Ohio State University football head coach Urban Meyer revealed a 23-member National Letter of Intent signing day class Wednesday that is loaded with players rated among the Top 100 nationally and led by linebackers, offensive linemen, offensive skill position players and defensive backs. For the third consecutive year, Meyer's recruiting class is among the best in the nation.
"I hear people say that it's not important [to have a highly ranked class], but I disagree," said Meyer, who spoke for nearly 25 minutes in front of an assembled audience of approximately 50 working members of the media. "I think it's very [important]. I'm disappointed we weren't the number one recruiting class in the country. … Is that the final end all? No. …
"I think we won today [in recruiting]. I made it clear to our guys: very pleased with their efforts today. That was a good class … I think it's a great class."
Four major linebacker prospects – the No. 1 inside linebacker in the nation according to multiple services and the Nos. 2-3-4 outside linebackers according to another recruiting service – are now Buckeyes with early enrollee Raekwon McMillan, the 2013 Butkus Award winner as the top linebacker in the country, already on campus. McMillan, from Hinesville, Ga., will welcome to campus this summer fellow linebacker recruits Sam Hubbard, from Cincinnati Moeller, Kyle Berger, from Cleveland St. Ignatius, and Dante Booker, from Akron's St. Vincent St. Mary.
"One thing that's common about all four of those guys: they're from very good high school programs," Meyer said.
The five-member corps of offensive linemen includes two players considered among the Top 100 prospects in the country – Jamarco Jones, from Chicago's De La Salle, and Demetrius Knox, from Fort worth, Texas – as well as early enrollees Kyle Trout, from Lancaster, Ohio, and Marcelys Jones, from Cleveland Glenville, and Brady Taylor, from Columbus.
"Of the five, the two that I see the maturity in are Jamarco Jones and Demetrius Knox," Meyer said. "Typically you don't put freshmen in there early, but these guys have got mature bodies and they are mature young men."
This Ohio State class has got speed and skill! The signees include four wide receivers and a hybrid running back/wide receiver, and all five players are rated among the Top 30 prospects in the nation by position. This offensive handful includes:
§ Early enrollees Johnnie Dixon, from West Palm Beach, Fla., and Curtis Samuel, from Brooklyn, N.Y. Dixon has run the 40 in a reported 4.37 seconds and is rated as high as the No. 5 receiver in the country. Samuel, the hybrid "H" back, is regarded as the No. 5 "athlete" in the class by one service and averaged 15.8 yards per rush this year in New York City's Public School Athletic League.
§ Noah Brown is a 6-2, 225-pound receiver from Sparta, N.J., who is listed as high as the No. 9 "athlete" in the country and is coming off a high school career that included 82 receptions, 1,353 rushing yards and 45 touchdowns.
§ Akron St. Vincent St. Mary's Parris Campbell made the three-man final in the 40-yard dash at last summer's "The Opening" in Oregon … not long after he powered SVSM to the 2013 Ohio State track and field championship by running anchor on both the victorious 4x100 and 4x200-meter relay teams. Campbell has bests of 10.77 in the 100 and 22.09 in the 200.
§ 2013 Indiana Mr. Football Terry McLaurin, from Indianapolis, had 1,773 receiving yards his last two years at Cathedral High School and was rated as the seventh-fastest prospect in the 2014 class with a reported 40 time of 4.41.
Defensive backs coming to Ohio State include the highly regarded teammates Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith from powerful Cleveland Glenville, one of the top players in the state of Pennsylvania – all-state safety prospect Malik Hooker, from New Castle – and one of the top players from Michigan and talent-rich Cass Tech: Top 5 cornerback and U.S. Army All-American No. 1 defensive back Damon Webb.
Ohio State's defensive line will be bolstered with the addition of Jalyn Holmes, a Top 100 prospect by multiple services from Norfolk, Va., first-team all-Illinois lineman Dylan Thompson, from Lombard, and the late-in-the day surprise that Darius Slade, one of the top prospects from New Jersey (Montclair), had signed with Ohio State.
Stephen Collier, from Leesburg, Ga., and one of the best in the Southeast region with over 4,000 passing yards, 1,500 rushing yards and 78 touchdowns, has the honor of being the quarterback in this Class of 2014. Kicker Sean Nuernberger, an all-state prospect from Buckner, Ky., rounds out the class.
§ Sam Hubbard, the talented athlete who played safety for two-time state champ Moeller and who projects as an outside linebacker, was the first to fax his signed letter of intent into the Ohio State offices. His fax came in at about 7:10 a.m.
§ All of the expected 22 NLI's were signed, faxed and approved by OSU's compliance official by 10:30 a.m. DL Darius Slade's NLI came in around 2:30 p.m.
§ Stephen Collier represents the fourth consecutive quarterback to enroll into classes early after Braxton Miller (2011), Cardale Jones (2012) and J.T. Barrett (2013).
§ Offensive lineman and offensive skill players (five for each group) are most represented with linebacker and defensive back (four apiece) next and followed by three defensive linemen, one quarterback and one kicker.
§ Nine Ohioans are on this recruiting roster, including the top six players in the state according to on service, and 11 other states are represented: New Jersey, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Illinois and Michigan.
§ OL Marcelys Jones, CB Marshon Lattimore and SAF Erick Smith increase the number of Glenville Tarblooders to sign with Ohio State over the last 13 seasons (dating to 2002) to 22.
§ LB Dante Booker and WR Parris Campbell, from state champion Akron St. Vincent St. Mary, are among seven in this class who won state titles as seniors. The group includes WR Johnnie Dixon (Dwyer; West Palm Beach, Fla.), LB Sam Hubbard (Cincinnati Moeller), OL Demetrius Knox (All Saints Episcopal; Fort Worth, Texas), WR Terry McLaurin (Indianapolis Cathedral) and DL Darius Slade (Montclair, N.J.).
§ DL Jalyn Holmes (Lake Taylor; Norfolk, Va.), DL Dylan Thompson (Montini Catholic; Lombard, Ill.) and CB Damon Webb (Cass Tech; Detroit, Mich.) also played on a state championship team in high school.
The 2014 Ohio State Recruiting Class
Name Pos. Hgt. Wgt. Hometown/High School
Kyle Berger LB 6-2 225 Cleveland, Ohio / St. Ignatius
Dante Booker LB 6-3 215 Akron, Ohio / St. Vincent-St. Mary
Noah Brown WR 6-2 225 Sparta, N.J. / Pope John XXIII
Parris Campbell WR 6-1 184 Akron, Ohio / St. Vincent-St. Mary
Stephen Collier* QB 6-3 210 Leesburg, Ga. / Lee County
Johnnie Dixon* WR 5-11 195 West Palm Beach, Fla. / Dwyer
Jalyn Holmes DL 6-5 240 Norfolk, Va. / Lake Taylor
Malik Hooker SAF 6-2 190 New Castle, Pa. / New Castle
Sam Hubbard LB 6-6 230 Cincinnati, Ohio / Archbishop Moeller
Jamarco Jones OL 6-5 315 Chicago, Ill. / De La Salle
Marcelys Jones* OL 6-4 340 Cleveland, Ohio / Glenville
Demetrius Knox OL 6-4 285 Fort Worth, Texas / All Saints Episcopal
Marshon Lattimore CB 6-0 180 Cleveland, Ohio / Glenville
Terry McLaurin WR 6-0 190 Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral
Raekwon McMillan* LB 6-2 242 Hinesville, Ga. / Liberty County
Sean Nuernberger* K 6-1 235 Buckner, Ky. / Oldham County
Curtis Samuel* H-B 5-11 185 Brooklyn, N.Y. / Erasmus Hall
Darius Slade DL 6-5 240 Montclair, N.J. / Montclair
Erick Smith SAF 6-1 195 Cleveland, Ohio / Glenville
Brady Taylor OL 6-5 290 Columbus, Ohio / Bishop Ready
Dylan Thompson DL 6-5 270 Lombard, Ill. / Montini Catholic
Kyle Trout* OL 6-6 300 Lancaster, Ohio / Lancaster
Damon Webb CB 5-11 180 Detroit, Mich. / Cass Tech
*Enrolled in January 2014