Ohio State Football: 3 Former Blue-Chippers Who Will Finally Shine in 2014

David Regimbal@davidreg412Featured ColumnistMay 18, 2014

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 28:  Curtis Grant #14 of the Ohio State Buckeyes sacks quarterback Joel Stave #2 of the Wisconsin Badgers in the third quarter at Ohio Stadium on September 28, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Wisconsin 31-24.   (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Dorian Bell. Jaamal Berry. Duron Carter.

Those are just three of the many blue-chip prospects who came to Ohio State with high recruiting rankings and even higher expectations, only to flame out and never produce.

Recruiting busts are common at every level of college football, and the Buckeyes are certainly no exception. Despite loads of potential and all the resources one would need, some players just never put things together at the collegiate level.

These three players—with varying levels of severityare trying to avoid that fate.


Curtis Grant

Curtis Grant hasn't played like a former 5-star prospect, but that could change in 2014.
Curtis Grant hasn't played like a former 5-star prospect, but that could change in 2014.Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

Ohio State fans are anxious to see 5-star freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan in action this fall, but Curtis Granta former 5-star standout himselfis standing in his way.

Grant started the 2012 season as the starting middle linebacker before losing his job to converted fullback Zach Boren midway through the year. In 2013, he rebounded from that setback and had a solid season, but Urban Meyer was disappointed with the overall linebacker play.

With his senior season nearing, Grant knows he needs to hold off McMillan to keep his starting job, according to Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch: "When a guy comes in like that, that talented, it makes you want to work on your craft more, and do the things you need to do to continue to get better.”

McMillan will certainly play, but Grant's too talented and experienced to take a back seat to a freshman.


Rod Smith

During his senior season of high school, Rod Smith was one of the most highly recruited running backs in the country.

Then a 6'3", 220-pound bulldozer, Smith rushed for 6,625 yards and 66 touchdowns during his high school career, making him the No. 3 running back in the country and the No. 44 player overall.

Rod Smith is hoping to make an impact in his final season with the Buckeyes.
Rod Smith is hoping to make an impact in his final season with the Buckeyes.Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

His time in Columbus hasn't been as productive. After redshirting his first year with the Buckeyes and playing sparingly over the last three seasons, Smith has been nothing more than a mop-up duty ball-carrier.

That should change this season. He and Ezekiel Elliott were battling for the starting running back spot this spring, but that was before his school work derailed the competition. Once the fall rolls around, though, he'll be back in Ohio State's running back rotation.


Doran Grant

Doran Grant won't be playing in Bradley Roby's shadow this season.
Doran Grant won't be playing in Bradley Roby's shadow this season.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

As a 4-star prospect and the No. 3 cornerback in the country, Doran Grant had offers to play at school such as Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame and USC.

Grant, a graduate of LeBron James' former high school (St. Vincent-St. Mary) in Akron, Ohio, decided to stay close to home and chose the Buckeyes.

His career in Columbus hasn't been disappointing to date. Grant played as a special teamer in all 25 games during his freshman and sophomore seasons, including one start against Alabama-Birmingham in 2012. As a junior last season, he started opposite Bradley Roby at cornerback.

With Roby gone, it will be Grant's unit to lead in 2014. That's a role he's relishing, according to Marcus Hartman of Buckeye Sports: “I have high confidence in my room. I love what we're doing. As a group, we're getting tighter and tighter, and that's what I'm enjoying the most, especially seeing the guys getting better.”

As the lone returning starter in the secondary, the Buckeyes will need Grant to step up his game.


All recruiting information via 247Sports.

David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report. 
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.