You know the best – and worst – thing about paying so much attention to college football recruiting? The fact that you really never know what you’re getting. You’d imagine, since Ohio State has the country’s second-ranked recruiting class, that it’s full of future stars and prospects everyone is raving about at every turn. While that’s partially true, there are also players in the committed column who have been, for one reason or another, overlooked.
Who are the players in Urban Meyer’s recruiting class that aren’t getting enough love? Let’s take a look at that exact topic and understand that in a class chock-full of Top 100 players, it’s not easy to find guys who are “underrated.”
Jake Moretti • Offensive tackle • Arvada (Colo.) Pomona • Position rank: 13 • National rank: 78
The first player on this list is 4-star offensive tackle Jake Moretti. He missed his senior season because of a season-ending knee injury in June.
Moretti was quickly shooting up the rankings nationally because of his versatility and athleticism. During a regional camp for Nike’s The Opening in May, Moretti – competing against 5-star talents like Josh Myers and Jedrick Wills – may have been the best lineman in the camp, regardless of position.
When he arrives at Ohio State in January, Moretti will be just about six months removed from knee surgery. Will he emerge as a potential surprise player along the Buckeyes offensive line in 2017? He has the talent to do so and a work-ethic to match, according to his coach Jay Madden.
“His work ethic is not comparable to anyone I’ve ever coached. He is committed to being the best player he can possibly be. He’s also the most competitive kid you’ll ever find. He does not like to lose – at anything.”
Haskell Garrett • Defensive tackle • Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman • Position rank: 5 • National rank: 60
Is it possible for the No. 60-ranked player to be underrated? I think so, because defensive tackle Haskell Garrett is exactly that. The centerpiece of the defense for Bishop Gorman – a team that is on the verge of winning three straight national titles – isn’t the physical freak some of his peers are. That being the case, he’s an exceptional athlete who is productive and explosive. Often double-teamed, Garrett continues to wreak havoc in backfields every single week, just as he’s done for much of the last two seasons.
A player in the mold of former Ohio State lineman Michael Bennett, Garrett could emerge quickly at Ohio State. He is not expected to enroll early, and that will mean a short window of time to try to get acclimated in Columbus. His size, speed and quickness make him worth watching for playing time next season.
Brendon White • Athlete • Powell (Ohio) Olentangy Liberty • Position rank: 3 • National rank: 112
One of the country’s most exciting athletes, Brendon White finds himself on this list because he is – right now – a player without a true position. At Olentangy Liberty High School, White played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, linebacker, defensive back and even punted. Over the course of the past year, White went from a relative unknown on the recruiting front to a borderline Top 100 prospect. It was this past summer when he really showed off his talents, playing every snap at Nike’s The Opening in the defensive backfield.
At Ohio State, White is likely to get his first crack at playing time on special teams and as a linebacker. Schematically, he could be used similarly to Darron Lee. One area that White is ahead of Lee, though, is his physical development. He’s going to come into the Buckeyes program a good 20 pounds heavier than Lee. Like Malik Harrison and Keandre Jones, don’t be surprised when you see White on the field as a freshman next season.