Moments ago, Ohio State added another key piece to its highly ranked 2018 recruiting class, bringing another talented prospect to Urban Meyer’s program. What will the Buckeyes’ latest verbal bring to Columbus, on and off the field?
The Buckeyes picked up a major addition to their 2018 recruiting class on Tuesday afternoon as 4-star linebacker Dallas Gant chose Ohio State over Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State.
What are they getting from this big addition? Let’s take a look.
As a football player
It’s rare to see a 17-year-old with the frame that Dallas Gant has. Five months ago, he was a 6-foot-3, 205-pound linebacker who was too skinny for his own good. Now, after months of eating smarter and training harder, Gant weighs in at almost 230 pounds and has changed his entire body.
In other words, he’s adaptable and coachable. His former coach at Toledo (Ohio) St. John’s Jesuit, Doug Pearson, coached Gant for three years at the high school level and says he’s confident that his star player can make an impact at any linebacker position.
“I think he can play any of the three linebacker positions,” Pearson told Land of 10. “He’s got the length to play SAM on the tight end, he’s got instinct to play Mike – the inside – and the sideline-to-sideline wheels. But he’s also got athleticism to play Will and cover a slot receiver and do those kind of things. He can play any one of the three.”
That flexibility is just one part of what makes Gant a special prospect on the football field. He prefers to line up in the middle, but knows that isn’t necessarily his future.
“I do like the middle,” Gant told Land of 10 in Cleveland prior to the regional combine for Nike’s The Opening in April. “I like being in the mix of everything, but I played outside my freshman year and feel comfortable there, too. Wherever the coaches in college tell me to play, that’s where I’ll go. I just want to make an impact and do the right things to help my team.”
Big, fast and versatile, that’s what Gant is on the field. He’s not close to a finished product, but he’s cerebral and instinctive and will provide immediate depth for the Buckeyes at all three linebacker spots in 2018.
His role in the 2018 recruiting class
Gant is the first linebacker to join Ohio State’s 2018 class and the first recruiting “win” for new linebackers coach Billy Davis.
He’s the 10th player in the Buckeyes class and second prospect from Ohio to commit to Urban Meyer this cycle. Ohio’s fourth-ranked prospect is one of what is likely to be a three-man class at linebacker, with 4-star prospects Teradja Mitchell (Virginia), Solomon Tuliaupupu (California) and Christopher Oats (Ohio) among the favorites to line up alongside him.
The country’s 126th-ranked overall player in 2018 joining the class means the Buckeyes have a solid 10 commitments, each of whom is ranked as one of the nation’s top 260 prospects. The addition of Gant moves Ohio State ahead of Penn State in the 247Sports.com composite rankings as the Big Ten’s best recruiting class, now behind only Miami (17 commitments) in the national rankings.
Now an official member of the recruiting class, Gant told Land of 10 he intends to work hard to keep the group growing.
“I’m just going to wrap everything up,” Gant said of his own recruitment moving forward. “Not take any more visits and then just try to help us get as many recruits as we can.”
The off-the-field, intangible-type stuff
Gant’s biggest asset off the field is his humility. He doesn’t seek the attention that often comes with being a highly regarded prospect. He’d much rather focus on his schoolwork, his teammates and his family.
“He’s very, very bright, and he’s always been a tremendous student and still is. I knew when he was probably 12 or 13 that he was going to be a special guy,” Pearson said of Gant. “Dallas is very humble. His parents have done a great job with him. He’s done a tremendous job with all this attention because a lot of guys that have what he’s got? They can be jerks. It hasn’t changed Dallas a bit. He treats people the same way he always has.”
Gant’s humble but confident. He’s quiet in his work but the work is being done, without question.
“He’s worked very hard. Dallas trains very hard. He brings great athleticism to the table and does all the right things,” his former coach said. “He’s a very positive young man and a hard worker. Guys feed off of him, because he’s a good role model. He’s revered by our faculty, as well as our other students.
“Ohio State is getting a very special person and football player.”