Scouting Report: Border Classic

Two Ohio State recruits from Cleveland Glenville took part in this weekend's inaugural Ohio-Michigan Border Classic in Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith. We break down what each brings to the table including quotes from legendary Tarblooders coach Ted Ginn Sr.

The first-ever Ohio-Michigan Border Classic was held Saturday, and two players who arrived one day later in Columbus to join the Ohio State football program – Cleveland Glenville products Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith – took part.

Though Ohio was unable to get the win, both Lattimore and Smith showed their talents in the contest against That State Up North.

Here's a short recap of what each player did in their last athletic contest before joining Ohio State.

Marshon Lattimore
Game Stats: Eight catches for 99 yards, two fumbles (one on a desperation hook and ladder late)
Scout Rankings: Four-star prospect, rated No. 3 in Ohio, No. 8 among corners and No. 51 among all players
Ted Ginn Sr. says: "Marshon is one of those versatile guys. He can play anywhere. If I was the coach, I would play them on both sides of the ball. Today was just an example of what he can do. I would probably play him as a corner full-time and I'd spot play him on offense."
Jeff says: Lattimore played only offense in the all-star game because his skills were needed there, and he was Ohio's most consistent offensive threat. Lattimore (6-0, 180) made a number of players miss in tight spaces and also showed good hands, so the old cliché about defensive backs playing there instead of receiver because they can't catch doesn't hold true with Lattimore. There's no doubt he's a great athlete, and whether he plays for Ohio State as a freshman will likely hinge on his ability to learn the press coverage scheme Ohio State has installed for its cornerbacks. As for talk about him doing double duty and moonlighting on offense, that will likely depend on how the Buckeyes' wideouts perform, but it makes sense to think Lattimore will start on defense and then progress from there depending on need.
Lattimore says: "I could have played better (Saturday). I can be way better than the way I played today. (Ohio State will) probably try to put me at receiver, especially after this game. I like defense better, but it's an all-star game so I played wherever the team needed me. For sure I'll play defense (at OSU), but you know, Coach Meyer, he wanted me to play at receiver, too. I'm guessing I'll be like Chris Gamble or something like that."
Allen Trieu says: "A wonderful athlete, which he has shown on offense for two years. He has great change of direction and excellent ball skills. He has the body control and the tools to be a BCS-level wide receiver as well, but his combination of size and athleticism makes him more of an asset as a defensive back. In a camp setting, he showed the ability to come up and press receivers and use his hands to redirect and not allow them clean releases. He also showed that his ball skills translated to defense."

Erick Smith
Game Stats: Six tackles while playing exclusively at cornerback
Scout Rankings: Four-star prospect, rated No. 2 in Ohio, No. 4 among safeties and No. 43 among all players
Ted Ginn Sr. says: "He's a grown man playing in this game. I probably would have played him at safety and they would have never gotten those runs off. He's versatile where he could play corner or safety, so if you have a guy who can play corner and you can play him at safety, that's a hell of a guy."
Jeff says: It's hard not to like Smith, a big, physical athlete with some personality about him as well. It was hard to get a true judge of what he'll bring at safety at Ohio State because he played cornerback the entire time for the Ohio team, but he did show his ability to pop a receiver in the open field when he dropped a shoulder into a Michigan wideout making a catch during the game, delivering a bone-jarring hit. He was good enough at corner in the game that Michigan rarely went at him, and other than one mix up in zone coverage, he was all over his man throughout the game. At 6-1, 195, Smith brings ideal size for what Ohio State is trying to do with its safeties now.
Smith says: "I want to make the best of my opportunities every chance I get at Ohio State. I don't want to back down. Some people think I'll go in as a true freshman and I won't be able to step up to it. I just look at that as motivation. I'm a fearless player. I've been playing football too long to be scared. I'm ready to step up whenever they're ready to put me out there. I just have to remain patient."
Allen Trieu says: "Smith has good size for the position. He has not had a true stopwatch put on him, but he has great football speed. A large part of that is that he is a smart, instinctive player who sees things quickly, which allows him to play faster. He has a nose for the football and is a well rounded kid, equally comfortable in coverage as he is against the run. He's a big hitter and a sure tackler who can play up in the box when needed."

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