Jan. 17, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Members of the Ohio State football team worked out today for the first time in 2017 under the direction of assistant athletic director for football sports performance Mickey Marotti. The Buckeyes are utilizing the Woody Hayes Athletic Center’s indoor field, and the basketball and racquetball courts for workout space these first couple weeks of winter conditioning while construction projects take place at the Woody, including renovation work in the weight room.
Leading the way are nearly a handful of returning major award winners from 2016: Big Ten most valuable player (Chicago Tribune Silver Football winner) and quarterback of the year J.T. Barrett; All-American Billy Price; Big Ten defensive lineman of the year Tyquan Lewis; Academic All-American Sam Hubbard; and Big Ten freshman of the Year Mike Weber.
Veteran leadership throughout the nine units will also come from OL Jamarco Jones, DL Jalyn Holmes, LBs Chris Worley and Dante Booker, DBs Damon Webb and Denzel Ward, and WRs Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell.
Winter conditioning drills run through the start of spring practices, which are set to begin March 7. Ohio State’s spring break is the week of March 13-17, and the spring game will be Saturday, April 15.
Nine Enroll Early
Nine prospects from Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting class are no longer prospects: they’re Buckeyes, enrolled in classes fulltime and experiencing their initial days as a student and as an athlete. The nine early enrollees are the most ever for Ohio State, topping the seven who enrolled in January 2014 and 2016.
The nine who have enrolled early this year include:
Linebacker / 6-4, 230
Kennedale, Texas / Kennedale
One of the top linebackers in this recruiting class, Baron Browning is a 5-star prospect (Rivals, 247 and Scout) who earned the No. 1 outside linebacker distinction from Rivals and a No. 2 ranking for OLBs by ESPN, 247Sports and Scout … considered among the Top 10 players in this class by both Rivals (No. 9 overall) and 247Sports (No. 9) … named a U.S. Army All-American and a finalist for the 2016 high school Butkus Award as top linebacker … helped Kennedale, near Fort Worth and coached by Richard Barrett, to an 11-4 season in 2016 and a spot in the Texas 4A state semifinals for the first time in school history … was the state’s Associated Press 4A defensive player of the year with 81 tackles, 10 TFLs and 10 PBUs … also named Fort Worth Star Telegram all-area … the two-time first-team all-state honoree had 74 tackles and eight TFLs as a junior and finished his career with eight forced fumbles … is the son of DeKisha and Barry Browning … father was a two-year football letterman at TCU … brother, Barry Jr., is a Stanford graduate who was a four-year football letterman for the Cardinal between 2007-10.
Running Back / 5-10, 199
La Grange, Texas / La Grange
U.S. Army All-American J.K. Dobbins committed to Ohio State before seeing the campus, a credit to those on Ohio State’s staff who recruited him and because Ohio State competes for championships … Dobbins missed all but one play of his senior season after breaking a bone in his right leg, but 5,149 rushing yards and 74 touchdowns during his first three seasons for coach Matt Kates carried him to consensus 4-star recognition and Top 50 status nationally among all players in this class (No. 40 overall by 247Sports and No. 41 by ESPN) … he was rated among the Top 4 running backs in the nation, including No. 2 by 247Sports … this summer he was the Nike+ football rating champion at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore. … finishing second was another Texas and Ohio State recruit: Jeffrey Okudah … statistically, Dobbins had 2,740 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns as a junior and 2,243 yards and 37 TDs as a sophomore in 2014 … he was named Class 4A all-state in 2015 by both the Texas Sports Writers Association and the Associated Press … he helped La Grange to two state playoff appearances approximately two decades after his late father, Lawrence Dobbins, played on La Grange’s 1997 state semifinalist team … his mother is Mya Grounds.
Quarterback / 5-10, 203
Las Vegas / Bishop Gorman
U.S. Army All-American and 5-star quarterback (Scout) Tate Martell was named national player of the year by three organizations as a senior: USA Today named him its American Family Insurance all-USA offensive player of the year and both Gatorade and MaxPreps selected him as their respective national player of the year … undefeated as a starting quarterback (43-0) for coach Kenny Sanchez at Bishop Gorman, Martell threw for 7,507 yards and 113 touchdowns (and only nine interceptions) in his career, and he rushed for 2,294 yards with 35 more scores for a team that was undefeated national champion each year he was the starting quarterback … named first-team all-state all three years as a starter … threw for 2,362 yards with 41 touchdowns and only one interception as a senior in 2016 … also rushed for 1,257 yards and 21 TDs, and was named the Southwest League Offensive MVP … a MaxPreps All-American who was named the No. 2 dual threat quarterback prospect in his class by Rivals, 247Sports and Scout … one of the Top 50 players nationally with Scout and Rivals positioning him 26th and 39th overall, respectively … originally from Southern California, Martell is the son of Tafi and Al Martell.
Offensive Lineman / 6-6, 306
Miamisburg, Ohio / Miamisburg
Josh Myers, a 5-star offensive lineman (247Sports and Scout), committed to Ohio State as a sophomore in January 2014 after initially receiving a scholarship offer from Ohio State the spring of his freshman year … the No. 1 player in the state was rated as the No. 1 guard in the nation (ESPN) and the No. 5 tackle by 247Sports … overall, this Top 25 prospect overall was listed as the No. 19 player by 247Sports, No. 23 by Scout and No. 25 by ESPN … the U.S. Army All-American was a first-team Associated Press Division II all-state pick as a junior and senior and helped coach Steven Channell’s Miamisburg teams to a 34-12 four-year record and four state playoff appearances … included was a 9-2 season in 2015 and a 10-3 season in 2016 that included a deep playoff run that ended with a loss to state champ Cincinnati LaSalle in the regional championship game … named first-team all-Greater Western Ohio Conference four times … is the first offensive lineman to be named player of the year by Ohio high school sports publication JJ Huddle … Myers’ family is full of athletes: his mother, Julie, is in the University of Dayton athletics hall of fame as a basketball player; his father, Brad, was an offensive lineman at the University of Kentucky between 1984-87; and his brother, Zach, capped his career as a Kentucky Wildcat in 2016.
Cornerback / 6-1, 190
Grand Prairie, Texas / South Grand Prairie
U.S. Army All-American Jeffrey Okudah is a unanimous 5-star recruit and considered the No. 1 safety prospect in the nation according to both Rivals and ESPN … considered one of the Top 10 players in the nation overall, with 247Sports and ESPN ranking him No. 8, and Scout and Rivals Nos. 12 and 16, respectively … a tremendous athlete who also had the No. 1 “athlete” ranking as a senior by Scout … his coverage skills even had him ranked as the No. 1 cornerback, by 247Sports … one of the Top 2 players out of talent-rich Texas this recruiting cycle and an American Family Insurance all-USA defensive back … posted 43 tackles, five pass break-ups and 795 total offensive yards in helping South Grand Prairie, coached by Brent Whitson, to the Texas class 6A state playoffs in 2016 … named second-team Class 6A all-state as a senior by the Associated Press … averaged over 24 yards per catch as a receiver in 2015 and also contributed 46 tackles and four pass break-ups … finished second last summer, to Ohio State signee JK Dobbins, at the Nike+ football ratings competition at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore. … Okudah is the son of Marie Okudah and his guardians are Jane and Patrick Obodo.
Safety / 6-2, 195
Bradenton, Fla. / IMG Academy
Isaiah Pryor is a consensus Top 100 prospect and a 4-star safety from Lawrenceville, Ga., who played for IMG Academy, in Bradenton, Fla., as a senior in 2016 … one of the nation’s Top 50 prospects (No. 47 by ESPN and No. 50 by 247Sports) … teamed in the IMG defensive backfield with Ohio State early enrollee Marcus Williamson and helped IMG, coached by Kevin White, to a 12-0 record, a No. 1 ranking in the state of Florida and a No. 4 national ranking … made 54 tackles on the season and was rated the No. 3 safety prospect in this class by ESPN, No. 5 by 247Sports and No. 6 by Scout … an Under Armour All-American on the field, Pryor was outstanding off the field, as well, being named a finalist for the Watkins Award, which honors the top African American scholar-athletes in the U.S. … recorded 40 tackles as a junior in 2015 for coach Andy Dyer at Archer (Ga.) High School … named honorable mention Class 6A all-state and all-Gwinnett County in 2015 … wrestled for multi-state champion program at Archer, as well … helped Archer to an 11-4 record and a state 6A title game appearance in 2014 … is the son of Lillian and Richard Pryor … father played defensive end for Iowa from 1984-88 under Hayden Fry.
Cornerback / 6-2, 175
Jacksonville, Fla. / Trinity Christian Academy
Shaun Wade is a 5-star prospect (Rivals, 247Sports) who was honored with two national awards this year while starring for a Trinity Christian Academy team that has now won four consecutive state championships … Wade was named the 2017 Lockheed Martin defensive back of the year, an award that was presented at the U.S. Army All-American bowl, and he was named the American Family Insurance All-USA defensive player of the year … considered one of the Top 25 players nationally with overall rankings of No. 13 by ESPN and No. 24 by both Rivals and 247Sports … has a consensus Top 5 cornerback rating with a No. 1 position from ESPN … finished the 2016 season with 63 tackles, seven interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, and nine pass break-ups for coach Verlon Dorminey … named a U.S. Army All-American and a MaxPreps All-American … had 35 tackles, two interceptions and 11 pass break-ups in 2015 … two-time Florida Class 3A all-state honoree and considered one of the Top 5 players in the state … is the son of Gwen and Randy Wade.
Athlete / 6-2, 200
Powell, Ohio / Olentangy Liberty
Brendon White was an athletic, multi-position star coached by Steve Hale at Olentangy Liberty … a consensus 4-star recruit, White was rated the No. 1 athlete in the class by Rivals and the No. 3 athlete by 247Sports … Rivals also ranked him the No. 2 player in Ohio and the No. 91 player nationally … moved to quarterback in 2016 after being named a first-team Associated Press all-state defensive back in 2015 … helped Liberty (13-1) win its first regional championship in 2016 and advance to the Ohio Division I state semifinals for the first time in school history … scored five touchdowns – four of them off receptions – in a regional semifinal win over Medina … named area offensive player of the year in 2016 with 799 passing yards and 11 scores, 842 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, plus had 22 receptions and four more touchdowns … Associated Press all-state season as a junior in 2015 featured six interceptions on defense, catching 26 passes as a receiver and accumulating 11 touchdowns and nearly 1,200 all-purpose yards … graduated from Liberty in December 2016 and actually practiced with the Buckeyes during bowl practices … is the son of Nikol and William White … father was a 1987 Ohio State captain and an all-Big Ten defensive back who went on to have an 11-year career in the NFL playing for the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons.
Cornerback / 5-10, 180
Westerville, Ohio / IMG Academy
Central Ohio native and consensus 4-star prospect Marcus Williamson spent three years at Westerville South High School before transferring to IMG Academy for his senior season of 2016 … he is considered one of the top cornerbacks nationally with a No. 10 rating by Scout and No. 11 by ESPN … also listed among the Top 150 players nationally with Scout’s No. 110 overall ranking tops … playing in a defensive backfield that also featured 2016 Ohio State signee Isaiah Pryor, Williamson and Co. helped IMG to a second consecutive undefeated season in 2016 with a 12-0 mark, a No. 1 rating in the state of Florida and a No. 4 national rating … he recorded one “pick-six” interception, recovered two fumbles and returned one for a touchdown, plus recorded 36 tackles and two pass break-ups in 2016 for coach Kevin White … one of 10 from IMG named an Under Armour All-American … earned an invite to The Opening, in Beaverton, Ore., this past summer … was named special mention Division I all-state as a junior in 2015 for Westerville South … named first-team all-central district and special mention all-Ohio Capital Conference as a junior … also named a 2015 American Family Insurance all-USA Ohio second-teamer … is the son of Tamar and Marlon Williamson.