With offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, 5-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan would have fit right into a dominant SEC defense.
The Hinesville, Ga. native had a different plan, though, committing to Urban Meyer and Ohio State on December 16. After enrolling early to participate in spring practice, McMillan is primed to provide a huge boost to the Buckeyes' defense.
That's a big deal for Ohio State, which has been short on impact linebackers over the last few years.
In 2012—Meyer's first year with the Buckeyes—Ohio State had to convert its starting fullback to middle linebacker midseason because of a lack of production. In 2013, Ryan Shazier was the only proven commodity.
It's hard to believe the school that produced recent All-Americans such as Matt Wilhelm, A.J. Hawk and James Laurinaitis would find itself in such a desperate situation for linebackers. According to Kyle Rowland of Eleven Warriors, it was Meyer's top concern.
The linebacker position is still my biggest concern on our team. The depth is a major concern. When you think of the great linebackers here; arguably the last decade as good a linebackers as anywhere in the country played at Ohio State.
The lack of quality at the position has resulted in less-than-stellar play on the field. The Buckeyes ranked No. 46 in total defense in 2013, allowing a bloated 377 yards per game, according to NCAA.com. Nine of the 14 SEC teams fielded better defenses.
McMillan could trigger Ohio State's turnaround.
The 6'2", 242-pound standout is the prototypical SEC middle linebacker, and because he enrolled early, he's had the opportunity to leave a lasting first impression on his new head coach.
Urban Meyer on Raekwon McMillan: "You can't tell the difference between [him] and a junior"— John Brandon (@JBrandon11W) February 5, 2014
McMillan is coming off a monster senior season. He recorded 159 total tackles, 35 tackles for loss, eight-and-a-half sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception. That playmaking ability is exactly what Ohio State needs.
The Buckeyes have no plans to let McMillan ride the pine and grow into the defense. He'll be expected to lead a group of four freshmen linebackers that will contribute right off the bat.
"Without question, the position that is not up to standard is linebacker," Meyer said on Wednesday, according to Land Grant Holy Land. "We need these four guys to come in and play."
Ohio State wants to field the kind of dominant defense that's commonplace in the SEC. With McMillan in the fold, the Buckeyes are headed in that direction.
All recruit rankings, stats and information per 247Sports.
David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.