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2014 Ohio State Recruiting Class Analysis

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 12, 2014


Ohio State Buckeyes 2014 ... Head Coach: Urban Meyer


Ohio State Buckeyes

2014 Schedule
8/30 at Navy
9/6 Virginia Tech
9/13 Kent State
9/20 OPEN DATE
9/27 Cincinnati
10/4 at Maryland
10/11 OPEN DATE
10/18 Rutgers
10/25 at Penn State
11/1 Illinois
11/8 at Michigan State
11/15 at Minnesota
11/22 Indiana
11/29 Michigan

2013 Record: 12-2
8/31 Buffalo W 40-20
9/7 San Diego State W 42-7
9/14 at California W 52-34
9/21 Florida A&M W 76-0
9/28 Wisconsin W 31-24
10/5 at Northwestern W 40-30
10/12 OPEN DATE
10/19 Iowa W 34-24
10/26 Penn State W 63-14
11/2 at Purdue W 56-0
11/9 OPEN DATE
11/16 at Illinois W 60-35
11/23 Indiana W 42-14
11/30 at Michigan W 42-41
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP
12/7 Michigan St L 34-24
Orange Bowl
1/3 Clemson L 40-35
Ohio State football tickets at TicketCity

Ohio State | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: After the way Michigan, Michigan State and Oklahoma ripped through the Ohio State defense at will in key spots over the final three games, the focus will be all about the defense that returns eight starters – depending on the alignment, but loses all-around playmaking star Ryan Shazier and corner Bradley Roby. The Buckeyes allowed 34 points or more five times on the year and four times in the final five games. The secondary will be under the greatest scrutiny after giving up 268 yards a game and getting torched by Trevor Knight in the Sugar.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Receivers. The Buckeyes came up with a phenomenal class with a who’s who of superstar linebackers with Sam Hubbard, Kyle Berger and Dante Booker three next-level athletes who should be dominant playmakers, and the O line landed Jamarco Jones for the outside and Demetrius Knox for the interior, and RB Parris Campbell should be a key part to the puzzle in a few years. The receiving corps is the killer with Curtis Samuel leading a loaded class of very fast, very good targets who look the part. Some of them will end up moving over to the defensive side, and receiver isn’t an issue this year to need any of the prospects right away, but give it a little bit and this group will dominate.

2013 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 2. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. It was already a fantastic class, and then came Signing Day and the pickup of running back Ezekiel Elliott, Oregon flip Ezekiel Elliott at running back and receiver James Clark. Much is being made about the haul on the defensive line, and rightly so, with Joey Bosa and Tyquan Lewis among the nation's top end prospects and Michael Hill, Donovan Munger and Billy Price three excellent tackle prospects, but the key is the secondary. It was great, and then came the signing of safety Vonn Bell to make it special. Corner Eli Apple was a nice get out of New Jersey, and Cameron Burrows and Gareon Conley are just as strong, while safeties Darron Lee and Jayme Thompson are going to someday be excellent starting safeties. Overall, this is a special class - even for Ohio State - with linebacker Mike Mitchell, receiver Jalin Marshall and tackle Evan Lyle all destined to be all-stars.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 2. That Class Was Heavy On ... Welcome to Urban being Urban. Meyer appears to have a renewed energy, and it shows with a typically great Ohio State recruiting class. Even with almost no time to work, he’s getting just about everyone he wants from Ohio and has been able to get a few key players from outside the state. In just a short time he’s putting together a monster that’s as good as any class in the country, particularly on the defensive front where he’s loading up with the best prospects for any line in America. The skill positions aren’t being ignored, but the Buckeyes need to keep building up the defense. Meyer will go more for the offensive side next year. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 2. That Class Was Heavy On ... the defensive front seven. All eyes will be on Braxton Miller, who might be the quarterback and the key to the start of the 2011 season, but the Buckeyes will be loaded for years to come thanks to the pickup of several amazing defensive players. The Signing Day coup of Curtis Grant, the nation’s top outside linebacker, was the icing on the cake for a class that came up with NFL talents in Michael Bennettat defensive tackle and Steve Miller on the outside. Ejuan Shazier will be the team’s next great inside linebacker, while brother Ryan Shazier will be a star on the outside.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 20. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. Predictably, Ohio State didn't come up with its normal jaw-dropping haul of NFL talents after coming up with the nation's top class last year. But that didn't mean that a few key prospects weren't signed led by superstar offensive tackle prospect Andrew Norwell, who'll be great once he hits the weight room. The receivers aren't the sure things of past classes, but Corey Brown, James Louis and Tyrone Williams can move. Roderick Smith is a freakishly talented running back who could've gone anywhere in the Big Ten and got a big push from Georgia and Oklahoma.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 1. That Class Was Heavy On ... everything. Name the position and about 100 other teams would be ecstatic to do as well overall as Ohio State did in any one area other than quarterback (and Kenneth Guiton isn’t a bad prospect). Running back? Jaamal Berry and FB Carlos Hyde are the stars of a good group. The receiving corps, led by Cris Carter’s son, Duron, is special, the offensive tackles are all prototypes, the defensive tackles big and quick, the linebackers fast, and the defensive backs even faster. This class has it all.

Orange Bowl
Clemson 40, Ohio State 35
Basically … Tajh Boyd threw five touchdown passes and ran for another, but he threw two memorable picks, unable to get one pass over Vonn Bell on the goal line, and almost giving away the game on a late interception. However, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller gave it right back in the final moments, not seeing LB Stephone Anthony. Martavis Bryant gave the Tigers a 20-9 lead in the second on the first of two three-yard touchdown catches, but Ohio State came back with 20 straight points for the lead. Then it was all Boyd with touchdown passes to Watkins and Bryant before the Buckeyes seemed to take control. Miller threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more, finding Carlos Hyde for a 14-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth for a one-point lead, but the offense couldn’t get back on the board. Boyd was great – starting out the scoring on a 48-yard touchdown, but Sammy Watkins was better, ripping apart the Buckeye secondary from 34 and 30 yards out on the way to a record-setting Orange Bowl day.

- Penalties: Clemson 15 for 144 yards – Ohio State 6 for 60 yards
- Turnovers: Ohio State 4 – Clemson 2
- Third down conversions: Clemson 7-of-13 – Ohio State 2-of-13 - Clemson QB Tajh Boyd completed 31-of-40 passes for 378 yards and five touchdowns with two picks, and ran 20 times for 127 yards and a touchdown. - Clemson WR Sammy Watkins caught 16 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns.
- Clemson DE Vic Beasley made five tackles with a sack and four tackles for loss.
- Ohio State QB Braxton Miller completed 16-of-24 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns with two picks and ran 18 times for 35 yards and two touchdowns.
- Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde ran 25 times for 113 yards and a touchdown.
- Ohio State LB Joshua Perry made a game-high ten tackles with a sack.
- Ohio State P Cameron Johnston punted five times averaging 48.2 yards per kick putting three inside the 20

Michigan State 34, Ohio State 24
Basically … Michigan State jumped out to a 17-0 lead on two Connor Cook touchdown passes on a 72-yard play to Keith Mumphery and a 33-yard play to Tony Lippett, and then answered an Ohio State scoring run with 17 unanswered points helped by a nine-yard pass to Josiah Price and salted away by a 26-yard Jeremy Langford run. The Buckeyes seemed to have all the momentum after Braxton Miller’s second touchdown run gave them a 24-17 lead, but a late drive was stalled by a Denicos Allen tackle of Miller on fourth-and short. The Spartans controlled the game from there.
- Ohio State was 1-of-10 on third down conversions and 0-for-2 on fourth downs. Michigan State was 5-of-15 on third downs and two-for-two on fourth.
- Ohio State QB Braxton Miller completed 8-of-21 passes for 101 yards and a score, and he ran 21 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Carlos Hyde ran 18 times for 118 yards.
- Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford made 24 times for 128 yards and a score.
- Michigan State QB Connor Cook completed 24-of-40 passes for 304 yards and three scores with a pick.

Ohio State 42, at Michigan 41
Basically … In a thriller, Michigan pulled within one with 32 seconds to play on a two-yard touchdown catch from Devin Funchess, but Devin Gardner’s throw on the two-point conversion attempt was picked off, Ohio State recovered the onside kick, and the Buckeyes survived. Gardner threw for 451 yards and four touchdowns with three in the fourth quarter, but Ohio State’s running game was unstoppable with Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller combining for 379 yards with Miller scoring from 53, 21 and three yards away, and Hyde barreling in from one-yard out to take the lead late in the fourth. The two teams traded punches the entire way, with the Buckeyes getting up 14 late in the third on a 22-yard Jeff Heuerman touchdown catch, but Gardner, on an injured ankle, was on fire in the fourth quarter comeback attempt.
- Michigan rolled up 603 yards of total offense, Ohio State 526
- Ohio State QB Braxton Miller completed 6-of-15 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns with a pick, and he ran 16 times for 153 yards and three scores. Carlos Hyde ran 27 times for 226 yards and a score.
- Michigan QB Devin Gardner completed 32-of-45 passes for 451 yards and four touchdowns and ran nine times for ten yards and a touchdown.
- Michigan WR Jeremy Gallon caught nine passes for 175 yards and a score.

at Ohio State 42, Indiana 14
Basically … In the snow and cold, Ohio State dominated as it took the Leaders title and earned a spot in the Big Ten championship. The Buckeyes scored the first 42 points with Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller each running for two scores and Miller throwing two touchdown passes finding Dontre Wilson for a 24-yard score and Devin Smith for a 39-yard touchdown. Indiana scored two late, meaningless touchdowns on two Nate Sudfeld touchdown passes.
- Ohio State QB Braxton Miller completed 11-of-17 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns with a pick, and he ran 13 times for a team-leading 144 yards and two scores.
- Indiana WR Kofi Hughes caught nine passes for 120 yards. QB Tre Roberson completed 7-of-12 passes for 96 yards, and he ran for a team-leading 79 yards on 12 carries.
- Ohio State turned it over three times, Indiana didn’t turn it over.
- Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld completed 25-of-41 passes for 224 yards and two scores.

Ohio State 60, at Illinois 35
Basically … Illinois provided more of a fight than the final score might indicate. Ohio State jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead on a 70-yard Braxton Miller touchdown run, an 18-yard Carlos Hyde touchdown catch, and a 63-yard pick six from Bradley Roby, and the rout appeared to be on when Miller threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Philly Brown for a 28-0 lead. Illinois fought back with a 67-yard V’Angelo Bentley punt return for a score and two Nathan Scheelhaase touchdown passes. Hyde ran for four scores including dashes from 51 and 55 yards out to pull away in the fourth.
- Ohio State outgained Illinois 591 yards to 420 with 441 yards coming on the ground.
- Ohio State QB Braxton Miller completed 13-of-29 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns and ran 16 times for 185 yards and a score. Carlos Hyde ran 24 times for 246 yards and four scores, and he caught two passes for 26 yards and a score.
- Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase completed 33-of-50 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns with two picks.
- Illinois WR Steve Hull caught eight passes for 105 yards and a score.

Ohio State 56 at Purdue 0, Nov. 2
Basically … The Buckeyes kicked off the scoring with a 33-yard interception return from Doran Grant in the opening minute and never looked back in a historically lopsided win over Purdue. Before giving way to Kenny Guiton, QB Braxton Miller threw four first-half touchdown passes, helping extend Ohio State’s nation’s-best winning streak to 21 games.
- The Buckeyes outgained the Boilermakers 640-116.
- Purdue rookie QB Danny Etling struggled all day, completing 13-of-29 passes for just 89 yards and the pick-six by Grant.
- Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde needed just eight carries to rush for 111 yards.
- The 56-point margin of victory was the largest in the series history between Ohio State and Purdue.

at Ohio State 63, Penn State 14
Basically … Ohio State rolled at will, coming up with the first 28 points of the game as Braxton miller ran for two scores and hit Chris Fields for a three-yard score. Carlos Hyde started out the scoring with a two-yard run and added a 39-yarder, and then Miller went back to work with touchdown passes for Philly Brown and Dontre Wilson before calling it a day midway through the third quarter. Penn State broke up the scoring with a 12-yard Brandon Felder touchdown catch, but the Nittany Lions were down 63-7 before Allen Robinson caught a 65-yard touchdown pass in the fourth.
- It seems like someone’s not too happy about being ranked fourth in the BCS. Ohio State flexed its muscle and showed no ill effects from a rough last few weeks and three straight tough games. Instead of getting physical in the second half like it did against Northwestern and Iowa, the offense came out hitting and Penn State couldn’t do anything about it. The Buckeyes rolled up 408 yards on the ground with Carlos Hyde rumbling for 147 yards and two scores – it’s time to put him on the All-America watch list – and Braxton Miller added 68 yards while throwing for a sharp 18-of-24 passes for 252 yards and three scores.
- Basically, that might be it. Ohio State can roll out of bed and blow out Purdue and Illinois on the road, and then comes the fun against the Indiana offense before closing out against Michigan. The Buckeyes have to lose twice to blow it in the Leaders, but obviously there are bigger fish to fry. They have to keep winning and keep winning like this, but they’re not moving up in the BCS without a ton of help.

at Ohio State 34 … Iowa 24
Basically … Ohio State got its power game going in the second half, overcoming a 17-10 halftime deficit with two Carlos Hyde touchdown runs and a 14-yard Devin Smith touchdown catch on the way to a 24-7 scoring run. Iowa kept it interesting with a game-tying 85-yard touchdown pass to Jake Duzey, but the Buckeye line and the scrambling of Braxton Miller took over. Jake Rudock threw two first half touchdown passes for the Hawkeyes.
- When Ohio State needs to take over the game, it goes to Carlos Hyde and the power ground game. It did it against Northwestern, and against Iowa the offense bullied its way to the win. Braxton Miller was brilliant, completing 22-of-27 passes for 222 yards for two touchdowns and ran 102 maddening yards for the Iowa defense. Hyde rumbled for 149 yards and two scores, and combining with Miller, they took over the game with grinding drive after grinding drive. The Buckeyes had the ball for over 23 minutes in the second half.
- Iowa was strong in the first half with Damon bullock and Mark Weisman running well and Jake Rudock keeping the chains moving, and it seemed like the team weathered the storm in the second half after the long touchdown pass to Jake Duzey, but the defense couldn’t hold up as Ohio State came up with third down conversion after third down conversion.
- The Hawkeyes got around the ball, but they struggled to make the play. Carlos Hyde bounced off of and ran through defenders, but James Morris and Anthony Hitchens did what they could, combining for 23 tackles. Too many of them were made down the field.
- This might have been Ohio State’s biggest problem the rest of the way to Michigan. As long as the power running game is working like this, even the dangerous games against Indiana and Penn State shouldn’t be a problem. The Buckeyes are showing they can play just about any style.

Ohio State 40, at Northwestern 30
Basically … Carlos Hyde took over in the second half, running for three touchdowns and powering Ohio State past the Wildcats. Northwestern had the lead in the fourth quarter after Trevor Siemian’s second touchdown pass of the game, but Hyde and the Buckeyes took over with a punishing scoring drive, finishing up with a seven-yard scoring run, and the defense held with NU QB Kain Colter fumbling a fourth-and-short snap and being held just shy of the first down. The Buckeyes scored in the first quarter on a blocked punt, and the defense got into the act as time ran out falling on a fumble in the end zone.
- Ohio State got tough when it had to. Braxton Miller struggled a bit, and the offense didn’t move like it needed to in the first half, but Carlos Hyde came up with a brutish, blasting performance with 168 yards and three touchdowns, and he also did a nice job on some key short passes with four catches for 38 yards. There was nothing finesse whatsoever about the Buckeyes with the game on the line.
- The good: Jeff Budzien nailed all three of his field goal attempts for Northwestern. The bad: Jeff Budzien attempted those attempts from 23, 29 and 32 yards out. The Wildcats had chance after chance deep in Buckeye territory and had to settle for three instead of seven. OSU was wobbly, and NU couldn’t land a knockout punch.
- The Wildcats couldn’t get Venric Mark or the running game going. Ohio State was able to close down the Wisconsin ground game, and it held NU to just 94 yards on 43 carries. The longest run was just eight yards. Linebackers Ryan Shazier and Curtis Grant were terrific.
- Kain Colter was fantastic and the two QB system for NU worked great. Trevor Siemian completed 13-of-18 passes for 245 yards and two touchdown passes, but he threw a key pick. Colter completed all 12 of his throws for 98 yards, he caught a nine-yard touchdown pass, and he ran eight times for 16 yards and a score.

at Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 24
Basically … Ohio State got four touchdown passes from Braxton Miller including a 40-yard strike to Corey Brown as time ran out in the first half and a one-yarder to him late in the third for a 31-14 lead, but Wisconsin rallied back on a 17-yard James White touchdown run and a 42-yard Kyle French field goal. Joel Stave and Jared Abbrederis gave the Buckeye secondary fits, with a 36-yard touchdown connection in the first quarter tying it at seven, but Miller was too sharp. Stuck deep in their own territory in the final moments, the Badgers stalled on their final drive.
- So much for any quarterback controversy. Braxton Miller took a beating, but he still completed 17-of-25 passes for 198 yards and four touchdowns with 83 yards rushing. He was poised, confident, and looking like he never had a knee injury.
- Jared Abbrederis absolutely destroyed Brandon Roby and the Ohio State secondary, catching ten passes for 207 yards and a score. The Buckeyes didn’t have an answer for him, while Joel Stave came up with an excellent game in defeat, completing 20-of-34 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns with a pick. Chris Borland made 16 tackles for the Badgers.
- With eight penalties – including a killer that negated an Ohio State fumbled punt - a missed chip-shot field goal, and a dropped interception that led to the meltdown touchdown pass allowed at the end of the first half, Wisconsin was too error-prone to win a game like this on the road.
- The Ohio State defensive front was going to make Stave win the game, bottling up Melvin Gordon, who came up with just 74 rushing yards on 15 carries, and allowing just 104 yards of Badger rushing offense on 27 carries.

at Ohio State 76, Florida A&M 0
Basically … Kenny Guiton was more than fine with Braxton Miller being held out. Guiton threw a school-record six touchdown passes including two to Evan Spencer, and Ezekiel Elliott took over in empty-the-bench time with 14 carries for 162 yards and two second half touchdowns.
- Total yards? Ohio State 603, Florida A&M 80. The team is done with the preseason. It’ll never be more tuned up for Wisconsin than it is now.
- Two. That’s how many first downs Florida A&M came up with. The Buckeye defense didn’t let the poor Rattlers breathe, jumping all over the short-to-midrange routes and not allowing a thing. It was total dominance.
- Guiton got some more live reps, and while he threw a pick, he once again showed that he could more than handle the workload. Now the main man should be 100% for the showdown for, most likely, the Leaders title.

Ohio State 52, at California 34, Sept. 14
Basically … With Braxton Miller sitting out, Kenny Guiton made the offense fly with four touchdown passes including home runs of 90 and 47 yards out to Devin Smith in the first five minutes. Cal kept bombing away with Jared Goff throwing 53 passes with three scoring throws hitting James Grison for a 61-yarder and Chris Harper for a 42-yard play, but Ohio State’s running game was too much with 332 yards and three Jordan Hall touchdowns to keep the Cal offense on the sidelines.
- How would Kenny Guiton do as a starter instead of a relief pitcher? 21-of-32 passes for 276 yards and four scores, and 14 carries for 92 yards. He didn’t make any mistakes, throwing with accuracy and confidence.
- The Cal offense might not be consistent quite yet, but Jared Goff looks like a keeper. He keeps pressing and he keeps pushing the ball down the field. He handled the pressure well.
- The Ohio State defense was on its heels, but it came up with the stops it needed to stay comfortably ahead. Ryan Shazier made 11 tackles with a sack and a forced fumble.
- The Cal running game works, but the offense is pass-happy with Goff. Daniel Lasco was effective late, running ten times for 64 yards and a score.

at Ohio State 42, San Diego State 7, Sept. 7
Basically … Kenny Guiton stepped in for an injured Braxton Miller and threw two touchdown passes and ran for a team-leading 83 yards and a score in the easy win. Miller left the game early with a sprained knee, but Guiton had no problem running the attack with a perfect 27-yard touchdown pass to Corey Brown and another one to him from 24 yards out. San Diego State didn’t get on the board until it was down 42-0 on a two-yard Chad Young touchdown catch.
- How will Guiton do now that the spotlight is on? He’s been a great relief pitcher, but now it looks like he could be the main man for a while until Miller is healthy again. The ground game and the running backs should get more of the work.
- San Diego State has GOT to stop turning the ball over. After a disastrous day against Eastern Illinois, the Aztecs gave the ball away four times. The offense isn’t good enough to handle the mistakes.
- In his first game back from suspension, Ohio State corner Bradley Roby made four tackles with a broken up pass. He didn’t show any rust, and the rest of the defense wasn’t truly tested.
- Adam Dingwell had another disastrous outing. The Aztec starting quarterback missed on his first five passes with a pick. Quinn Kaehler pushed the ball around the field a little bit, completing 22-of-36 passes for 216 yards and a score with a pick.

at Ohio State 40, Buffalo 20, Aug. 31
Basically … The Buckeye offense rocked and rolled out of the gate with Braxton Miller hitting Devin Smith for a 47-yard touchdown and finding Chris Fields for a seven yarder early, but it was Jordan Hall who stole the show with a 49-yard scoring dash and a 37-yarder late in the first. It seemed like a walk in the park with a 23-0 lead, but Buffalo hung around highlighted by a 47-yard pick six from linebacker Khalil Mack, but OSU pulled away in the third on a 21-yard Kenny Guiton touchdown pass to Chris Fields.
- The offense worked just fine. The Buckeyes looked in midseason form early on with Braxton Miller sharp and Jordan Hyde running wild. The offensive line blasted away on a very good MAC defense, and Miller and Hyde took advantage helping the ground game roll for 261 yards.
- The talk of Ohio State this week will be about the secondary that was a bit too shaky without Bradley Roby. Buffalo was able to crank up 185 yards and two scores through the air, and the game became a bit too close. However, the defensive front bottled up Branden Oliver, holding him to just 73 yards on 26 carries.
- Buffalo’s Khalil Mack made his presence felt, but the Buckeyes were running way too easily through the second level. However, Mack’s interception for a score showed just a little bit of what he can do.
- If it’s an Urban Meyer coached team, there will be penalties. The Buckeyes committed nine for 94 yards and turned it over twice.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited: Yeah, yeah, yeah, the offense is expected to be special after leading the Big Ten in scoring and with nine starters returning, but don’t sleep on a pass defense that could surprise. The secondary gave up yards but rarely got beaten deep, allowing 15 touchdown passes and coming up with 14 picks. There were a few lapses – oddly enough, Miami University, Indiana and Penn State had the best passing days against the Buckeyes – but overall the secondary did a nice job. Three starters return, and while there’s work to do up front, there’s enough athleticism to come up with a good pass rush.

Why To Be Grouchy: There might be an adjustment period up front. It’s Ohio State, so the lost star talent will be replaced by new start talent, but it’ll still sting for a while with all four starters gone including John Simon and Nathan Williams on the ends and Johnathan Hankins on the inside. Throw in the losses of linebackers Zach Boren and Etienne Sabino, and the front seven is going to be the focus throughout the spring.

What Needs Working On: Protecting Braxton Miller. The offense is loaded with talent and experience, the depth is there across the board with a terrific set of young options for the line and several good position battles for time at all the skill spots except quarterback. While Kenny Guiton proved he could come in cold and save the day against Purdue, the difference between a good season and a possible national championship run depends on keeping Miller alive and kicking. He takes way too many big pops and was sacked way too often. Being tough as nails is one thing, but he’s not built like Tim Tebow – its asking too much to expect him to last the season if he’s getting blasted.

Non-Conference Games: Buffalo, San Diego State, at California, Florida A&M
Games Against The Legends: Iowa, at Michigan, at Northwestern
Realistic Best Case Record: 12-0
Worst Case Record: 8-4
Likely Finish: 11-1

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Buffalo, San Diego State, at California, Florida A&M, Wisconsin, at Northwestern, Iowa, Penn State, at Purdue, at Illinois, Indiana

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Michigan

Schedule Analysis: The Buckeyes have the schedule to go unbeaten again, or they’ll at least have the ability and potential to get close. Considering California is rebuilding, San Diego State might be the most dangerous non-conference game. Buffalo and Florida A&M will be warm-ups, and they’ll need them before starting out the Big Ten schedule with the game they must have.

Michigan might be Ohio State’s biggest rival, but Wisconsin is the team that matters in the division; Ohio State can’t blow the Big Ten home opener. Going to Northwestern the week after isn’t going to be easy, but then it’s time to relax with a week off before hosting Iowa and Penn State before going to Purdue. With another week off before the finishing kick, there shouldn’t be any problems with a road trip to Illinois and a home game against Indiana. OSU will be favored in every with the possible exception of the finale. No matter what else happens throughout the year, the road trip to Michigan will be focused on all season long.

Team Concerns For 2013: Defensive line, defensive line and defensive line. Of course, it would be nice if the passing game became a bit more sophisticated, but that's not what the offense is about with Braxton Miller able to make big plays down the field when needed. The run defense improved as the year went on and the talent level is being raised by Urban Meyer, but the Buckeyes have to replace all four starters up front along with linebackers Zach Boren, Etienne Sabino and Storm Klein. It's Ohio State - there are more talents waiting in the wings - but it's going to be the concern early on.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive backs. It was already a fantastic class, and then came Signing Day and the pickup of running back Ezekiel Elliott, Oregon flip Ezekiel Elliott at running back and receiver James Clark. Much is being made about the haul on the defensive line, and rightly so, with Joey Bosa and Tyquan Lewis among the nation's top end prospects and Michael Hill, Donovan Munger and Billy Price three excellent tackle prospects, but the key is the secondary. It was great, and then came the signing of safety Vonn Bell to make it special. Corner Eli Apple was a nice get out of New Jersey, and Cameron Burrows and Gareon Conley are just as strong, while safeties Darron Lee and Jayme Thompson are going to someday be excellent starting safeties. Overall, this is a special class - even for Ohio State - with linebacker Mike Mitchell, receiver Jalin Marshall and tackle Evan Lyle all destined to be all-stars.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 2. That Class Was Heavy On ... Welcome to Urban being Urban. Meyer appears to have a renewed energy, and it shows with a typically great Ohio State recruiting class. Even with almost no time to work, he’s getting just about everyone he wants from Ohio and has been able to get a few key players from outside the state. In just a short time he’s putting together a monster that’s as good as any class in the country, particularly on the defensive front where he’s loading up with the best prospects for any line in America. The skill positions aren’t being ignored, but the Buckeyes need to keep building up the defense. Meyer will go more for the offensive side next year. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 2. That Class Was Heavy On ... the defensive front seven. All eyes will be on Braxton Miller, who might be the quarterback and the key to the start of the 2011 season, but the Buckeyes will be loaded for years to come thanks to the pickup of several amazing defensive players. The Signing Day coup of Curtis Grant, the nation’s top outside linebacker, was the icing on the cake for a class that came up with NFL talents in Michael Bennettat defensive tackle and Steve Miller on the outside. Ejuan Shazier will be the team’s next great inside linebacker, while brother Ryan Shazier will be a star on the outside.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 20. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. Predictably, Ohio State didn't come up with its normal jaw-dropping haul of NFL talents after coming up with the nation's top class last year. But that didn't mean that a few key prospects weren't signed led by superstar offensive tackle prospect Andrew Norwell, who'll be great once he hits the weight room. The receivers aren't the sure things of past classes, but Corey Brown, James Louis and Tyrone Williams can move. Roderick Smith is a freakishly talented running back who could've gone anywhere in the Big Ten and got a big push from Georgia and Oklahoma.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 1. That Class Was Heavy On ... everything. Name the position and about 100 other teams would be ecstatic to do as well overall as Ohio State did in any one area other than quarterback (and Kenneth Guiton isn’t a bad prospect). Running back? Jaamal Berry and FB Carlos Hyde are the stars of a good group. The receiving corps, led by Cris Carter’s son, Duron, is special, the offensive tackles are all prototypes, the defensive tackles big and quick, the linebackers fast, and the defensive backs even faster. This class has it all.


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