After great showings from Eli Woodard (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern) and Ezekiel Elliott (St. Louis/John Burroughs) at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore., last weekend, it wasn’t a matter of if the tandem would fly up the ranks. It was a matter of how much.
Ohio State picked up its first five-star commitment in Woodard and Elliott shot up the charts in the latest ESPN 150 and ESPN 300 rankings, released Thursday.
The Buckeyes have six commitments ranked in the top 150 and 11 in the top 300 among their 14 recruits. They made a move up four spots from No. 9 to No. 5 in the overall rankings.
Woodard is still ranked the third-best cornerback in the nation, but he moved up from 11th to 7th overall and picked up a fifth star.
“Oh man, it’s a huge honor [to get that fifth star],” Woodard said Thursday. “Not a lot of guys get it. You have to be a real top-of-the-line guy. I’m happy, but not satisfied at the same time.
“I feel like there’s always room for improvement, so that’s what I’m going to do, keep improving my game. It means a lot to know people recognize your hard work and see your talents.”
Elliott, who said he wasn’t too happy with his No. 257 previous ranking, jumped up 85 spots. The running back is now No. 172.
It wasn't all great news for Buckeyes pledges, however. Jalin Marshall (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown) took the biggest hit, falling from 74th to 98th.
Joey Bosa (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas), Marcus Baugh (Riverside, Calif./John W. North), J.T. Barrett (Wichita Falls, Texas/Rider), Billy Price (Youngstown, Ohio/Austintown Fitch), Jayme Thompson (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) and Michael Hill (Pendleton, SC/Pendleton) all slipped a bit in the latest rankings, but nothing enough – the biggest hit was Hill’s eight-spot slide – to warrant any kind of upheaval.
Cam Burrows (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood) and Evan Lisle (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) stayed strong at No. 19 and No. 145, respectively. The only Ohio State pledges not in the ESPN 300 are defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle (Elyria, Ohio/Elyria), punter Johnny Townsend (Orlando, Fla./Boone) and linebacker/safety Darron Lee (New Albany, Ohio/New Albany).