13 February 2011
The Buckeyes just offered Devan Bogard from Glenville. USC offered him right after signing day. Yes, he is definitely worthy of an offer. In a class full of hitters he could be the best of them. High motor, good speed and great instincts. Brings it on every play. He could be a strong safety but is such a natural at the Star that I would not be surprised to see him end up there. . 5-11, 6-0 and about 180.
I wanted to take my time and roll out the safety class but this offer has accelerated my schedule. We talk about the defensive line class, and to a lesser extent the running backs, but this is the best safety class I have ever seen in Ohio. The talent is so deep that I can divide them up between strong safeties and free safeties. If you put a gun to my head, and that is what you fans are inclined to do, I would rank the strong safeties how they are listed below, but I say just pick one. They are all that good.
I want to mention Colerain's Andre Jones first. I list him with the strong safeties but he would be my number one free safety too as I see him as the most versatile safety in the class, being an elite player at
either strong or free. I have been concerned about Bradley outgrowing safety but after watching his junior film I don't care if he grows into a linebacker. I still want him.
Bam Bradley, 6-3, 205, Trotwood-Madison
All the tools to draw comparisons to former USC great Taylor Mays. Runs great. Ferocious hitter. Outstanding tackler. Schools that need to fill a slot at safety may shy away from this elite prospect. Fast and athletic enough to play free safety but I like a kid this big and who hits like Bradley at strong safety. Bradley is a big framed kid could easily grow into a linebacker. He is at least 6-2 and his listed 6-3 is probably accurate. If I were making the call I would recruit him as a linebacker. Just as good in the classroom as he is on the football field.
Marcus Foster, 6-2, 190, Troy
The most complete defensive back in the class. Ball skills are second to none. Big hitter. Very explosive. Outstanding tackler too. There is a difference. Plays a very physical corner. Yes, I said corner. Tough against the run. I don't see corner speed but a safety who can cover is a huge plus. Great on the ball. Tough against the run and can cover. That is the complete package.
Andre Jones, 6-1, 190, Colerain
Late to scene. I heard his name for quite some time but did not see film until recently. Tackles like a strong safety. Excellent run support player and a good blitzer. For teams that want an in the box strong safety, this is your guy but he is outstanding on the ball. Good enough to be a fine free safety. Having a free safety that is good enough versus the run to play strong safety is a big plus. Another thing about Jones is he is probably the fastest and the strongest of the this outstanding group of safeties.
Devan Bogard, 5-11, 180, Glenville
Pound for pound the hardest hitter in Ohio. This is a class full of big hitting safeties. Bogard gives away size to the others but does this kid ever bring it. After seeing him for the first time I said he was like Jack Tatum. An exaggeration while caught up in the film of a great player, but not by much. After watching him a couple more times I see Troy Polamalu in his game. He throws himself about with no regard for his body whatsoever. Plays with a rabid intensity. His read-react-run is elite level. He may not be a strong safety. There is so little film of him in coverage that I can't say he is on the level of the other top safeties in that important area. Where I think he fits perfectly is at the hybrid position which is called the Star at Ohio State, where he is very likely to end up.
Antonio Johnson, 6-0 200, Shaker Heights
Any other year Johnson is the top safety in Ohio. Right now nobody is talking about him. Great player. Another big hitter. Solid in coverage but at his best zeroing in on a ball carrier. Solidly built. Could be a great hybrid. Very physical and plays very smart. Should be a Big Five safety and surely will be if he comes anywhere near his listed 4.47 forty during the athlete season.
Najee Murray, 5-11, 190, Steubenville
A jack of all trades. He can play either safety or he could play wide receiver. On either side of the ball Murray makes plays.
I am going to list the free safeties separately. Again I mention Andre Jones would top this list. The other names on this list may be players you have not heard anything about.
Allen Gant, 6-2, 200, Sylvania
Gant is such a smart football player and I see a better athlete than I first thought he was. Versatility is the name of the game with Gant. He is best at free safety but he could play strong safety, and he could play receiver if things get ugly at that position for whatever school he chooses. Looked really good at the Buckeye camp last year. Close family ties to Michigan with his dad being a Wolverine and his cousin is Charles Woodson, but the rumormill says he is a Buckeye fan. We will see.
Jarrod Wilson, 6-3, 200, Buchtel
Remember the name. This is my dark horse for the safety who comes out of this class four years from now with the highest NFL rating. If a college coach came to me and said he played eight in the box alot and needed a centerfielder right in the middle of the field I would suggest Jarrod Wilson. He is fast and very athletic. He reads the game and reacts to the ball as well as any safety in the class. The best cover safety in the class. The best safety in the class on the ball. He needs to be a better tackler. The good news is he is a willing tackler. Never shies away from contact. Stellar in the classroom too.
Frank Epitropoulos, 6-3, 190, Upper Arlington
Another top drawer centerfielder type safety. Not much on him in run support but what a player on the ball. Super athlete. Can jump out of the stadium. Great on the ball. Very fast. Already seeing MAC offers. After the athlete season I suspect his stock will soar.
Jay Mastin, 6-2, 200, Centerville
Centerville is loaded with D-1 football talent. It is easy to overlook players when there are so many other there flashing D-1 potential. I did not notice Mastin until Mar Porter suggested I look at him. For some he is a strong safety because he is such a great tackler but any player that reads the game like Mastin and is so good on the ball, I put him at free safety. If I were advising him I would say get with the track coach ASAP then get out to the camps and combines. It will change his life if he can run 4.6 or better.
Jason O'Bryan, 6-3, 190, Madison
Madison. Not Mansfield Madison. Not Trotwood-Madison. Just Madison. He is yet another Big Ten caliber safety in this class. One of the most versatile players in the class. Tall, long and very athletic. Great leaper. Faster than he looks and plays the game with reckless abandon. Very physical and plays smart. Another hitter in this class but good on the ball. Good hands. In fact he is good enough that he might be a better receiver. High character kid.
Mark Meyers, 6-1, 180, Whitmer
I liked Meyers as a corner coming off his sophmore tape. He has grown into a safety and will be a good one. His stint as a corner will prove invaluable as he will be comfortable in coverage. Such a smart player. You can see him reading and thinking out there. Very willing in run support.
James Sanford, 6-2, 180, Xenia
One of the most underrated players in Ohio. Sanford is so smooth he looks like he is not moving fast. He may need to get out to camps and combines and show how fast he is to get the offers he deserves. A battler and very willing in run support.
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