In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about three position areas that contained Ohio players who had Ohio State offers, but chose to go to other programs. This post will continue with that theme, focusing on Ohio players who had Ohio State scholarship offers, but are choosing to sign with other programs. Will these players wind up coming back to haunt Ohio State in future seasons?
3. Wide Receiver: Ever since Coach Urban Meyer arrived in Columbus, the Ohio State coaching staff has lamented the lack of a true burner wide receiver to compliment Coach Meyer's spread option offense.
Enter Shelton Gibson of Cleveland Heights. Or not?
Gibson was offered by Ohio State as a junior, almost as soon as Coach Meyer was hired by Ohio State in November 2011. Throughout the 2012 season, rumors that Gibson would eventually commit to Ohio State were persistent.
And Gibson committed...to West Virginia.
Yes, Ohio State has verbal commitments from players such as Jalin Marshall, Taivon Jacobs, and Corey Smith at the wide receiver position. And players such as Devin Smith, Corey Brown, and Evan Spencer will all return at the position in 2013. It will simply bear watching to see how Shelton Gibson performs at West Virginia, instead of Ohio State.
2. Defensive Back: Ohio State enters into 2013 with a talented secondary, headlined by cornerback Bradley Roby, who returned to Ohio State instead of entering the NFL Draft. The concern is beyond 2013, when players such as Roby, Christian Bryant, and C.J. Barnett will no longer suit up for the Buckeyes.
Incoming freshmen who have already signed include Cam Burrows and Eli Apple at the cornerback position. Other players who will project at defensive back include Gareon Conley and Jayme Thompson.
The most notable player who will not sign with Ohio State? Dymonte Thomas, who has already signed with Michigan. Thomas is the highest-rated Ohioan with an Ohio State offer who is choosing to go elsewhere, with Ohio State landing the top three players in the state. Thomas ranked fourth.
1. Linebacker: The biggest area of concern of Ohio State's position groups heading into the 2013 season, losing starters such as Zach Boren and Etienne Sabino, a backup in Storm Klein, and depth with Connor Crowell. Crowell's career has ended because of ongoing injury issues. Ohio State has secured verbal commitments from linebackers Trey Johnson, Mike Mitchell, Christopher Worley, and athlete Darron Lee. Lee could wind up at linebacker, or at the hybrid Star position for Ohio State.
Which Ohioans did the Buckeyes lose out on? Michael McCray, Ben Gedeon, and Courtney Love. McCray and Gedeon will sign with Michigan, while Love will sign with Nebraska.
Yes, both Trey Johnson and Mike Mitchell are highly rated. I simply find it concerning that Ohio State was not able to land three highly-touted Ohio linebackers, especially considering the state of the current depth chart. Michael McCray's father played for Ohio State in the 1980s and was a captain, and yet his son is choosing to play for the Wolverines.
Yes, Coach Meyer has focused on the top talent in the state of Ohio, and it is extremely difficult to keep all Ohio players from possibly going elsewhere. Will the loss of these players to other programs come back to Ohio State in 2013 and beyond? Buckeye fans will have to wait and see.