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Reassessing February's Way-Too-Early 2018 Class Projection for the Buckeyes
By Ben van Ooyen

Back in February, I gave you my way-too-early predictions for the 2018 Ohio State recruiting class. Some predictions were spot on, while others were way off the mark. With three months having passed, it’s time to revisit and reassess where the Buckeyes are and where I see things. Take this with a grain of salt, as these are high school kids and we all know how that goes. So with that caveat, let's take a look at where I think things stand right now with OSU’s 2018 class and compare it to my first projection.

February Projection at QB: Emory Jones

The Buckeyes have had Emory Jones (6-2 193) committed since last July. He has received other offers and even made a few visits to other programs, but he remains solid to the Buckeyes. He has been a vocal leader of the class and can be found on Twitter tweeting at potential Ohio State recruits. Unless something drastic happens, Jones will be the quarterback in the class of 2018.

May Projection at QB: Emory Jones

February Projection at RB: Brian Snead, Jaelen Gill, Iverson Clement

When I made the projection back in February, the Buckeyes already had a commitment from Brian Snead (5-11 200) out of Florida, and Jaelen Gill (6-1 182) was as close to a lock as there was. Since then, Gill has committed to Ohio State and has been a leader in the class trying to lure other top talent to join him. I had Iverson Clement (6-0 190) on my original list and it looked like he was a pretty close to done deal. However, I believe the Buckeyes asked him to hold off on committing, and that caused him to look elsewhere. He committed to Florida last month. Other names out there include Dayton's Tavion Thomas (6-2 225), who will be part of the class if the Buckeyes want him in the class. However, the Buckeyes are going to chase hard after 5-star Zamir White (5-11 195). While he seems to be headed to either Georgia or Clemson right now, OSU holds a place in his heart and he has been seen on social media wearing Ohio State gear. Ohio State clearly has a good track record of getting backs to the NFL under Urban Meyer (Hyde, Elliott, Samuel), and White has to know that he will be a huge asset in Columbus.

May Projection at RB: Brian Snead, Jaelen Gill, Tavion Thomas

February Projection at WR: Jahan Dotson, L'Christian Smith, Kamryn Babb

As we reach June, the Buckeyes still do not have a wide receiver committed in the 2018 class. That doesn't appear ready to change anytime soon, either. Wayne's L'Christian Smith is a prime candidate to become the first to commit, but Kentucky might have something to say about that. Smith and his father made a visit earlier this month to meet with Urban Meyer, who assured them that the Buckeyes would use him as a wide receiver. I still like the Buckeyes’ chances with Missouri 4-star wide out Kamryn Babb. Ohio State would like to get him back on campus before he makes a decision. In my February projection, I had Jahan Dotson as part of the class, but he appears to be favoring Penn State. If that happens, it could open up a spot for Xenia, Ohio's Meechi Harris. While Harris doesn't have an offer yet, one could come soon as the Buckeyes look to secure talent at the wide receiver position.

May Projection at WR: L'Christian Smith, Kamryn Babb, Meechi Harris

February Projection at TE: Jeremy Ruckert, Leonard Taylor

The Buckeyes did not take a tight end in the class of 2017, so they are looking for multiple targets at the position this year. It all starts with 4-star New York prospect Jeremy Ruckert. Ohio State has been the crystal ball leader for Ruckert from the outset. Teams like Michigan and Notre Dame are still making a push to try and land the No. 2 overall tight end in the country, however. While a decision could come before his senior season, nothing is imminent right now. I had Springfield's Leonard Taylor on my list back in February and that was because it seemed like he was at Ohio State every weekend, even when he was committed to the Wolverines. I think Taylor is a Plan-B prospect right now and the Buckeyes seem to be higher on Florida's Zach Sheffer. Sheffer raved about his visit with the Buckeyes back in April, saying it was the best visit he had been on. He has come out publicly and said the Buckeyes are No. 1 on his list, and right now I would say that OSU will land him along with Ruckert. Other names to keep an eye on are Mustapha Muhammad out of Texas and Kyle Pitts out of Pennsylvania.

May Projection at TE: Jeremy Ruckert, Zach Sheffer

February Projection at OL: Jackson Carman, Verdis Brown, Matthew Jones

The Buckeyes got a commitment from Tennessee 4-star tackle Max Wray, which came as a bit of a surprise to many. I think the three other guys that I pegged to be in the class in February will still end up in the class next February as well. Jackson Carman out of Ohio, Verdis Brown out of Florida via Illinois, and Matthew Jones out of New York still seem the likeliest to end up in this class. We should find out in late June whether or not 3-star Pennsylvania center Jake Kradel is going to be a part of the class. He was scheduled to announce in early June, but pushed back that date to consider some other late offers.

May Projection at OL: Max Wray, Jackson Carman, Verdis Brown, Matthew Jones, Frederick Scruggs, Jake Kradel

February Projection at DE: Tyreke Smith, Micah Parsons, Malik Vann

Not much has changed here, other than I am switching out Cincinnati commitment Malik Vann for already-committed Brenton Cox. I still think the Buckeyes are in good standing with Cleveland Heights star Tyreke Smith, although it will be a battle to get his services. Micah Parsons would be a huge get for the Buckeyes after his decommitment from Penn State, but again that one has a long ways to go. If OSU lands Smith, Parsons and Cox in this class, that would be significant in helping replenish what should be a few guys headed to the NFL next season.

May Projection at DE: Tyreke Smith, Micah Parsons, Brenton Cox

February Projection at DT: Taron Vincent, Aeneas Hawkins

The Buckeyes finally got their big defensive tackle when 5-star Taron Vincent committed to OSU over Florida State last month. I still think the Buckeyes will get 4-star Aeneas Hawkins out of Cincinnati to pair with him. They will still continue to chase big names until signing day.

May Projection at DT: Taron Vincent, Aeneas Hawkins

February Projection at LB: Palaie Gaoteote, Dallas Gant, Christopher Oats

We saw Gaoteote commit to USC in a little bit of an upset when the Buckeyes had the lead for so long. OSU got good news earlier this month when 4-star in-state prospect Dallas Gant committed to the Buckeyes. The Teradja Mitchell recruitment is coming to an end on June 2nd and he will be picking between Ohio State and Florida State. Most expect it to be FSU when the time comes, but it wouldn't shock me one bit if he picks the Buckeyes. If Mitchell goes to FSU that will open the door for the Buckeyes to take a guy like Michael Harris out of Georgia or even a Xavier Peters out of Ohio, if he gets his academics in order. Even though his recruitment has been quiet, I still expect Christopher Oats out of Cincinnati to be a part of this class.

May Projection at LB: Dallas Gant, Christopher Oats, Michael Harris

February Projection at CB: Derrik Allen, Houston Griffith

A lot of changes here as we saw Derrik Allen commit to Notre Dame, and Houston Griffith seems to be also trending that way. No one saw the Sevyn Banks commitment coming last month, and honestly it will surprise me if it sticks until signing day. I will leave him in for now, but again let’s wait and see what happens between now and then. I still like the Buckeyes’ chances with 5-star Anthony Cook out of Texas. I expect this to be a three-team race between Ohio State, LSU and in-state Texas. Cook has to like what he has seen the Buckeyes do in the last two NFL drafts and knows that they can turn him into another first-round pick.

May Projection at CB: Sevyn Banks, Anthony Cook

February Projection at S: Jaiden Woodbey

Back in February, I was fairly certain that Woodbey would be a part of this class, and I ended up being correct. However, since then there has been speculation that he will be taking trips to other schools to make sure he is right in his commitment. I see a lot of the Shaun Wade saga from last year happening with Woodbey, and while I expect him to make visits, I also expect him to sign with Ohio State. The Buckeyes also got a commitment from 4-star Oklahoma safety Josh Proctor last month, which came as a bit of a surprise as he was 100% crystal ball projected to the in-state Sooners. If the Buckeyes can land Woodbey and Proctor in this class then it will be a successful year at safety.

May Projection at S: Jaiden Woodbey, Josh Proctor

Well there you have it, my newest updated projection on the class of 2018. Again, some of these names will not end up in Columbus and other names will pop up between now and December and February. My suggestion would be to buckle up and enjoy the wild ride that is college football recruiting.

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