Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has only been on the job two months, but he hasn’t wasted any time in making an impact.
You might say Meyer and his hand-picked staff of assistant coaches made a great run at remaking the OSU roster with a recruiting class that contained 25 signees on national signing day. That class – unheralded prior to Meyer’s arrival – is now ranked as high as fifth nationally in the 247Sports.com team rankings.
“This is a great day for Ohio State and a great day for our coaching staff,” Meyer said in opening his signing day press conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. “I keep hearing this is a top-five class or a top-three class. But that doesn’t mean a whole lot to me personally. At the end of the day, it’s what happens in two or three years from now.
“However, I am very pleased with the work ethic our guys have shown. It was very impressive to be able to pull that class together.”
We have video of Meyer's national signing day press conference as well as audio analysis on the OSU class with Steve Helwagen and Dave Biddle.
Here are the video links to all of Meyer's comments as well as comments from OSU assistants Luke Fickell and Tim Hinton.
The audio archive has Coach Meyer's comments as well as those from new recruiting coordinator Tim Hinton and assistant Luke Fickell.
Click here to access the audio archive of the press conference.
OSU had 12 commitments when Meyer took over as the coach on Nov. 29. They added 13 more in the two months since, including nine of 247Sports.com’s national top 247 prospects. That put this class with as many as 13 national top-247 players.
The final week was eventful as the Buckeyes beat out Michigan for one-time Penn State commit CB Armani Reeves of Massachusetts and then also snagged two more top-247 talents in North Carolina LB Jamal Marcus and Ohio OL Kyle Dodson. Dodson had previously verbaled to Wisconsin.
The 13 OSU verbals on the top 247 list include DE Noah Spence (No. 12), DE Adolphus Washington (No. 20), CB Armani Reeves (No. 82), DB Devan Bogard (No. 117), RB Brionte Dunn (No. 132), LB Jamal Marcus (No. 151), LB Josh Perry (No. 173), LB Camren Williams (No. 174), LB David Perkins (No. 177), DT Tommy Schutt (No. 181), DE Se’Von Pittman (No. 186), OL Kyle Dodson (No. 224) and RB Warren Ball (No. 239).
Meyer was especially beaming at the haul on the defensive line, led by Spence, Washington and Pittman at the end spots. Pittman has verbaled to Michigan State previously.
“According to the coaches on our staff from the previous staff, the defensive line was critical this year and particularly the defensive end,” Meyer said. “We signed three (ends) who are in the top 100 nationally. Those are guys we had to have. That’s the prize of our recruiting class.”
He also liked the offensive tackle commitments as the Buckeyes pulled Dodson from Wisconsin and Decker from Notre Dame.
“The day I was hired we came right back here and got to work,” Meyer said. “We said, ‘Let’s pick out the top offensive tackles in America,’ because that was where we were at with our shortage. If you had told me we got the top two guys we went after, that would be a good day.”
OSU got 12 signees on offense and 13 on defense. Meyer said OSU would be at 81 scholarship players with this class, leaving one spot available. OSU was still pursuing athlete prospects Davonte Neal of Arizona and Stefon Diggs of Maryland. They are expected to finalize their college choice in the next week.
"In our offense, we're still lacking that game changer we can hand the ball to, speed wise,” Meyer said.
(As an aside, it seems that three more of OSU’s projected returnees could be leaving. Meyer said he would share names of players not returning at some point in the near future.)
The position breakdown for the class is one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, five offensive linemen, four defensive linemen, five linebackers and four defensive backs.
Sixteen of these players are from Ohio. Two more are from Massachusetts and one each from California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
As many as eight of these players had committed elsewhere before settling on the Buckeyes. Four of them were Penn State commitments at one point (OL Joey O’Connor, Reeves, Schutt and Williams). Two of them were Notre Dame verbals (Decker and Perkins) while OSU got one each away from Michigan State (Pittman) and Wisconsin (Dodson).
“Somebody may ask, ‘How can you go recruit a guy who is committed to another school?’ ” Meyer said. “Well, you ask a guy if he is interested. If they say no, you move on. If they say, ‘Yeah, I’d be very interested,’ you throw the hook out there – especially if they are from your home state.
“Is it gratifying to take a guy from another school? No, not at all. Is it gratifying to say you got the top two offensive tackles you went after and they’re now a part of your class, yeah, that amazed me.”
Meyer and his staff brought home a top-five class despite the school being hit in mid-December with a one-year postseason ban due to NCAA sanctions. Meyer admitted that created a brief blip in the effort.
"I had the belief we would not get a bowl ban,” Meyer said. “When it hit, we had to do damage control for two weeks. It was a two-week assault. But instead of waiting for that to come, we went after it. We were extremely proactive."
Meyer praised holdover assistants Fickell, Mike Vrabel and Stan Drayton for their selfless efforts in maintaining this recruiting class. He also lauded administrative assistants Mark Pantoni, who was with Meyer at Florida, and Greg Gillum, another holdover from the previous staff.
OSU’s Signing Day Press Release
Here is the release from Ohio State, including bios of the signees:
By 10:45 a.m. Wednesday morning it was already official: 18 student-athletes had signed and faxed in their National Letters of Intent (NLI) to attend The Ohio State University. One more NLI in the afternoon followed and this group of 19 joins the six student-athletes who were already enrolled and attending classes at Ohio State to give head coach Urban Meyer a 2012 class of recruits totaling 25 in number.
"Everything went smooth today," Meyer said. "I love to recruit and I love to recruit great players."
The class of recruits succeeds, on paper, at filling some needs on the depth charts and features five linebackers, five offensive linemen, four defensive linemen and four defensive backs. The class also includes three receivers, two running backs, a quarterback and a tight end.
Meyer said the defensive linemen who signed were a real strength of this class and the key development. All four of the defensive linemen are among the Top 100 players in the nation, with Noah Spence, a 6-4, 245-pounder from Harrisburg, Pa., and Adolphus Washington, a 6-5, 245-pounder from Cincinnati, each considered among the Top 5 defensive ends in the nation. Tommy Schutt, who goes 6-3, 300 and is from Glen Ellyn, Ill, is Top 5 defensive tackle. And Se'Von Pittman, a 6-5, 245-pounder from Canton, Ohio, is in the Top 25 for all defensive linemen. Three of the four are considered five-star prospects with the fourth rated as a four-star.
"The defensive line is the strength of this class and the prize of this recruiting class," Meyer said. "But with that said, I am really pleased with the entire group as a whole. We filled some needs with some quality players, and I think overall we have a very solid class.
"We want to make the great state of Ohio proud with everything we do, and I think this class of new Ohio State Buckeyes is certainly going to do that."
The 2012 recruiting class includes 16 student-athletes from the state of Ohio, including as many as five of the Top 10 players in the state according to most rating services. Additionally, the recruits come from eight other states: California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
2012 Recruiting Class
Name Pos. Hgt. Wgt. Hometown/High School
Warren Ball RB 6-2 205 Columbus, Ohio/St. Francis DeSales
Devan Bogard DB 6-0 175 Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville
Jacoby Boren* OL 6-2 275 Pickerington, Ohio/Central
Taylor Decker OL 6-8 315 Vandalia, Ohio/Butler
Kyle Dodson OL 6-6 310 Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Heights
Bri'onte Dunn* RB 6-2 220 Canton, Ohio/GlenOak
Pat Elflein OL 6-3 285 Pickerington, Ohio/North
Frank Epitropoulos WR 6-3 197 Upper Arlington, Ohio/Upper Arlington
Cardale Jones* QB 6-5 220 Cleveland, Ohio/Glendale & Fork Union Mil. Acad.
Jamal Marcus LB 6-2 235 Durham, N.C./Hillside
Najee Murray DB 5-11 172 Steubenville, Ohio/Steubenville
Joey O'Connor OL 6-4 295 Windsor, Colo./Windsor
David Perkins LB 6-2 220 South Bend, Ind./ South Bend Washington
Joshua Perry* LB 6-3 230 Lewis Center, Ohio/Olentangy
Se'Von Pittman DE 6-5 245 Canton, Ohio/McKinley
Tyvis Powell* DB 6-3 180 Bedford, Ohio/Bedford
Armani Reeves CB 5-10 185 West Roxbury, Mass./Catholic Memorial
Luke Roberts LB 6-2 225 Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster
Tommy Schutt DT 6-3 300 Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard
Ricquan Southward WR 6-2 190 Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland
Noah Spence DE 6-4 245 Harrisburg, Pa./Bishop McDevitt
Blake Thomas TE 6-4 245 Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius
Michael Thomas* WR 6-4 205 Los Angeles, Calif./Woodland Hills Taft & FUMA
Adolphus Washington DE 6-5 245 Cincinnati, Ohio/Taft
Camren Williams LB 6-2 215 West Roxbury, Mass./Catholic Memorial
*Enrolled at Ohio State in January 2012
Pickerington, Ohio (Central)
Jacoby, playing mostly at offensive guard, was a first-team Division I Ohio all-state selection by the Associated Press as a senior … he helped lead Central, coached by Jay Sharrett, to the first Division I state championship game in school history and an 11-3 record in 2011 … Boren was a two-way player on a team that lost its first two games of the season, but then won 11 consecutive games before losing in the state championship game to Cleveland St. Ignatius … rated the No. 37 offensive guard in the country by Rivals.com and No. 41 by ESPNU … also rated as the No. 37 player in the six-state Midwest region by SuperPrep … a four-year letterwinner, a three-time all-Ohio Capital Conference first-team performer, an all-central district honoree and a member of the Columbus Dispatch 2011 all-Metro team, Jacoby will be the third Boren brother to play for the Buckeyes after Zach, a senior fullback for the Buckeyes, and Justin, a two-year starter (2009-10) who was with the Baltimore Ravens practice squad this season but was signed to its active roster for the playoffs … the Boren brothers are the sons of Mike and Hope Boren, both of whom were student-athletes at Michigan … Mike finished his football career at Michigan in 1983 as the second-leading tackler in school history with 332 tackles, a total that still ranks sixth all-time in school history … Hope competed in track and field … Jacoby enrolled at Ohio State in January 2012.
Canton, Ohio (Glenoak)
Anyone who weighs 220 pounds, runs downhill and accumulates 5,479 rushing yards during a career is going to get a lot of attention, and Bri'onte Dunn certainly garnered his share; until he enrolled at Ohio State in January 2012, happy to finally be a Buckeye, and looking forward to having "a chance to play for a national championship" as he told the Canton Repository … named first-team Division I Ohio all-state by the Associated Press as a junior and senior, Dunn rushed for 2,030 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior - and twice topped 300 yards rushing - and 1,657 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior … rated the No. 11 running back nationally by Rivals.com, No. 12 by ESPNU and No. 7 by Scout.com … the No. 2 senior in Ohio by Scout.com, No. 6 by Rivals.com and No. 7 by 247Sports … Scout.com also had him rated as a five-star recruit, and he was rated No. 138 on the Rivals 250 … he scored 51 touchdowns his final three seasons and was named all-Northeast Inland District first-team, Repository all-Stark County first-team and all-Federal League first-team numerous times ... coached by Scott Garcia at GlenOak … played as a freshman and sophomore at Alliance High School and amassed 1,900 yards rushing … the first Stark County running back since 1992 to sign an NLI with Ohio State, according to the Repository … Bri'onte is the son of Brion Dunn and Donna Hatcher.
Cleveland, Ohio (Glendale & FUMA)
Cardale Jones initially signed his national letter of intent with Ohio State in February 2011, but with the plan of delaying his enrollment and attending Fork Union Military Academy in the fall, which he did this past season and where he roomed with 2012 Ohio State recruit Michael Thomas … rated by Rivals.com as the No. 12 prep school player in the country in 2011 … he led perennial northeast Ohio power Cleveland Glenville to a 24-3 record as a starting quarterback … passed for 1,689 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior in 2011 for coach Ted Ginn and was named third-team Division I all-state by the Associated Press … threw for 2,168 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior in 2009, and he also had 14 career rushing touchdowns … was the MVP of the 2010 Offense-Defense Bowl, and he also played in the Big 33 Game … a basketball letterman at Glenville … relishes competition; "I'm not afraid to compete because that's the attitude we're taught to have at Glenville," he said during his recruitment … Cardale is the son of Florence Jones … he enrolled at Ohio State in January 2012.
Lewis Center, Ohio (Olentangy)
Joshua Perry is a fine and versatile athlete who excelled in three sports and was even better as a student with a high school grade point average above 3.8 on a 4.0 scale … he was the first Ohio State commitment of this 2012 class (June 2010) … rated as the No. 9 outside linebacker prospect in the country by Scout.com and No. 11 nationally at the position by Rivals.com … the No. 6 senior in Ohio by Rivals.com; No. 9 by Scout.com … also a member of the Rivals.com 250 … named second-team Ohio Division I all-state by the Associated Press as a senior for coach Ed Terwilliger … had 70 tackles and seven sacks as a senior … described as big, strong, fast, intelligent and the ultimate team player … in addition to being a standout football player, he was top-five twice in the long jump at the Ohio state track and field championships, including a runner-up finish as a sophomore in 2010 (current Buckeye receiver Devin Smith won the event) … produced a long jump personal-best leap of 23 feet, and also ran the hurdles and 400 meters … played basketball as well … older brother, Wes, is a second-year student at Ohio State studying jazz and music education and younger brother, Jahred, is a sophomore in high school … the son of Jim and Georgette Perry … enrolled at Ohio State in January 2012.
Bedford, Ohio (Bedford)
Regardless if officially listed as 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4, Tyvis Powell immediately becomes the tallest defensive back on the Ohio State roster (or at least the tallest; Zach Domicone is 6-3) and he is one of the few defensive backs nationally in the 2012 recruiting class who are at least 6-foot-3 … was coached at Bedford, located near Cleveland in northeast Ohio, by Sean Williams … ranked No. 33 among all cornerbacks nationally by Rivals.com and the No. 37 safety by Scout.com … a top 100 defensive back by ESPNU … No. 20 senior in Ohio by 247Sports.com … totaled six interceptions as a junior and senior, to go along with over 115 tackles … had four interceptions as a junior … a three sport athlete, Tyvis also played basketball and baseball … ran track instead of playing baseball as a junior, though, to improve his speed … also picked up strength and speed in the past year through early morning workouts with a 250-pound tractor tire … reportedly never missed a day of classes while in high school … the son of Robin Powell-Richardson … enrolled at Ohio State in January 2012.
Los Angeles, Calif. (Woodland Hills Taft & FUMA)
Michael produced a highlight reel of a senior season at Woodland Hills Taft High School, located in the San Fernando Valley, in 2010 … he caught 86 passes for a state-leading 1,656 yards and 21 touchdowns and was called the most improved football player "by a landslide" in Southern California in November 2010 by the Los Angeles Times … named first-team all-city as a senior, and the No. 98 receiver nationally by Scout.com … played in the 2011 Under Armour All-American game … coached at Taft by Matt Kerstetter … did not catch a pass as a junior in 2009, was homeschooled the previous year and attended Westlake Village Oaks Christian as a freshman … attended Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy last fall (and roomed with Cardale Jones) … he caught 23 passes for 497 yards and seven touchdowns at FUMA in 2011 … rated by Rivals.com as the No. 4 prep school player in the country in 2011 … the nephew of NFL star Keyshawn Johnson … called "a premier athlete…rangy and explosive" by Fork Union coach John Shuman … enrolled at Ohio State in January 2012 … Michael is the son of Michael Thomas, Sr.
West Roxbury, Mass. (Catholic Memorial)
Football isn't just a hobby for Camren Williams, a four-star prospect and the No. 1 player in the Northeast region, according to SuperPrep; it's his way of life and, it's a family affair … his father, Brent, had an 11-year NFL career between 1986-96 with three teams - New England, Seattle and the New York Jets - and his brother, Brennan, recently completed his junior year as an offensive lineman at the University of North Carolina … described as "a student of the game" by his brother and "very thorough…very organized...and with a lot of football sense" by Catholic Memorial coach Alex Campea, Williams is rated as a four-star prospect and the No. 8 inside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com, and a four-star prospect and the No. 16 outside linebacker by Scout.com … the No. 1 player in Massachusetts according to Rivals.com … named a SuperPrep All-American who is also on the Rivals 250 list, Williams had 119 tackles for a 7-2 Catholic Memorial team this year … he was named all-scholastic by the Boston Globe and the defensive player of the year in the Catholic Conference … played in the inaugural Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl Jan. 3 in Phoenix, Ariz. … a member of the National Honor Society who is considering studying kinesiology, Camren is the son of Jacquelin and Brent Williams.
West Roxbury, Mass. (Catholic Memorial)
Armani Reeves was a Sunday of signing week commitment for Ohio State, and he certainly helps fill a depth need at the cornerback position for the Buckeyes … Reeves was the No. 6 ranked cornerback in the nation by Scout.com and a four-star-recruit … he also earned four stars from Rivals.com, which had him ranked as the No. 17 cornerback in the nation and the No. 2 player in the state of Massachusetts … Rivals.com also had Reeves on its Rivals 250 … SuperPrep had Reeves ranked No. 2 in New England and on its all-Northeast team … the Catholic Conference overall MVP after a senior season that included 445 rushing yards and nine total touchdowns and 57 tackles and an interception on defense … had four interceptions and two punt return touchdowns as a junior … high school coach Alex Campea said Reeves "is as skilled as any player I've ever had … athletically, he's off the charts in his running ability and his ball skills" … Reeves and fellow recruiting Class of 2012 commit Camren Williams are high school teammates, not to mention great friends … Williams' father, Brent, is Reeves' God father … originally is from Alabama, and is reportedly the first cousin to NBA all-star and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley … a member of the National Honor Society who may study information technology at Ohio State, Reeves is the son of Victoria Reeves.
Cleveland, Ohio (St. Ignatius)
Big and strong Blake Thomas will come to Ohio State with a reputation of being an overpowering blocking tight end, but he can catch the football as well … he had a combined 49 receptions for 506 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior and senior … he was described by one evaluator as having "soft hands…big, soft hands," traits that will no doubt help Thomas on the football field but will also be appreciated after his playing days are over as he has intentions of attending dental school … the only tight end in the Ohio State class of 2012 caught 24 passes for 256 yards and scored two touchdowns as a junior for the powerful St. Ignatius program under the direction of Chuck Kyle, and then he came back as a senior to record 25 catches for 250 yards and six touchdowns … Thomas helped St. Ignatius win its 11th Ohio Division I state championship in 2011, capping a 13-2 season with a 34-13 win over Pickerington Central in the title game … he caught four passes for 47 yards in the title game … was named special mention all-state by the Associated Press in 2011 and to the Northeast Lakes all-district football team … he was the No. 16-ranked tight end nationally by Rivals.com with additional rankings of No. 22 by Scout.com and No. 42 by ESPNU … rated as the No. 29 prospect in Ohio by Rivals.com … Blake is the son of Gail and Kevin Thomas.
Pickerington, Ohio (North)
Pat Elflein didn't wrestle with his decision about which school to attend once he received a scholarship offer from Ohio State … as a result, the Buckeyes' recruiting class has two of the 2011 Associated Press first-team Division I all-state offensive linemen: Elflein and Jacoby Boren, from cross-town school Pickerington Central … in Elflein, the No. 22 offensive guard prospect in the nation by ESPNU and the No. 31 guard by Scout.com, the Buckeyes are getting a rock solid worker, someone who has spent his summers pouring and breaking up concrete after already working through a full high school calendar year of sports and studies … "I like to work hard and I always put 100 percent effort into what I do," Elflein told the Columbus Dispatch … a four-year football letterman and a two-time football team captain, Elflein is currently working on his fourth varsity letter in the sport of wrestling and he could earn a fourth letter this year in track and field, which would give him 12 letters for his high school career … he has been named in football to all-Ohio Capital Conference, all-Central District and to the Dispatch's all-Metro teams … he was the 2011 wrestler of the year in the OCC and was a state and national qualifier … Elflein, whose older brother, Matt, played linebacker for Ohio Dominican, is the son of Lisa and Kenneth Elflein.
Lakeland, Fla. (Lakeland)
Ricquan is the only recruit in the class of 2012 from the state of Florida, but he keeps alive a streak of nine consecutive years - and 18 of the last 20 years - that a prospect from Florida has signed with the Scarlet and Gray on signing day … a Top 75 player (No. 62) in the talent rich state according to Rivals.com … playing for the powerful Lakeland Dreadnaughts, Florida Class 7A state semifinalists for three consecutive years including in 2011, Ricquan had a breakout senior season for coach Bill Castle's 13-1 team with 54 receptions for 994 yards and nine touchdowns … he also scored touchdowns off punt and kickoff returns, and he averaged 11.2 yards per rush off 24 rushing attempts … Ricquan broke the Lakeland school single game records for receptions (12) and receiving yards (238) against Hialeah Oct. 14, plus scored the winning touchdown in a 16-10 game … named first-team Class 7A all-state by the Associated Press in 2011 … rated the No. 36 receiver nationally by ESPNU … Ricquan is the son of Cathy Howard.
Vandalia, Ohio (Butler)
Two-sport star - football and basketball - Taylor Decker was the third offensive lineman out of four to officially commit to Ohio State, doing so in January … the biggest player in this recruiting class at 6-foot-8 inches tall and 315 pounds, Decker was a three-year starter at tackle for Vandalia Butler and a three-year letterman in basketball, and he was good enough on the hardwood to draw interest from mid-majors … this past season he helped the Aviators to a 6-4 record on the gridiron, the school's first winning record in eight years, and he was named first-team Division II all-state by the Associated Press … he was rated the No. 23 offensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com and a four-start prospect by the site … also rated the No. 77 player nationally and the No. 7 senior in the state of Ohio in 2011 by Scout.com (No. 14 by Rivals.com) … a member of the Rivals 250 … will play in the OHSFCA North-South Classic football game April 20 at Ohio Stadium … a fine student as well, Decker will consider pursuing a degree program in some area of sports medicine … he is the son of Ron and Sheila Decker.
South Bend, Ind. (South Bend Washington)
A visit to Ohio State's campus in early January convinced David Perkins, the 13th-ranked "athlete" nationally by Rivals.com, that Ohio State is where he wanted to play collegiately … "They say when you get on campus and you get that feeling, you just know that's the place," Perkins said. "When I got on campus, that's what I felt." … outstanding on both sides of the ball and with reported 4.43 speed, Perkins is a 4-star recruit, the No. 22 outside linebacker (Scout.com) and a member of the Rivals 250 … rated as the No. 2 senior in Indiana by Rivals.com … one publication wrote "he makes the best quarterbacks nervous"… here's why: he totaled 103 tackles as a senior with 22 tackles-for-loss, including seven sacks … also had eight forced fumbles and nine pass break-ups … his 63 tackles as a junior included 13 sacks … rushed for 1,311 yards with 15 touchdowns as a senior, plus had 20 receptions for 291 yards … gained 765 rushing yards as a junior … helped Washington, coached by Antwon Jones, to its first state championship game in 38 years in 2011 … transferred to Washington after his sophomore season at Kalamazoo (Mich.) Central … David is the son of Natalie and Mac Henry.
Columbus, Ohio (St. Francis DeSales)
Warren, who grew up approximately 15 minutes from the Ohio State campus, was the second commitment to this 2012 class (summer 2010) … he committed early so he could focus solely on football, and despite opponents keying on him because of his Ohio State commitment, Ball's focus didn't waver and he produced a senior season that turned him into a four-star prospect who was ranked as the No. 13 running back by Scout.com, No. 16 by Rivals.com and No. 26 by ESPNU … he was also on the Rivals 250 list … rushed for 1,232 yards and 29 touchdowns as a DeSales senior and was named first-team Division III all-state by the Associated Press … scored six touchdowns Sept. 2 vs. Brookhaven … led the Stallions to a 2011 Central Catholic League championship, the second round of the state playoffs and was named all-conference … also named to the Columbus Dispatch 2011 all-metro team … helped DeSales reach the Division III state championship game as a sophomore in 2009 … gained 700 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore despite missing part of year with an injury … missed six games with a high ankle sprain as a junior … will play in the OHSFCA North-South Classic football game April 20 at Ohio Stadium … rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown at the Offense vs. Defense All-American game … Warren is the son of Warren Sr. and Danielle Ball.
Harrisburg, Pa. (Bishop McDevitt)
Noah Spence knows a good family atmosphere when he sees it … and as one of nine brothers in the Helen and Greg Spence household, the Parade Magazine All-American, five-star prospect and No. 2 defensive end in the nation (Rivals.com; ESPNU) was seeking a school with a family atmosphere and great coaches … and as he told The Patriot-News in Harrisburg in December: "I found what I was looking for at Ohio State" … one of the Top 5 prospects nationally (ESPNU; MaxPreps) and a Top 10 prospect by everyone else, Spence was the No. 1 player in the state of Pennsylvania and the state's two-time big school defensive player of the year … he was selected the 2011 Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year, an award that recognizes high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character in addition to athletics … also named the Maxwell Football Club's national high school player of the year in 2011 … described as the "fastest pass rushing end in the country" and "a terror to opposing quarterbacks," Spence amassed 204 tackles, including 50 tackles-for-loss and 35.5 sacks, during his junior and senior seasons … he helped Bishop McDevitt, under coach Jeff Weachter, advance to consecutive state Class AAA title games … he topped 50 quarterback sacks in his career and then had an Under Armour All-American game record three sacks Jan. 5 in St. Petersburg, Fla., for "Team Highlight" … comes from same high school that has produced current Philadelphia Eagle LeSean McCoy, current Detroit Lion Aaron Berry and former NFL great Ricky Watters … his father played football at North Carolina State and an uncle, Phil, was a standout basketball player for the Wolfpack and was part of the school's 1974 national championship team.
Steubenville, Ohio (Steubenville)
Najee Murray was the leader of the secondary for three fine Steubenville Big Red teams, including the 12-2 2009 state semifinalist squad and the 11-1 team in 2011 that advanced to the regional semifinals … a shut-down defensive back who opposing quarterbacks rarely challenged, Murray had 54 tackles as a senior and was named first-team Division III all-state by the Associated Press and was the state's AP co-defensive player of the year … blessed with speed, Murray led the Big Red with 17 receptions in 2011 for 280 yards and four touchdowns, and he averaged 16.8 yards per rush off 11 carries … named a four-star recruit by Rivals.com in its final rankings, Murray was the No. 16 safety prospect in the nation by Rivals.com and held the No. 20 ranking from Scout.com … had 62 tackles and two interceptions as a junior and 57 stops as a sophomore … helped the 2011 Steubenville 4x200-meter relay team win a state title at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in a state record time of 1:27.02 … will play in the OHSFCA North-South Classic football game April 20 at Ohio Stadium … Murray, reportedly the first Big Red alumnus to sign an NLI with Ohio State since Buster Tillman in the 1990s, is the son of Danita Murray-Hampton and Horace Hampton.
Lancaster, Ohio (Lancaster)
Luke Roberts is another in the line of fine Lancaster linebackers; former Buckeye and current Detroit Lion Bobby Carpenter and current N.C. State linebacker Ryan Cheek are each from the area … Roberts, who is expected to enroll at Ohio State for the 2012 spring quarter, was rated the No. 28 inside linebacker prospect in the nation by Scout.com and the No. 44 linebacker prospect by ESPNU … he was a Top 100 prospect in the six-state Midwest region by SuperPrep … he was named second-team Division I all-state by the Associated Press as a senior after recording 118 tackles, including 19 tackles-for-loss and five quarterback sacks for coach Rob Carpenter's Gales squad … as a junior in 2010 Roberts received AP all-state special mention after a 96-tackle season that also included 23 tackles-for-loss and three sacks … earned all-Ohio Capital Conference and all-district honors both years … a three-year starter … Lancaster H.S. also has produced notable Buckeyes Jim Cordle and Rex Kern … Roberts also wrestled in high school … he is the son of Mathew and Sharon Roberts.
Glen Ellyn, Ill. (Glenbard)
There are all kinds of numerical listings among Ohio State's 2012 recruiting class, like five- and four-star prospects and first-team All-Americans, but Tommy Schutt owns the unique numerical distinction of being first: as in the first high school senior to commit to Urban Meyer's Ohio State program … Schutt, a five-star prospect and the No. 5 defensive tackle in the class by Scout.com and the No. 1 player in Illinois (Rivals.com), committed Dec. 12 … he is ranked among the Top 100 players nationally by Scout.com (No. 47), MaxPreps (No. 47) and Rivals.com (No. 64) and is also a member of the ESPNU 150 … helped Glenbard West, coached by Chad Hetlet, to four state playoff appearances and amassed 33 career sacks, 45 tackles-for-loss, 21 batted balls and eleven forced fumbles … earned all-state honors three consecutive years, including by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association and the Chicago Tribune as a junior and senior … named ESPNChicago.com defensive player of the year after senior season that included 73 tackles and 23.5 tackles-for-loss, including 14.5 sacks … No. 6 player in the Midwest by SuperPrep and the No. 16 defensive line prospect … a U.S. Army and SuperPrep All-American … had 67 tackles and 15 sacks as a junior … Tommy is the son of David and Stella Schutt.
Upper Arlington, Ohio (Upper Arlington)
Frank Epitropoulos is truly a multi-dimensional player, one who rarely came off the field for the Upper Arlington Golden Bears in his three years as a starter at wide receiver, defensive back and as punter … a two-time second-team Ohio Division I all-state pick by the Associated Press as a punter, Epitropoulos averaged 42.2 yards per punt as a junior and 39.2 as a senior … however, this 6-foot-3 athlete with a reported vertical jump that exceeds 40 inches is projected as a wide receiver for the Buckeyes … he recovered nicely from a hand injury as a senior that kept him out of four games to catch 25 passes for 459 yards and seven touchdowns … he was a big reason UA, under coach Mike Golden, advanced to the state playoffs in 2011 for the first time in three years … as a junior, Epitropoulos caught 29 passes for 459 yards and seven touchdowns … the No. 31 senior in Ohio according to Rivals.com and a Top 80 receiver by both Scout.com and 247Sports.com, he will play in the International Bowl today (Feb. 1) in Austin, Texas … Frank is the son of John and Alice Epitropoulos, both of whom attended Ohio State … John was a three-year Ohio State football letterman between 1978 and 1980, playing in 34 games for both coaches Woody Hayes and Earle Bruce … an uncle, Ernie Epitropoulos, also played for the Buckeyes … a sister, Christina, has been accepted into Ohio State's dental school … Frank is considering a pre-medicine course of study at Ohio State.
Cleveland, Ohio (Glenville)
Devan Bogard is yet another punishing Glenville High School defensive back who could have gone almost anywhere and yet he chose the Buckeyes … called by some recruiting analysts as the hardest-hitter among an Ohio senior class full of big-hitting safeties, Bogard is the latest in an impressive line of Tarblooder DBs - and players - to end up at Ohio State, a list that includes NFL DBs Donte Whitner and Jermale Hines and current Buckeye Christian Bryant, and also includes 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and NFL receiver/return man Ted Ginn … Bogard, who is described as playing "with rabid intensity," was a first-team Division I all-state selection by the Associated Press after a 91-tackle-two-interception senior season for coach Ted Ginn … named special mention all-state as a junior after recording 74 tackles and an interception … played linebacker in high school but always was projected as a safety in college … was considered the No. 1 safety in Ohio in 2011 by Bill Kurelic and garnered national rankings of No. 14 by Rivals.com, No. 24 by Scout.com - both sites had Bogard projected as a four-star prospect - and No. 32 by ESPNU … ranked as the No. 6 senior in the state by 247Sports and No. 21 by Scout.com … is the son of Cynthia Shakir and Ali Shakir … will play in the OHSFCA North-South Classic April 20 at Ohio Stadium.
Cincinnati, Ohio (Taft)
Parade Magazine All-American, U.S. Army All-American and five-star recruit (Rivals.com; Scout.com; 247Sports.com) Aldolphus Washington cited honesty as a reason he chose Ohio State, a decision he made before Urban Meyer was named head coach … "If Ohio State is that special that you [former coaches] would still sell me the school even though you probably won't be there, that tells me a lot about Ohio State," Washington told a media gathering … here's more honest-to-goodness truth: Washington is big-time … he helped lead Taft High School to the 2011 Ohio state playoffs, registering 23.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and 90 tackles for coach Mike Martin's Senators … he was named the state's Division III co-defensive player of the year and a first-team Associated Press all-state selection … the No. 1 player in the state by Scout.com and 247Sports.com and the No. 2 player in the Midwest region by SuperPrep, Washington was regarded as the nation's 25th-best senior by Rivals.com, and he was also considered the No. 3 defensive end prospect by Scout.com, No. 5 by Rivals.com and No. 7 by ESPNU … his junior stats were similar to his senior numbers (107 tackles and 19 sacks in 2010) when he helped Taft make its first-ever state playoffs appearance … an outstanding basketball player as well, he was leading the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference in scoring (21.0) and rebounding (15.5) as of last week … he was named the Division III basketball co-player of the year in 2011 after leading Taft to the state Final Four … Adolphus is the son of Adolphus Washington, Sr. and Rhonda Edwards.
Canton, Ohio (McKinley)
Talented, four-star defensive end prospect Se'Von Pittman committed to the Buckeyes Dec. 12, giving new coach Urban Meyer his second commitment and the school's third impressive defensive lineman commit with a fourth soon to come … Pittman was a two-time Associated Press Division I all-state first-team selection for coach Ron Johnson at Canton McKinley … he was a Top 100 recruit by every major recruiting service, with rankings of No. 58 (Scout.com), No. 66 (MaxPreps), No. 95 on the Rivals 250 and No. 98 ESPNU 150 … he was also a Top 10 senior in the state of Ohio by Rivals.com (3rd), Scout.com (4th) and 247Sports.com (10th), and a SuperPrep All-American rated by that service as the No. 13 player in the Midwest region … totaled 34 tackles-for-loss as a junior and senior, including 20 TFLs with eight sacks among his 102 tackles as a senior for a 9-3 regional semifinalist team … started as a sophomore, as well, and finished his career with 18 quarterback sacks … expected to enroll at Ohio State in March for the 2012 spring quarter, and will reconnect on the defensive line with high school teammate Steve Miller, a freshman at Ohio State … Se'Von is the son of Velvet Hutchinson.
Windsor, Colo. (Windsor)
Joey O'Connor is the No. 12 offensive tackle prospect in the nation by Rivals.com and a four-star recruit … he was a starter on the offensive line for four years at Windsor High School, earning all-state honors as a junior and senior … he learned about physical, aggressive play first by playing hockey for 11 years … even considered moving to Canada before his freshman season in high school to pursue a career in that sport … Colorado's 2011 state 3A player of the year was a force on the line … it's been written on ESPN.com that he "made a habit of turning defensive ends and linebackers into football sleds" … and it was written in ESPNHS Magazine that O'Connor is "vicious and unrelenting" but he is this way "cleanly and without malice" … an Under Armour All-American who was the No. 1 player in Colorado according to ESPNU and the No. 2 player by the Denver Post and Rivals.com, O'Connor just missed a Top 100 ranking by Rivals.com (102) … a SuperPrep all-Midlands selection … he capped his career by helping coach Chris Jones' Wizards team win the 2011 state championship … the student body president at Windsor High, he is the son of Ann and Joe O'Connor … he is believed to be the first football recruit from Colorado to sign a letter of intent with Ohio State since Chris Sanders, from Denver's Montbello H.S., did in 1990.
Durham, N.C. (Hillside)
North Carolina all-state defensive end Jamal Marcus is a 6-2, 235-pounder who projects as a linebacker in college and has reported 4.6-second speed in the 40 … Marcus was one of the final players in this recruiting class to commit to Ohio State, having done so in the last two weeks prior to signing day … this past season Marcus helped lead Hillside High School, under the direction of coach Antonio King, to a 16-0 record and the NCHSAA Class 4A state championship … he tallied 89 tackles and 17.5 sacks for the PAC 6 Conference champions and he was named first-team all-state by the Associated Press … in fact, he led all defensive players in votes for the AP all-state team … also was named all-PAC 6 Conference … rated the No. 32 outside linebacker in the nation by Rivals.com … also was rated the No. 29 linebacker prospect nationally and the No. 9 player in North Carolina by SuperPrep … a SuperPrep All-American and an all-Mid Atlantic Region selection, he had 14 sacks as a junior…Jamal is the son of Keisha and Reginald Marcus.
Cleveland, Ohio (Cleveland Heights)
In a most pleasant signing day surprise, offensive tackle Kyle Dodson, who had formally not committed to Ohio State, signed his National Letter of Intent to attend Ohio State and be a Buckeye around the lunch hour on Feb. 1 … he thus became the 25th member of the 2012 recruiting class … a member of the Rivals 250 and a four-star recruit by both Rivals.com and Scout.com, Dodson was considered the No. 12 senior in the state of Ohio by 247Sports.com and one of the Top 25 offensive tackles in the nation (No. 18 by Rivals.com; No. 24 by Scout.com; No. 31 by SuperPrep) … he is a member of SuperPrep's all-Midwest Region team and the No. 17 prospect in the six-state region … Dodson had an outstanding senior season for the undefeated Lake Erie League champions, who finished with a 9-1 record for coach Jeff Rotsky … Dodson started as a sophomore for Cleveland Heights, but was held out as a junior as a precaution, and then came back strong as a senior … Kyle has been raised since age 11 by his Grandparents, Barbara and George Allen.
Signing Day Stories
Click here at for an audio webcast of Meyer's press conference as well as analysis on the class from Steve Helwagen and Dave Biddle.
Here are links to more stories from today:
On The Mark: Mark Porter scouts each signee: On The Mark link
Our Signing Day Tracker: Signing Day Tracker link
Warren Ball: Ball link
Kyle Dodson signs: Dodson link
Devan Bogard: Bogard link
Jamal Marcus signs: Marcus link
Josh Perry on first month at OSU: Perry link
Frank Epitropoulos: Epitropoulos link
Adolphus Washington: Washington link
Tommy Schutt: Schutt link
Joey O’Connor: O’Connor link
Blake Thomas: Thomas link
Najee Murray: Murray link
Se’von Pittman: Pittman link