Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer fires up his team before playing Bowling Green State University in a football game in 2016 in Ohio Stadium. BLADE
COLUMBUS — Judged by its recruiting rankings, Ohio State’s 2017 class was one of the best collections of talent in the Internet age.
In terms of average rankings per player, the Buckeyes’ class was No. 1 in the country, pound-for-pound one of the top groupings of high school talent ever.
The Buckeyes’ class of 2018 is on pace to be even better.
At this stage — five months before the first signing period begins in December — Ohio State ranks slightly behind Miami in 247Sports’ composite recruiting rankings for the top overall spot, but again leads the country in average rankings.
Ohio State currently has 14 players committed — five behind Miami, hence the lower overall score — but is once again on pace to pull in the best recruiting class in the Big Ten for the seventh straight season.
Of the top 100 high school seniors, 10 of them currently are committed to Ohio State.
The Buckeyes have a pledge from one of the country’s top three players at quarterback (Emory Jones, No. 2), defensive tackle (Taron Vincent, No. 1), safety (Jaiden Woodbey, No. 3), running back (Jaelen Gill, No. 2), inside linebacker (Teradja Mitchell, No. 2), strong-side defensive end (Brenton Cox, No. 2), and guard (Matthew Jones, No. 3).
Only two of Ohio’s top five players have committed, and both of them — Gill and St. John’s Jesuit linebacker Dallas Gant — picked OSU.
With a foundation already in place, the Buckeyes have the possibility to keep recruiting at the same pace until signing day.
A look at five high-profile recruits who Ohio State is hoping to add to an already deep class:
1. Jackson Carman
Position: Offensive tackle
Height, weight: 6 feet, 6 inches, 290 pounds
Status: There are a chosen few players who look readymade for the NFL before they are old enough to vote, and Carman certainly is one of them. The Fairfield senior is the top player in Ohio in this class, but also the top-ranked tackle in the country. It’s fair to say Carman could play anywhere he wanted — he has a whopping 41 offers — but Ohio State looks to be ahead of the pack, which includes Alabama, Clemson, and Southern California.
If the Buckeyes persuade Carman to stay in the state, he’s very likely a multi-year starter at one of the most important positions on the field.
2. Micah Parsons
Position: Defensive end
Height, weight: 6-3, 235
Status: Parsons is a top-five player in his class by every standard and one of the most sought after recruits in the country. Since the Harrisburg, Pa., defensive end decommitted from Penn State in April, Ohio State has positioned itself near the top of Parsons’ list. OSU’s Larry Johnson is one of the country’s most respected defensive line coaches, and Ohio State’s recent history with defensive ends has been outstanding.
Alabama is also in the mix, as is Georgia, though Parsons’ decision looks as if it will come down to Penn State and Ohio State.
3. Jeremy Ruckert
Position: Tight end
Height, weight: 6-5, 238
Status: The Lindenhurst, N.Y., standout is the first-rated player in New York and the top tight end in his class. Ruckert will play in the Midwest somewhere, having narrowed his final choices to Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes have a poor track record in terms of featuring tight ends — the position has just 49 catches and two touchdowns in Ohio State’s past 734 passing attempts during the past two seasons — but that could change with the hiring of Kevin Wilson as offensive coordinator.
Ruckert, who still hasn’t turned 17 yet, would be a key addition to the Buckeyes’ offense. He will announce his school choice on Monday.
4. Anthony Cook
Height, weight: 6-0, 168
Status: Ohio State signed five players from the state of Texas last year, and Cook could keep the trend going. Cook will need to add weight in college, but there is no denying his abilities as a high school player. He’s ranked as the No. 2 cornerback in the country and has 35 offers from every corner of the United States. The Buckeyes look to have as good of a chance to sign Cook as anyone, but they’ll have a battle with in-state Texas, not to mention LSU and Clemson.
5. Kamryn Babb
Position: Wide receiver
Height, weight: 6-1, 189
Status: If there is a weakness with the state of the Buckeyes’ current class, it is at wide receiver. Ohio State currently does not have a committed receiver, though it does have the inside track with Babb, a St. Louis product who is ranked as the eighth-best receiver in class. Babb has 30 offers, but OSU’s stiffest competition is coming from two of their opponents this season: Michigan and Oklahoma.