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Opinion: Ohio State story lines to watch on signing day

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The Ohio State football team isn’t scheduled to take the field again until Sept. 7, but Wednesday is surely circled on coach Urban Meyer’s calendar.

Wednesday is national signing day, meaning Meyer and college coaches across the nation will be finding out — for the most part — which players will make up their new freshman class.

While 21 players have already verbally committed and another four have already signed on for Meyer and the Buckeyes, not all of them will necessarily be donning the scarlet and gray next year. Until their national letter of intent is signed, anyone who’s made a verbal commitment could still choose to go to a different school, and signing day flips happen every year.

So from the sure things to the unknowns, here’s what OSU fans should know on signing day.

 

All rankings and ratings are from ESPN.com’s recruiting database.

 

Torrance Gibson

Listed as the No. 2 athlete and a five-star recruit by ESPN, Torrance Gibson is probably the biggest name for OSU fans to watch on Wednesday.

Gibson is a quarterback at heart, and has said he chose OSU because the Buckeyes were going to give him a shot to play quarterback in college. He could play a ton of positions, but he wants to stay under center (or, more likely, in shotgun).

The thing is, when he committed to OSU on Nov. 3, redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett wasn’t even a sure-fire starter for next season.

But since he committed, Barrett finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting, redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones set the world on fire in the College Football Playoffs and senior quarterback Braxton Miller is, for now, expected to return next season.

That all means that Gibson will have basically no shot to play quarterback next season, and would either have to play another position or redshirt. And even if he redshirted, there’s no guarantee of when, or if, he would become the Buckeyes’ starter.

Even though he’s still committed to OSU verbally, Gibson has visited Auburn (Jan. 16) and LSU (Jan. 23), and could easily choose to sign with another program.

 

Undecided OSU targets

While the majority of OSU’s top targets have already committed to either the Buckeyes or another school, there are a few big names to watch who haven’t made a decision yet.

The No. 1 defensive tackle in the nation, Terry Beckner Jr., is a five-star recruit who has OSU in his top four. Since Nov. 28, Beckner Jr. has visited Florida State, Auburn, OSU and Missouri.

He’s the only ESPN five-star still seriously considering OSU, but four-star recruits wide receiver K.J. Hill and offensive lineman Isaiah Prince both visited Columbus on Jan. 23 and could commit to the Buckeyes on Wednesday.

Already signed and enrolled

All four of the OSU recruits who have already signed were able to enroll early for Spring Semester and are set to take part in spring practice with the Buckeyes.

 

Those early signees are:

  • Jashon Cornell: No. 7 defensive end, St. Paul, Minn.
  • Jamel Dean: No. 9 cornerback, Cocoa, Fla.
  • Nick Conner: No. 11 inside linebacker, Dublin, Ohio
  • Grant Schmidt: No. 46 offensive tackle, Sioux Falls, S.D.

 

Top verbal commits unlikely to flip

While Cornell, Dean, Conner and Schmidt have already signed on, most of the 21 other verbal OSU commits are unlikely to change their minds on Wednesday, and that includes one of the top players in the class.

Justin Hilliard is the No. 1 outside linebacker in the nation, and committed to the Buckeyes on July 2, along with Cornell, who is a close friend. According to ESPN, Hilliard, a Cincinnati native, didn’t even take an official visit to another school. He’s is currently one of two five-star prospects committed to OSU.

OSU’s fourth-highest rated prospect is Jerome Baker, the No. 7 outside linebacker. The Cleveland native committed on Oct. 21 and didn’t take another official visit after that.

Going down the list, four-star athlete Eric Glover-Williams has been committed since Aug. 25, 2013, and the Canton, Ohio, native can be expected to sign on for OSU.

Other big names like Matt Burrell Jr., who is the No. 6 offensive guard in the country, has been a firm OSU commit, while No. 14 running back Mike Weber — a former Michigan verbal commitment — is unlikely to change his mind after committing to the Buckeyes on Dec. 10.

 

Total class breakdown

Overall, OSU has 25 current verbal (or already signed on) commits. Ten of those prospects are in the ESPN 300, two are five-star recruits, 14 are four-stars and eight are three-stars.

Two players are rated No. 1 at their position in Hilliard (OLB) and long snapper Liam McCullough from Worthington Kilbourne High School in Columbus. Seven other players are ranked in the top-10 for their position group, including players listed as “athletes” by ESPN.

Twelve of Meyer’s commits are prospects from Ohio.

3 comments

  1. This is all assuming Ohio State Athletic Director has interest in the Buckeye students and fans across the country:

    2 things need to happen:

    1.) OSU needs to FLIP – Hawaii game to AWAY game then OSU is eligible for 13th game:

    the Hawaii game tickets ( % of available based on average Hawaii home game attendance gets sold to OSU students from West of Mississippi and Alumni from all states Alumni Groups west of the Mississippi. Percentage to be higher in cities of Seattle, San Fran and LA.

    2.) OSU schedules replacement HOME game in Washington D.C. vs Houston Cougars on 8/31/15 – Students from states East of Mississippi and Alumni from cities east of the river get allocations with percentage higher from NYC down to Charlotte along the coast.

    If Ohio Stadium was “rented out” on Buckeye Away games – Paint the endzone “Scarlet strip, White Strip and Blue Strip” with OHIO on one end and STATE on the other end. Think of the extra revenue for all and more part time jobs for Students. Think of the activity and possibilities.

    In Columbus – Sell as many tickets as possible – Kroger, et. al. ( C deck ) est $5… ( B Deck $10 ) transfer Home seats of original location school go to A Deck. The formula is fairly easy – Average of capacity of Original hosting school game for that speculated weekend (Tue for MAC games) – subtract from 100,000 at Ohio Stadium – Estimated difference in Revenue – Buy out of former television contract for that game – (may be same network but package of these games would be worth more packaged together). Different in TV contracts is calculated and a hosting percentage gets paid to OSU. Logistically think about Bowling Green or Ohio U – there may be more fans in Columbus than in the host town (Athens or BG)… Great Opportunity for all of Ohio!!!!

    SHOWCASE COLLEGES OF OHIO {Package} (EXAMPLE) 2015. – OSU students in the Media / Journalism majors get work to help set up the Half-time (no band, but almost an infomercial for both schools), Time out and other breaks video clips of those schools proudest Programs, Majors, Campus special items like Dinners, etc and Famous Alumni.

    Bid out the 10 games so several networks

    •August. 31 – YSU vs Cincinnati
    •Sept. 7th – Capital University vs Heidelberg University
    •Sept. 12 – Oberlin vs Kenyon College (assuming Hawaii gets changed to AWAY)
    •Sept. 19 – Northern Illinois @ OSU
    •Sept 22 – Kent State vs Miami of Ohio
    •Sept. 26 – Western Michigan @ OSU
    •Oct. 3 – Mount Union vs Wittenberg
    •Oct. 10 – Maryland @ OSU
    •Oct. 13 – Akron vs Ohio University
    •Oct. 17 – Penn State @ OSU
    • Oct. 20 – Capital vs Dennison College
    •Oct. 24 – Tiffin University vs Ohio Dominican University
    •Nov. 1 – Toldeo vs Bowling Green.
    •Nov. 7 – Minnesota @ OSU
    •Nov. 10 – Ohio Northern University vs Muskingum.
    •Nov 14 – Baldwin Wallace vs Marietta University
    •Nov. 21 – Michigan State @ OSU
    •Nov. 28 – Open

  2. It’s “storylines”, not “story lines.”

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