It's no secret that 5-star recruit Raekwon McMillan is an elite 2014 linebacker, and he now has an elite program in the early lead for his commitment: Ohio State.
You better get used to Ohio State bringing in talented 5-star recruits, folks. If it's not Nick Saban at Alabama, chances are Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes are making a push for a top-notch recruit. Meyer is arguably the next best coach in college football after Saban, and he has his program set to compete with the likes of Alabama on the national championship scene.
In McMillan's case, he's visited Ohio State four times now according to Jeremy Birmingham of BuckeyeGrove.com, and the fourth time must have been the charm for the Buckeyes, as he's now declaring them his leader:
"I was planning on updating and releasing a new top five following this trip," McMillan said. "I'm still working on the top five, but after this trip it is clear that Ohio State is my favorite."
For the 6-foot-3 middle linebacker, this visit to Ohio State helped him see Ohio State as a whole, not just for its football tradition.
"This trip was by far the best I've taken to Ohio State," he said. "I got to spend some time learning about my major in college, and I got to meet Gene Smith, Archie Griffin, Troy Smith and Bobby Carpenter. It's been incredible to get to meet some of the legends of college football at Ohio State and everywhere I've visited."
This is big news for Ohio State, because McMillan has the potential to be a star. He's ranked as the No. 1 inside linebacker in the 2014 class according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, and he's the No. 2 player from the state of Georgia (247Sports Composite).
He'd represent a huge recruiting win for Ohio State, but even though the Buckeyes are the leaders, it's not a done deal just yet.
Remember, anything can happen in recruiting, and McMillan does have a few other big-time programs after his commitment. This list isn't official, mind you, but his 247Sports interest list features USC, Georgia, Clemson and Alabama as well.
While USC and Clemson are both interesting options, it's tough to argue with what the two SEC powers, Georgia and Alabama, are bringing to the table as well.
Georgia is obviously the in-state school that he's looking at, and the Bulldogs should be a competitor in the SEC for the next few seasons. The Bulldogs had a very good class of 2013 inside linebackers, landing four overall, but McMillan is the type of transcendent defender that will work his way onto the field no matter the depth.
The same could be said for the depth chart at Alabama, and imagining a future inside linebacker pairing of him and 5-star 2013 inside linebacker Reuben Foster is scary. In fact, I just recently compared the two on Twitter:
Andrew Kulha @AndrewKulha
5-star ILB Raekwon McMillan reminds me of a bit more athletic Reuben Foster. Both No. 1 ILB's.2013-4-4 16:39:16
What's McMillan's interest level in either SEC school?
He had this to say about a recent visit to Alabama, per Kipp Adams of ESPN.com:
“The Alabama trip went great and it made me want to sit back and take a closer look at my top five again,” McMillan said. “Actually I do not even have a top five right now, but right now it would be hard for me to pick a number one between Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State. I will have a new top five after I visit Ohio State next weekend.”
In regard to Georgia, he did send out what could be considered a discouraging tweet for Georgia fans:
Raekwon McMillan @Kwon_daTRUTH
The University of Georgia . In all honesty , if they were able to keep more big time recruits in state , they would be a no brainer ,, #UGA2013-3-26 02:13:39
That said, he did say this about Georgia, according to Adam's report, so the Bulldogs still have a chance: “I will take another visit to Georgia,” McMillan said. “They have not really fallen off as much as other schools are making a push for me right now."
In the end, the big news regarding McMillan is that Ohio State is now his clear-cut favorite, and that's huge for the Buckeyes. If there's a coach not named Saban that can close on the recruiting trail with an elite recruit, it's Meyer, so Buckeyes fans have to be feeling very good about this situation.
McMillan is from SEC country, though, and the Buckeyes will at least have to out-recruit Georgia and Alabama. USC and Clemson should be considered players in this race as well.
The SEC is currently the power conference of college football, though, so Meyer and his staff will have to keep a watchful eye out on the recruiting trail for Georgia and Alabama.