Enrolling early is a major advantage for recruits who are mentally ready to skip their final semester of high school and begin a college curriculum and weight training program. Additionally, enrolling early allows the recruit to become acclimated with the program and participate in spring practice; a major leg up on the other incoming players who must wait until the summer to start school.
Ohio State is welcoming seven early enrollees for the 2014 recruiting class, which consists of 21 members including one consensus five-star recruit and three four-star prospects.
Ohio State's early enrollees are highlighted by Raekwon McMillan, a five-star linebacker from Liberty County High School in Hinesville, Ga. The 6'2, 242-pound McMillan was ranked as the nation's No. 19 player by 247Sports Composite, and the top inside linebacker in the country. He chose the Buckeyes over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida State, Clemson, Oregon, Notre Dame, Stanford, Michigan State, USC, UCLA and Wisconsin, among others. Given Ohio State's lack of depth at linebacker, McMillan could be in line to contribute early on in Columbus.
"The best part of recruiting for me was seeing my transformation from a prospect to a football player," McMillan told Land-Grant Holy Land.
Four-star athlete Curtis Samuel committed to Ohio State out of Brooklyn (N.Y.)'s Erasmus Hall High. Samuel, who was rated as a five-star prospect by 247Sports, is ranked as the nation's No. 59 player, No. 7 athlete and top player in the state of New York. The 6'0, 185-pound speedster held offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame and USC.
Johnnie Dixon, a four-star wide receiver from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., also arrived on campus early. Dixon is the No. 70 player nationally, No. 8 wide receiver and the No. 11 player out of the state of Florida in 2014. The 5'10, 187-lb. product of Dwyer High received offers from Miami, Alabama, Florida State, Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, Oregon and Notre Dame.
Offensive lineman Kyle Trout graduated early from Lancaster High in Lancaster, Ohio. The four-star tackle already stands 6'6 and weighs 300 pounds. He is the No. 251-rated player in the nation, the No. 19 tackle nationally, and the No. 11 player in the state of Ohio. Trout committed to the Buckeyes early, but did receive offers from Michigan State, Illinois, West Virginia, Indiana and Cincinnati nonetheless.
Joining Trout on the offensive line is offensive guard Marcelys Jones out of Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio. Jones, a three-star recruit according to 247Sports Composite, is rated as the No. 17 player at his position and the No. 18 player in the state of Ohio. The 6'5, 325-pound lineman also held offers from Kentucky, Alabama, Florida State, Michigan State and Wisconsin, among others.
Quarterback Stephen Collier is also on campus. Collier, who stands 6'4 and weighs 208 pounds, is a three-star prospect, ranked as the No. 23 dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2014. The Leesburg, Ga. native and Lee County High grad was ranked as the No. 77 player in his home state. He held offers from Boston College, Wake Forest, Western Kentucky and Cincinnati.
Placekicker Sean Nuernberger, a three-star recruit out of Buckner, Ky.'s Oldham County High, is the seventh and final player on campus early. Nuernberger is ranked as the No. 7 kicker in this year's class and No. 7 player in the state of Kentucky. Ohio State was his only offer, but Nuernberger could have a chance to earn the starting job.
Still to come
Ohio State also holds non-binding verbal commitments from several star recruits it hopes to sign on Feb. 5, National Signing Day.
The best of the unsigned commitments for Ohio State is Marshon Lattimore, a four-star cornerback recruit out of Cleveland's Glenville High School and a high school teammate of Marcelys Jones. Lattimore chose the Buckeyes over offers from Alabama, Georgia Tech, Louisville, UCLA, Oregon, Michigan, Louisville and Michigan State. He is the No. 36-rated player nationally and No. 5 cornerback. Lattimore has been profiled by SB Nation's recruiting staff and Ohio State blog Land-Grant Holy Land.
Outside linebacker Dante Booker is set to join the Buckeyes this fall. Booker, a consensus four-star outside linebacker prospect out of LeBron James' alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary High in Akron, Ohio. Booker is ranked as the nation's No. 56 overall player and No. 4 outside linebacker. He chose OSU over Oklahoma, Penn State, Nebraska, Tennessee, Michigan and Louisville, among others. For more, see LGHL's profile.
Remaining targets -- Bud Elliott, National Recruiting Analyst
Ohio State insiders feel good about flipping Virginia Tech offensive tackle commitment Brady Taylor, a three-star from Columbus (Ohio) Bishop Ready. The Buckeyes offered Sunday and Taylor should take his official visit to Columbus next weekend.
The Buckeyes are still holding out hope on Texas defensive end Solomon Thomas, one of the best edge rushers in the class. I still expect Stanford to land Thomas, but he is taking an official visit to Columbus in late January, and Urban Meyer is one of the best closers in the recruiting business. The folks in Palo Alto cannot feel good about Thomas' last official visit before National Signing Day being with Ohio State.