Ohio State’s 2016 recruiting class – the country’s fourth-ranked class – featured 25 signees from 11 states. Many of those players are expected to contribute to the Buckeyes’ on-field success early in their careers.
Join Landof10.com as we introduce you to the next wave of Buckeyes in our Young Bucks series.
Today’s focus is running back Demario McCall, recruited from North Ridgeville, Ohio .
Who is Demario McCall?
Few players in the 2016 recruiting class – or anywhere in the country – were as fun to watch as Demario McCall so Ohio State couldn’t help but notice. The tailback from North Ridgeville burst on to the national recruiting scene on a sophomore when he scored 25 touchdowns and racked up more than 1,500 yards and 10 yards per attempt for the Rangers. Though slight of build, he became a workhorse for coach Luke Durbin in 2014, his junior season, carrying the ball 220 times for just more than 2,300 yards and 35 scores.
- Height: 5 feet 9
- Weight: 182 pounds
- Number: 30
- Hometown: North Ridgeville, Ohio
- High School: North Ridgeville
- Composite Ranking: 2 (All-Purpose running back)
- High School Highlights
Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes offered McCall in May 2014 and, at that point, the recruiting floodgates opened. Michigan, Michigan State, and Notre Dame all offered and received visits, but it was always Ohio State for McCall, who had grown very close to Ohio State’s Tony Alford after he was hired away from the Fighting Irish in February 2015.
“Growing up in Ohio and being an Ohio kid, you almost have to love Ohio State,” McCall told Eleven Warriors. “I don’t only like them because they are the state school, I really love everything about it. The coaching staff is amazing and the campus is beautiful. I also believe the offense really suits my abilities.”
The electric playmaker from Northeast Ohio committed to the Buckeyes in March 2015 after which he never visited any other schools.
What does he bring to Ohio State?
That’s what Demario McCall brings to the Buckeyes, first and foremost. He’s got swagger coming out of his ears and he brings a confidence and personality to a team that lost most of its biggest personalities from 2014 and 2015.
McCall’s strengths on the football field are his vision, his remarkable ability to cut back and accelerate through a hole, and, despite a smaller frame, he’s physically stronger than expected, said Durbin.
“He sees the field and he makes cuts that are typically not human. I think that’s the most impressive thing about how he plays the game. He’s even very good at seeing someone at the last second coming into his vision from the side, being able to stop on a dime and make a lateral cut and have the guy miss. He has a rare ability.”
McCall also has a rare ability to make fun of himself and to make his teammates do the same.
— Tote Nation tOSU (@ToteNation) July 8, 2016
Will he play as a freshman?
After the dismissal of fifth-year senior Bri’onte Dunn, the questions about who will step up in the Buckeyes backfield began to get louder. McCall is one of those players who has the ability and explosiveness to do just that, but will he need to? Urban Meyer says that he’s fighting for his chance.
“Right now,” Meyer said at Ohio State’s media day. “It’s Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson and Demario and Antonio Williams are fighting for that spot.
In the first two weeks of fall camp, the 5-foot-9, 182-pound McCall has been working with the running backs and taking reps as a kick and punt returner. One of the guys he’ll be competing against for the starting spot as a return man, senior Dontre Wilson, says he expects big things from his freshman teammate, but maybe not this year.
“He’s nice man. He’s nice. Very explosive,” Wilson said of McCall. “He’s not the biggest guy, but that’s how it is. I say give him one good year in the program, get him a little bigger. He could definitely make an impact now, though.”
Another Buckeyes tailback, Curtis Samuel also sees a bright future for Demario.
“He has heart,” Samuel said. “He’s a shifty guy. He understands what’s going on, and I feel like he’s got a bright future.”