Columbus was the site of this weekend's Opening Regional, and Ohio State had plenty of 2016 commits and targets in attendance at the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex.
The 2016 class is currently ranked at number-one, and if Sunday was any indication, not only is the committed talent pretty special, but the Buckeyes might also be adding more impressive athletes to this class in the near future.
Damar Hamlin. Cornerback. Pittsburgh Central Catholic. One of the top defensive back targets on the Ohio State recruiting board, and he put on quite a show Sunday. He has length, speed, change of direction, and the ability to play man coverage on an island. He shined against a pretty impressive group of wide receivers, and showed why he has the offer list he possesses. Hamlin visited Ohio State on Saturday, and came away impressed. It's always tough to pull Pittsburgh kids away from the home school, but I have a good feeling Ohio State is going to be adding Hamlin to the commitment list within the next few months.
Austin Mack. Wide receiver. Fort Wayne Bishop Luers. Was only cleared to participate a few days ago, and had not been involved in football activities the past six months due to a shoulder injury. Mack started slowly Sunday, which was not surprising. Once he got his legs under him and got into a rhythm, Mack showed the skills that have him rated as the number-17 wide receiver in America. Had the dropsies early, but caught everything thrown his way in the second half of this camp. Will be committing to Ohio State next Saturday, and fits in well with the talent the Buckeyes are pulling right now.
Prince Sammons. Defensive end. Cincinnati Christian Hills. Was pretty much what I expected, and pretty much what I've seen over the past year. This is a great kid, and there's no doubting that. But this is not a prospect Ohio State should be taking for the 2016 class, in my opinion. I think his future would be better suited on the offensive line, but it might take a few years to bring him up to speed. If Ohio State has to pass on Auston Robertson because of numbers, it's tough to see them taking Sammons. A few years ago, Ohio State would fight to the death to land this kid. With the way they're recruiting today? I would pass.
Tony Butler. Cornerback/Safety. Lakewood St. Edward. He was very good today, and a few years ago he would already own an Ohio State offer. Right now? Might be too tough to squeeze him in. He isn't Hamlin, if it comes down to the two of them. And Butler isn't Jordan Fuller either. Wayne Davis? Andrew Pryts? In the Ohio State system, Butler might be another Tyvis Powell. Not sure he gets the opportunity, but he can play at a high level. Like Sammons, Butler could fall into the "can't take them all" category.
Luke Farrell. Tight end. Perry. Really liked what I saw today, which is the next Nick Vannett at the college level. I like Jake Hausmann a lot, but I'm not sure Farrell isn't the better prospect down the road. He has more length than Hausmann, and might be more athletic. Caught everything thrown his way, and has a great frame. Down to four in recruiting, Boston College, Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State. I could see him selecting any of the four schools, and the decision could be coming in the next six weeks or so.
Demario McCall. Slot receiver. North Ridgeville. Heading into his senior season of high school I would have him higher rated than either Dontre Wilson or Curtis Samuel at the same age, and I like both of those players. McCall has great straight line speed, but the best change of direction and wiggle I've seen since Jalin Marshall in Ohio. While not as strong as Marshall, McCall has a lot more speed. They will put the ball in his hands the day he arrives at Ohio State, and he showed why Sunday. He was the best athlete on the field on the offensive side of the ball, and it probably wasn't close. Special talent.
Jake Hausmann. Tight end. Cincinnati Moeller. Is a very consistent combine performer, and delivers the same showing every time. I like him, but thought we had him ranked way too high a year ago when we had him as the number-one tight end in the country. He might be number-four in Ohio, because the tight end position is SO strong for 2016 in-state. If Farrell is Vannett, then Hausmann is Jeff Heuerman, and that would be my comparison. Has a chance to be a heck of a player, with little to zero chance of him busting as a prospect.
Kierre Hawkins. Tight end. Maple Heights. Can kind of drive you crazy at times, because he has so much ability, but is not always a consistent performer the way Hausmann is day after day. Hawkins has the talent to be a first round draft pick some day, but could also frustrate people while he develops. Not ready to play today, but has the frame, speed and burst to be a dominant player for Ohio State. He is a very raw football player, but the potential is great. Made a few stunning catches Sunday, but also had drops that should never happen.
Michael Jordan. Offensive tackle. Plymouth (MI). Had a very good day Sunday, and his only sin was not being able to block Jonathon Cooper. He shared that sin with every single lineman in attendance, but Cooper gets mentioned later. Jordan can play, but he's a down-the-road prospect, like most offensive linemen. He has the feet/frame combination that college coaches love. With all the young O-linemen at Ohio State, Jordan can take his time and be brought along slowly. Nice prospect.
Jonathon Cooper. Defensive end. Gahanna Lincoln. He's faster and more athletic at 6-foot-3, 230-pounds than he was at 6-foot-1, 210-pounds. This is the speed rusher off the edge that Ohio State lost in Noah Spence. To me, he's a five-star prospect, and he dominated everyone Sunday. If he does the same in Oregon, in front of all the national people, I think he earns that bump up in the rankings. He will be enrolling next January, and going through spring football. That should be enough to land him a spot in the rotation as a true freshman in the fall of 2016. Just a great, great talent. Add in his family upbringing and work ethic, and you have a future star if health cooperates.