Raekwon McMillan, the nation's top-ranked inside linebacker prospect in the 2014 recruiting cycle, has picked Ohio State.

Raekwon McMillan, the nation's top-ranked inside linebacker prospect in the 2014 recruiting cycle, has picked Ohio State.

McMillan, the national high-school Butkus Award winner in 2013, made the announcement today on the NBC Sports Network, which carried it live from his Liberty County High School in Hinesville, Ga. McMillan chose Ohio State over Alabama, Clemson and Auburn.

"I am going to roll with Ohio State ," McMillan said, putting aside an Alabama cap and putting on an Ohio State cap. "Can I make a correction? I am going to The Ohio State University."

McMillan heaped praise on the head coaches of the schools in his final five, including Alabama's Nick Saban, Georgia's Mark Richt, Auburn's Gus Malzahn and Clemson's Dabo Swinney, "some of the best coaches in the nation – that's some of the greatest guys I've met in my life," he said. But the vibes he got from OSU coach Urban Meyer and defensive coordinator Luke Fickell put the Buckeyes above the pack.

"There was just something special about Ohio State," he said. "Every time I visited the school, every time I talked to coach Meyer on the phone, every time I talked to coach Fickell, every time we sat down and talked we just had a special bond. There is just a special bond about Ohio State."


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Veteran recruiting analyst Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts and 247sports.com said it was a major moment for Meyer as he and his staff work to finish off their third recruiting class since he took the helm in late 2011.

"It's arguably the biggest recruiting battle Urban Meyer has won since he's been at Ohio State, and he has won some big ones," Kurelic said.

The battle for McMillan in the final days pitted what are considered to be to of the nation's premier recruiting head coaches, Meyer and Alabama's Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide came on late, nudging inside Clemson but not overtaking the Buckeyes for McMillan, who has visited Ohio State several times in the past year.

At 6 feet 3, 235 pounds with above average speed, McMillan is considered to be an immediate impact prospect. While Alabama likely talked to him about its recent run of producing top-flight linebackers and playing for national championships, OSU probably sold him on the fact its linebacker depth chart is shallow and he would have a great chance to play early.

"Physically he is ready to play," Kurelic said. "And he has played against good competition in Georgia."

Ohio State signed highly regarded linebacker prospects Trey Johnson and Mike Mitchell in the 2013 class, and both were expected to figure prominently in the playing rotation this season. But Johnson played sparingly while Mitchell has served a redshirt season.

"Quite frankly, as highly regarded as Johnson and Mitchell were, McMillan is at another level," Kurelic said.

He is a consensus five-star, or elite, prospect. He is No.17 in the 247sports.com rankings overall, No.19 in Rivals.com, and is considered the No.1 inside linebacker prospect in the 247sports composite, which is an average of all of the major recruiting services.