Urban Meyer is best known for his offensive prowess, but with the recruiting class he has brought in for the 2013 season, the Buckeyes are poised to field one of the best defenses in the conference in coming years.
Meyer has secured commitments from 22 total recruits, including 16 of the 4-star variety. Most of those recruits are defensive players, and there are several that are perfect for the Big Ten brand of football.
Ohio State will lose John Simon and Johnathan Hankins to the NFL this offseason. The Buckeyes have a young core in place to develop in with their departure, but a little extra depth certainly couldn’t hurt.
We’ll take a look at the top defensive players in Ohio State’s recruiting class that will have the biggest impact in stopping the run and keeping Ohio State’s defense true to its roots.
Donovan Munger: 4-star DT
Munger is a 6’4”, 285-pound lineman with experience on both sides of the ball. He’ll likely end up playing on the interior defensive line at Ohio State, and that’s the best spot for him.
With his big frame and active hands, Munger is especially strong against the run. He’s not a finished product, and pass-rushing is an area of weakness. However, he won’t have to be much of a pass-rusher in Ohio State’s defensive scheme.
He’ll need to hit the weights and add some bulk, but Munger can be a quality component to the Buckeyes’ run defense in coming years. He probably won’t see the field much in 2013, though.
Michael Hill: 4-star DT
Of all the defensive players Ohio State landed this year, Hill is the most capable run stuffer. His 6’2”, 315-pound frame fills a lot of space, and he looks to have a bright future at the center of the Buckeyes’ defensive line.
With Johnathan Hankins entering the NFL draft, the Buckeyes must look to reload on their interior defensive line. They’ve done just that with this recruiting class, and Hill can play a role similar to that of Hankins in the future.
While he is still very raw, Hill has the ability to push people around. He’s strong and physical, and possesses a lot more mobility than one would expect from a player his size. Hill has to focus on refining his technique and playing with a lower pad level, but he isn’t far from ready to face Big Ten offensive linemen.
Billy Price: 4-star DT
Price is another primarily defensive player with the potential to play on either side of the football. He’s aggressive and physical with all the tools a coach looks for in a Big Ten lineman.
Price’s greatest asset is his physicality, and with a 6’4”, 300-pound frame, Price can do a lot of damage. He has active hands and quick feet, and understands how to attack opposing offensive linemen. Adept in both run defense and pass rushing, Price has exceptional versatility for an incoming freshman.
Where Meyer decides to play Price will depend on need, but he’s certainly capable of playing more than one position. Of the defensive tackles Meyer brought in this year, Price has the best chance at getting into the defensive line rotation early in his career. He has a very high ceiling.
Joey Bosa: 4-star DE
Bosa projects as a strongside defensive end in college, and he’ll be a perfect fit for Ohio State. With a tough, physical style of play and a high motor, Bosa fits right in with the Ohio State defensive mentality.
At 6’5” and 270 pounds, Bosa has room to add some bulk. He also has enough size and quickness to slide inside at times, and could make an immediate impact in some sub-package situations for the Buckeyes. He’s an ideal candidate to rush the passer in nickel and dime packages.
Bosa is a technically-sound defensive lineman. He uses leverage and a low pad level to knock defenders backward off the snap, and while he won’t be able to outmuscle everyone at the next level, his skill set translates well to the college game.
Trey Johnson: 4-star ILB
Johnson and Mike Mitchell were two of Ohio State’s biggest commits this offseason. Both have a chance to see some immediate playing time on defense in 2013.
Johnson is an intriguing player. He is fast and aggressive, but he possesses a slight frame to play inside in a 4-3 front. At 6’2” and 218 pounds, Johnson will have to add some bulk in order to garner additional time at linebacker early in his career.
Still, Johnson’s aggressive style and willingness to go head-to-head with anyone makes him a terrific fit to play inside linebacker at Ohio State. He also adds an element of speed and quickness to the position, and has an extremely high ceiling going forward.