Future Forecast: DerJuan Gambrell

In March, DerJuan Gambrell became one of the earliest Ohio State commitments for the class of 2010, but how early will he see the field in Columbus? BuckeyeSports.com attempts to answer that question with our newest Future Forecast.

Playing early is an impressive feat at any program that recruits as consistently well as Jim Tressel's, but DerJuan Gambrell may have something working in his favor if he hopes to be an early standout: Size.

With a listed height of 6-2, Gambrell practically qualifies as a giant when it comes to Buckeye cornerbacks of current or recent vintage. None of the scholarship cornerbacks on the 2009 roster are listed above 6-0, and the last regular starter to measure in at Gambrell's height is Chris Gamble back in 2003.

While that makes for a lofty comparison, the pair share more than just the same height and the first four letter of their last names.

Gamble is of course famous for playing both ways for about half of the Buckeyes' 2002 national championship season, and Gambrell has served as a multi-use tool for head coach Rick Rios at Toledo Rogers High School, too.

Gambrell plays receiver, halfback and sometimes takes direct snaps for Rios, and the future Buckeye's skills with the ball in his hands are evident in his junior highlight film, a picture show that finds the 180-pounder cruising by opponents who seem to have angles on him. He does so first on a zig-zagging interception return of nearly 90 yards and then on a 40-yard touchdown run to cap an offensive possession for Rogers.

Gambrell exhibits plenty of spring in his legs as he leaps high to take a ball away from an opposing player, and he runs smoothly with a long-striding gait reminiscent of former Ohio Mr. Football and Ohio State running back Derek Combs.

The only drawback to Gambrell's film is a relative lack of clips showing what the prospect - who has been told by Ohio State's coaches they project him at cornerback - can do defensively.

Most of the tape is devoted to offense, and when he is on defense, Gambrell is lined up at safety, a spot Rios chose to prevent teams from being able to go away from his star player too easily.

As a safety, Gambrell shows a willingness to stick his nose into the action, but he does not appear to be a physical tackler. He sizes up ball carriers and makes a square hit then generally slips off to one side to drag the man down, getting the job done nonetheless.

One of the most impressive clips shows his hustle, however, as he races downfield to strip the ball from a runner inside the 5-yard line, negating a gain of nearly 50 yards and resulting in a touchback and possession for Rogers.

As far as the depth chart goes, Gambrell will hit Columbus in time to find a depth chart with two openings at the top but plenty of capable candidates to take over the spots vacated by 2010 senior starters Chimdi Chekwa and Devon Torrence.

He is (at least for now) the only member of the class of 2011 slated to play cornerback, but there will be perhaps six or seven (depending on where the coaches put 2010 signee Adam Griffin) elder players on the roster.

Of that group, three players - Dominic Clarke, Corey Brown and Christian Bryant - are four-star prospects like Gambrell, although when healthy Travis Howard has consistently drawn praise from team insiders and could have an impact this season.

Howard, a three-star member of the 2008 class, has sophomore eligibility for this season, while Clarke and Brown are members of the 2009 class who redshirted last year, and Bryant arrived at Ohio State this summer.

That group along with 2010 signee Bradley Roby and Donnie Evege (who will be a fifth-year senior in 2011) all figure to battle for playing time in 2011. Look for Gambrell to throw his hat - and his height - into the ring as well.

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