Ohio State looks like it should have an exciting National Signing Day in 2014, but much of the drama was already taken care of weeks ago when the Buckeyes welcomed seven early enrollees. Not that it makes Signing Day any less exciting, of course, but having the guys on campus is always welcome.
The Buckeyes' 23-player class currently ranks second in the country behind Alabama on the 247Sports Composite, with only LSU or Florida State in position to try and take the make-believe silver medal. After the Signing Day dust clears on Wednesday, Ohio State will still likely have the second-best 2014 haul.
Update, Feb. 5: The Buckeyes picked up a commitment from three-star defensive end Darius Slade.
Of the seven early entrants to campus, the top prospect at this point is Raekwon Macmillan—yes, named after the Wu-Tang Clan star—the nation's top ILB and the No. 22 prospect overall. Macmillan comes from Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty County HS, and the Buckeyes fought off Alabama, Clemson, Auburn and Georgia for his services.
Said Bud Elliott of SBNation.com about MacMillan upon his commitment:
McMillan attacks downhill in a hurry and really gets after the ball carrier. He is adept at quickly reading the play and shooting through the gap before the blocker has a chance to get after him. McMillan is clearly very strong, both in taking on blocks and in exploding through the ball carrier. He brings his legs on contact and gets his man on the ground.
The best of the unsigned commitments for Ohio State is Damon Webb, a four-star defensive back recruit out of powerhouse prep program Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech. Webb chose Ohio State over offers from the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, LSU, Wisconsin and other programs who will never beat Ohio State, Michigan and LSU for a recruit. He is the No. 35 overall prospect and the fifth-ranked cornerback.
Another top unsigned commitment for the Buckeyes is Marshon Lattimore, a Cleveland native (Glenville HS) who recently ended a long recruitment by picking OSU over Alabama, Georgia Tech, and others. Lattimore is another cornerback, ranked sixth by the 247Sports.com consensus (so he's only incrementally less talented than Webb, apparently).
Lattimore has the skill set to see some time on offense or on special teams; he's electric in the open field, and generally coaches like to get the ball in those players' hands one way or another.
Keeping with the defensive theme, Ohio State also finally gets to officially welcome Dante Booker, an outside LB from Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St. Mary HS—LeBron James' alma mater. Booker is not LeBron, but he is the No. 54 overall prospect and the No. 4 OLB. He's been in the fold since late May, having chosen Ohio State over Michigan, Penn State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Tennessee... you get the point.
The biggest Signing Day fish still out there for Ohio State is five-star defensive end Malik McDowell, who could also go to either Michigan or Michigan State. He spent his final visit with the Spartans, but Land-Grant Holy Land is feeling great about where he'll end up.
If he does land with either of the Buckeyes' division rivals, the race for the Big Ten's best recruiting class would look a little bit tighter, but Ohio State would still far outpace either of them.