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Tuesday, December 11, 2012
OSU's 2014 class emphasizes on line

By Brad Bournival

When Ohio State coach Urban Meyer nabbed commit No. 19 in the class of 2013 and it involved defensive tackle Donovan Munger (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights), hardly a ripple of shock went through Ohio State fans.

Meyer’s love for big men to plug up the line isn’t anything new as the Buckeyes push forward following a 12-0 season. In fact, the two-time national champion has made it a regular habit to rotate defensive linemen in and out in an effort to wear down the offensive line.

The fact he has had 11 of them commit in his last two recruiting classes isn’t much of a surprise either.

The recruiting class of 2014 will likely be different, however.

Meyer’s focus will still probably be in the trenches, but it will switch to the offensive side of the ball.

With only tackles Evan Lisle (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) and Tim Gardner (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central) coming in at this point from the class of 2013, the offensive line needs to be a focus. Add the fact a minimum of five more names will be gone by the time this year’s high school juniors get to Ohio State and the position becomes a point of emphasis.

Meyer and Co. have taken notice, which is why the position is the most sought after in 2014.

A simple look at the numbers proves that as well. While the secondary has big interest -- the Buckeyes have thrown 15 scholarships the unit’s way -- their focus is along the line with 16 offers already handed out to prospective Buckeyes.

And it’s not just the average -- or even above average -- linemen Ohio State is going after. Of the 16, 12 names appear on the ESPN Watch List including 11 offensive tackles.

While the Buckeyes have already lost out on Jimmy Byrne (Notre Dame), Demetrius Knox (Texas) and Denzel Ward (Michigan), they continue to pound the trail in an effort to bolster what Meyer perceived as a weak link in terms of depth last season.

Heavy hitters like Orlando Brown Jr., Mason Cole, Jamarco Jones, K.C. McDermott, Quenton Nelson, Damian Prince, Sam Mustipher and Natrell Curtis are among the many names the school is pursuing.

Many have already taken unofficial visits to the school or worked out at the various camps Ohio State has had.

Of the bunch, the Buckeyes have been particularly high on Mustipher and Jones. There’s another name up there in terms of Ohio State’s radar as Marcelys Jones has made many trips to Columbus, Ohio.

His recruitment could be key as he’s a Cleveland Glenville (Ohio) junior and the school would like to keep the Tarblooders pipeline going.

Expect that number to rise now that the high school season is over and more film gets out to the Buckeyes.