Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Ohio State Buckeyes [Print without images]

Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Gareon Conley could be best of 2013

By Brad Bournival

Last year, Urban Meyer was able to flip seven recruits before national signing day. This year, he’s already done it twice.

Chris Gamble
Gareon Conley's size and skill set is similar to former Ohio State great Chris Gamble.
But the most meaningful of the bunch might actually be in his own backyard after the first-year coach got Gareon Conley (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) to drop the Michigan commit moniker for one of Ohio State.

When Conley flipped, he joined former West Virginia commit Jayme Thompson (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) in that department for the recruiting class of 2013.

Just how good Conley is remains to be seen, but early indications are that the ESPN 150 cornerback is very, very good.

Recruited by the Buckeyes as an athlete, Conley very much fits the mold of Chris Gamble with his raw talent. In fact, the 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior didn’t start taking football seriously until he was a sophomore -- he was a basketball-first athlete.

The fact he wasn’t a wide receiver until this year indicates the ceiling is very high for Conley.

Considering Conley led Massillon in catches (50), yards receiving (1,096) and touchdowns (16) at receiver this year, the aforementioned ceiling might not have a limit. As a junior he made just three catches for 10 yards and was held out of the end zone.

Defensively, he’s always been a stalwart. This season he made 25 tackles, forced a fumble, had two fumble recoveries and returned an interception for a score. The numbers would have been far greater, but no team dared throw his way.

Those numbers should only improve under the tutelage of Kerry Coombs and Zach Smith if he indeed is afforded the luxury of being a two-way starter. If that’s the case, Conley might be the biggest headliner in the 2013 class.