The Ohio State Buckeyes knocked off two birds with one stone yesterday, as they received a verbal commitment from outside linebacker Kyle Berger (St. Ignatius High School, Cleveland).
First, they added a very talented player who plays a position that the Buckeyes are woefully thin at. It’s no secret that the Buckeyes have a lot of holes in their linebacking corps, and there’s not much depth to speak of.
Second, they kept a key in-state recruit from heading north to play for the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan always mines Ohio for recruits, and Brady Hoke and co. were coming hard after Berger.
It’s these kinds of commitments that will keep the Buckeyes atop the already soft Big Ten conference. Urban Meyer and his staff are well tuned to the fact that there’s an abundance of talent in the Buckeye state, and anybody who knows anything about recruiting will preach the importance of locking down in-state talent, especially preventing a player in your own backyard from playing for your hated rival.
The Buckeyes are getting a very solid prospect in Berger. No, he’s not quite at the level that Jaylon Smith was last year in terms of freakish athleticism and overall potential, but he’s a classic OSU ‘backer. In fact, he’s in the same kind of mold that A.J. Hawk was when coming out of Centerville High School: Similar builds (6-foot 2, 210 pounds), similar instincts, similar playmaking ability and similar hard-nosed, tough mindsets.
Berger will more than likely play the weak side linebacker when he arrives in Columbus. That way, he’ll be in a better place to take advantage of his speed and coverage abilities. But, like all OSU linebackers, he’ll be well versed in all of the linebacker positions to enhance flexibility.
He is considered a 4-star prospect by just about everyone: rivals.com, scout.com and 247sports.com, and is the seventh commitment to the Buckeyes class of 2014, joining Sam Hubbard (Moeller HS, Cincinnati) as the second linebacker.
Considering the talent the Buckeyes are adding to their linebacking corps this fall and the class they’re developing for 2014, a position of weakness should soon turn to a position of strength.