The early returns on Ohio State’s 2013 recruiting class are strong.
As the halfway point of the recruiting year rounded the corner last week, Ohio State had 16 commitments and a ton of praise.
BuckeyeNation caught up with ESPN college football analyst and recruiting coordinator Craig Haubert and he echoed the praise of the class, which is ranked fifth nationally at this point.
“They’ve done outstanding,” Haubert said. “They’ve recruited very well before, but ever since Urban Meyer came on -- and it shouldn’t surprise anybody -- he’s really been able to get Ohio State quickly back among the elite in recruiting.
“He came on board, took that  class over and built one of the best classes and did it in the trenches. That was an outstanding haul of defensive linemen last year, but now this 2013 class has a bit more of a shift to the perimeter. He’s building this team from the inside out. It’s in the mix for a top-five class.”
Here’s a look at what Haubert had to say about all 16 recruits in this year’s class:
CB Cam Burrows: The fourth-rated corner, Burrows is among the top 20 prospects in the nation. This is a big and athletic corner with the potential to develop into a safety as well and can offer coverage versatility. He should be able to come in and make his presence felt on special teams and also contribute in the secondary.
ATH Jalin Marshall: Marshall is a prospect who has the ability to be a playmaker with the ball in his hands. A high school Wildcat QB, he offers some versatility in how he can be used, but likely is more of a full-time wide receiver for the Buckeyes. He will need to develop further at the position. He might not be an immediate impact guy or even strong early contributor, but he’s a good in-state prospect who has a high ceiling for development.
OT Evan Lisle: The ESPN 150 OL is a tough customer in the trenches. This is a physical kid with the tools to be an excellent run-blocker. He needs to keep filling out his frame and he will need some more development in pass protection. Those things may call for a redshirt, but in time the Ohio native seems to fit the bill nicely of a Big Ten OL.
DT Billy Price: This is one of those kids who’s hard not to like at least a little as he comes across as a good football player and a tough kid. Defense may be his destination, but he’s a kid who could help the Buckeyes in some way on either side of the ball.
S Jayme Thompson: This is a safety who plays the game fast and is physical and can make plays in all three levels of the defense. As the Buckeyes develop Thompson he is a player who can help them in different ways defensively.
S Darron Lee: This is a prospect who is listed as a safety but we could see him developing into more of a full-time outside linebacker for the Buckeyes. Lee is not one of the bigger names in the Buckeyes' class and likely not an immediate contributor, but this is a kid who shows a high ceiling for development and could grow into a real good player for them.
DT Tracy Sprinkle: Sprinkle is a bit of a D-end/tackle ‘tweener’ at this stage, but we feel he will develop into and fit better with added mass as a defensive tackle in college and will likely be needed more as an interior player for the Buckeyes. He needs further development, but this is a physical and strong kid who can explode off the ball and has the ability to grow into a D-tackle who can defend the run and also be a productive interior pass rusher.
DT Joey Bosa: Out of one of the top high school programs in the nation, Bosa is a good, tough football player who should be able to quickly work his way into the Buckeyes D-line rotation. He is a pretty technically sound player for a HS prospect. He quickly fires off the ball and plays with excellent pad level and does a great job of shooting his hands and also plays with some nastiness -- another strong D-line pick-up for Ohio State under Meyer.
K Johnny Townsend: Punters don’t get much love in recruiting or really in general, but can play a key role and Townsend is a good overall athlete with the tools to be a fine punter at the college level.
TE Marcus Baugh: A California import, Baugh is a good athlete with some nice upside as a tight end. He needs to keep developing physically, but has the tools to be a very good well-rounded tight end for the Buckeyes.
WR Taivon Jacobs: A kid with speed and good, soft hands he can develop into a vertical threat for the Buckeyes and could also be a productive kick returner. A kid with a slight build and still somewhat raw as a player, his speed can make him a home-run threat in the passing and return games in Columbus.
RB Ezekiel Elliott: A running back with the tools to be an every-down player for the Buckeyes. He has a very good blend of size, speed and strength and can be a tough, productive Big Ten runner. He is also a good receiver out of the backfield and that adds to his value and can allow him to develop into an all-around threat and three-down back for Ohio State.
OT Tim Gardner: Gardner is not one of the first names off people’s tongues when they talk about the Buckeyes' talented class and he is likely not an immediate contributor, but this is a big boy who plays with some nastiness and displays some good athleticism for his size. With some time in the Buckeyes’ strength-and-conditioning program, he can develop into a productive OL for them.
CB Eli Woodard: In a very strong cornerback class, Woodard is among the best. The five-star is an explosive athlete, but also he possesses good instincts and anticipation skills as well and is one of those kids who seem to get around the ball and find ways to make plays. Woodard has the tools to come in and contribute, and in conjunction with Burrows gives Ohio State an excellent tandem of corner prospects in this class. The two could become a dangerous duo in time.
DT Michael Hill: Hill may be out of the South, but he seems like a perfect fit for play in the Big Ten trenches. He can be a stout interior run stuffer, as he can be tough to push off the ball and can draw attention and clog things up. Likely a guy who will aid the defense best as a run defender, he can also be a guy against the pass who can push and collapse the pocket and help make it tough for opposing QBs to be able to get away from the talented edge rushers that Ohio State has brought in.
QB J.T. Barrett: You wish he had a little better height, but this is a good prospect who fits the mold of what Ohio State has at quarterback now in the very talented Braxton Miller -- a dual-threat QB who is a passer first, runner second. He is a competitive kid with good intangibles and instincts and at this stage, his accuracy and athleticism are his best traits. Miller was an excellent prospect and is developing into an outstanding college player, but with Barrett the Buckeyes have a prospect with the potential to take the reins of the offense down the road and not have there be much drop-off.