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Sunday, June 9, 2013
Lessons learned: Ohio State camp

By Brad Bournival

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State kicked off its set of June camps by bringing in some of the top talent in the nation. Some had offers, some earned offers and some showed a glimpse of what to expect in the future.

While the Buckeyes’ camp season is hardly over -- there are a few skills camps on the slate before a massive June 21 camp -- there were a few standouts. With Urban Meyer on hand on the Ohio State campus, here’s what the two-time national champion learned and what BuckeyeNation found out as well.

St. Xavier breeds winners

Cincinnati St. Xavier has been to the state championships five times and won it twice. Under coach Steve Specht, the Bombers have sent numerous players on to BCS programs. One of the next in line will undoubtedly be 2015 inside linebacker Justin Hilliard. A 6-foot-2, 230-pound inside linebacker, Hilliard soared above the competition all afternoon earning high praise from fans and coaches alike. He was the first offer that went out after the camp. “My image of Ohio State definitely went up,” Hilliard said. “I’m really excited about it. This one means a lot.” Last season, Hilliard averaged seven tackles a game and had two interceptions.

That’s Poona with two ‘O’s’

At a very generous 6-0 and 285 pounds, defensive tackle Poona Ford (Hilton Head, S.C./Hilton Head) doesn’t look like the prototypical defensive tackle. Put him in a three- or four-point stance, however, and you’ll see a completely different animal. With an 80-inch wingspan, he’s got an arm up on the competition so to speak. Where he excels is in brute strength. With some of the top-flight offensive linemen from the 2014 and 2015 in attendance, Ford routinely got in the backfield and drew praise from three-time Super Bowl champion Mike Vrabel. Good news for Buckeyes fans. When his top five comes out, he expects the Buckeyes to be there. “This just feels like a good place to be,” he said.

Collier definitely has an arm

Stephen Collier (Leesburg, Ga./Lee County) was whisked inside for some private workouts almost immediately. He worked out under the watchful eye of offensive coordinator Tom Herman and Meyer. The 6-3, 205-pound Collier definitely can sling it and has a tight release. He struggled a bit in consistency, but for the most part looked sharp, especially when defensive back coach Kerry Coombs and Zach Smith brought wide receivers and cornerbacks in for some one-on-one drills. If Collier can become a little more consistent, he’s got the chance to be a big-time quarterback.

Wide open futures

Two wide receivers stood out more than others, and Ohio State fans will clamor to see them in The Horseshoe. That is, if they choose the Buckeyes in what is certain to be wide-open lists by the time things are done. The first big name is 2015 wideout Cameron Chambers (Philadelphia/St. Joseph’s), as the 6-1, 203-pound junior caught everything in one-on-one drills and consistently smoked the competition when the elite players were paired together. The second was Terry McLaurin (Indianapolis/Cathedral), who was also in the mix of wideouts and might have stood out just a bit more than Chambers. Both should see double-digit offers by the time the season rolls around.

Burns is a burner

Daniel Burns (Fairfield, Ohio/Fairfield) is hard to miss at 6-7 and 318 pounds. On Sunday, the offensive tackle might very well have been the best lineman in camp regardless of position. Burns went up against the best in one-on-ones and six times came out on top. Going head-to-head in camps against a defensive lineman is a battle that the offense rarely wins, so to come out on top six times showed just how strong he was. He currently has offers from Akron, Bowling Green, Illinois, Iowa State, Kent State, Louisville, Maryland, Miami (Ohio), Nebraska, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Toledo and West Virginia. Don’t be surprised if Ohio State adds its name to that mix.