With college football's national signing day inching closer, college staffs are starting the stretch run to finish the 2013 cycle. In our latest “Finish Line” feature, 247Sports and Bucknuts.com take a look at what left for Ohio State in the 2013 cycle, which currently has 17 commitments and is ranked No. 5 nationally by 247Sports.
Five-star defensive back Vonn Bell is one of Ohio State's top targets down the stretch of the 2013 cycle.
Vonn Bell, CB/S, Rossville (Ga.) Ridgeland
The recruitment of five-star Bell is down to a trio of programs in Alabama, Ohio State and Tennessee. As of today, Alabama and Ohio State hold the decided edge with the hire at Tennessee being a potential game changer.
National Analyst Steve Wiltfong on Bell’s recruitment: “It's looking like a two-team race with Alabama currently holding the edge over Ohio State. He has visited the Crimson Tide campus several times and the Buckeyes spot just once. Bell won't take any official visits until after his season. If Ohio State can get him back to Columbus they'll have a chance to move up the list. Another thing to watch will be who Tennessee hires as its head coach as the Vols could get back into the picture.”
Mike Mitchell, OLB, Plano (Texas) Prestonwood
The 6-foot-4, 222-pound fast and physical linebacker has been consistent in saying Ohio State is his favorite since the summer. With an official visit to Columbus this weekend, Urban Meyer and staff could put a closing finish on one of the class of 2013’s best athletes.
Wiltfong on Mitchell’s recruitment: “Rumors swirled at The Opening during the summer that Mitchell was close to committing to the Buckeyes then. He'll finally visit Columbus for the first time on an official visit this weekend with Ohio State as the team to beat. Other schools in the mix include Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Florida State and Oregon.”
James Quick, WR, Louisville (Ky.) Trinity
The record-breaking wide receiver from the Kentucky power has tripped to Ohio State, and will now be doing the same with hometown Louisville. With Charlie Strong seemingly staying put at Louisville, this one looks like close battle.
Wiltfong on Quick’s recruitment: “Took his official to Ohio State over Thanksgiving weekend and says he'll compare his trip to see the Buckeyes with his upcoming official at Louisville. Oregon remains in the fight as the third team. I like Ohio State in the end.”
Trey Johnson, ILB, Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett
Like a number of current and former Auburn commitments, the firing of Gene Chizik turned Johnson’s recruitment upside down. Having already visited Ohio State, the 6-foot-2, 218-pounder has a trip to USC set for January with Florida possible as well, but don’t yet count out the afore mentioned Auburn with Gus Malzahn and defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson having been hired.
Wiltfong on Johnson’s recruitment: “Ohio State is in a good spot following the former Auburn commit's official visit to Columbus. He's built a good relationship with the Buckeyes coaching staff. Next up is an official to USC and Florida, Georgia Tech and Penn State are also trying to make a move here. Johnson will also wait and see who Auburn hires as its next coach.”
Gareon Conley, Ath., Massillon (OH) Washington
The recruitment of Conley has become interest of late with his decision to make visits other than Michigan. The 6-foot-1, 172-pound athlete is currently on campus at Ohio State, with a trip scheduled to Michigan next weekend.
Wiltfong on Conley’s recruitment: “The former Michigan commit will take his official visit to Ohio State this week. The Buckeyes have emerged as the team to beat but the Wolverines coaching staff continues to recruit Conley hard in hopes of getting him back in the fold.”
Cornelius Elder, Ath, Brentwood (Tenn.) Brentwood Academy
The versatile Elder recently visited UCLA and has a trip scheduled to Ohio State in early January. The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder that projects to slot receiver or cornerback at the next level is also a talented basketball player, and that is key part of the recruitment.
Wiltfong on Elder’s recruitment: “Ohio State's offense is super attractive to Elder who has the Buckeyes in his top two along with UCLA. The Bruins have also offered Elder as a basketball player and he took an official visit out there the weekend of Nov. 16. Elder visited Columbus during the fall for the Purdue game and will take an official before deciding. Right now, I like Ohio State.”
Shelton Gibson, WR, Cleveland (OH) Cleveland Heights
The 5-foot-10, 173-pound Gibson visited West Virginia last weekend, and is scheduled to visit favorite Ohio State Jan. 11 with academics being the lone holdup on the talented playmaker becoming a Buckeye.
Wiltfong on Gibson’s recruitment: “The in-state receiver has long listed Ohio State as his clear leader. Gibson just needs to continue improving academically.”
Donovan Munger, DT, Cleveland (OH) Shaker Heights
Munger will be on campus at Ohio State this weekend on his official visit after previously tripping to UCLA. While the 6-foot-4, 285-pounder continues to list 11 schools he is interested in, the Buckeyes are the prohibitive favorite if they make a strong push.
Wiltfong on Munger’s recruitment: “The in-state two-way lineman still says he's looking at 11 schools, with him having taken an official to UCLA and an unofficial to Ohio State this fall. If the Buckeyes make a huge push for Munger they'll likely get him.”
David Dawson, OG, Detroit (Mi.) Cass Tech
The 6-foot-5, 305-pound guard prospect has officially visited Florida with trips set for Michigan, Alabama and Michigan State with Ohio State looking to get a January visit as well. The former Michigan commitment is likely to end up back with the Wolverines at the end of the day.
Wiltfong on Dawson’s recruitment: “It's shaping up to be an in-state battle between Michigan and Michigan State for Dawson, and the reoffer from the Wolverines to the former commit may have them back in the driver's seat. Ohio State was scheduled to get a visit this weekend, but has been pushed by the ACT test on Saturday.”
Tony Stevens, WR, Orlando (Fla.) Evans
The former Florida State commitment has visited Texas A&M (Nov. 16) and will likely trip to Ohio State along with the Seminoles. At the end of the day, Florida State remains the pick to win the race for the Top247 prospect.
Wiltfong on Stevens’ recruitment: “Florida State and Texas A&M are the top two, but Ohio State is in that No. 3 spot and are in good position to land an official visit down the road.”