January 30, 2012

The Reeves impact

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Though certainly not the biggest recruit in stature, West Roxbury (Mass.) Catholic Memorial defensive back Armani Reeves was a huge pick-up for Urban Meyer and the rest of the Ohio State coaching staff. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound cornerback picked the Buckeyes over Michigan on Sunday evening, giving Ohio State yet another four-star prospect in its 2012 recruiting class.

Reeves' impact on Ohio State's recruiting class is much bigger than any boost in points that his four-star ranking might add. His commitment comes at a major position of need, and given that there were no other legitimate cornerback targets left on the board for Ohio State, it was Reeves or bust at the position to close things out.

With the dismissals of Dominic Clarke and DerJuan Gambrell, the Buckeyes were looking at the potential of entering next season short-handed at the cornerback position. Starters Travis Howard and Bradley Roby return but are both draft eligible after the season, making long-term depth a question mark. Sophomore-to-be Doran Grant also returns and is expected to take a big step up from his freshman year. After that, the depth chart becomes very thin. Adam Griffin's size probably limits him to being more of a special teams type of player, giving the Buckeyes just three viable options at the cornerback position among returning players.

The one wild card on the current roster is Corey Brown. Brown has battled some injuries during his career at Ohio State and has also bounced around between safety and corner, making him a player that is tough to judge in terms of what can be expected of him moving forward.

In the incoming class, Bedford (Ohio) product Tyvis Powell will likely see a move to safety. Steubenville (Ohio) product Najee Murray was the best bet in the class to end up as a cornerback. While that still may happen, Murray's intimidating style of play may ultimately be a better fit at strong safety where he can cover more ground and be a bigger factor in run support.

Even if Murray is counted at the cornerback spot, going into the grind of a football season with really just four true corners on the roster is a scary proposition. With those numbers, the Buckeyes would have been just one injury away from having some serious issues at the position.

Simply put, the Buckeyes desperately needed another cornerback in this class, perhaps as much as they need an offensive tackle. Reeves not only fills that need, but also provides some relief to the long-term depth situation. The Buckeyes are getting an outstanding football player that can run, cover, and hit, and are now just one more offensive tackle away from filling every need in this class.


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