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The Buckeyes struck big on Friday with the commitment of ESPN 150 prospect Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett), who fills a huge need at the linebacker position for Ohio State in this 2013 class. This is key out-of-state verbal as the Under Armour All-American was being courted by several SEC schools and has SEC caliber speed and athleticism that Meyer may need to call upon early.
In terms of ability, the Buckeyes are getting a versatile linebacker who can play inside or out in Columbus with his well-rounded skill-set and high football intelligence and instincts. Despite being somewhat light, Johnson is able stack and shed inside and he also has the length, range and speed to turn and run and make plays outside the hashes. He is athletic, strong at the point and a solid tackler but also has coveted intangibles at the position like smarts and toughness that should allow him to challenge for early playing time in what will be a young linebacker corps.
We still feel like he has upside as well with a big frame that has room to fill out and add another 10-15 pounds of bulk and there is also room for technical refinement. That said, we feel like he will be called upon sooner than later to step in and produce in Columbus and help the Buckeyes remain stout in rushing defense (2nd in Big Ten).
Meyer wasn't finished scooping up in the South this weekend at linebacker. On Saturday he picked up a commitment from a talented Texas linebacker, his second top-10 rated LB of the weekend. Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian), a combine warrior with great size-to-speed ratio, is another versatile front-seven defender who will likely settle in a linebacker but could grow into an end for the Buckeyes. Mitchell, also an ESPN 150 talent, is a bit more straight-line than Johnson but is arguably more explosive and a better pass-rusher.
Overall the Buckeyes have upgraded their future linebacker unit with an aggressive pair of 'backers with good versatility, instincts and production.