Reviewing Ohio State’s 4 Star Recruits, Part III (LB/S/CB)

I’m pretty excited about the 4 star’s we picked up for the Secondary.  It was a sore spot last season, and these kids (with Vonn Bell) promise to upgrade our talent and potential there dramatically.


1.  Eli Apple, Cornerback

At 6′, 185 lbs, Eli Apple (formerly Woodard, but more on that in a minute) stands the best chance of the 4 star secondary recruits of seeing serious playing time this coming season.  He has uncanny instincts, has a remarkable understanding of route running (letting him play ice cold lockdown man defense), as well as playing to an elite level in the zone.  Factor in his 4.4 40 time, and the fact that he’s probably still going to pack on some muscle, and Apple could be a truly elite player at his position.  He’s got the athleticism  brains and instincts to be very, very good.  Outside of his skill on the field, he kept a 3.2 GPA in high school, and change his last name just prior to the All-Army game to honor his stepfather, who has had a major impact on his life.  This young fella has some serious character, and I’m honestly pulling for him.  Watch him do work:


2.  Cameron Burrows, Cornerback

At 6’2″, 195 lbs, Cameron Burrows brings a much more mature physical presence to the secondary.  He’s still fast for his size, but can really put a hurting on receivers.  He’s got excellent vision and is very good on the read.  He can drop back and play strong safety, but is comfortable on the corners as well.


3.  Gareon Conley, Cornerback

At 6’2″, 170 lbs, Gareon Conley is probably going to need to pack on some muscle over the summer and in camp.  That said, he has great speed, tremendous control and balance.  He has good instincts, and is comfortable in both man and zone coverages.  Should develop into a well rounded, solid defender.


4.  Trey Johnson, Linebacker

At 6’2, 220 lbs, the odds are pretty good that Trey Johnson will be put into a strength program pretty quick once he gets to campus to pack on a few more pounds of muscle.  Outside of that, Trey Johnson may be the second best steal OSU pulled off this NSD.  He had originally verbally committed to Auburn, but took a trip to Columbus and came away ready to switch to Ohio State.  He’s fast, extremely physical and very versatile.  A solid pass rusher and excellent tackler, he also is solid in coverage.  He’s smart, has some leadership potential and has outstanding character.  A solid pick up for the Buckeyes.


5.  Jayme Thompson, Safety/Kick Returner

At 6’2″, 185 lbs, the name of the game is speed for Jayme Thompson.  He’s got next level explosiveness, and can really turn it up in the open field.  This makes him a threat both as a Safety (he’s a ball hawk), and as a kick returner on special teams.  He’s got an outstanding vertical, and can play high on just about any WR.


6.  Darron Lee, Safety

At 6’2″, 205 lbs, Darron Lee has the size to play strong safety or even outside linebacker.  He’s got good hands, ball handling and timing when making a play on the ball, good angles and great closing speed, and can put good hits on opposing players.  He is a for sure tackler, and is great at making open field tackles.




Reviewing Ohio State’s 4 Star Recruits, Part II, (Linemen)

Lets get into the offensive and defensive linemen that Ohio State brought in:

1.  Evan Lisle, Offensive Tackle

At a massive 6’6″, 275 lbs, Evan Lisle actually looks a little thin because of how tall he is.  As tall as he is, he does a great job getting low to take away any leverage advantage defensive linemen may have because of his height.  He has great feet, can move well laterally, and is very quick off the ball.  Because he’s got some weight to gain, look for him to develop his strength through natural conditioning at the collegiate level.

2.  Tim Gardner, Offensive Guard

Coming in at 6’5″ and a whopping 320 lbs, this is actually the trimmed down Tim Gardner.  He’s fairly athletic for his size, and has a ton of punch in initial contact.  A lot of natural strength with this kid.  That’s scary, because he really hasn’t been developed through a good strength and conditioning program yet, so look for him to really add some power to his already impressive athletic abilities.  I couldn’t find a set of his highlight videos, so enjoy these cats being adorable instead:

3.  Michael Hill, Defensive Tackle

6’2″, 305 lb Michael Hill is an extremely athletic defensive linemen who specializes in versatility.   His natural talents allow him to play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 type scheme, and he can play interior or exterior.  He’s quick off the ball, has an extremely quick first step, and gets into the backfield regularly.  While he has a ton of lower body strength, he’s going to need to develop his upper body strength in college (you’ll notice that trend amongst linemen a lot).  Here are his highlights:

4.  Billy Price, Defensive Tackle

At 6’3″, 285 lbs, Billy Price is remarkably quick.  He’s definitely going to need to work on his size and strength at the next level.  There wasn’t much available online in the way of a bio for him, so I took to watching film.  And I was impressed.  He’s extremely quick off the ball, makes great initial penetration, and has a fantastic second effort to get to the ball carrier.  He might be one of the most relentless young defensive lineman that I’ve watch.  He just does not quit.  He has a great vision, and look beyond blockers to keep the ball in his sight.  Watch how he does not bite on fakes and draws, and how he repeatedly fights through double and triple teams to get to the ball:

5.  Donovan Munger, Defensive Tackle

At 6’3″, 290 lbs, Donovan Munger makes it easy to think he’s a slow, lumbering lineman.  And this seems to be the false assumption most of his opposition are under, because he moves incredibly fast off the ball and really gets fast penetration.  He plays hard, and has good size.  Once he gets some coaching and time in a strength and conditioning program, he’s going to be a monster.  Watch:

6.  Tyquan Lewis, Defensive End

At 6’4″, 230 lbs, Lewis is one of the faster big men in this recruiting class.  He’s clocked at a 4.6 40, and played both linebacker and defensive end in high school.  He’s expected to take most of his reps on the line for the Buckeyes, but expect to see him run a few with the linebacking corp.  He’s fast, so very fast.  He’s quick off the line and does a great job moving past the tackles.  He’s probably going to need to bulk up if he wants to stay at DE for the NFL, but that shouldn’t be a problem in Ohio State’s program.  Watch:

Reviewing Ohio State’s 4 Star Recruits, Part I (QB/RB/WR/TE)

There are so many 4 Star recruits for the Buckeyes this year, I’m going to break them up.  First, we’ll do the skill positions (QB/RB/WR/TE) first, then come back and cover the rest.

1.   J.T. Barrett, Quarterback

At 6’2, 205 lbs, Barrett gets knocked for being a little on the thin side.  Barrett more than makes up for this by being such a truly unique dual threat.  He is perfectly balanced in his passing and running abilities, making him an ideal candidate to run a spread style offense.  He is remarkably accurate and consistent in his passing, and is extremely quick and mobile when he pulls the ball down to run.  Outside of his outstanding skill set as a Quarterback, he has excellent poise and is a true leader.  He is an excellent replacement for when Braxton Miller leaves for the NFL, and promises to continue the growing tradition of awesome dual threat QB’s at Ohio State.  These Highlights are from his junior year, but you get the idea:

2.  Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back

Coming in at 6’1″, 200 lbs and running a 4.4 40, Ezekiel Elliot is a special kind of athlete.  He’s got the build of a prototype running back, but has amazing top end speed with great burst ability.  What really puts him over the top is his ability to break tackles, keep his balance and run through traffic.  Not to mention he has a freakishly effective stiff arm.  He also has excellent hands, and is a receiving threat out of the backfield.  Great vision, great acceleration, if he finds a hole or crease, he’s going to score.  His highlight reel is probably my favorite of any player the Buckeyes picked up:

3.  Dontre Wilson, Running Back

The 5’10”, 180 lb Wilson was expected to commit to Oregon prior to Chip Kelly’s departure, but changed his mind once the coach left for the NFL.  What was a loss for the Ducks will prove a great addition for the Buckeyes, as Wilson has remarkable speed (legit 4.4 40), and has shown himself to have a great playmaking ability.  He can play receiver as well, as he has good hand quality, but plays primarily out of the backfield.  His speed cannot be understated, as his ability to burst past defenders and win virtually any foot race puts him ahead of most others at the position.  Highlights:

4.  James Clark, Wide Receiver

At 5’11”, 170 lbs, James Clark has a some true standout qualities.  He makes an ideal inside receiver, primarily because he has amazing quickness off the line.  More importantly, he has a near elite speed, and this helps make him one of the most dangerous players in the country with the ball in his hands.  He is a walking big play after the catch, and can explode at what seems like virtually any time.  His lack of girth makes him lacking as a blocker, and is something he needs to focus on in the offseason.  He has great hands though, and his explosiveness cannot be overstated.  Watch:

5.  Corey Smith, Wide Receiver

At 6’1″, 190 lbs, Corey Smith is a great physical specimen of a wide receiver.  He has a year in Junior College under his belt, and has shown a himself to be a big play threat.  His downfield speed, as well as his ability to make defenders miss and ability to break tackles make him good on the outside or inside.  His experience at the collegiate level is also worth mentioning, because of the relative lack of experience in this OSU receiving corps thus far.

6.  Marcus Baugh, Tight End

At a huge 6’4″, 230 lbs, Marcus Baugh is incredibly athletic, especially for a guy his size.  He’s fully capable of playing Defensive End or Linebacker, and is also a solid basketball player.  He’s been compared to Kellen Winslow with his great hands and difficulty to match up with (too fast/elusive for linebackers to cover, too big for safeties to tackle), but has a much better head on his shoulders.  He’s ranked 3rd among all TE prospects in the nation, but the margin between him and #1 is razor thin.  He should bring a good deal of chaos to opposing defenses for the Buckeyes.