-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)
Athlon Sports continues its Class of 2011 national team recruiting rankings today with the No. 6 class in the nation.
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6. Ohio State Buckeyes (23 signees – 6 AC100)
Quarterback Braxon Miller, the nation’s No. 2 signal-caller, was supposed to be the QB of the future for Ohio State. With the suspension of Terrelle Pryor, Miller may have a chance to see the field right away (although it's a long shot). Miller, and a couple of pass-catchers, represent a small group of skill players that includes zero running backs. The youth already on the roster likely limited the need for offensive playmakers.
The nationally rated Evan Spencer (WR) is the only other offensive skill player to receive AC100 votes in this class. The athletic Nick Vannett leads a solid two-man tight end class.
Otherwise, the line of scrimmage and the defense got the all of the attention. The five offensive lineman do not have the star power of the past Buckeye O-line classes. Brian Bobek is the leader of the group, unless AC100 talent Michael Bennett ends up on offense. This is a solid group without Bennett but would add tremendous quality with him.
The more likely scenario is for Bennett and his 6'3", 280-pound frame to line up at nose guard. This gives the Buckeyes an AC100 talent at nearly every position on the defense. Steve Miller and Kenny Hayes, two of the top 15 end prospects in the nation, lead a three-man D-End class that rivals any class in the nation (with the exception of maybe Notre Dame). Nationally rated end Chase Farris, at 6'6"and 265 pounds, could very easily slide inside and play tackle. This isn't the deepest D-Line class, but the quality of these five prospects is outstanding.
At linebacker, Curtis Grant is the highest-rated player in this class, and his NSD announcement was a huge win for Jim Tressel and Company. Grant has the combination of size, toughness and athleticism to be the next great Buckeye tackler. Ryan Shazier (ranked No. 111 nationally) just missed the AC100 and joins Grant to create a very talented inside-outside tandem.
At defensive back, another Grant leads the way. Doran Grant, depending on what happens to Oregon's DeAnthony Thomas, could be the nation's No. 1 cornerback in this class. What he lacks in overall size (5'10", 175) he makes up for in quickness, agility, speed and burst. He also is stronger than his measurables, indicating that he should easily be able to pack on 10-12 pounds of strength.
Thirteen of Ohio State’s 23 signees hail from in-state. Six players from the Buckeye State landed in the AC100, and Jim Tressel signed five of them.
No. 18 Curtis Grant, LB (Richmond, Va.)
No. 30 Braxton Miller, QB (Huber Heights, Ohio)
No. 36 Doran Grant, CB (Akron, Ohio)
No. 48 Michael Bennett, DL/OL (Centerville, Ohio)
No. 80 Ken Hayes, DE (Toledo, Ohio)
No. 94 Steve Miller, DE (Canton, Ohio)
No. 111 Ryan Shazier, LB (Plantation, Fla.)
No. 178 Brian Bobek, OL (Palatine, Ill.)
No. 185 Chase Farris, DL (Elyria, Ohio)
N0. 209 Evan Spencer, WR (Vernon Hills, Ill.)