NCF On The Trail: Dylan Thompson

Best Big Ten recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
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Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

Michigan and Ohio State both sit in the top 10 recruiting rankings this year after each landed top 10 classes in 2013 -- the Buckeyes were third, while the Wolverines were sixth.

That's why it should come as no surprise that the two schools have the top four recruiters in the Big Ten Conference for the Class of 2014 so far.

Here's a look at the top 10 recruiters in the Big Ten and why they deserve such high praise:

Big name visitors set to invade Ohio State 

September, 27, 2013
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Urban Meyer doesn’t miss an opportunity to impress.


The two-time national champion did it last year when Nebraska played Ohio State in The Horseshoe under the lights and he’s not missing the opportunity this year.

Here’s a look at some of the bigger names scheduled to make the trek to the banks of the Olentangy River for the Buckeyes-Badgers game Saturday evening.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The second installment of Ohio State's Friday Night Lights is over and several of the top players in the nation put on quite a show.

There was some incredible one-on-one competition and the cream certainly rose to the top as Ohio State got a look at some very solid talent in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 classes.

Here is what we learned:

Baker a two-position standout


It’s going to be interesting to see at which positions 2015 standout Jerome Baker (Cleveland/Benedictine) is going to be recruited.

He’s fantastic at outside linebacker and at running back.


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Summer recruit wrap: Ohio State 

July, 23, 2013
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BuckeyeNation looks at 10 themes of Ohio State’s 2014 recruiting class to date:

Arms race is over

Ohio State missed out on ESPN 300 quarterbacks Kyle Allen (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) and Brandon Harris (Bossier City, La./Parkway) and came up empty on standout DeShaun Watson as well. That didn’t matter to Urban Meyer, who got his man in Stephen Collier (Leesburg, Ga./Leesburg). The Georgia high school standout had a private game of pitch and catch with the Buckeyes coach and it was enough to earn an offer and commitment. Consider the hunt for a quarterback finished.


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2015 ESPN 300 targets: Ohio State 

July, 16, 2013
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With Tuesday’s release of the ESPN Junior 300, here’s a look at 10 of Ohio State’s top targets in the 2015 recruiting class.

1. DE Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham)
6-3, 235
ESPN 300 rank: 1


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The Opening: Ohio State storylines 

June, 27, 2013
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Nine Ohio State pledges will head to The Opening, which is one more than a year ago.

With the most representatives of any school in the nation heading to the nationally televised, star-studded event, quarterback Stephen Collier (Leesburg, Ga./Lee County), running back Parris Campbell Jr. (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary), outside linebackers Dante Booker (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary) and Kyle Berger (Cleveland/St. Ignatius), offensive tackle Kyle Trout (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster), defensive ends Dylan Thompson (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic) and Jalyn Holmes (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor), wide receiver Terry McLaurin (Indianapolis/Cathedral) and cornerback Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech) know what they’re in for.

All nine are going there with a chip and a chirp.

[+] EnlargeDante Booker
Brad Bournival/ESPN.comA big Opening could propel Dante Booker up the rankings.
<1. The chip is to prove they’re underrated.

OSU has the most commits at The Opening of any school by far, but that doesn’t mean it has a ton of highly ranked commits. In fact, only four of its commits are in the ESPN 300, and only one (Webb), is among the top 150. Excellent showings here could provide a rankings boost for any of them. “By competing, we’re showing how good we are,” Berger said. “Being able to meet up with the top 150 kids, it’s the perfect time.”

2. The chirp is to get in the ear of some of the top campers in the nation.

All nine have been active in recruiting for the Buckeyes. Webb’s family even has a website, Bucks2014.com, detailing news, notes and commitments for Ohio State. They all see The Opening as an opportunity to spread the word. “Kids like to make decisions in the summer,” Berger said. “This is a great time to put the Buckeyes in their ear.”

3. Stout Trout.

Trout is one of those guys outside the 300 with a chance to break in if he can hold up against top competition, some of which he got a chance to see up close and personal at the Columbus NFTC. “I’m trying to seek out the best competition and beat them,” Trout said. “I went to the Nike Training Camp expecting to see Da’Shawn Hand. I wanted to see him and I wanted to go against him. When they said, ‘Do you want to play right tackle?’ I said, “ ‘Heck yeah, I want to play right tackle.’ I’m a left tackle, but I don’t care. I can change my feet, I’m athletic. It’s a little weird, but I wanted to prove to people I can go with the No. 1 defensive end in the nation, which is exactly what I did. … He beat me, I beat him, and we stalemated. I want to go at him again. Not in a mean way, we’re cool, but I want to go against the best talent in the nation.”


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Derek Barnett (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy) might already know what it’s like to play for Ohio State.

The 6-foot-3, 269-pound defensive end can’t help himself because he received an earful from his grandfather Gerald Kasunic growing up. See, Kasunic played for the Buckeyes in the early 1960s so the scarlet and gray has always been a topic of discussion in the Barnett household.

A fan of the Buckeyes, Barnett has heard the stories. Just how many, he’s not sure.

So when Ohio State called with an offer on Wednesday, it took him back a bit.


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This month is very important for Ohio State, as the staff is set to host its senior advanced camp on Sunday. Hundreds of prospects will be in attendance, including several top targets. Here are five storylines to watch this week:


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Tales From the Road: Ohio State 

June, 5, 2013
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BuckeyeNation continues to hit the road in search of budding Division I talent who should catch the eyes of Ohio State fans. Here’s what we came up with this week:

This week’s targets: BuckeyeNation as well as RecruitingNation headed to Columbus, Ohio, for the Elite 11 and Nike Football Training Camp. Seven Buckeyes commitments -- the only pledges missing were Marcelys Jones (Cleveland/Glenville) and Sam Hubbard (Cincinnati/Moeller) -- made their way to the Ohio State campus and didn’t disappoint as Kyle Berger (Cleveland/St. Ignatius), Kyle Trout (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster), Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech), Dylan Thompson (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic) and teammates Dante Booker and Parris Campbell Jr. of Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St. Mary each earned trips to The Opening.

Detroit rock city: Assistant coach Kerry Coombs spent a good portion of the evaluation period in Detroit, and for good reason. He went after two-time Michigan commit David Dawson from Cass Tech High School last season, but missed. Coombs and the Buckeyes didn’t this time around as Webb committed back in January. Malik McDowell of Detroit Loyola is also on the Ohio State radar. Before he said yes to Michigan, Lawrence Marshall was an Ohio State pledge, even if it was only for three days. Marshall lives in Southfield, Mich. a suburb 19 minutes away from Detroit.

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RN Top 10: Columbus NFTC 

June, 3, 2013
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video The RN Top 10 will appear throughout the camp and combine season and rank prospects based strictly on their on-field performance at that particular event. It does not reflect what their overall prospect ranking is.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Although the Ohio State coaches could not be at the camp, Sunday’s Nike Football Training Camp at Ohio State’s football complex looked more like a Buckeyes practice with all the talent strewn across two practice fields. Recruiting Nation had to make some tough decisions in picking out the top performances of the day, but these 10 prospects made the strongest case to make the list.

10. Martesse Patterson
Columbus (Ohio) Marion-Franklin | OT | 6-5, 280

Coming into the event, Patterson was a name that was not in the directory of a lot of those in recruiting circles. He changed that with his performance Sunday, which landed him the offensive line MVP honor. Line coach Todd Huber saw a raw Patterson on film -- it’s only Patterson’s second year playing football -- but was thoroughly impressed and believes he will be a very good guard in college.

“I was coming to show I’m just as good as some of the top guys in the country even though I’m new to football,” said Patterson, who has four Big Ten offers. “… I think I did good and that I can either be a guard or tackle.”


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Lessons Learned: Columbus NFTC 

June, 2, 2013
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The 2013 Nike Football Training Camp tour continued Sunday as several top players from the Midwest showcased their skills on Ohio State’s practice fields. The competitors didn’t disappoint, either, as some hard hits, great runs and incredible one-on-one drills showed just how strong this group was.

Here is what we learned:


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Here are five storylines to watch on Sunday:

Looking out for No. 1

The Columbus Nike Football Training Camp will bring out the top defensive lineman in the country in Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge).


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Tales From the Road: Ohio State 

May, 29, 2013
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BuckeyeNation continues to hit the road in search of budding Division I talent that should catch the eyes of Ohio State fans. Here’s what we came up with this week:

This week’s targets: BuckeyeNation swung out to the Youngstown, Ohio, area and took a good look at Hubbard and Warren Harding high schools. While there, we talked to offensive guard Matt Jones and running back Larry “LJ” Scott of Hubbard. Both are Buckeyes targets as sophomores. Harding is the home of Denmark sensation Hjalte Froholdt and Ohio State legacy James Daniels, whose father LeShun Daniels Sr. played offensive guard for the Buckeyes in the 1990s. One other interesting note about Daniels is that his brother LeShun Daniels Jr. signed a letter of intent to play for Iowa this February.

Vividly Virginia: The Buckeyes made it abundantly clear last week that Virginia was fertile recruiting ground. Ohio State long has had offers out to Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge/Woodbridge), Andrew Brown (Chesapeake/Oscar Frommel Smith) and Quin Blanding (Virginia Beach/Bayside), but last Wednesday the Buckeyes offered five Virginians in rapid fashion. The offers went out to outside linebacker Ricky DeBerry (Richmond, St. Christophers), cornerback Garrett Taylor (Richmond, St. Christophers), wide receiver Scott Bracey (Richmond/Benedictine School), wide receiver Jaason Lewis (Virginia Beach/Ocean Lakes) and inside linebacker Jahvoni Simmons (Virginia Beach/Ocean Lakes).

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Sometimes an athlete just knows what he wants.

While it took Lonnie Johnson (Gary, Ind./West Side) a few more months than anticipated, the two-way threat picked Ohio State on Sunday.

When an offer came in December from the Buckeyes, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound wide receiver said he wanted to make his announcement just days later, but instead held off to let his teammates from the Class of 2013 take center stage.

Five months removed from the Ohio State offer, Johnson made it official with a commitment to the Buckeyes, becoming the eighth member of the Buckeyes’ 2014 class.

In choosing Ohio State, Johnson turned down offers from Bowling Green, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Purdue and interest from Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Texas A&M.


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RN Top 10: Chicago NFTC 

May, 6, 2013
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The RN Top 10 will appear throughout the camp and combine season and rank prospects based strictly on their on-field performance at that particular event. It does not reflect what their overall prospect ranking will be when the 2014 rankings are unveiled this spring.

ADDISON, Ill. -- The Chicago NFTC did not disappoint when it came to top talent. The Midwest showcased some very good looking talent across the board and all the way down to the 2016 class. The camp produced seven invitations to The Opening and one Elite 11 invitation.

10. Kyron Watson
East St. Louis (Ill.) East St. Louis | LB | 6-1, 210

Watson has started to see his stock rise recently, with offers coming in from Michigan, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Purdue, Syracuse and TCU.

The No. 100 ranked player in the country isn't the biggest guy on the field, but his highlight tape shows that doesn't matter. He loves to hit and loves contact, which is a necessity at the linebacker spot.

He says his top two are currently Michigan and Kansas and he plans to visit Michigan on May 20.

NFTC linebacker coach Chris Gizzi on Watson: "Twitchy type guy. If anything he would be like a WILL. You talk about a football player and an inquisitive guy, a guy that asks the right questions and very football smart type player. He got better as the day went on."


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