Urban Meyer and Ohio State's 2014 recruiting class suffered a blow Sunday night when Derek Kief, a 4-star wide receiver and one of the Buckeyes' top targets, verbally committed to Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Kief tweeted a link to his website, which had this video of his commitment:
A tall, speedy receiver out of Cincinnati, Kief has received more than 20 scholarship offers from schools such as Arkansas, Louisville, Notre Dame, West Virginia and Wisconsin. In the end, it was a three-horse race between Alabama, Kentucky and Ohio State, but the talented wideout couldn't pass on the opportunity to play for a team that has won three of the last four national championships.
A recent visit to Alabama changed the momentum of Kief's recruitment.
According to 247Sports.com's "Crystal Ball Predictions," many recruiting gurus expected Kief to land at Ohio State before the Tide blew him away on his visit last week. Saban, who battles Meyer for many of the same recruits, notched the latest victory by stealing one of Ohio's top high school prospects.
Kief is a very physical receiver who isn't afraid to catch the ball in traffic. At 6'5", his size makes him a matchup nightmare in the red zone. He hauled in 65 receptions for 907 yards and nine touchdowns during his junior season and ended the 2011 and 2012 seasons averaging 14 yards per reception, a mark of the consistency he brings to the field.
The Buckeyes already have one wide receiver commit in Parris Campbell, a 4-star prospect out of Akron, Ohio. Campbell plays a hybrid role at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, lining up in the backfield at times and splitting wide at others. When he reaches Columbus, Campbell will be a candidate to fill the pivotal role that Percy Harvin played at Florida.
With Kief headed to Alabama, the Buckeyes will have to move on to their other receiver targets. Meyer is still recruiting 4-star prospects Saeed Blacknall, Mark Andrews, Trevion Thompson, Jalen Brown and Austin Roberts.
Even though the Buckeyes still have a lot of very talented receivers left on the board, missing out on Kief was a pretty big loss.
All stats and recruit rankings per 247Sports.com.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.