Ohio State Football: 2014 Class Filling Big Holes in Buckeyes' Roster

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Ohio State Football: 2014 Class Filling Big Holes in Buckeyes' Roster
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Recruiting is as much about bringing in elite talent as it is filling team needs, and few coaches in college football—if anymanage the balancing act better than Urban Meyer.

Ohio State's 2014 recruiting class, which currently boasts 22 outstanding prospects, serves as a perfect example of that.

The Buckeyes return a lot of experienced players next season, but legitimate depth issues at linebacker and along the offensive line were a major concern.

As national signing day approaches, Meyer and the Buckeyes' coaching staff have successfully addressed those issues.

Here's a closer look at how Ohio State filled its roster needs.

 

Linebacker

Filling out the depth at linebacker was a process that started last year when the Buckeyes brought in a pair of 4-star prospects in Mike Mitchell and Trey Johnson.

Still in need of bodies, Meyer went out and secured four highly touted prospects, all of which were rated as 4-star recruits or better.

The Buckeyes' search started in state when Sam Hubbard, a 6'6", 225-pound athlete who will likely develop into an outside linebacker, announced his verbal commitment. Three days later, on April 8, Kyle Berger followed suit.

Dante Booker committed six weeks later, giving Ohio State a trio of 4-star linebackers that most teams would be happy with. Meyer's biggest target, though, was still undecided.

Credit: 247Sports
Raekwon McMillan was Ohio State's top linebacker target.

That target, 5-star inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan, was one of the hottest prospects in this year's recruiting cycle. McMillan eventually narrowed his list to Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State, but in the end, Meyer and the Buckeyes won out.

According to 247 Sports, that group of linebackers is the best in the country.

 

Offensive Line

Ohio State's biggest need in this year's recruiting class was along the offensive line.

Ohio State was a team that had questionable depth last season, and the situation will be even more dire in 2014 after losing four of five starters up front.

Overcoming that obstacle will be much easier when the Buckeyes bring in their five new additions.

The first overall commit in Ohio State's 2014 class was Marcelys Jones, who committed to Ohio State on Christmas day in 2012. Meyer then snagged another must-have in-state recruit in Kyle Trout, a 4-star offensive tackle out of Lancaster.

Both Jones and Trout got a head start on their careers, enrolling early to take part in spring ball.

Credit: 247Sports
The Buckeyes don't want to lose Jamarco Jones to a conference foe.

Meyer got one of his primary targets in Jamarco Jones to commit in June, but the 4-star tackle has recently shown a big interest in Michigan State, according to Joe Rexrode of The Detroit Free Press. Securing Jones is Meyer's top priority.

The Buckeyes closed by flipping two prospects. Demetrius Knox, a one-time Texas commit, spurned the Longhorns for Ohio State in July. Then Meyer convinced Brady Taylor, a Columbus, Ohio, native who committed to Virginia Tech, to flip to the Buckeyes.

If Ohio State can keep Jones in the fold, it would finish with the No. 2 offensive line class in the country, per 247 Sports.

With or without Jones, though, the Buckeyes have done more than enough to address their biggest roster issues.

 

All recruit rankings and information per 247Sports.

David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. 
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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