Ohio State Football

Ohio State Football: Ranking the Buckeyes' Top 10 Recruiting Targets for 2015

David RegimbalFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2014

Ohio State Football: Ranking the Buckeyes' Top 10 Recruiting Targets for 2015

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    College football's 2015 recruiting cycle is in full swing, and Urban Meyer has Ohio State sitting pretty with some of the country's top prospects.

    The Buckeyes, fresh off signing the nation's No. 3 recruiting class, are gunning for the top class in 2015. To do that, Meyer will need commitments from a number of his top targets.

    So who's at the top of Ohio State's recruiting wish list?

    That can't be determined with a simple glance at the recruiting ranks. Ohio State needs to fill positions of need, secure the top in-state prospects and cherry-pick from the talent-rich states in the SEC footprint.

    Recruiting battles with rivals are also important, because losing a top-rated recruit hurts, but losing him to a conference nemesis is worse.

    Here's a ranking of Ohio State's top 10 recruiting targets for 2015.

     

    All recruit rankings, stats and information per 247Sports.

10. Chris Clark, TE

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Ohio State didn't sign a tight end in its 2014 recruiting class, and with starter Jeff Heuerman on the brink of his final season, the Buckeyes need to bring one in this year.

    Meyer has his sights set on on 4-star prospect Chris Clark.

    The 6'6", 247-pound pass-catcher is the No. 3 tight end and the No. 126 prospect overall. After hauling in 39 receptions for 417 yards and six touchdowns during his junior season, Clark earned offers from programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame and South Carolina.

    His highlight film shows that he can make the tough catches and is a willing blocker in the run game, which are qualities that Meyer likes in his tight ends.

    Ohio State also has offers out to tight ends Garrett Williams, C.J. Conrad and Jackson Harris, but Clark is rated the best of the bunch.

9. Devante Peete, WR

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes coaching staff are invading the state of Florida this year, and one of their top targets is 4-star wide receiver Devante Peete.

    Peete plays for St. Thomas Aquinasthe same high school that current Buckeye Joey Bosa played forand he's one of the hottest prospects in the nation.

    With offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU and Michigan, Peete has the opportunity to play for some of the nation's top programs. But according to a number of recruiting experts at 247Sports, Peete's recruitment is a two-horse race between Ohio State and Miami.

    The 6'5", 195-pound pass-catcher is the tall kind of athlete the Buckeyes have lacked on the perimeter during Meyer's tenure at Ohio State. With a reported 4.5-second 40-yard dash, Peete would be an excellent deep/red-zone threat for the Buckeyes.

8. Christian Kirk, WR

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    Credit: 247Sports

    It's no secret that Urban Meyer loves offensive weapons, and 5-star wide receiver Christian Kirk is one of the most lethal playmakers in the 2015 class.

    Hailing from Scottsdale, Ariz., Kirk recently visited Ohio State and was blown away by the campus.

    "I had high expectations coming in, but Ohio State exceeded them by a lot," Kirk said, according to Jeremy Birmingham of Eleven Warriors.

    The 5'10", 195-pound speedster piled up 2,015 total yards of offense and 30 touchdowns during his junior season, which helped him land offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and USC.

    Even more impressive than Kirk's offer list is his highlight film, which shows how dangerous he can be in the open field. He has incredible vision and cutback ability, and in Ohio State's offense, that would be a dangerous combination.

7. Eric Glover-Williams, CB

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    Ohio State currently boasts three commitments for its 2015 class, but Eric Glover-Williams is the only one to make this list.

    The 4-star athlete out of Canton, Ohio, primarily plays quarterback for McKinley High School, but he's projecting as a cornerback at the collegiate level. Glover-Williams—who was the first commit in the Buckeyes '15 class—is rated the No. 3 prospect in Ohio, the No. 6 cornerback in the country and the No. 73 prospect overall.

    Urban Meyer identified Glover-Williams as a pivotal recruit during Ohio State's Friday Night Lights summer camp. According to Doug Lesmerises of The Plain Dealer, Meyer told Glover-Williams that he wanted him to be at the forefront of the 2015 class.

    "They were just telling me how they want me to be the face of the program for my class for 2015," Glover-Williams said, per Lesmerises.

    With his early commitment, Glover-Williams can work hard to recruit other star players for the Buckeyes.

6. Drew Richmond, OT

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Ohio State just lost four senior starters along its offensive line, crippling a unit that was short on depth with them in the fold.

    Urban Meyer and offensive line coach Ed Warriner did an outstanding job, getting pledges from five offensive linemen for its 2014 class, four of which were rated 4-star prospects.

    While that served as a huge boost for the unit, building depth in the trenches is a multiyear process. 

    The Buckeyes are targeting a number of elite linemen, but Drew Richmond stands out.

    The 4-star offensive tackle out of Richmond, Tenn., is the top prospect in the state and holds offers from nine SEC programs, including Alabama, Auburn and LSU. Ohio State, though, will have to wrestle him away from the home-state Tennessee Volunteers, who currently lead the way for the 6'5", 315-pound standout.

5. Tim Settle, DT

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    Despite all the success Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes have had recruiting defensive linemen, they failed to bring in a space-eater for the middle of the defense in last year's class.

    While Ohio State did sign three defensive tackles in 2013, one of those players—Billy Price—made the switch to offensive line.

    So, naturally, Meyer has targeted a 5-star prospect in Tim Settle. His pledge wouldn't just give the Buckeyes depth—it would give them an instant-impact player.

    The 6'3.5", 305-pound tank of a prospect is an absolute nightmare for opposing offensive lines. His size makes him a natural run-stopper, but his unbelievable speed helps him get after the quarterback from the interior.

    Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, USC and a host of others have offered, but right now, the Buckeyes are considered the early leaders, per 247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions.

4. Jerome Baker, ATH

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    Jerome Baker, out of Benedictine High School in Cleveland, Ohio, is the No. 2 prospect in the state and the No. 47 prospect overall.

    Rated a 4-star recruit, Baker plays both running back and linebacker at the high school level, and it's too early to tell which side of the field he'll land on in college. 

    Either way, Ohio State wants him.

    The Buckeyes are competing with the likes of Georgia, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Penn State for his services, but according to the Crystal Ball feature from 247Sports, Baker is a unanimous pick to land with Ohio State.

    That's big on a number of major fronts. For starters, it would give the Buckeyes one of their top in-state recruits. On a secondary level, it would keep him off a rival's roster.

    Securing Baker's commitment is very high on Urban Meyer's priority list.

3. Damien Harris, RB

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    While keeping the top in-state talent is a big deal for Urban Meyer, poaching a former Michigan commit would be even bigger.

    Damien Harris is a 5-star prospect out of Berea, Ky., who decommitted from Brady Hoke and the Wolverines in January, per Sam Webb of Scout.com (subscription required), h/t Bleacher Report's Brian Leigh. He's the nation's top-rated running back and the No. 20 overall prospect.

    Harris is still strongly considering Michigan, but Ohio State has surged since he reopened his recruitment two months ago. While he has offers from schools such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Notre Dame and USC, it's expected to be a fight between the Buckeyes and the Wolverines, with the home-state Kentucky Wildcats a minor factor, according to 247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions.

    Harris had an unbelievable junior season, rushing for 2,621 yards and 42 touchdowns on just 220 carries. The 5'11", 205-pound blazer runs a 4.4 40-yard dash, and Meyer would love to add that speed to his backfield.

2. Justin Hilliard, LB

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Ohio State has had issues with linebacker play during Urban Meyer's tenure, and the Buckeyes have made a huge effort to correct that on the recruiting trail.

    The Buckeyes signed four linebackers in 2014—one 5-star and three 4-star prospects—which was the top linebacker haul in the country.

    Signing 5-star prospect Justin Hilliard would continue that positive momentum.

    The Cincinnati product has offers from just about every major program in the country, but a trio of Big Ten schools—Ohio State, Michigan and Iowa—are the current leaders, according to the experts at 247Sports.

    Hilliard is by far the best prospect in Ohio, making his potential pledge a big one for the Buckeyes. Ohio State hasn't had a strong recruiting presence in Cincinnati over the years, something that isn't lost on Hilliard, but it's also something he's willing to overlook.

    The Buckeyes swung and missed on a pair of recent 5-star linebackers from Ohio when Jordan Hicks signed with Texas in 2010 and Trey DePriest spurned Ohio State for Alabama a year later.

    Losing out on Hilliard would be just as painful.

1. Torrance Gibson, QB

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    Identifying Ohio State's No. 1 recruiting target is easy when Urban Meyer just comes out and says it.

    Torrance Gibson, the 5-star dual-threat quarterback out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is alone at the top of the Buckeyes' recruiting wish list.

    That's what Meyer told Gibson during a phone conversation in January, according to Luke Stampini of 247Sports.

    The 6'4", 200-pound quarterback had a breakout junior season, throwing for 1,789 yards and 19 touchdowns (against just three interceptions) to complement 1,063 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.

    That has helped him land offers from programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, LSU and Notre Dame. Ohio State, though, is considered to be a moderate leader over Miami for Gibson's services, per 247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions.

    Landing Gibson would be huge for the Buckeyes, because his size and speed make him the perfect triggerman for Meyer's spread offense.

     

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

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