ohio 2013 by the Associated Press, the first linebacker to earn the honor since Andy Katzenmoyer of Westerville South in 1995. Booker helped lead St. Vincent-St. Mary to a second straight Ohio Division III state championship. He then played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in Janury. Booker was first Division III all-state in 2013, and named the Division III state defensive player of the year. With 4.52-second speed in the 40, he is considered the 63rd best overall prospect nationally by Rivals.com and No. 4 among inside linebackers, while ESPN has him No.130 overall and No.8 among outside linebackers.
 
>> Noah Brown ATH (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-2, 225

Sparta (Pope John XXIII), N.J.

He led his team to the state championship game in 2013 for the first time, and though it lost he scored two TDs. All-state as a junior and senior, Brown had 47 career TDs, 24 of them rushing, 19 receiving and four on kickoff returns. He also had 41 catches for 857 yards in 2013, 41 for 630 yards as a junior, while rushing for a combined 1,353 yards those two seasons. He is considered a big-body wide receiver, something lacking on the Ohio State roster last year. Because of his versatility, Brown was tabbed an “athlete” by rivals.com, which ranks him No.9 in that category nationally, No.218 among overall prospects. ESPN ranked him No.40 among “athletes” while Scout.com has him No.24 among wide receivers.  
 
>> Parris Campbell RB (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-1, 185

Akron (St. Vincent-St. Mary)

He committed last February, the third to pledge to the 2014 OSU class. He helped St.Vincent-St.Mary to its second straight Ohio Division III state title, setting the school record for rushing yards in a season (1,637) and career touchdowns (59) while being named the Associated Press northeast inland district Div.III offensive player of the year. He was one of the faster prospects at The Opening last summer, running a 4.41-second 40. Because of his size, Rivals.com and ESPN put him in the “athlete” category, ranking him 15th and 83rd, respectively, though he projects himself as a running back at Ohio State. The youngest member of the class, he will be 17 throughout his freshman season.

>> Stephen Collier QB (ALREADY ENROLLED AT OHIO STATE)

6-3, 210

Leesburg (Lee County) Ga.

He is already enrolled at Ohio State. He led his team to the Georgia Region 1-5A title in 2013. As a senior he passed for 2,291 yards and 24 TDs, and rushed for 1,021 yards and 20 TDs, after passing for 1,887 yards and rushing for 485 as a junior. Though just considered a three-star prospect by most of the national recruiting services, Collier was one of 18 quarterbacks nationally invited to take part in the Elite 11 competition last summer. He became the first to be named Albany (Ga.) Herald people’s choice player of the year and the paper’s John Reynolds player of the year awards in the same season. He is ranked No.25 among dual-threat quarterbacks nationally by rivals.com.
 
>> Johnnie Dixon WR (ALREADY ENROLLED AT OHIO STATE)

5-11, 195

West Palm Beach (Dwyer), Fla.

He enrolled at Ohio State in January, having picked the Buckeyes over Alabama and several other schools in December. He was a major ingredient in Dwyer’s first ever 15-0 season that culminated with the Florida 7A state championship. In the title game he had five receptions for 55 yards and a one TD. He was named second team all-state by the Associated Press. With a reported 4.37-second 40, Dixon is ranked No.5 among wide receiver prospects nationally by ESPN, and its 34th best overall prospect, while 247sports.com has him 62nd overall and rivals.com 117th.  He played in the U.S. Army All-Ameircan Bowl in January before reporting to Ohio State.
 
>> Jalyn Holmes DE (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-5, 230

Norfolk (Lake Taylor), Va.

He took part in The Opening, a skills camp for the national elite, in the summer, and player in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January. He helped his team win the Virginia 4A state championship in 2012, and helped it advance to the semifinals in 2013. In the past two seasons he rang up 59 tackles for loss, including 21 sacks. He considered among the leading pass-rush defensive ends in the country by rivals.com (No.4)  Scout.com (No.13). As an overall prospect, 247sports ranks him No.51, Rivals.com No.55 and ESPN No.166.  Though he is expected to play DE, being all-state as a senior, he was an all-state tight end as a junior.

>> Malik Hooker ATH (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-2, 190

New Castle, Pa.

He was majoring in basketball before his junior year, when he added football and quickly became a sensation as a two-way starter at wide receiver and defensive back. He was named to the Western Pa. Interscholastic Athletic League Elite 11 team as a defensive back last season while being tabbed a wide receiver on the American Family Insurance All-Pennsylvania team. He is expected to play defensive back, probably safety, at OSU. Considered a Division I prospect in basketball, he was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 in 2012-13. He continues to star on the hardwood for the Red Hurricanes, who are ranked No.2 in the state Class 4A by the Harrisburg Patriot-News.

>> Sam Hubbard LB (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-6, 230

Cincinnati (Moeller)

The recruiting ratings are all over the board for Hubbard, but that’s because he’s yet to be pigeonholed. He was first team Ohio Division I all-state as a safety this past senior season, recording 109 tackles and five interceptions as Moeller won its second straight state championship, but he projects as a linebacker or perhaps eventual defensive end at OSU because he continues to grow. Scout.com made him its No.1 prospect in Ohio, while rivals.com ranks him No.37 among outside linebacker prospects nationally. Less than a year ago he thought his future was in lacrosse and had committed to Notre Dame before Ohio State and others came calling for football.
 
>> Jamarco Jones OL (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-5, 315

Chicago (De La Salle)

He kept Ohio State fans guessing, and likely kept OSU coaches up at night, when he suddenly opted to make an official visit to Michigan State last weekend despite being committed to the Buckeyes since June. Scout.com says he’s the 63rd best overall prospect in the nation, ESPN has him No.74, Rivals.com No.94.  He missed much of the early part of his senior season as he recovered from shoulder surgery, but still was named Class 6A first team all state by the Illinois Football Coaches Association.  He was a major presence inside on De La Salle’s basketball team as a junior last season, but opted not to play this year as he prepped to move on to football full time.

>> Marcelys Jones OL (ALREADY ENROLLED AT OHIO STATE)

6-5, 340

Cleveland (Glenville)

He has been in a hurry to be a Buckeye for a while. He was the first to commit to the 2014 class, doing so on Christmas Day 2012. He joined six other members of the class enrolling in January for a head start. He is one of 20 players from Glenville to choose OSU since 2002, including 2014 members Marcus Lattimore and Erick Smith. Jones helped Glenville go 13-2 in 2013 which ended with a loss in the state title game. Ever after committing to OSU, Jones was still pursued by several schools, including Alabama.  He played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and is considered the 13th best guard prospect nationally by 247sports, No.17 by rivals.com.

>> Demetrius Knox OL (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-4, 294

Fort Worth (All Saints Episcopal), Texas

He is ranked the No. 2 guard nationally by Rivals.com, No. 7 by Scout.com and No. 11 by ESPN. He has a big frame that can still develop and has good mobility for player his size and plays hard. He has dominated opponents at high-school level but will likely need time to adapt to college level. Still, given the Buckeyes’ need for reinforcements along the offensive line, he could make his case for playing time this fall.

>> Marshon Lattimore ATH (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-0, 175

Cleveland (Glenville)

He has the ability to play wide receiver, but is projected to play defensive back. He’s another in long line of Buckeyes from Cleveland Glenville, where he was teammates with Erick Smith. He is ranked No. 5 athlete by ESPN, No. 7 athlete by Rivals.com and No. 8 cornerback by Scout.com. He has the size, speed and agility needed to be an impact player, but competition at his position(s) will be keen. He’ll certainly be given the chance to get on the field on special teams.

>> Terry McLaurin WR (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-0, 190

Indianapolis (Cathedral)

He is ranked No. 43 receiver by Scout.com, No. 61 by ESPN and No. 46 by Rivals.com but is considered to be underrated. A late bloomer, he earned Indiana Mr. Football honors after strong senior season in which he caught 58 passes for 953 yards to help Cathedral win the state title. He also ran for 744 yards. He has explosive speed – he has been timed at 4.41 in the 40 -- and catches the ball naturally. He’ll probably get a chance to return kicks early in his career at Ohio State.

>> Raekwon McMillan LB (ALREADY ENROLLED AT OHIO STATE)

6-3, 235

Hinesville (Liberty County), Ga.

He is already enrolled at Ohio State. He’s regarded as the crown jewel of the recruiting class because he’s a five-star player at a position of dire need. He is ranked the No. 1 inside linebacker by ESPN and Rivals.com and No. 5 middle linebacker by Scout.com. He has ideal size, strength and instincts and has shown good closing speed. He needs some work in pass coverage, but he has all the tools to be an impact player as a freshman. In fact, he might need to be.

>> Sean Nuernberger K (ALREADY ENROLLED AT OHIO STATE)

6-2, 220

Buckner (Oldham County), Ky.

He has already enrolled at Ohio State. He is ranked the No. 9 kicker by ESPN and 10th by Rivals.com. With Drew Basil gone, Nuernberger will battle with senior walk-on Kyle Clinton for place-kicking duties. He has an exceptional leg, as a school-record 57-yard field goal will attest. He was 13 of 20 on field goals as senior. Of the misses, five were blocked and others were from 54 and 56 yards. He’s also big enough to be an effective tackler in kick coverage.

>> Curtis Samuel ATH (ALREADY ENROLLED AT OHIO STATE)

6-0, 185

Brooklyn (Erasmus Hall), N.Y.

He has already enrolled at Ohio State. Rivals.com ranks him the No. 8 athlete. ESPN ranks him the 20th-best athlete, Scout.com lists him as the No. 9 wide receiver. In this recruiting class, he is probably the closest thing to the “Percy Harvin” prototype that Urban Meyer seeks as a hybrid running back/receiver. He has exceptional quickness and speed (4.36 in the 40) and is a natural pass-catcher who is dangerous in space. He runs decisively and avoids big hits because of his shiftiness.
 
>> Erick Smith S (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-1, 185

Cleveland (Glenville)

Until late in his career, he played second fiddle to Glenville teammate Marshon Lattimore. That changed late in his senior season when Smith established himself as an elite prospect in his own right. He is ranked the No. 4 safety by Scout.com, No. 5 by Rivals.com and No. 11 by ESPN. He has good speed and range and has the size and ball skills to break up passes. He is also regarded as a hard-hitting open-field tackler with natural instincts.

>> Brady Taylor OL (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-4, 285

Columbus (Ready)

He is a late addition after committing to Virginia Tech. But he has always wanted to be a Buckeye and when Ohio State offered after other prospects went elsewhere, Taylor jumped at the offer. He is ranked the No. 42 offensive tackle by Rivals.com, No. 77 by Scout.com and No. 81 by ESPN. He plays with energy and has the frame to add more bulk. He moves well laterally. He might be more of a long-range prospect, but has good tools and intangibles and could blossom under Ed Warinner’s tutelage.
 
>> Dylan Thompson DL (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-5, 270 Lombard

(Montini), Ill.

He is ranked the No. 23 defensive end by Rivals.com, No. 37 by ESPN and No. 39 by Scout.com. He is not flashy, but is a high-energy player with good size and strength. That strength may allow him to play defensive tackle if he’s needed there. He has the length to be able to knock down passes. He figures to be a depth player early in his career on a loaded OSU defensive line but could work his way into the rotation.

>> Kyle Trout OL (ALREADY ENROLLED AT OHIO STATE)

6-6, 280

Lancaster, Ohio

He is already enrolled at Ohio State. He is ranked the No. 17 offensive tackle by Rivals.com, No. 23 by Scout.com and No. 26 by ESPN. He is an athletic lineman with room to add more weight to his frame. He plays with aggression but needs work on technique, particularly in pass protection where scouts say he needs to use his hands more effectively. Offensive linemen typically take a while to develop, and the reward with Trout could be worth a bit of a wait.

>> Damon Webb DB (CONFIRMED BY OHIO STATE)

6-0, 180

Detroit (Cass Tech)

Other than Raekwon McMillan, he might be most prized defensive recruit in this freshman class. He is ranked the No. 5 cornerback by Rivals.com, No. 6 by Scout.com and No. 7 by ESPN. He has good size and strength and excellent instincts and agility. He has the potential to be a lockdown corner and will fight for playing time early. His 40 times haven’t been exceptional but playing speed is not an issue. He is regarded as a student of the game with the mental game to excel at cornerback. 

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