Class heavy with OL, LB, offensive skill and DBs; Nine from Ohio; 12 states represented
Feb. 5, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - 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.
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.
Kyle Berger missed competing in athletics his senior season - he started on the basketball court as well as the gridiron - after injuring a knee in a preseason football scrimmage in August ... a consensus four star prospect heading into his senior season, he was one of the top defensive players in Ohio after a junior season in which he had 105 tackles and 10 quarterback sacks among his 44 tackles-for-loss ... helped St. Ignatius to the 2012 state playoffs and to an 11-2 record ... was named third-team Division I all-state by the Associated Press ... coached by Chuck Kyle, Berger ranked among the Top 25 outside linebacker prospects nationally by Scout (No. 3), 247Sports (No. 9), Rivals (No. 18) and ESPN (No. 23) ... rated the No. 67 overall prospect nationally and the No. 4 player in the state of Ohio by Scout ... invited to Nike's 2013 showcase event, The Opening ... is the son of Barb and Jim Berger.
Linebacker / 6-3, 215
Akron, Ohio / St. Vincent-St. Mary
The 2013 Ohio Mr. Football, Dante Booker is considered one of the very best players in the nation with a five star rating from 247Sports and a No. 13 overall ranking ... the first defensive player to win Ohio Mr. Football since Andy Katzenmoyer in 1995, Booker is rated the No. 2 outside linebacker by 247Sports, the No. 4 OLB by Scout and the No. 4 inside linebacker by Rivals ... ESPN rated him No. 8 on the outside ... additionally is rated as a Top 100 player nationally by Rivals and Scout and is No. 130 on the ESPN 300 ... Associated Press Division III all-state in 2012 and 2013, and the defensive player of the year in 2013 ... totaled 126 tackles as a senior and lead St. Vincent-St. Mary to back-to-back state championships, including a perfect, 15-0 record in 2013 and a 13-2 mark in 2012 ... also had 24 tackles-for-loss, eight sacks and two interceptions for coach Dan Boarman's Fighting Irish as a senior ... named in 2013 a Parade All-American, USA Today All-American, U.S. Army All-American, the Akron Beacon Jourrnal player of the year and the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards' high school athlete of the year ... had 90 tackles and 14 TFLs as a junior and 157 tackles and 11 sacks as a sophomore ... teammate of 2014 Buckeye recruit Parris Campbell ... is the son of Nicole Hartman and Dante Booker Sr. ... father played collegiately at Auburn and in the Canadian Football League.
Wide Receiver / 6-2, 225
Sparta, N.J. / Pope John XXIII
Noah Brown is one of the finest athletes nationally in the 2014 class of prospects ... with four star ratings across the board, he is listed as high as the No. 9 "athlete" by Rivals and No. 13 by 247Sports ... he is also listed as high as No. 123 on the Scout national rating and is its No. 24 wide receiver ... positioned at No. 218 on the Rivals 250 ... first-team all-New Jersey by the Newark Star-Ledger as a senior after amassing 1,363 total offensive yards and 21 touchdowns while helping Pope John, coached by Brian Carlson, reach the non-public league Group 3 final ... No. 3 senior in the state, according to NJVarsity.com ... team finished 10-2 ... named the West Jersey player of the year ... had 41 receptions for 857 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2013 and 41 for 630 yards and six touchdowns as a junior ... rushed for a combined 1,353 yards and scored 21 rushing touchdowns as a junior and senior ... scored 45 touchdowns in 2012 and 2013 combined with four of them kickoff returns ... is the son of Allison and Dwight Brown.
Wide Receiver / 6-1, 184
Akron, Ohio / St. Vincent-St. Mary
Parris Campbell is one of the elite runners in this class of 2014 ... a consensus four-star prospect, he is rated as a Top 25 player regardless of offensive position with rankings as high as the No. 14 running back (Scout), No. 15 athlete (Rivals), No. 19 wide receiver (247Sports) and No. 22 athlete (ESPN) ... one of 10 Buckeye recruits on the Scout 100 (No. 85) ... Associated Press Division III all-state in 2013 after rushing for 1,584 yards and 22 touchdowns and helping lead St. Vincent-St. Mary, coached by Dan Boarman, to a repeat state championship with a 15-0 record ... SVSM was 2012 state champion with a 13-2 record ... he rushed for 1,353 yards and scored 28 touchdowns as a junior, including a long touchdown of 94 yards ... teammate of 2014 Buckeye recruit Dante Booker ... invited to and attended The Opening in Oregon in Summer 2013 and was among the fastest players at the camp, making the three-man final in the 40-yard dash ... outstanding on a track, Campbell powered SVSM to the 2013 Ohio State outdoor track and field championship by anchoring victorious 4x100 and 4x200-meter relays and taking second in the 100 ... set personal bests of 10.77 in the 100 and 22.09 in the 200 (meters) during the 2013 outdoor season ...44 is the son of Shelly Woodruff and Parris Campbell Sr.
Stephen Collier, the No. 12 dual threat quarterback in the nation by 247Sports, passed for more than 4,000 yards, rushed for 1,500 yards and had 78 touchdowns (passing and rushing) at Lee County High School for coach Dean Fabrizio ... he accounted for a Lee County school-record 44 touchdowns this season to lead his team to a 10-2 record, the Region 1-AAAAA title and a berth in the Georgia state playoffs ... a multi-dimensional signal caller at 6-3 and 210 pounds, Collier had some of the best passing numbers in the state as a senior with 2,291 passing yards and 24 touchdowns ... he also rushed for 1,021 yards and another 20 touchdowns ... he was named Southwest Georgia player of the year ... also named Albany (Ga.) Herald player of the year and "people's choice" player of the year ... big games as a senior included 342-yards passing and four touchdowns over Hamilton Harris County and a 165-yard rushing/366-yard total offense game vs. Effingham ... was invited to the prestigious ESPN RISE Elite 11 finals in Eugene, Oregon after his junior season ... passed for 1,887 yards and 23 touchdowns, and rushed for an additional 485 yards and 11 scores as a junior ... is the son of Natalie and Stephen Collier Sr. ... enrolled in classes in January 2014.
Wide Receiver / 5-11, 195
West Palm Beach, Fla. / Dwyer H.S.
Johnnie Dixon is a consensus four-star recruit who is rated the No. 34 prospect in the nation on the ESPN 300 and its No. 5 rated wide receiver ... Dixon also has a fine, No. 62 rating by 247Sports and he is No. 117 on the Rivals 250 ... competed at the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio ... has a reported 4.37 time in the 40 ... ranked No. 15 at his position by Rivals and No. 30 by Scout ... helped Dwyer High School, coached by Jack Daniels, to its second Florida Class 7A state championship (and first since 2009) in school history and its first-ever unbeaten season (15-0) in 2013 ... named second-team Associated Press Class 7A all-state in 2013 ... Dixon played his best football in the state playoffs with 17 receptions for 366 yards and six touchdowns in Dwyer's five-game run to the state title ... had five catches for 55 yards and one score in the 55-39 championship game win over Niceville ... had 33 receptions for 610 yards and six touchdowns as a junior ... is the son of Latoya Smith ... enrolled in classes in January 2014.
Defensive Lineman / 6-5, 240
Norfolk, Va. / Lake Taylor
Jalyn Holmes is a consensus four-star prospect and considered one of the premier defensive linemen in the nation ... registering 59 tackles-for-loss including 21 sacks the last two seasons for Lake Taylor High School, Holmes is ranked as high as the No. 4 weak-side defensive end by both Rivals and 247Sports and the No. 13 defensive end, overall, by Scout ... among the Top 100 players nationally according to 247Sports (No. 51) and Rivals (No. 55) ... ranked on the ESPN 300 (166) ... he helped Lake Taylor, under coach Hank Sawyer, to a 10-3 record in 2013 and reach the semifinals of the Virginia 4A state championship tournament ... named all-state as a senior by VirginiaPrep.com with 48 tackles, 19 TFLs and 10 sacks ... helped Lake Taylor win its first Virginia 4A state championship in 2012 - capping a 15-0 season - with 79 tackles, including 40 tackles for loss and 11 sacks ... named Division III first-team all-state as a tight end (24-351-7) in 2012 ... attended Nike's The Opening in Beaverton, Ore., after his junior season ... played in the U.S. Army All-America Bowl after his senior season ... is the son of Tasha Holmes
Safety / 6-2, 190
New Castle, Pa. / New Castle
Malik Hooker played just two seasons of high school football - basketball was his preferred sport before the 2012 New Castle High School football season - and was a two year starter at wide receiver and cornerback for coach Joe Cowart ... considered a dynamic athlete, Hooker is rated as a four-star prospect by Scout and ESPN and he is considered among the Top 300 players by Scout with a national ranking of No. 258 ... 247Sports rates him as its No. 26 athlete while ESPN rated him as its No. 50 athlete ... helped New Castle to the WPIAL Class AAA state playoffs in 2013 and to a 7-3 record ... named Pennsylvania Football Writers Class AAA all-state and all-Western Pennsylvania as a defensive back as a senior ... also named to the WPIAL Elite 11 team as a DB and to the American Family Insurance All-Pennsylvania team as a wide receiver in 2013 ... a Division I basketball prospect, Malik helped New Castle to a 54-2 record on the hardwood as a sophomore and junior and to consecutive WPIAL championships ... named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Fabulous 5 basketball team in 2012-13 ... is the son of Angela Dennis.
Sam Hubbard was a first-team Associated Press Division I all-state safety in 2013 and was rated by Scout as the No. 1 player in the state of Ohio and a five-star recruit ... projects as a linebacker in college and Scout ranked him the No. 2 OLB prospect in the nation while Rivals and ESPN rated him No. 37 and No. 43, respectively ... also highly rated overall nationally by Scout (No. 29) and Rivals (No. 124) and as the No. 9 athlete by 247Sports ... Hubbard led Archbishop Moeller to consecutive Division I state championships as a junior and senior ... he recorded 109 tackles and five interceptions as a senior, including a 10-tackle performance against Mentor in the 2013 state title game to cap a 14-1 season ... also had a fumble recovery, interception and blocked extra point vs. Mentor ... all five interceptions of his 2013 interceptions came in the state playoffs, including two vs. St. Xavier ... Hubbard had 75 tackles and two interceptions Moeller's 2012 state champion team that finished 12-3 ... an outstanding lacrosse player, as well, who considered playing college lacrosse before choosing to be a Buckeye ... is the son of Amy and Jim Hubbard.
Offensive Lineman / 6-5, 315
Chicago, Ill. / De La Salle
Jamarco Jones is a consensus four-star prospect and Top 100 player nationally ... he is rated as high as the 63rd-best player in the nation overall by Scout and also had high overall rankings of No. 74 (ESPN), No. 76 (247Sports) and No. 94 (Rivals) ... among the 10 best offensive tackle prospects nationally, with No. 6 rankings by both Scout and ESPN and No. 7 rankings by Rivals and 247Sports ... despite missing first half of his senior season with a shoulder injury, Jones earned Illinois Coaches Association first-team Class 6A all-state honors and Champaign News-Gazette all-state accolades ... helped De La Salle, under the direction of coach Dan O'Keefe, to the second round of the Illinois Class 6A state playoffs ... a 2014 Under Armour All-American Game participant and two-time all-Chicago Catholic League honoree ... is the son of Urica Jones.
Marcelys Jones was the first in this Class of 2014 to commit to Ohio State, doing so on Dec. 25, 2012 ... he is the 20th of Coach Ted Ginn's Cleveland Glenville Tarblooders to attend Ohio State on a football scholarship in the last 13 seasons, dating to 2002 ... as a senior, Jones was the foundation along the offensive line in Glenville's 13-2 campaign that included a run to the state championship game ... he was named first-team Associated Press Division II all-state as a senior ... Jones is rated among the top 50 offensive tackles by both Scout (No. 39) and ESPN (No. 49) and he is listed as the No. 13 guard by 247Sports and the No. 17 guard nationally by Rivals ... Jones was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January ... one of three in this signing class from Glenville, along with CB Marshon Lattimore and SAF Erick Smith ... is the cousin of current Buckeye Donovan Munger ... Grandmother is Rosietta Jones Harry ... enrolled in classes in January 2014.
Offensive Lineman / 6-4, 285
Fort Worth, Texas / All Saints Episcopal
Consensus four-star prospect Demetrius Knox played tackle for an undefeated All Saints Episcopal team but has high national rankings as an offensive guard ... Rivals rates Knox as its No. 2 guard prospect and Scout (No. 7), 247Sports (No. 10) and ESPN (No. 11) also have him highly ranked ... considered among the top players in the nation regardless of position, Knox is rated as high as No. 45 overall by Rivals with Scout ranking him No. 107 ... helped All Saints Episcopal and coach Aaron Beck to consecutive, 11-0, seasons and Southwest Preparatory School championships ... was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January and was named one of seven recipients of a Rotary Lombardi Award "Chip Off the Old Block" award in 2013 for outstanding play and community service achievements ... listed among the Top 20 seniors in the state of Texas ... comes home to Ohio, as he was born in the state and lived in the Dayton/Springfield area ... is the son of Aledia Cavitt and Reggie Knox.
Marshon Lattimore is one of the Top 50 prospects in the country - he is ranked No. 44 nationally by 247Sports and No. 45 by ESPN with Scout ranking him No. 51 - and he is a Top 10 cornerback ... this consensus four-star performer is listed as the No. 6 cornerback in the country by 247Sports and No. 8 by Scout, and ESPN and Rivals each compliment his abilities with impressive nationally "athlete" rankings of No. 5 and No. 7, respectively ... one of three of coach Ted Ginn's Glenville Tarblooders in this signing class, Lattimore has starred in the defensive backfield and as a receiver on a Glenville team that went 13-2 in 2013 and advanced to the Division II state championship game ... had 40 receptions for 911 yards and 16 TDs as a senior and also had three special teams touchdowns ... scored four touchdowns in a state semifinal win over Highland ... named Division II's Ohio defensive player of the year as senior ... a U.S. Army All-American and a finalist for its player of the year ... also named first team Associated Press all-state in 2013 ... is the son of Felicia Killebrew and Marland Lattimore Sr.
Terry McLaurin is the 2013 Indiana Mr. Football, as voted on by a panel from the Indiana Football Coaches Association ... a four-star prospect by ESPN and Rivals, McLaurin is considered a Top 50 wide receiver with a high ranking of No. 28 by 247Sports and additional rankings of No. 43 (Scout), No. 46 (Rivals) and No. 61 (ESPN) ... his most impressive ranking might be the No. 7 he received from another online organization, though, as in seventh-fastest prospect in his class (4.41 40) ... the speedy playmaker led Cathedral High School to the 2013 Indiana 5A state championship after winning three consecutive Class 4A titles between 2010-12 ... McLaurin had three touchdowns, an interception and four tackles in the title game to cap a senior season in which he had 58 receptions for 953 yards and eight touchdowns and another 744 yards rushing and six more scores ... had 312 rushing yards and four TDs in playoff win over Decatur Central ... recorded 820 receiving yards and 16 total touchdowns as a junior ... returned two kickoffs for TDs as a senior and two punts for TDs as a junior ... ... is the son of Grace and Terry McLaurin Sr.
Raekwon McMillan is the nation's top-rated inside linebacker prospect by ESPN and Rivals and he was chosen as the 2013 national high school Butkus Award winner as the top linebacker in the country ... a five-star prospect by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports, McMillan was rated as an overall Top 20 performer nationally by those three services ... a four-year starter for coach Kirk Warner at Liberty County H.S., McMillan accumulated 456 tackles and 10 forced fumbles during his career ... as a senior he totalled 159 tackles, 35.5 tackles-for-loss and 8.5 sacks for his 8-3 squad, and he also rushed for nearly 700 yards on offense ... was named the Georgia Region 3 AAAA defensive player of the year and a first-team all-state pick after his senior season ... a two-time Savannah Morning News player of the year ... named a first-team Parade and USA Today All-American following his 2013 senior season ... switched to outside linebacker because of an injury to another player and recorded five tackles in the 2014 Under Armour All-American game ... is the son of Monica and Rafael Washington ... enrolled in classes in January 2014.
Sean Nuernberger committed to the Buckeyes this summer after spending three days at the Ohio State kicking camp and receiving an offer on the third day ... rated among the Top 10 kicking prospects nationally by all the recruiting services ... a two-time Kentucky first-team all-state kicker as chosen by the Louisville Courier-Journal, Nuernberger connected on 13 of 20 field goal tries, 21 of 23 extra points and he averaged 42.3 yards per punts as a senior for coach Matt Brown ... five of his "missed" field goals were the result of blocked kicks, and his other two misses as a senior were from 54 and 56 yards ... connected on an Oldham County school-record 57-yard field goal vs. Louisville Ballard ... made seven of 12 field goals with a long of 46 yards and 29 of 32 extra points as a junior ... is the son of Michelle and Kia Nuernberger ... father played basketball for Germany in the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympic Games after a standout career at Southern Illinois ... led the Salukis in assists and free throw percentage for three years (1986-89) and was first-team all-Missouri Valley Conference in 1989 after leading the Salukis in scoring (16. 4 ppg) and to a 25-win season ... enrolled in classes in January 2014.
Hybrid RB/WR / 5-11, 185
Brooklyn, N.Y. / Erasmus Hall H.S.
Curtis Samuel is a consensus four-star prospect by all four recruiting services and he is among the Top 100 players in the nation according to 247Sports (No. 46), Rivals (No. 49) and Scout (No. 60) ... listed on the ESPN 300 (No. 153) ... rated as the No. 9 receiver by Scout, No. 5 athlete by 247Sports and No. 8 receiver by Rivals ... Samuel rushed for 1,461 yards, averaged 15.8 yards per rush and scored 17 touchdowns this season and helped his 10-2 Dutchmen team, coached by Danny Landberg, to a second appearance in the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) city title game ... named New York's Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior ... rushed for 446 yards and scored six touchdowns in 2013 city league playoffs ... had an 80-yard kickoff return TD vs. John F. Kennedy and had a 75-yard TD run vs. Tottenville in the title game ... invited to U.S. Army All-American Bowl ... Samuel averaged 11.5 yards per carry as a junior while rushing for 1,047 yards and 13 touchdowns ... he also had three receiving touchdowns and two punt return touchdowns as a junior while helping Erasmus to an undefeated season and a first-ever PSAL title ... the New York Daily News named Samuel its city player of the year in 2012 ... state runner-up in the 55-meter dash in spring 2013 ... parents are Nicole Samuel, step-father Roy Armstead and father Curtis Council ... enrolled in classes in January 2014.
Darius Slade was a pleasant, signing day announcement that went Ohio State's way as he signed his national letter of intent late in the afternoon ... Slade recorded 37 quarterback sacks for 126 yards in losses the past two seasons and helped Montclair High School, coached by John Fiore, to consecutive 12-0 seasons and back-to-back New Jersey Group 5 state championships ... his school has the distinction of being the first to claim consecutive state titles since the current New Jersey playoff system was implemented in 1974 ... Slade had 67 tackles, including 23.5 sacks (and 35 total tackles for loss), as a senior and was named first-team all-New Jersey ... he had 13.5 sacks and 46 tackles as a junior ... considered one of the Top 20 senior prospects in New Jersey, a state with rich football talent ... rated as high as the No. 30 strong-side defensive by 247Sports and the No. 66 defensive lineman by Scout ... Slade is the cousin of Jared Odrick, in his fifth season with the Miami Dolphins after an All-American career at Penn State ... Odrick was coached by current Ohio State assistant head coach and defensive line coach Larry Johnson at Penn State ... Darius is the son of Kimberly and Dwight Slade.
Safety / 6-1, 195
Cleveland, Ohio / Glenville
Another fine safety prospect out of the talent-rich Glenville High School program (think former Buckeye and current San Francisco 49er Donte Whitner), Erick Smith is a consensus four-star recruit and a Top 100 player in the nation with overall national rankings of No. 43 by Scout, No. 51 by Rivals and No. 61 by 247Sports ... one of the leaders of a 2013 Glenville Tarblooder team that went 13-2 and advanced to the Division II state championship game, Smith is considered a Top 5 safety prospect by two recruiting services: No. 2 by 247Sports, No. 4 by Scout ... rated the No. 11 safety by ESPN ... No. 2 ranked player in Ohio by Scout ... had 10 tackles and forced a fumble in the state title game and had a "pick six" in the state semifinals ... a U.S. Army All-American and a third-team Division II Associated Press all-state pick ... one of three Tarblooders - OL Marcelys Jones and CB Marshon Lattimore are the others - in this recruiting class ... is the son of Erica and Curtis Smith.
Brady Taylor was a first-team Division VI Associated Press all-state selection as a senior at Bishop Ready ... he helped Ready enjoy one of its finest seasons in school history in 2013, winning 12 of 14 games, including a three-win run through the state playoffs before dropping a 10-7 decision in the semifinals to eventual state champ Kirtland ... Ready, under the direction of Joel Cutler (now at Upper Arlington), also made the state playoffs in 2012, finishing the season with a 7-3 mark ... Taylor is rated as a Top 50 offensive tackle prospect nationally by both Rivals (No. 42) and 247Sports (No. 45) ... named to the U.S. Under-19 national football team and will play in the International Bowl (vs. Canada) this weekend in Arlington, Texas ... has wanted to be a Buckeye since he was in eighth grade, and in January 2014 his offer from the Ohio State coaches made his dream a reality ... is the fifth offensive lineman and one of the final additions to the 2014 Ohio State recruiting class ... he is the son of Susan and John Taylor.
Dylan Thompson is a four-start prospect according to ESPN and its No. 37 defensive tackle prospect in the nation ... 247Sports ranked Thompson as its No. 16 strong-side defensive end and Rivals positioned him No. 22 at that position ... Scout ranks him No. 39 at end ... he comes from Chris Andriano's powerful Chicago-area high school program at Montini Catholic ... Thompson played on Montini Catholic state championship football teams as a freshman, sophomore and junior and on a runner-up, 13-1 team as senior ... he tied the school record with 17 quarterback sacks as a senior and also contributed 60 tackles and a total of 35 tackles-for-loss ... earned Suburban Christian Conference lineman of the year honors ... also earned Chicago Tribune and Champaign News-Gazette first team all-state accolades ... a USA Today all-Illinois selection ... selected to the U.S. Under-19 national team and will play in the International Bowl (vs. Canada) this weekend in Arlington, Texas ... is the son of Michelle and Ron Thompson.
Kyle Trout is a four-star offensive line prospect as determined by Rivals, Scout and 247Sports ... he is rated as a Top 25 tackle nationally, with rankings of No. 17 (Rivals), No. 22 by 247Sports, No. 23 (Scout) and No. 26 (ESPN) ... Trout is also listed overall on the Rivals 250 (No. 197), the Scout 300 (285) and he is rated No. 246 nationally by 247Sports ... versatile and athletic ... lined up at guard in the Golden Gales' wing-T offense ... a two-time Associated Press all-state performer, with first-team Division I honors in 2013 and special mention accolades in 2012 ... all-Ohio Capital Conference ... coached by Rob Carpenter ... played three seasons of basketball and also competed in track and field in high school ... seventh in the shot and eighth in the discus at 2013 Ohio state outdoor track and field championships ... comes from same town and school as former Buckeyes Jim Cordle, currently a center with the New York Giants, and Bobby Carpenter, who spent nearly six years in the league after being a first-round draft pick in 2006 of the Dallas Cowboys ... is the son of Nancy and Kevin Trout ... enrolled in classes in January 2014.
Damon Webb, the second to commit to this Ohio State class of 2014, is considered one of the top players coming out of the state of Michigan this year - he was a 2013 Associated Press Division I-II all-state pick and the state co-player of the year - and is a consensus four-star prospect ... he also is considered one of the Top 50 players nationally, with a ranking of No. 40 overall by Rivals with Scout (No. 42) and 247Sports (No. 43) concurring and ESPN rating Webb No. 58 on its ESPN 300 ... at cornerback, he is ranked as the No. 5 prospect nationally by both Rivals and 247Sports, No. 6 by Scout and No. 8 by ESPN ... selected as the No. 2 player in the state by the Detroit News Blue Chip recruit ranking following his senior season ... also named the top defensive back in the nation at the U.S. Army All-America awards banquet ... helped Cass Tech, coached by Thomas Wilcher, to the Detroit Public School League city title and to a state semifinal appearance in 2013 with seven interceptions, 10 pass breakups, four forced fumbles and 42 tackles ... had two punt return touchdowns and seven receiving TDs ... as a junior in 2012 helped Cass Tech win a second consecutive state title ... transferred to Cass Tech from U-D Jesuit after his sophomore season ... first Cass Tech player to sign with Ohio State since Vernon Gholston in 2004 ... is the son of Stephanie and Damon Webb Sr.