The Buckeyes are ranked atop the Scout.com team rankings – edging Big Ten brethren Michigan State and boast seven verbals in the Scout 100, most among teams in the nation.
That sounds impressive enough, but look at it another way – of those seven players, six of them are offensive skill position players.
That’s right – after posting the two highest-scoring seasons in Ohio State history the past two years and adding Scout 100 prospects Torrance Gibson and Mike Weber in the class of 2014, the Buckeyes are stocking up even further on playmakers in the highly rated 2016 group.
Already, the 2015 season looked to be as loaded as possible at the skill positions. During May, we ran a series on the Buckeyes’ playmakers – those Meyer and his staff want to get the ball into their hands at running back, wideout and tight end – a list that didn’t even include such potential impact players as backup running back Brionte Dunn, backup tight end Marcus Baugh, or Braxton Miller and Gibson, explosive game-changing quarterbacks who could moonlight at other positions in 2015.
We didn’t include the quarterback spot in our breakdown because Meyer views playmakers as those he makes an effort to get the ball into their hands, and the quarterback takes every snap. But if we expand the definition to include anyone on offense that handles the ball, it’s clear the Buckeyes are looking even deeper – in fact, scary deep – when they add the 2016 class.
The 2016 class’s lone five-star prospect, running back Kareem Walker out of Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic is a running back Scout.com ranks first among all players at the position in the nation and 21st overall. A physical runner at 6-0, 210, Walker could be the between-the-tackles back the Buckeyes have employed under Meyer with great success in the person of Ezekiel Elliott and Carlos Hyde.
Demario McCall and George Hill follow at No. 68 and 72, respectively, in the class. Both are thought to be home-run hitters, with McCall a running back who is able to take it to the house and make would-be tacklers miss. Many think the North Ridgeville, Ohio, native would be perfect in the “H” spot at OSU given his ability to function in the open field.
Hill, meanwhile, recently showed off his speed by breaking 11 seconds in the final at the OHSAA Division II state track meet for Hubbard High School, is ranked by Scout.com as a wideout but can do it all, he recently said. He also projects as a potential slot player with the ability to make big plays on a regular basis.
Next is Scout’s No. 85-rated player, Austin Mack. The Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers wideout is good enough a route-runner and physical presence at 6-2, 205 pounds. He committed to the Buckeyes on Sunday and is expected to be an outside receiver who can use his hands and athleticism to be a big-time player.
Scout’s No. 89-ranked player, Cincinnati Moeller tight end Jake Hausmann, is a complete player. At 6-5, 235 pounds, he is big enough to be a strong pass catcher but he also has the frame to develop into an elite blocker at the spot, a key role in Ohio State’s offense. Add it all up and he’s the No. 4 tight end in the nation for a reason.
The last offensive skill player in the Scout 100 committed to Ohio State is the newest member of the clip, DeSoto, Texas, QB Tristen Wallace. An April commit, Wallace just entered the Scout 100 at No. 98, and he stands 6-3, 225, runs a 40 that approaches 4.7 seconds and has a strong arm to go with his prodigious talents running the football.
The only Scout 100 player committed so far who doesn’t line up at a skill position is the nation’s No. 31 player, Gahanna (Ohio) Lincoln defensive end Jonathon Cooper. Coming off a dominant run of camps, Cooper could pair with the nation’s No. 2 overall player, Florida DE Nick Bosa, to provide the most dangerous pairs of bookends in the class.
In other words, if you’re a Buckeye fan, big plays are still coming down the pipe in the 2016 class.