Big Ten Signing Day: Buckeyes emphasize linebackers

Big Ten Signing Day: Buckeyes emphasize linebackers
February 7, 2014, 2:15 pm
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Vinnie Duber

There are few days as frantic as National Signing Day. And sometimes it can be a difficult enough task to try and keep up with news of one team, let alone 12 of them.

Well, now that all the Signing Day hubbub has died down, it’s a good time to take a look at what happened in the Big Ten. How did the teams do? Who are the big-name recruits coming to the conference next season? And how happy were the coaches with their respective hauls? We’ve broken it down, team-by-team.

Ohio State Buckeyes

(Rivals rankings: 1st Big Ten, 3rd nationally)

Urban Meyer blew the rest of the Big Ten out of the water on Signing Day, scooping up a whopping 12 recruits who ranked in the Rivals 250, eight of which ranked in the Rivals 100 and six of which ranked in the top 60. When it was all said and done, the Buckeyes recruited a total of 16 players ranked as five- or four-star recruits.

The highest-rated of them all was Raekwon McMillan, a five-star linebacker from Georgia. He’s just the headliner of a group of linebackers recruited by Meyer this year. It’s a position the head coach said he emphasized during this recruiting stretch, and it’s not hard to see why. Ohio State had some great playmakers on defense last season, but the team numbers weren’t great, as opposing offenses showed little trouble putting up points. There’s a new co-defensive coordinator in Columbus, and now there’s a bevy of new linebackers, too.

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Recruits in Rivals 250:

19. Raekwon McMillan, five-star linebacker (Hinesville, Ga.)
40. Damon Webb, four-star defensive back (Detroit, Mich.)
45. Demetrius Knox, four-star offensive lineman (Fort Worth, Texas)
49. Curtis Samuel, four-star wide receiver (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
51. Erick Smith, four-star defensive back (Cleveland, Ohio)
55. Jalyn Holmes, four-star defensive end (Norfolk, Va.)
63. Dante Booker, four-star linebacker (Akron, Ohio)
94. Jamarco Jones, four-star offensive lineman (Chicago, Ill.)
117. Johnnie Dixon, four-star wide receiver (West Palm Beach, Fla.)
134. Marshon Lattimore, four-star athlete (Cleveland, Ohio)
197. Kyle Trout, four-star offensive lineman (Lancaster, Ohio)
218. Noah Brown, four-star athlete (Sparta, N.J.)

Coach speak: “Emphasis is on linebacker,” Meyer said. “There are some obvious strengths and weaknesses, but the linebacker position is one that's we're going through an overall right now. That's far too many mistakes have been made in either lack of development or whatever, and it's just not where we need to be. So there's four linebackers been recruited Raekwon McMillan, Sam Hubbard, Kyle Berger and Dante Booker. Four guys I'm putting pressure on them coach (Luke) Fickell and myself to get ready for next year. They have to play for us, in addition to the players we have on our roster already. So just so everybody knows, there's no redshirt plans for those players at all. We thought about that during the recruiting process. We want mature players.”