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Friday, December 7, 2012
Gareon Conley's talent is huge upside

By Brad Bournival

Gareon Conley (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) became commit No. 18 to Ohio State’s recruiting class, and Urban Meyer has to be out-of-his-mind ecstatic about getting the 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior on campus.

Analysts throw the term around "raw talent" all the time. Conley epitomizes the phrase.

A basketball player -- he still plays varsity for the Tigers -- the senior tried out for the team after Massillon football coach Jason Hall begged him.

What has transpired through the last three seasons is stuff of legend, as Conley has gone from prospect to outright four-star, blue-chip talent. The fact that Conley, who was being recruited by the Buckeyes as a Chris Gamble-type two-way player, is so new to the game makes his upside incredible.

As a senior this season, starting at wide receiver, Conley showed just what his raw talent can produce.

Coming off a junior campaign in which he made three catches for 10 yards and didn’t find the end zone, Conley led the Tigers in catches (50), yards receiving (1,096) and touchdowns (16).

As a cornerback, Conley had four interceptions, 25 tackles -- 2 1/2 for loss -- and a sack with eight pass breakups his junior season. This season, he showed his consistency with 25 tackles, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and an interception he returned for a touchdown.

Joining a secondary that includes Cam Burrows, Eli Woodard, Jayme Thompson and Darron Lee in the 2013 class, he’ll mesh well with the four. As a wide receiver -- Taivon Jacobs is the only other pure wideout in the class -- he’s a deep-threat playmaker that can burn a defense quickly just like former Massillon standout Devin Smith.