Bucknuts.com takes a look at and predicts the top 10 recruiting battles for the Ohio State football and basketball programs.
We look at OSU's top 10 recruiting battles, including Mike Mitchell, Noah Vonleh and Vonn Bell
In football, the Buckeyes have 76 players on scholarship. They lose 14 seniors, giving them 20 scholarships in the 2013 class as of today. They have 17 commitments, leaving three open spots. It is expected that one or more spots will open due to the usual attrition factors.
In basketball, the Buckeyes go into the 2012-13 season with 10 players on scholarship. They will lose one senior. OSU has two verbals for 2013 in wing Marc Loving and guard Kameron Williams. They have some flexibility and could opt to take three players this year and four next year or four this year and three next. OSU’s biggest need is for at least one big man in the 2013 class. The early signing period for basketball comes in November.
Steve Helwagen contributed his thoughts on the top basketball targets.
We have rated these prospects between the two sports one through 10. Here goes:
The Competition: Oklahoma, Florida State, Texas A&M and Oregon
The Story: Mitchell “blew-up” at The Opening and showed he is a dominant linebacker who could be ready to step in and play at the college level as a true freshman. At 6-foot-4 and 222-pounds Mitchell has close to a Big Ten ready body right now. He is the country’s No. 98 overall prospect and the No. 8 outside linebacker.
The Significance: Anyone that has seen the Buckeyes play this season knows they need help on the defensive side of the ball, and in particular at linebacker. Mitchell would almost certainly step in as at least a front-line back up very quickly if he were to pick Ohio State.
Gut Prediction: This one will likely come down to the Buckeyes or Sooners with the Bucks winning a very tight and hotly contested decision.
2. Vonn Bell
The Competition: Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn
The Story: Bell has made an unofficial visit to Ohio State and came away very impressed. He has long had Ohio State as one of his top two or three choices. However, Bell is from Tennessee, attending Chattanooga Central High School his freshman and sophomore years, and the Vols are putting up fierce resistance to Bell heading north to play his college football.
The Significance: After linebacker, safety is the next biggest need when it comes to the Buckeyes’ defense. Bell is the country’s No. 2 safety and the No. 23 overall prospect. Like Mitchell, Bell is so talented that if he were to pick the Buckeyes it would be hard to imagine him not getting on the field at Ohio State as a true freshman.
Gut Prediction: Unless there is a coaching change at Tennessee, the Vols win out over Ohio State – barely.
The Competition: Pitt and Virginia Tech
The Story: Johnson first committed to Penn State over Pitt and Ohio State. However, after the Jerry Sandusky situation Johnson de-committed and declared he was again looking at Pitt, Ohio State and Virginia Tech. He plans to make official visits to all three schools and will be in the “Shoe” when the Buckeyes take on Michigan on Nov. 24.
The Significance: Urban Meyer would like to add one more offensive lineman to his 2013 recruiting class if he can land a great tackle. Johnson is the country’s No. 2 offensive tackle and the country’s No. 12 overall prospect. Ed Warinner has done a great job with the Ohio State offensive line this year. It would be fun watching him develop Johnson.
Gut Prediction: Staying close to home wins out barely and Johnson picks Pitt over Ohio State.
4. Noah Vonleh
The Competition: Indiana, North Carolina, Connecticut, Georgetown, Syracuse
The Story: The 6-9, 220-pound Vonleh was originally in the 2014 class at New Hampton Prep School in New Hampshire. He decided at the start of this school year to reclassify to the 2013 class. However, he did not take any college entrance exams until last month, meaning he can just now take official visits. He is due to make visits to Indiana and Syracuse in November.
The Significance: Vonleh is rated as the nation’s No. 7 prospect for 2013 by 247Sports.com. With his late switch to the 2013 class, his recruitment is accelerated. He is an accomplished scorer and rebounder, an athletic big man who would fit in perfectly in Thad Matta’s system. He was in the top five scorers and rebounders at the NBAPA national top-100 camp in June.
Gut Prediction: It seems that Indiana and Syracuse have the upper hand in Vonleh’s recruitiment. As an East Coast kid, it seems likely he could end up at Syracuse. The key for Ohio State will be getting him on campus for an official visit to sell the merits of the program and the opportunity that is available.
5. James Quick
The Competition: Louisville, Kentucky and Tennessee
The Story: Quick has long been thought to be a Louisville lean. But he attended the Ohio State-Nebraska game and had a great time. He will also be back for the Michigan game and the atmosphere should be spectacular just like it was when the Cornhuskers were in Ohio Stadium. Quick is a super talent that would be a huge addition to the Buckeyes’ 2013 recruiting class.
The Significance: What Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman have done with the Ohio State offense this year has been nothing short of spectacular. But a big-time play-making wide receiver would help greatly for the future and Quick has that kind of potential.
Gut Prediction: If Charlie Strong stays at Louisville Quick goes there. If Strong leaves then Quick becomes a Buckeye.
6. Trey Johnson
The Competition: Auburn, USC and Florida
The Story: Johnson committed to Auburn and says he remains committed. But he plans to take official visits and has trips set to Ohio State the weekend of Nov. 24 when the Buckeyes play Michigan, and USC the weekend of Jan. 18. He might also visit Florida.
The Significance: Mitchell is at the top of the Buckeyes’ linebacker “wish list.” But Johnson would be a great addition too. Depth is needed at linebacker as well as prospects that are ready or close to ready to step in and play. Johnson is that kind of prospect.
Gut Prediction: Unless things fall completely apart at Auburn I think Johnson stays with his commitment. But if he doesn’t, I think Ohio State is the school he picks.
7. Beejay Anya
The Competition: Indiana, N.C. State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse
The Story: Anya is rated as the nation’s No. 48 prospect by 247Sports.com. He is a good sized big man at 6-8 and 270 pounds. He plays at Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha High School and played for the Team Takeover AAU squad.
The Significance: Anya has already made an official visit to Ohio State, so the Buckeyes have made their best pitch. He was at Indiana this weekend for the Hoosier Hysteria event and is due to visit N.C. State next weekend. He would be a force patrolling the paint wherever he decides to go.
Gut Prediction: This is a tough one to call because Anya hasn’t talked a lot about his favorites. If Indiana gets Vonleh, perhaps IU would be off Anya’s list. But Anya’s former AAU coach is on staff at Indiana, so that would be a lot to overcome as well. In the end, mark him for Indiana.
The Competition: Auburn, West Virginia and Mississippi State
The Story: Gibson attended the Ohio State-Nebraska game and it did nothing to change his outlook. In fact it enhanced it. He has Ohio State at the top of his list. But Gibson still needs to take care of everything so that he can become a part of the Buckeyes’ 2013 recruiting class.
The Significance: Another offensive play maker or two is still needed in the Buckeyes’ 2013 recruiting class and Gibson has the potential to be that kind of guy at the next level. And it is always nice to keep the guys you want from your home-state at home.
Gut Prediction: As long as Gibson gets everything taken care of I see him as a Buckeye.
The Competition: Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, UCLA and Ole Miss
The Story: Elder is an outstanding athlete who is being recruited for both football and basketball. He seems to like basketball better and would like to play both sports in college, but his big offers are for football. Elder is a dynamic player who will likely play wide receiver or in the slot in college.
The Significance: The Buckeyes are recruiting Elder for their slot position and are very high on him. He could be just the type of play-maker Meyer is looking for for his offense.
Gut Prediction: This one comes down to Ohio State or Vanderbilt and I see the Commodores winning in a very close battle.
10. Devin Williams
The Competition: Memphis and West Virginia.
The Story: The 6-9, 225-pound Williams played at Cincinnati Withrow until this school year, when he transferred to the Monteverde Academy in Florida. He was a key member of the Ohio Basketball Club AAU team the last several years.
The Significance: Williams is rated as the nation’s No. 82 prospect for 2013 by 247Sports.com. He visited West Virginia in September and was due to visit Memphis this weekend. He could visit OSU in November before signing with one of these three schools in the early signing period.
Gut Prediction: I think this comes down to WVU and Ohio State. If the Buckeyes can’t get Vonleh or Anya by the time Williams visits, they will make a hard push for Williams and could land him.
If OSU loses out on Vonleh, Anya and Williams, the next prospect in line could be Toledo Whitmer’s Nigel Hayes. The 6-7, 215-pound Hayes visited OSU Oct. 6 and is also considering Stanford, Wisconsin and Minnesota.