Every year in February, some of the Midwest's top talent gathers in Indianapolis for the Best of the Midwest combine and this year will be no different. The combine, which is set to take place on Monday February 18, has attracted numerous four and five-star talents from surrounding states over the years and the roster for this year's combine is just as jam-packed with talent as usual. The combine will also have a heavy Ohio State flavor to it with several Buckeye commits and key targets taking part. Below, we preview some of the elite talent that is expected to be on hand.
Strong group from the Buckeye State
Best of the Midwest always gives us a good look at some of the top talent in the state of Ohio and list is strong once again when it comes to Buckeye State products. Headlining things for Ohio is Cleveland Glenville ATH Marshon Lattimore, the state's top-ranked player and the No. 41 overall prospect in the nation by Rivals.com.
Lattimore is expected to be joined by teammates Marcelys Jones and Erick Smith. Both players hold Ohio State offers already with Jones being the Buckeyes' first verbal commitment in the 2014 class, doing so on Christmas morning.
Some other highly ranked class of 2014 prospects from Ohio are also expected in Lima Central Catholic safety Darius West, Columbus Bishop Hartley defensive back Alonzo Saxton, Westerville South tight end Darryl Long, Upper Arlington linebacker Chris Frey, Huber Heights Wayne linebacker Dorian Hendrix, and Beavercreek linebacker Airius Moore. All of the above prospects hold early offers from BCS conference programs.
The combine will also be a chance for some under-the-radar players like Bedford's Antione Stone to turn in a breakout performance. Stone is one of the top cornerback prospects in the state of Ohio and recently picked up his first offer from Kent State.
Also in this category would be St. Ignatius wide receiver/tight end Michael Siragusa. The sure-handed target had a great day at Ohio State's camp back in June and then followed it up with a strong junior season. He should be one of the top pass-catchers at the event.
We will also get our second look of the off-season at talented class of 2015 offensive tackle Rob Dowdy out of Westerville South. The 6-foot-6, 255-pound prospect is raw but with a very high ceiling and he continues to challenge himself by showing up at some of the nation's premier showcases.
Michigan well represented
The Ohio State coaching staff, primarily behind the efforts of assistant coach Kerry Coombs, has made a concentrated effort to spend more time recruiting the state of Michigan and the results are starting to show with a pair of commitments already in the 2014 class from Damon Webb and Lawrence Marshall.
Webb is one of the many talented prospects from the state that is expected to attend the combine on Monday. Joining Webb will be teammate and linebacker William White as well as some very talented class of 2015 prospects from Cass Tech. Defensive end Joshua Alabi, quarterback Jayru Campbell, and running back Mike Weber are all expected to work out. All three sophomores hold BCS offers already and all three are firmly on the Ohio State recruiting radar for the class of 2015.
Other notable prospects from the state of Michigan that are receiving early interest from the Buckeyes include Detroit M.L. King teammates linebacker Carl Fuller and defensive back Jalen Embry.
Other news and notes
There will be plenty of other big-time Ohio State targets at the event. Arguably the biggest is class of 2015 running back Damien Harris out of Madison Southern high school in Kentucky. The Buckeyes are right near the top of the early list for Harris along with Michigan and Kentucky and have already offered the outstanding sophomore.
Another big name to keep an eye on is Gary (Ind.) West Side wide receiver/athlete Lonnie Johnson. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound prospect holds an early offer from Ohio State and has the Buckeyes at the top of his list.
Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central linebacker Brandon Lee is yet another prospect that Ohio State is targeting. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound prospect does not hold an offer from the Buckeyes but has listed them as a school of high interest.