January 20, 2012

Linebackers could become a strength

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It wasn't long ago that Urban Meyer was standing at the podium, being introduced as the next Ohio State head football coach, and talking about the need to upgrade the linebacker position. Since taking the job, Meyer has certainly followed through when it comes to recruiting the position as he landed two four-star linebackers this week.

The first of those two was South Bend (Ind.) Washington product David Perkins. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound prospect is one of the most impressive run-and-jump athletes in the Midwest and seems like a natural fit at the weakside linebacker position. Athletically, Perkins is the closest thing in Ohio State's class to star freshman Ryan Shazier and will bring plenty of speed to the position as well as an ability to rush the passer and tackle in space.

Next on the board was West Roxbury (Mass.) Catholic Memorial product Camren Williams. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound prospect became the latest verbal commitment on Friday afternoon following his unofficial visit to Columbus. Williams comes from a football family with dad, Brent Williams, having spent more than a decade in the NFL. Williams brings a great football mind to the field and is probably the most versatile linebacker in Ohio State's class as he could project to any of the three positions at the next level.

Williams and Perkins join a pair of previously committed prospects in Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy four-star Josh Perry as well as Lancaster (Ohio) three-star prospect Luke Roberts.

For Perry, the first member of Ohio State's 2012 recruiting class, it has been a whirlwind 18 months since making his verbal pledge but the 6-foot-4, 228-pound prospect never wavered on his commitment to Ohio State. Perry currently projects best as a strongside linebacker prospect, capable of rushing the passer and being a 'tight end stopper' in the passing game. Perry's size, length, and athleticism, could see him ultimately change positions, either to defensive end or tight end, but his first crack will almost certainly be at linebacker.

Roberts made his way to Columbus over the summer after earning an offer at the Senior Advanced camp. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound prospect is probably best suited to play middle linebacker at the next level but has a tremendous feel for the game and the intelligence to learn all three positions.

Meyer and company may not be finished at the linebacker position, either. The Buckeyes are hosting Durham (N.C.) Hillside linebacker Jamal Marcus this weekend and would love to add him to the class if they can land his commitment. At 6-foot-2, 230-pounds, Marcus has played a lot of defensive end at the high school level but projects to a strongside linebacker in college. Marcus is a big hitter with excellent strength at the point of attack and plays the game with a mean streak. Adding Marcus to the class would simply be icing on the cake.

While recruiting can certainly be an inexact science, the odds seem pretty strong right now that this haul of linebackers for the Buckeyes will turn what had previously been a weak spot on the roster into a potential area of strength down the road. The current group of linebackers fills just about any possible need across the board with a couple of versatile prospects that can excel at multiple linebacker spots as well as prospects like Perkins and Perry that are just about tailor-made for their positions. Overall, this is a group that should have fans excited about the future of the linebacker position at Ohio State.


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