Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has often stated that in-state recruiting is a top priority for the Buckeyes, and he is hoping to land a minimum of ten prospects per year from inside Ohio. The 2015 effort has been hampered by talent by down at the top, and the Buckeyes missing out on a few at the top.
By all accounts, the 2016 class in Ohio is back where it needs to be in terms of talent, but is Ohio State looking good with most of the top prospects? Currently, Ohio State has seven position players committed to the 2015 class, with five prospects holding Buckeye offers but headed elsewhere. How do they stand with the junior class in-state?
For discussion purposes, we will look at the four-star prospects in Ohio that hold Buckeye offers.
Jake Hausmann. Tight end. The number-one prospect in the country at his position, this one is shaping up to be an Ohio State battle with Notre Dame. Hausmann's family has a long history of people attending Ohio State, but the player himself seems very depth-chart conscious. Usually, the top prospect in the country has others fearing him, but this seems to be the opposite, which is strange. OUTLOOK: I see Hausmann as a probable Buckeye, but Notre Dame is a factor.
Tommy Kraemer. Offensive tackle. The number-two tackle prospect in the country is committed to Notre Dame, and that seems quite solid. Kraemer would be the overall number-one prospect in Ohio for 2016.
George Hill. Runningback. The number-three ranked back in America, Hill is committed to Ohio State and that is as solid as it gets.
Tyler Gerald. Sciotoville. The number-three guard in the country, Gerald is another strong Ohio State commit.
Prince Sammons. Cincinnati Hills. The number-four defensive end in America, but a player who might be far better suited playing offensive tackle. This is shaping up to be yet another Ohio State fight with Notre Dame, and education is going to be a factor. OUTLOOK: Although Notre Dame usually gets the nod when it comes down to education, I think Ohio State is going to win this one.
Brendan Ferns. St. Clairsville. The number-six outside linebacker in the country, and that might be a little low. Ferns could be the overall number-two prospect in Ohio when all is said and done. OUTLOOK: Going to be extremely tough for any school to beat out Ohio State at this point.
Liam Eichenberg. St. Ignatius. The number-six offensive tackle nationally, and a player that continues to get better each week. This was once a three-way battle among Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan, but the problems in Ann Arbor might have them in the rear view mirror right now. OUTLOOK: I definitely think Ohio State can win this one over Notre Dame, but it won't be easy.
Demario McCall. North Ridegville. Ranked as the number-nine runningback in the country, McCall is very similar to George Hill as a player. That's a good thing. I could see McCall playing cornerback at the next level, but it would be tough to take the ball out of his hands.OUTLOOK: I think Ohio State is getting Demario McCall.
Jonathon Cooper. Gahanna Lincoln. The number-nine outside linebacker in America, and a versatile player that could also play defensive end. He could be moving up in the rankings, because he's having a great season. OUTLOOK: I believe Cooper is all Buckeye, but Notre Dame does have his attention.
Luke Farrell. Perry. The number-12 tight end in the country, and a player that fits the Ohio State mold of Nick Vannett and Jeff Heuerman perfectly. OUTLOOK: Unless he gets scared off by the other two studs in-state, Farrell will be a Buckeye.
Kierre Hawkins. Maple Heights. The number-13 ranked tight end in America, and that might be a little low. This is a game-changer at the position, similar to Marcus Baugh, because he can get down the seam. OUTLOOK: Buckeye. Soon. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Justin Layne. Cleveland Benedictine. The number-30 ranked receiver in the country, and a player with a great offer list. Would fit in ahead of many of the outside receiver prospects on the roster at Ohio State should he sign with the Buckeyes. OUTLOOK: Hard to see Layne going anywhere but Ohio State.
There are several players ranked below this group that will get strong consideration from Ohio State going forward, but this is a good list to work off for the present.