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Jan. 13, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Seven student-athletes who will be a part of Ohio State’s 2016 class of recruits have completed their high school course work and are on-campus and enrolled for spring semester classes at Ohio State University. The spring semester started yesterday.

The seven include two defensive linemen, two offensive lineman and one linebacker, running back and wide receiver. The total ties for the most early enrollees in one Ohio State class. The 2014 freshman class also had seven early enrollees and included QB Stephen Collier, WR Johnnie Dixon, LB Raekwon McMillan, K Sean Nuernberger, H-back Curtis Samuel and OL Kyle Trout.

This year’s class features a 5-star defensive lineman from Gahanna and Lincoln High School – Jonathon Cooper – and another defensive lineman, Malik Barrow from Tampa, Fla., and IMG Academy. The two offensive linemen are Tyler Gerald, who is from Portsmouth, Ohio, and attended IMG Academy for his senior season, and Michael Jordan, from Canton, Mich., and Plymouth High School.

Also enrolled are linebacker Tuf Borland, from Bolingbrook (Ill.) High School, wide receiver Austin Mack, from Fort Wayne, Ind., and Bishop Luers, and running back Antonio Williams, from New London, N.C., and North Stanly High School.

The early enrollees can begin winter workouts under the direction of coach Mickey Marotti and will take part in spring drills, which start March 8 and run through the spring game, set for April 16.

We will learn Feb. 3 who will join these seven as members of Ohio State’s 2016 recruiting class with those players not expected to arrive on campus until the start of the summer academic session (June 13).

Briefs on Ohio State’s early enrollees:

DL Malik Barrow (6-3, 287)
Tampa, Fla. / Catholic & IMG Academy

A 4-star lineman (Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN) who played well for IMG Academy, in Bradenton, Fla., before an injury ended his season … had three tackles-for-loss and an interception in an early game vs. Marimar … he played three years at Tampa Catholic for coach Mike Gregory before transferring to IMG as a senior, where he played for coach Kevin Wright … Barrow was a first-team Florida 3A all-state performer as a junior after a 19 tackles-for-loss season … he totaled 158 career tackles with 31 tackles-for-loss and 17 quarterback sacks.

LB Tuf Borland (6-2, 225)
Bolingbrook, Ill. / Bolingbrook

A 4-star outside linebacker prospect by both 247Sports and Scout, Tuff Borland starred for Bolingbrook teams that advanced to Illinois state playoffs four consecutive years under the direction of coach John Ivlow … Borland recorded 165 tackles as a senior and was named all-state by the Chicago Tribune, all-SW Suburban Blue and the Voyager Media defensive player of the year … he had 152 tackles as a junior and was an IHSFCA 8A and Chicago Tribune all-state selection … rated a Top 20 linebacker prospect by Scout (No. 18) and 247Sports (No. 20) … also played baseball and basketball for two years.

DL Jonathon Cooper (6-3, 235)
Gahanna, Ohio / Lincoln

Jonathon Cooper is rated as a 5-star prospect by 247Sports and is considered one of the Top 50 players in the nation by that organization (No. 25 national ranking) and Scout (No. 35 overall) … Cooper is listed as one of the Top 5 defensive ends in this class, with 247Sports ranking him as the No. 2 weak-side end and with Rivals and Scout rating him the No. 5 defensive end … he was named to the All-USA Ohio football team and the state defensive player of the year by USA Today and was first-team Associated Press all-state as a senior … helped Lincoln, coached by Bruce Ward, to a 7-4 season in 2015 and a berth in the Ohio state playoffs.

OL Tyler Gerald (6-5, 325)
Portsmouth, Ohio / Sciotoville East & IMG Academy

Tyler Gerald played football (and basketball) for Sciotoville East, a Division VII school near Portsmouth and coached by Todd Gillland, through his junior season and then transferred to IMG Academy to play football against a Florida-elite level of competition as a senior … his IMG team went 9-0 under coach Kevin Wright, although an injury limited Gerald to six games … he is a consensus 4-star prospect (Rivals, 247Sports, Scout and ESPN) and is rated among the Top 10 offensive guard prospects in the nation by ESPN (No. 5), 247Sports (No. 6) and Scout (No. 10) … he is also listed as the top guard prospect out of Florida by Scout.

OL Michael Jordan (6-7, 315)
Canton, Mich. / Plymouth

Michael Jordan was an Associated Press Division 1-2 Michigan all-state pick, a first-team Detroit Free Press all-state selection and a member of the Free Press “dream team” offense after a senior campaign in which he averaged six pancake blocks per game – according to published reports – and did not allow a sack … playing for coach Mike Sawchuck, Jordan is a consensus 4-star prospect (Rivals, 247Sports, Scout and ESPN) with Top 10 offensive tackle rankings nationally by Rivals (No. 7) and Scout (No. 10) … he was named to the All-USA Today second-team offense … also wrestled and competed in track and field.

WR Austin Mack (6-2, 205)
Fort Wayne, Ind. / Bishop Luers

Austin Mack is a consensus 4-star (Rivals, 247Sports, Scout and ESPN) prospect who can run, catch and return kicks … he scored 49 career touchdowns, including six on kickoff returns, and had 2,672 career receiving yards off 167 receptions with 24 touchdowns … he gained 718 yards rushing as a senior when injuries forced him into action as a back … still caught 41 passes for 805 yards in 2015 and helped the Knights, coached by Kyle Lindsay, to the third round of the Indiana state playoffs … had a breakout junior season when he caught 69 passes for 1,062 yards and 15 touchdowns … is listed among the Top 12 receiver prospects nationally by 247Sports (No. 10) and Scout (No. 12).

RB Antonio Williams (5-11, 215)
New London, N.C. / North Stanly

Consensus 4-star prospect (Rivals, 247Sports, Scout and ESPN) Antonio Williams is coming off a prep career in which he gained 7,999 yards rushing and averaged 178.8 yards per game for his career with 81 touchdowns scored … he had three consecutive 2,000-yard seasons (2,150 as a senior; 2,267 as a junior; and 2,170 as a sophomore) and he had at least one 80-plus yard run all four years on varsity … he is rated as the No. 5 running back prospect nationally by Rivals and No. 6 by 247Sports … ESPN has Williams ranked No. 10 among running backs … helped coach Scott Crisco’s Comets to an 8-4 season as a senior.

And two new walk-ons
Two additional mid-year transfers have walked-on to the Ohio State team and are taking part in conditioning drills:

  • Alex Backenstoe is a sophomore running back from Hilliard and a 2014 graduate of Hilliard Davidson High School. He played football for the Air Force Academy during the 2014 season and was enrolled last fall; and
  • Alex Craft is a freshman punter/kicker from Kettering, Ohio and attended Archbishop Alter High School. He graduated in 2015 and attended Sinclair Community College last fall.