- Brad Bournival, RecruitingNation
It’s no secret Ohio State wants to close out the 2014 recruiting class strong. The number of pledges could reach as high as 23, as BuckeyeNation thinks that’s the number moving forward.
With that said, here are the top five targets we feel are currently on top of the Buckeyes’ wish list.
Please note, we said it could go up to 23, so just because you don’t see the names such as Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J.), Chad Mavety (Garden City, N.Y./Nassau Community College), Braxton Berrios (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville), Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) or Noah Brown (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII) doesn’t mean Ohio State is shut out in grabbing them.
1. ILB Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County)
The latest with the Buckeyes: McMillan was in Columbus for Friday Night Lights but didn't compete. He was hanging out with many of the Ohio State pledges and was also seen talking shop with former Ohio State great Bobby Carpenter, much to the delight of many in attendance.
2. ATH Marshon Lattimore (Cleveland/Glenville)
The latest with the Buckeyes: Lattimore joined McMillan in the “attended Friday Night Lights, but didn’t compete” department. He got plenty of face time with Urban Meyer and looked right at home in The Horseshoe.
Why they want him: The Buckeyes are losing four in the secondary after the 2013 season and Lattimore’s athleticism is being compared to Ted Ginn Jr. That alone should excite some fans, as the 6-foot, 178-pound Lattimore is earmarked as a cornerback if he stays on defense.
3. OT Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara)
The latest with the Buckeyes: Prince wants to have a top five announced before the season and Ohio State is in good shape to be on it. Maryland still looks like it might be in the driver’s seat for the 6-5, 286-pound offensive tackle.
Why they want him: Prince is a big body and a proven presence at tackle and would help add depth to an offensive line that loses four seniors after this season.
4. ATH Curtis Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y./Erasmus)
The latest with the Buckeyes: The 5-foot-11, 186-pound Samuel was at Friday Night Lights as well and while he didn’t participate, he was shown the red carpet treatment. Many think he’s already part of the class and is just taking a Rutgers visit to make sure.
Why they want him: Urban Meyer dropped the two words recruits love to hear -- Percy Harvin. With 4.36 40-yard dash speed, Samuel fits the bill and would be a welcome addition to the class.
5. S Erick Smith (Cleveland/Glenville)
The latest with the Buckeyes: Smith did get a chance to compete at Friday Night Lights and looked very good. It was important to get the 6-1, 185-pound Smith back in Ohio Stadium after his southern swing through Georgia Tech, Alabama, Tennessee and Louisville.
Why they want him: The depth chart at safety takes a major hit, so grabbing him puts a band-aid on the wound even though last year’s recruiting class was strong.