Ohio State's Chances at Landing Its Top 3 National Signing Day Targets

David RegimbalFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2014

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 03:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on during warm ups prior to the Discover Orange Bowl against the Clemson Tigers at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Ohio State's 2014 recruiting efforts will come to a close on February 5 when a number of its top targets announce their collegiate decisions.

The Buckeyes have already secured commitments from 22 outstanding prospects. With graduating seniors and early departures to the NFL, Urban Meyer has three or four more spots remaining in this year's class.

How will things wind down for the Buckeyes?

Three of Meyer's top targets, all of which are rated 5-star prospects, are still undecided. Here are Ohio State's chances of landing those three targets.


John "Juju" Smith

After allowing 268 passing yards per game in 2013 and ranking 110th in pass defense, the Buckeyes need all of the help they can get in the secondary. Ohio State already has three outstanding defensive backs in Damon WebbMarshon Lattimore and Erick Smith, but Meyer would gladly welcome John "Juju" Smith to the fold.

5-star safety John "Juju" Smith
5-star safety John "Juju" SmithPhoto courtesy of 247 Sports

The 6'1", 200-pound safety out of Long Beach, Calif., has offers from most of the top programs in the country, and Ohio State is still listed as a contender for his services, according to his 247Sports profile. USC and Notre Dame, though, have a considerable lead.

Chances of landing Smith: Five percent


Malik McDowell

Arguably the strongest position group at Ohio State is the defensive line, but that hasn't stopped Meyer from going after some of the top defensive linemen in the country.

The Buckeyes already have a pair of defensive end prospects in Dylan Thompson and Jalyn Holmes, but Meyer is saving a spot for Malik McDowell.

The 6'7", 290-pound Detroit native favors home-state schools Michigan and Michigan State, though. While Meyer and the Buckeyes do host McDowell for a visit on January 31, per his 247Sports profile, it will be very hard to get him out of Michigan.

Chances of landing McDowell: Five percent


Solomon Thomas

5-Star defensive end Solomon Thomas
5-Star defensive end Solomon ThomasPhoto courtesy of 247 Sports

The Buckeyes have a much better shot at landing Solomon Thomas, another fantastic defensive end prospect out of Coppell, Texas.

Thomas has offers from schools such as Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, but Stanford, Texas and Ohio State are considered the favorites

The Cardinal lead for Thomas' services, but the Buckeyes will get to leave the last impression when they host him on January 31. That visit will make or break this recruitment for Meyer, so it's safe to assume Ohio State will pull out the red carpet for Thomas.

Chances of landing Thomas: 25 percent


All recruit rankings and stats per 247Sports.com.

David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. 
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.