Urban Meyer

Ohio State signs 24 to National Letters of Intent

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(Below is Ohio State’s press release on the players added as part of its 2013 recruiting class.)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Coach Urban Meyer announced Wednesday a class of 24 prospects, including five already enrolled in school, who have signed national letters of intent to attend The Ohio State University and play football for the Buckeyes. The class, heavy along the defensive line and with significant resources in the defensive backfield and at the offensive skill positions, is among the finest classes in the nation this year.

“Great day,” Meyer said. “I thought it would be a good day, but now I’ll put it in the great category.”

The recruiting class features individuals from 11 different states and includes 13 defensive players, eight offensive players and three “athletes.” A total of 14 recruits are from outside the state of Ohio, including:

— three top performers from Texas – five-star linebacker Mike Mitchell, running back/athlete Dontre Wilson and quarterback J.T. Barrett;
— seven from the southeastern United States, including five-star defensive lineman Joey Bosa from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and five-star safety Vonn Bell from Rossville, Ga.;
— a five-star cornerback from New Jersey (Eli Apple);
— the top player from Missouri (running back Ezekiel Elliott); and
— one of the top tight ends in the country – Marcus Baugh – from Riverside, Calif.

“I’m really pleased with this class,” Meyer said. “Joey Bosa, a big-time defensive lineman from Florida, got us started off when he was the first to FAX his letter of intent in, and then we capped it the way I had hoped we would: by getting a very, very talented and skilled running back out of St. Louis in Ezekiel Elliott.”

Ohio is well represented in this class. In fact, there are 11 outstanding Ohio players, a contingent that includes:

— five-star receiver prospect Jalin Marshall from Middletown;
— four of the top five Ohio prospects, according to ESPN – No. 1 athlete Gareon Conley, No. 2 Marshall, No. 3 cornerback Cam Burrows and No. 5 offensive lineman Evan Lisle; and
— six more players who are ranked between Nos. 12 and 28 in the state: SAF Jayme Thompson, DL Donovan Munger, DL Billy Price, SAF Christopher Worley, DL Tracy Sprinkle and ATH Darron Lee.

Offensive speed is prominent. Marshall, Elliott, Wilson, wide receiver James Clark, from New Smyrna Beach, Fla., and wide receiver Corey Smith, from East Mississippi Community College, are all blessed with true speed and all can find the end zone.

The Ohio State secondary returns three starters from the unbeaten, 2012 team – cornerback Bradley Roby and safeties C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant – but it gets a tremendous infusion of freshmen talent as five of the top defensive back prospects in the country are now Buckeyes: Apple, Bell, Cam Burrows, Conley and Thompson.

Ohio State’s defensive line grew by six members today with Bosa, Munger, Price and Sprinkle joined by Michael Hill, from Pendleton, S.C., and who had scholarship offers from all the top Southeastern Conference schools, and Tarboro, N.C. end Tyquan Lewis.

Lawrenceville, Georgia prospect Trey Johnson, the No. 3 inside linebacker prospect in the nation according to two services, gives Ohio State an outstanding linebacker tandem (with Mitchell) in this class.

Indianapolis’ offensive lineman Tim Gardner joins Lisle as the only players at their position among the class.

(Writer’s note: below the jump are the complete bios of all 24 members of Ohio State’s 2013 recruiting class.)

Eli Apple
Cornerback / 6-0, 184
Voorhees, N.J./Eastern High School
Overview: Eli Apple, who enrolled into Ohio State in January, is a five-star prospect (ESPN 150) who is rated as high as the No. 11 prospect nationally on the ESPN 150 … the No. 1 prospect in New Jersey and No. 6 cornerback prospect (247Sports) … he played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl after helping his Eastern High School team, coached by Dan Spittal, to a 7-4 record in 2012 and to a regional semifinals berth … had 17 pass break-ups, two interceptions, 45 tackles, three forced fumbles and a blocked kick in 2012, plus 39 receptions for 770 yards and four touchdowns on offense … was the fourth in this class to commit (on Feb. 16, 2012) … the son of Annie and Tim Apple, Eli recently changed his last name from Woodard to Apple to honor Tim, his father since age 2 … “…I am the man I am today because of his tireless love, and commitment to our family,” Eli said in a statement. “So it is with great pride and honor to carry his last name. I am truly blessed to be Eli Apple.” … his family includes a younger sister, Jordan.

J.T. Barrett
Quarterback / 6-1, 225
Wichita Falls, Texas / Rider High School
Overview: John Thomas (J.T.) Barrett is considered one of the nation’s premier dual threat quarterbacks, although his senior season came to an early end with a knee injury in the fifth game of the season … rated as the No. 11 prospect in talent-rich Texas (247Sports) and a consensus four-star cornerback (ESPN, Rivals, Scout, 247Sports) … a top 150 player by both Scout and 247Sports and on the ESPN 300 … enrolled at Ohio State in January and is recovering from his 2012 knee surgery and taking part in winter conditioning drills, except for the running … coaches expect him to be throwing this spring but aren’t concerned that he won’t be running until later … Barrett can run, though: he had rushed for 569 yards with seven touchdowns and passed for 784 yards and five scores as a senior prior to the injury … he rushed for over 1,500 yards with nine touchdowns and passed for over 1,600 yards and 14 touchdowns for coach Jim Garfield’s Raiders as a junior … he is the son of Stacy and John Barrett and he has two brothers: Xavier and Stephen.

Marcus Baugh
Tight End / 6-4, 245
Riverside, Calif. / John W. North
Overview: Marcus Baugh is a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports) and a Top 150 player overall, including a No. 73 ranking on the final Scout 100, a No. 102 ranking on the ESPN 150 and a 148 ranking on the final Rivals 250 … considered among the Top 3 tight ends in this recruiting class (Scout and 247Sports) … played in the 2013 Under Armour All-American game … Marcus caught a combined 68 passes for 1,138 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior and senior for John W. North High School and coach Mark Parades … his senior season included 38 receptions for 610 yards and he was named second-team Division II all-state … as a junior he caught 30 passes for 528 yards and seven touchdowns … was also used as a wide receiver, running back and linebacker by Parades in 2012 … has family in the Central Ohio area as an aunt lives in Reynoldsburg (Mom, Debbie Clausen’s, twin sister) and he has a cousin who already attends Ohio State.

Vonn Bell
Safety / 6-1, 190
Rossville, Ga. / Ridgeland
Overview: The exclamation point on this Class of 2013, Under Armour All-American Vonn Bell announced on National Letter of Intent signing day that he would be a Buckeye … a five-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and 247Sports, Bell is a one of the top 30 players in the nation with overall rankings of No. 25 by Scout, No. 29 by 247Sports and No. 32 by Rivals … is No. 50 on the ESPN 150 … the No. 4 player in the state of Georgia this season, Bell is also ranked as high as the No. 3 safety prospect nationally by Scout … helped his Ridgeland team, coached by Mark Mariakis, to a 13-2 record and a runner-up finish in the Georgia Class AAAA state championships … Bell had 146 tackles and three interceptions as a senior, and on offense he had over 1,700 all-purpose yards and scored 21 touchdowns … helped Ridgeland to the state Sweet 16 in 2011 as a junior with 119 tackles, five interceptions and three forced fumbles … is the son of Vanessa and Vencent Bell.

Joey Bosa
Defensive Lineman / 6-5, 270
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. / St. Thomas Aquinas
Overview: Joey Bosa is one of the premier football prospects in the Class of 2013 with impressive national rankings of No. 38 (Scout), No. 47 (Rivals), No. 56 (ESPN) and No. 53 (247Sports) … a Scout five-start prospect, Bosa earned the No. 4 overall ranking at his position – strong side defensive end – by both Scout and Rivals … an Under Armour All-American and second-team all-USA Today pick … the leader of a St. Thomas Aquinas defense that allowed approximately 12 points a game … Aquinas defeated Tallahassee Lincoln, 41-25, to cap a 13-2 season and win the Florida Class 7A state championship in 2012, the school’s seventh state title and first for second-year coach Rocco Casullo … a two-time Associated Press first-team all-state selection, Bosa totaled 51 tackles-for-loss in his last two seasons and 19 quarterback sacks, including 27 TFLs and 9.5 sacks as a senior … father, John, was a first-round NFL Draft pick by the Miami Dolphins in 1987 out of Boston College and played three years in the league … Mom, Cheryl, is an Ohio State graduate and an uncle, Eric Kumerow, was a star linebacker for the Buckeyes between 1984-87 and a 1987 co-captain.

Cam Burrows
Cornerback / 5-11, 200
Trotwood, Ohio / Trotwood Madison High School
Overview: Cameron Burrows was Ohio State’s first commitment to the 2013 class when he announced in January 2012 that he would be a Buckeye … he was also among the first to arrive at Ohio State, as he was one of five Class of 2013 recruits to enroll in school in January … a first-team Associated Press all-state selection as a junior and senior, Burrows helped lead Trotwood Madison to three consecutive Division II state championship games, including an unbeaten, 15-0 state-title winning season in 2011 … had 14 pass break-ups as a senior for coach Maurice Douglass’ 12-3 state finalist team and also had 39 tackles … a consensus four-star cornerback (ESPN, Rivals, Scout, 247Sports) who was the No. 38 prospect nationally (Rivals), an ESPN 150 performer (No. 62) and the No. 2 senior in Ohio (ESPN) … played in the 2013 Under Armour All-American game … a two-time state track finalist in the sprint relays … the first from his high school to sign with Ohio State since Will Allen (Class of 2000), who committed while at Trotwood Madison before transferring to Huber Heights Wayne for his senior year … Burrows is the son of Dionne and Andre Burrows … his brother, Chris, is a senior track and field performer for Arizona State University.

James Clark
Wide Receiver / 5-11, 170
New Smyrna Beach, Fla. / New Smyrna Beach
Overview: James Clark was one of the last in this class to commit and ultimately sign an NLI with Ohio State, doing so today – Feb. 6 – the first day for prospects to sign their national letters of intent … Clark was a first-team Florida 6A all-state pick by The Miami Herald as a senior when he led New Smyrna Beach into the state playoffs … he totaled 87 receptions for 1,954 yards and 29 total touchdowns for his career, playing for coach Lance Jenkins … had 49 receptions for 1,112 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior … had 28 catches for 576 yards as a junior … outstanding as well in track, Clark has a 100-meter dash best of 10.71 … he placed fifth in the 100 and sixth in the 200 at the 2012 Florida outdoor state track championships … the son of Jesse Clark.

Gareon Conley
Athlete / 6-2, 170
Massillon, Ohio / Washington
Overview: The No. 1 player in Ohio as a senior (ESPN 150) and a first-team Associated Press Division I all-state selection, Gareon Conley is an athlete with wide receiver-cornerback skills that earned him consensus four-star status (ESPN, Scout, 247Sports, Rivals) … the No. 43 overall prospect nationally by ESPN and the No. 14 cornerback prospect (247Sports) … played in the Under Armour All-American game … as a senior Conley, who was coached by Jason Hall at Washington, caught 50 passes, averaged 21.9 yards per catch and scored 16 touchdowns while on defense he had 13 pass break-ups, an interception and 25 tackles … Washington was 11-2 during Conley’s senior season and advanced to the regional finals … recorded four interceptions and 30 tackles as a junior … Washington is also the same school that produced current Buckeye receiver Devin Smith … Gareon is the son of Sherry Robinson and
Jameel & Angel Conley.

Ezekiel Elliott
Running Back / 6-0, 210
St. Louis, Mo. / John Burroughs High School
Overview: Ezekiel Elliott is a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, Rivals, Scout, 247Sports) and one of the Top 100 prospects nationally with overall rankings of No. 47 by Scout, No. 70 by 247Sports, No. 84 by Rivals and No. 109 by ESPN … also ranked fourth, ninth, 11th and 12th among running backs by 247Sports, Scout, ESPN and Rivals, respectively … named to the U.S. Army All-American game … the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offensive player of the year in 2012, Elliott put up tremendous statistics with 3,061 all-purpose yards and 50 touchdowns, including 2,155 rush yards, and 40 rushing touchdowns for the 13-1 Class 3 state runner-up … also had 16 receptions for 383 yards … rushed for 1,802 yards and 34 touchdowns and caught 23 passes for 401 yards and six touchdowns as a junior … Burroughs, coached by Gus Frerotte, has been state runner-up three consecutive years … Ezekiel’s father, Stacy, and mother, Dawn, were each student-athletes at and are graduates of Missouri with Stacy a football player and Dawn a member of the track and field team.

Tim Gardner
Offensive Lineman / 6-5, 320
Indianapolis, Ind. / Lawrence Central High School Overview: Tim Gardner was a 2012 Associated Press first-team all-state performer for Lawrence Central, the Indiana Class 5A state champion, and he was also named to the Indiana Football Coaches Association’s Top 50 all-state team … he was considered the top offensive lineman in the state by the Indianapolis Star and he was also named to that publication’s “Super Team” … Gardner helped his undefeated (15-0) Bears team, coached by Jayson West, average 328.5 rushing yards and 38.5 points per game in 2012 … was rated as the No. 5 prospect in Indiana as a senior and the No. 24 offensive tackle prospect by 247Sports … a three-year starter, he also helped Central to the 2010 Class 5A state final before losing to Fishers … joins Centerville, Ohio’s Evan Lisle as the only offensive linemen in the Ohio State Class of 2013.

Michael Hill
Defensive Lineman / 6-2, 305
Pendleton, S.C. / Pendleton High School
Overview: U.S. Army All-America Bowl invitee Michael Hill announced in June 2012 that he was committing to Ohio State, the school that has been his favorite since he was a youngster … a consensus four-star prospect by (ESPN, 247Sports, Scout, Rivals) and one of the Top 20 defensive tackles in the nation by Scout (No. 16) … listed on the ESPN 300 (216) … named to the South Carolina Shrine Bowl this year and the No. 6 player in the state by 247Sports, Hill had an unfortunate end to his senior season, injuring a hand in the eighth game that caused him to miss the remainder of the season and all post-season all-star games … Pendleton finished 8-4 on the year … Hill was dominant as a junior playing in the middle of Pendleton’s line for coach Paul Sutherland … he recorded 25 tackles-for-losses and 81 total tackles despite persistent double-teams against him … he also had six sacks as a junior and had four as a senior before his injury … he is the son of Dianne Blount and Michael Hill, Sr.

Trey Johnson
LB / 6-2, 220
Lawrenceville, Ga. / Central Gwinnett
Overview: Trey Johnson committed to attend Ohio State Jan. 4 on national television while playing at the Under Armour All-American Bowl … a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, Scout, Rivals and 247Sports) and one of the top senior prospects in the talent-rich state of Georgia, Johnson is rated as high as the No. 3 inside linebacker prospect in the nation (Rivals and 247Sports) and he is the No. 48 overall player on the ESPN 150 … Scout listed him as the No. 16 outside linebacker … Johnson recorded 456 career tackles for Central Gwinnett and was coached by Todd Wofford … as a senior he had 140 tackles and four sacks and as a junior he had 164 tackles, including 25 tackles-for-loss … named first-team allstate by the AtlantaJournal-Constitution as a senior and second-team 6A all-state by the Georgia Sportswriters Association … is the son of Wilbur and Shellie Johnson.

Darron Lee
Athlete / 6-2, 205
New Albany, Ohio / New Albany
Overview: Local prospect Darron Lee is fine athlete who played quarterback, wide receiver, safety and returned punts and kickoffs as a junior for the New Albany Eagles and he played primarily in the secondary and at quarterback as a senior … Lee was named a first-team Associated Press Division II allstate cornerback as a senior after recording five interceptions with three punt return touchdowns, and accounting for over 1,700 yards of offense and 21 touchdowns … he helped New Albany, coached by Mark Mueller, advance to the Division II state semifinals and to a 11-3 overall record as a senior … Lee did it all in a third-round win over Marion-Franklin, throwing for two touchdowns, rushing for a 36-yard score, returning a punt 82 yards for a touchdown and making the game-clinching interception in the final minute … team was 9-3 and a state qualifier in 2011 … Lee is considered a four-star prospect (Scout) and the No. 29 safety prospect by Scout … ESPN ranks him the No. 28 prospect overall in the state of Ohio … originally from Chattanooga, Tenn., Lee moved to Ohio as an eighth grader … Mom, Candice, is a news anchor for WCMH Ch. 4, the local NBC affiliate.

Tyquan Lewis
Defensive End / 6-3, 223
Tarboro, N.C. / Tarboro High School
Overview: Tyquan Lewis, one of five from this class who enrolled at Ohio State in January, is a four-star defensive end prospect (Rivals, Scout, 247Sports) from Tarboro, N.C., and Tarboro High School … a Top 25 defensive end who comes from a tremendous program at Tarboro … the Vikings, coached by Jeff Craddock, won three consecutive North Carolina Class 2A state championships and had won 21 consecutive games before falling in the 2012 state championship to East Lincoln … Lewis was injured in the title game but still played and earned defensive player of the game honors … he finished his senior season with 13 sacks and was named to the Associated Press all-state team … he had 12 sacks among his 63 tackles as a junior … is the son of Tyronda Whitaker, and a proud big brother to three younger brothers: Kenai, Tylie and Christian. Note: Tyquan is pronounced TIE-kwan)

Evan Lisle
Offensive Lineman / 6-6, 290
Centerville, Ohio / Centerville
Overview: Evan Lisle was one of the first five prospects to commit to this Ohio State class, doing so on Feb. 28, 2012 … he is a member of the ESPN 150 (No. 106) and is rated by ESPN as a Top 5 player in Ohio by ESPN, Scout and 247Sports … also regarded as the top offensive lineman in the state and a Top 10 prospect nationally by Scout, Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN … he is a consensus four-star player (ESPN, Rivals, Scout, 247Sports) and a special mention Associated Press Division I all-state honoree in 2012 … only Ohioan named to the 2012 USA Today All-America team … played for coach Ron Ullery at Centerville, which went 6-4 in 2012 … selected for the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, something he referred to as an honor for the family … father, Steve, went to West Point and brother, Nick, is in the Army … Mom’s name is Marcy … Centerville also produced former Buckeyes A.J. Hawk, Mike Nugent and Kirk Herbstreit. Note: Lisle is pronounced LYLE

Jalin Marshall
Wide Receiver / 6-0, 190
Middletown, Ohio / Middletown
Overview: Jalin Marshall was considered the No. 1 prospect in Ohio by 247Sports and the No. 2 prospect as a senior by ESPN and Rivals … he was the second to commit to Ohio State in this Class of 2013, announcing his decision in late January 2012 … a skilled quarterback who rushed for a school-record 4,759 yards during his career, including more than 1,400 yards as a senior with 14 touchdowns scored, Marshall is being looked at as a wide receiver for the Buckeyes … a five-star prospect by Scout, he played receiver in the 2013 Under Armour All-America game and had a 44-yard reception … as a quarterback, he passed for 2,240 yards as a senior … also totaled 4,929 all-purpose yards for coach Troy Everhart during his career and scored 52 rushing touchdowns and 54 total touchdowns (two receiving) … one of the Top 50 prospects in the nation (ESPN, Rivals, Scout) … had a 56-yard touchdown rush on his first varsity carry as a freshman, and rushed for a career-high 312 yards as a senior vs. state champion Cincinnati Moeller … led Middletown to its first Greater Miami Conference championship in more than 20 years in 2010 … 2012 state Division I long jump champ (23.00) … the son of Richard and Angel Marshall … has older brothers (Richard Jr. and DeAnte), an older sister (Monae) and a younger brother (Blake).

Mike Mitchell
Linebacker / 6-4, 225
Plano, Texas / Prestonwood Christian
Overview: Highly regarded Mike Mitchell is one of only two middle linebackers nationally to receive a five-star rating by Scout … also a five-star prospect by Rivals … Scout’s No. 2 middle linebacker announced Jan. 5 on national TV, and while playing in the U.S. Army All-American game, that he would be attending Ohio State … the No. 10 overall player in the state of Texas, Mitchell is rated as high as the No. 26 overall prospect (Rivals) and No. 28 by Scout … also a member of the ESPN 150 (No. 128) … grew up in Winter Park, Fla., but spent final three years in Texas … played for Prestonwood Christian as a sophomore and senior, and for Plano West as a junior … he recorded 151 tackles and 11 sacks as a junior and then totaled 186 tackles, 32 tackles-for-loss (11 of them sacks), seven forced fumbles and even returned a kickoff for a touchdown as a senior playing for coach Chris Cunningham … Mike is the son of Ken and Candy Mitchell … father played two seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons.

Donovan Munger
Defensive Lineman / 6-4, 290
Shaker Heights, Ohio / Shaker Heights
Overview: Consensus four-star prospect (Rivals, Scout) Donovan Munger was a two-way lineman for coach Jarvis Gibson at Shaker Heights High School and was recruited by the Buckeye coaches to play along the defensive line … called “quick, fast, strong and a mammoth of a man” by Gibson, Munger is considered among the Top 25 tackles (Scout, 247Sports, ESPN) nationally with a No. 18 ranking by 247Sports his highest … he helped Shaker Heights to a six-win improvement from 2011 to 2012 – the team went 8-2 this season – by recording 70 tackles, including 14 tackles-for-loss with six quarterback sacks and 23 pressures … Munger also had 34 pancake blocks on offense … named second-team Associated Press Division I all-state in 2012 … …is the son of Deidra Sanders … Donovan joins Shaker Heights graduate and current junior offensive lineman Antonio Underwood on the Ohio State team.

Billy Price
Defensive Lineman / 6-4, 305
Austintown, Ohio / Fitch
Overview: Billy Price was the Associated Press’s 2012 Division I co-defensive player of the year in the state of Ohio (along with Gareon Conley and Tracy Sprinkle) and a first-team all-state pick … a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, Rivals, 247Sports, Scout) … rated among the top 200 players in the Rivals 250 and a member of the ESPN 300, Price was the third Buckeye to commit to the Class of 2013 with his decision coming Feb. 13, 2012 … rated as the No. 17 defensive tackle nationally by 247Sports and No. 21 by Scout … helped Fitch to a 9-2 record in 2012 and to the state playoffs … also helped Fitch to the state playoffs in 2010 with a 10-2 record and again in 2011 … was named first-team all-state as a junior when he recorded 40 tackles with three sacks, 10 TFLs and an interception … coached by Phil Annarella … placed seventh in the discus at the 2012 Ohio outdoor state track and field meet after placing sixth in the shot and second in the weight throw indoors … is the son of Bill Price and Pam & Dave Lescsak.

Corey Smith
Wide Receiver / 6-1, 190
Akron, Ohio / East Mississippi C.C.
Overview: Corey Smith is the first junior college prospect to sign with Ohio State since Larry Grant (a member of the San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl team) signed out of Community College of San Francisco in 2006 … Smith, from Akron Buchtel High School, played on an unbeaten (10-0) Grand Rapids (Mich.) C.C. team in 2011 before the college discontinued the program after 80 years … Smith had 28 receptions for 438 yards and two touchdowns for Grand Rapids … played for Buddy Stephens at East Mississippi C.C., located in Scooba, Miss., in 2012 … he recorded 51 receptions for 733 yards and nine touchdowns for the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges’ north division champion … caught 11 passes for 113 yards vs. Northwest C.C. and seven passes for 158 yards vs. Southwest C.C. … his team won first eight games before dropping final two games of the season … named the No. 9 junior college prospect in the nation by 247Sports and the No. 3 receiver … Smith will have three seasons to complete two years of athletic eligibility at Ohio State … he is the son of Erika Smith.

Tracy Sprinkle
Defensive End / 6-2, 241
Elyria, Ohio / Elyria High School
Overview: The 2012 Associated Press first-team all-Ohio selection and Division I co-defensive player of the year, Tracy Sprinkle recorded 19 sacks and 30 total tackles-for-loss among his 103 tackles as a senior … dominant games included five sacks against Amherst Steele and four sacks (and 12 tackles) against Hudson … the first defensive player since Matt Wilhelm in 1999 to win the prestigious Lorain County Golden Helmet award as the best player in the county … also was named the Northeast Ohio All-Lake District Defensive Player of the Year as a senior … Elyria, coached by Kevin Fell, was 7-3 in both 2012 and 2011 … Sprinkle, a Top 30 strong side defensive end by 247Sports, had 27 sacks his final two seasons of play … he was a third-team all-state pick as a junior after making 94 tackles and eight sacks … Elyria High’s Chase Farris is a third-year sophomore offensive lineman at Ohio State … Sprinkle, who enrolled at Ohio State in January, is the son of Tracie Sprinkle and Percy Hicks.

Jayme Thompson
Safety / 6-2, 185
Toledo, Ohio / Central Catholic
Overview: Jayme Thompson is a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, Rivals, Scout, 247Sports) and among the top 250 prospects in the nation (No. 204 on the Rivals 250 and No. 218 on the ESPN 300) … considered the top safety in Ohio (ESPN) and the No. 12 prospect in the state … played in the AllAmerican bowl Dec. 27 inHouston … helped lead his Central Catholic Fighting Irish, coached by Greg Dempsey, to the 2012 Division II state title and a 14-1 record … Central, also the high school of former Buckeye Dane Sanzenbacher, defeated defending state champion Trotwood-Madison, 16-14, in the title game for the second state title in school history (2005) … Thompson was an Associated Press all-state pick as a senior when he had 48 tackles, an interception and two fumble recoveries … he also helped Central to the state playoffs in 2011 and was a second-team AP all-Ohio pick … played at St. Francis DeSales in Toledo prior to attending Central Catholic as a junior and senior … moved to Toledo from Washington, D.C. … is the son of Deon Thompson … practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Dontre Wilson
Running Back / 5-10, 174
DeSoto, Texas / DeSoto
Overview: Dontre Wilson announced Feb. 4 live on Dallas’ KDFW TV4 that he would accept his Ohio State scholarship offer and become a Buckeye … his choice gives the Buckeyes three players – QB J.T. Barrett (Wichita Falls) and LB Mike Mitchell (Plano) – from the state of Texas in this recruiting class … Wilson is the No. 5 player in Texas and considered one of the Top 100 players in the nation and a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports) … rated as the No. 5 all-purpose back by Rivals … ranked overall as high as No. 50 and the nation’s No. 10 running back by Scout) … also rated No. 55 on the ESPN 150 and No. 100 on the Rivals 250 … led DeSoto, coached by Claude Mathis, to the Texas Class 5A Division I state semifinals as a senior by rushing for 1,895 yards and 37 touchdowns and catching 37 passes for 750 yards and nine scores … DeSoto finished 14-1 on the season … Wilson finished his high school career with over 3,200 rushing yards, 1,200 receiving yards and 81 touchdowns … the son of Don Wilson.

Christopher Worley
Safety / 6-3, 195
Cleveland, Ohio / Glenville
Overview: Christopher Worley was one of the final prospects in this Class of 2013 to commit to attending Ohio State, doing so on Jan. 11 … a special mention Associated Press all-state pick as a senior, Worley led Glenville, coached by Ted Ginn, to an 8-2 record this season by recording 89 tackles with nine sacks, five interception returns for touchdowns and five forced fumbles … for his career he had 161 tackles, 13 sacks, eight interceptions and seven forced fumbles … a Top 25 senior prospect in Ohio (No. 20 by 247Sports and No. 25 by ESPN) … Worley extends a streak of Glenville Tarblooders signing NLIs with Ohio State to 12 consecutive years … 19 Tarblooders have become Buckeyes since 2002, including four current members of the team – Marcus Hall, Christian Bryant, Cardale Jones and Devan Bogard – and past greats like Super Bowl players Donte Whitner and Ted Ginn (San Francisco 49ers) and 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith … Christopher is the son of Michelle Bandy and Chris Worley, Sr.

Report: Ex-Illini coach Tim Beckman now a volunteer assistant at UNC

CHAMPAIGN, IL - SEPTEMBER 20: Head coach Tim Beckman of the Illinois Fighting Illini protests a call to the officials during the game against the Texas State Bobcats at Memorial Stadium on September 20, 2014 in Champaign, Illinois.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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This one might not go over too well with some/most segments of the North Carolina fan base.

According to a report overnight from the Champaign News-Gazette, former Illinois head coach Tim Beckman has been added to Larry Fedora‘s UNC football staff as a volunteer assistant coach.  Beckman and Fedora have a previous working relationship, having been on the same Oklahoma State staff in 2007.

The Tar Heels have thus far declined to comment publicly on Beckman’s reported addition, and likely for good reason.

Nearly one year ago to the day, Beckman was fired as the head coach at Illinois amidst allegations of mistreatment of players, specifically those who were injured.  Those allegations led to an independent investigation initiated by the university.

The firing came more than three months after a former player accused the coach of “misuse and abuse of power,” while another stated shortly thereafter that Beckman “takes the cake as the worst coach I ever met.”  Athletic director Mike Thomas initially supported Beckman, but the preliminary results of an external review into the accusations forced Thomas into pulling the trigger.

Saying he was “shocked and disappointed,” Beckman labeled the allegations “totally false” in a post-dismissal statement. “I firmly deny the implications in Mike’s statements that I took any action that was not in the best interests of the health, safety and well-being of my players,” the coach stated, adding, “The health and well-being of our student-athletes is of paramount importance.”

To add another layer to this development?  North Carolina and Illinois will face each other Sept. 10 this year in Champaign.  It’s unknown if Beckman will be a part of UNC’s traveling party.

CFT 2016 Preseason Previews: Coaching Hot Seat

Hot Seats
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Like death and taxes, another certainty in life is that, somewhere, a college coach’s backside is feeling a little toasty.

Such is the case as we get set to embark on a sparkling new football season, with a handful of coaches feeling the heat from folks off the field for their collective failures on it. Fair or not, it’s a fact of life in the coaching profession: win or you’re gone, ofttimes with a multi-million buyout serving as a very lucrative parachute.

So, just who is possibly looking at a spot in the coaching unemployment line at season’s end, or sooner? Recent history suggests that anywhere from 15 to upwards of 25 of the nearly 130 head coaches who are on the FBS sidelines when the season begins won’t be there when the calendar flips to 2017.

Last year around this time, our hot seat preview listed six head coaches feeling the heat; just one of the six survived the 2015 season.  The lone exception?  Indiana’s Kevin Wilson.

Below are but a few of the coaches who could be entering a make-or-break season at their respective schools, in order from hottest to slightly less hot.

KEVIN SUMLIN, TEXAS A&M
2015 RECORD: 8-5 overall, 4-4 in SEC
OVERALL RECORD: 36-16, 17-15
Off the field, it’s been an embarrassing last few months for the university in general and the A&M football program specifically.  Two of Sumlin’s assistants were suspended after getting their Beavis & Butthead on at a women’s football clinic, leaving A&M’s president “dismayed, disappointed, angry” over their sexist presentation  and allowing a former head coach at rival Texas to crow he’s “never lost a women’s clinic.”  Another Sumlin assistant made an ass of himself with a social media hissy fit befitting a middle schooler when a recruit had the audacity to decommit from the Aggies.  In February, former A&M quarterback Kyle Allen ripped the football program’s post-Johnny Football culture.  While not on Sumlin’s watch, it wasn’t a good look for the program when a former football trainer claimed in January that coaches pressured him to rush injured players back onto the field.

On the field is where Sumlin is really feeling the heat, though.  In 2012, the first season for both Sumlin in College Station and the Aggies in the SEC, A&M went 11-2 overall and 6-2 in conference play.  Since then, they’ve gone 25-14 overall and, more importantly, just 11-13 in the SEC.

Add it all up, and given the hyper-competitive nature of the SEC West, Sumlin sits on one of the hottest seats in the country.  He does have two potential lifelines.  One, win, and win big, in 2016.  Secondly, and arguably most importantly, his contract, which runs through 2019 and averages in excess of $5 million annually, is fully guaranteed if he’s fired without cause.  That, more than anything, might buy him another season if the on-field struggles — and off-field embarrassments — continue.

CHARLIE STRONG, TEXAS
2015 RECORD: 5-7 overall, 4-5 in Big 12
OVERALL RECORD: 11-14, 9-9
While the hot seat of Strong’s counterpart at a former rival consists of on- and off-the-field issues, the Longhorns’ sidelines boss’ issues rest solely between the lines on game days.  In two seasons with the Longhorns, Strong has gone an unacceptable 11-14 overall and 9-9 in Big 12 play, the worst two-year start for a UT head coach in nearly 80 years.  At Iowa State, those numbers would get you a parade through downtown Ames; at UT, it gets you on the express lane toward the unemployment line.

The good news for Strong is that he’s recruited well enough (seventh in 2016, 10th in 2015, 16th in 2014) that the talent is there to compete in the conference.  Additionally, three of their toughest games in 2016, Baylor, Notre Dame and TCU, will be played in Austin.  Strong has to hope that the combination of a new offensive coordinator (Sterlin Gilbert) and a promising freshman quarterback (Shane Buechele) can revitalize a stagnant offense and show promise for the future — and the defense can sustain its recent level of performance.

If the ‘Horns can’t get to at least eight wins?  It may be three seasons and you’re out for Strong of a handful of boosters get their way.

DARRELL HAZELL, PURDUE
2015 RECORD: 2-10 overall, 1-7 in Big Ten
OVERALL RECORD: 6-30, 2-22
Simply put, Hazell seemingly needs to qualify for a bowl in order to get a fifth season in West Lafayette, and the raw numbers show exactly why.

Of the 30 games the Boilermakers have played in three years under Hazell, they’ve lost 24 of them.  Half of Hazell’s wins during his time at the school have come against FCS programs; in other words, he has a winning percentage of .100 against teams that play at the FBS level.  Think about that number for a second, and let it sink in, and it makes you truly wonder how he made it to the 2016 season to begin with — especially when you consider he has an even-worse .090 winning percentage in conference play.  And it’s not like they’re competitive in the league, either.

In B1G play, Hazell has lost 22 games by nearly 20 points per game (19.8).  17 of those losses were by two touchdowns or more, with exactly half of the losses, 11, coming by 20 or more points.  And the two wins?  By 10 over Nebraska last year, by 11 over Illinois the year before.

It was thought that Hazell’s contract played a role in his getting a fourth season.  If this one’s anything like the previous three, there’s little doubt the athletic department will eat the remaining money owed to Hazell and move on to another head coach.

GUS MALZAHN, AUBURN
2015 RECORD: 7-6 overall, 2-6 in SEC
OVERALL RECORD: 27-13, 13-11
It’d be hard to get off to a much better start than Malzahn did in 2013.  All The Tigers did was run out to a 12-1 record and SEC title before losing to Florida State in the BCS championship game.  Since then?  A steady decline — and a precipitous one when it comes to conference play.

The Tigers dipped to 8-5 in 2014, and then dipped even further the following season to 7-6.  Most worrisome for those in and around the athletic department would have to be a 4-4 record in the SEC in 2014 that turned into 2-6 last season.  In fact, since beating Ole Miss in early November of 2014, Auburn has gone a miserable 2-9 in SEC games.  That’s disappointing for just about any school in the conference.  For a school that resides in the same state as a program that’s won four of the last seven national championships?  It’s downright unacceptable.

The SEC West is the most unforgiving of coaching stops.  If Malzahn doesn’t turn it around sooner rather than later, he will, fair or not, find himself on the outside of the conference looking in.

DANA HOLGORSEN, WEST VIRGINIA
2015 RECORD: 8-5 overall, 4-5 in Big 12
OVERALL RECORD: 36-28, 20-23
An eight-win season staved off the wolves for the moment, but 2016 might be a make-or-break season for Holgorsen in Morgantown.  That was never more evident than when contract talks on an extension between the two sides stalled earlier this year, leaving the coach with just one more year on his contract after this season.

Holgorsen is 35-28 in five seasons with the Mountaineers. Against Big 12 foes, however, Holgorsen is just 15-21.  Since going 10-3 in the final season in the Big East in 2011, WVU is a mere 26-25 the last four seasons. The good news for Holgorsen is that there’s some momentum from a year ago on which to build, with the Mountaineers winning five of their last six games coming off a four-game losing streak against ranked conference teams.  The lone loss in that stretch was a one-point setback at Kansas State, and also included the first bowl win since Holgorsen’s first season.

As rumors swirled surrounding Holgorsen’s future in Morgantown, athletic director Shane Lyons announced back in December that the head coach would return.  As it appears there will be no resolution to the contract issue before the new season kicks off, expect the speculation on Holgorsen’s future to ramp up exponentially if the Mountaineers struggle coming out of the 2016 gate.

MARK STOOPS, KENTUCKY
2015 RECORD: 5-7 overall, 2-6 in SEC
OVERALL RECORD: 12-24, 4-20
It might be a year early to put Stoops on this list, but it shouldn’t be.

At least when it comes to recruiting, Stoops has flamed what passions for football in Lexington exists.  Prior to Stoops’ arrival, UK had just two recruiting classes — 2006 (No. 36) and 2009 (No. 41) — that finished inside the Top 50 nationally since 2002.  Since then, the Wildcats have racked up classes that ranked 34th (2016), 38th (2015), 22nd (2014) and 34th (2013).  That relative recruiting success has, thus far, failed miserably to translate into on-field success, though.

A 2-10 first season with the Wildcats gave way to a 5-7 2014 season, a mark that led to rampant enthusiasm over the future of the football program.  That push forward stalled with yet another 5-7 season in 2015.  Perhaps most distressing to followers of the team is the 4-20 mark in SEC play, a sign that the team is not even remotely ready to compete even in the weaker East Division.

If UK is fine with a .500-ish program that creates some recruiting buzz every once in a while, then Stoops might be their man.  If they’re looking to get to the next level?  2016 may portend whether Stoops can or can’t be that man.  Stoops is signed through the 2019 season, but money, at least in the SEC, should be no object when it comes to the football program.

Houston adds Colorado’s fourth-leading 2015 rusher to roster

BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 13:  Running back Patrick Carr #1 of the Colorado Buffaloes runs for a first down past linebacker Porter Gustin #45 of the USC Trojans and defensive tackle Delvon Simmons #52 during the third quarter at Folsom Field on November 13, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado. The Trojans defeated the Buffaloes 27-24. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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In early July, Patrick Carr opted to transfer from Colorado.  Nearly two months later, he has a new college football home.

According to Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle, Carr has been added to Houston’s roster.  The running back, at least for the 2016 season, will be a walk-on to the program.

Carr will also spend this season on the sidelines as he will be forced to sit out the season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws,.  Then, beginning in 2017, he’ll have three years of eligibility to use the next three seasons.

A three-star 2015 signee, Carr was rated as the No. 49 back in the country by 247sports.com.

As a true freshman last season, Carr was fourth on the Buffaloes with 272 yards rushing on 66 carries.  He also added 52 yards on five receptions.

A statement from CU head coach Mike MacIntyre at the time of his transfer said that “Patrick is a fine young man who needs to move closer to home back in Texas for family reasons.” He was the No. 84 player at any position in the state of Texas coming out of The Woodlands.

Cory Butler-Byrd ‘partially reinstated’ by Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 10: Wide receiver Trevor Davis #9 of the California Golden Bears catches a touchdown pass in front of Cory Butler-Byrd #16 of the Utah Utes during their game at Rice-Eccles Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
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And Cory Butler-Byrd‘s trek out of Kyle Whittingham‘s doghouse has officially commenced in earnest.

Monday, the Utah wide receiver pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal in connection to an incident last month in which he allegedly damaged police property.  The criminal mischief charge will be dismissed if he, among other stipulations, stays clean for the next year.

Butler-Byrd had been indefinitely suspended from the program since the initial incident.  Tuesday, the football program announced in a press release that “Whittingham has reinstated Cory Butler-Byrd to the team for practice and other team activities, effective immediately.”  However, he remains indefinitely suspended from participating in games.

“There is no timetable for his potential return to competition and he will not be available to the media for comment this season,” the release added.

After transferring to the Utes from the junior college ranks, Butler-Byrd began his FBS career as a cornerback.  He began the transition to receiver during the 2015 season, then exited spring practice this year as the starter as a slot receiver for the Utes.

Butler-Byrd started five games last season as a corner/receiver (three at CB, two at WR), intercepting three passes and catching one pass for a 54-yard touchdown.  He also returned eight kicks for 233 yards and a touchdown.