We talk about top tens and top twenty-fives and top one hundreds. We also talk about the best at a position. When we get right down to it, recruiting all comes down to who can play one of the twenty-two positions on a football field.
I am going to pick my twenty-two for the state of Ohio. I am not going to go by class. I am going to pick from every class but the class of 2011. As far as I'm concerned, they are now college players.
Here are the rules. I am going with a base 4-3 defense and a pro-set offense. On offense that means two receivers, one tight end and a fullback. Yes, I said a fullback. Players can only be on the team at a position that they project to. For example, Taylor Decker cannot be on the team at guard. You know I am a firm believer that tackles can play guard but guards can't play tackle. I would recruit tackles and move them to guard. I just don't see Decker as a guard so I am not going to put him there.
Quarterback - Kyle Kempt, 6-4, 190, Massillon Washington (2013) - This was a tough call. I have been a Kyle Stahl fan since the first time I saw him. Kempt is the same kind of quarterback. Both are big kids with big arms. The difference is Kempt has a quicker release. He is a little more athletic and his level of competition is better. Back-up - Kyle Stahl, St. Henry. Player to watch - Nathan Strock, Tri-Valley Dresden
Running back - Warren Ball, 6-1 200, DeSales. A back who jumped out at me from the first time I saw him. He became my number one back and has done nothing to change my mind. My back-up is Brionte Dunn. He is the most important back-up on this twenty-two as backs take a beating and Ball has been dinged more than most while Dunn has been a workhorse.
Fullback - Jeremy Campbell, 6-0, 230, Clayton Northmont. When I look at Campbell I see Zach Boren. Both were outstanding defensive players but were tweeners. Both win high speed collisions consistently. Campbell is a weight room warrior. Teams don't make room for fullbacks but one that does have room should get to Northmont and come in on a kid that would relish the opportunity to be a lead fullback.
Wide Receivers - Jalin Marshall, 6-0, 190, Middletown (2013) and Kevin Gladney, 6-4, 175, Akron Firestone (2013). I am still a big fan of Dwayne Stanford but these two from the class of 2013 are special. There is still a question about Stanford's speed. He still has time to change that thinking and I think it has only the slightest impact on his recruitment, but for now I see Marshall and Gladney as the ones who are special. Back-ups - Dwayne Stanford, Taft and Frank Epitropulous, Upper Arlington.
Tight End - Mike Roberts, 6-5, 235, Cleveland Benedictine. Roberts video was not available when I did my tight end review. Blake Tomas is a better receiver. Sam Grant is a better blocker. Roberts is the most complete tight end in the class. He is almost as good a blocker as Grant. That is saying something. He plays hard all the time. Back-up - Sam Grant, Lakewood St. Edward. If I was going to run a tight end featured offense I would choose Blake Thomas, who is such a great receiver and a solid blocker, but I would have an offense where the tight end plays the same role as it does in Jim Tressel's offense. That is why Grant is my back-up. If Thomas is bigger than I have been told he is he could replace Roberts.
Left Tackle - Kyle Dodson, 6-6, 310, Cleveland Heights. Dodson is a little more athletic, a little quicker and a little longer than Kyle Kalis so he would be my left tackle. I think an offer from the Buckeyes is just a qualifying score away and a verbal soon after would not surprise me. Back-up - Taylor Decker, Butler.
Left Guard - Benny McGowan, 6-4, 290, Centerville. I believe we could see McGowan get a look at tackle. We see him play guard and play it extremely well so we see a guard. Watch him in space. Watch him throw the shot and discus. I think he is athletic enough to play tackle. Back-up - Tyler Orlosky, Lakewood St. Edward
Center - Lovell Peterson, 6-3, 270, Huber Heights Wayne (2013). Quite simply the best center prospect from this state since Nick Mangold. He is going to be a great one. Look at the state championship game and try to see where he made mistakes. Remarkable game by a very young football player at a very demanding position. Back-up - Jacoby Boren, Pickerington
Right Guard - Caleb Stacey, 6-4, 280, Cincinnati Oak Hills. Along with St. Ed's Tyler Orlosky, Stacey is the most underrated lineman in the state. Both are natural wide bodies who move well and bring it every play. Stacey has quietly gone about locking up an impressive offer list with Michigan and Boston College leading the way. Back-up - Bill Price, Austintown-Fitch (2013). This is the one player on this list who I am taking somewhat of a liberty with. I say somewhat because I don't know where Price ends up. He could play defensive tackle, left tackle or either guard. It is too early to say. All I am sure of is this is a bigtime kid.
Right Tackle - Kyle Kalis, 6-5, 305, Lakewood St. Edward. One of the best offensive line prospects it has been my pleasure to evaluate in my time scouting players in Ohio. One thing that I believe has helped the Ohio State offensive line become better is bringing in players who like to play football. When I am talking about offensive linemen liking to play football I mean they like beating people up. Kalis is going to fit right in. Back-up - A.J. Williams, Cincinnati Sycamore.
Could be top five in the state after a year of playing tackle rather than tight end, something he will do this year.
Defense up next.