It is no revelation that Ohio State has consistently had great recruiting classes under Urban Meyer.
The 2013 class formed the nucleus of the national-title team the next season. The past two classes have been ranked second nationally in the 247Sports composite team rankings.
But it looks like the bar will be raised again next year. Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class is shaping up to be a monster one.
“Right now it’s on track to be, on paper, Urban’s best recruiting class since he’s been at Ohio State,” Bucknuts analyst Bill Kurelic said. “This class is currently No. 1 and has been for most of the (recruiting cycle). If it finishes the way it’s generally expected to finish, it will be the No. 1 class in the country.”
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With the addition on Sunday of Huber Heights Wayne receiver L’Christian “Blue” Smith, Ohio State has 17 commitments for 2018. That includes four five-star and 11 four-star players. In all, seven of the top 37 prospects in the 247Sports rankings are committed to Ohio State.
Of the five-stars, two are at positions where landing the best prospects has been elusive for the Buckeyes under Meyer. But Ohio State was successful in landing defensive tackle Taron Vincent from Florida and tight end Jeremy Ruckert from New York.
The quarterback in this class is high-four-star prospect Emory Jones of Georgia.
“He’s a little bigger and stronger-armed version of J.T. Barrett,” Kurelic said. “He can run the ball, absolutely, but he is a pass-first, spread quarterback.”
Kurelic said that Ohio is not particularly deep with elite talent this year, but Ohio State has commitments from three of the state’s top five prospects: Smith, five-star athlete Jaelen Gill of Westerville South and four-star linebacker Dallas Gant of Toledo.
As for the other two, the Buckeyes are considered the favorite to land five-star Jackson Carman of Fairfield and four-star defensive end Tyreke Smith of Cleveland.
“I’ve long predicted that (Carman) will end up at Ohio State,” Kurelic said. “You can’t be certain because he is planning to take his official visits, but I do like Ohio State’s chances.”
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Kurelic added that he expects Ohio State to prevail over Penn State and Southern California for Smith.
In addition to Carman and Smith, the Buckeyes look to be in good position to add other elite prospects. Kurelic said he believes Ohio State is the favorite to land Pennsylvania receiver Micah Parsons (the No. 5 prospect in the nation) and Houston cornerback Anthony Cook (No. 14) and has a chance at Florida cornerbacks Patrick Surtain Jr. (No. 4) and Tyson Campbell (No. 23).
Of course, caveats should be added about any story regarding recruiting. Not all commitments stick. Alabama, for instance, is still pursuing Jones, although Kurelic expects the quarterback to be a Buckeye. And rankings of teenagers should always be taken with a grain of salt.
But there is no denying that Ohio State’s next class looks to be a remarkable one.
“As well as things were going in 2017, on more than one occasion I said that 2018 could be just as good or better, and people were a little bit surprised,” Kurelic said. “But unless something I don’t expect to happen happens, it is going to be better on paper than 2017, and it could be clearly better. The potential is there.”