Christmas came early for the Ohio Bobcats, it appears. A day after losing to ECU in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, 3-star kicker Pierce Royster verbally committed to the Ohio Bobcats for the 2014 class, according to Scout.com (pay-wall).
Royster, a 5-foot-9 inch, 170-pound placekicker out of Hudson High School in Hudson, Ohio had an offer from SEC member Mississippi State. He will join a crowded kicking core next season that will feature a pair of redshirt juniors in current starter Josiah Yazdani and former Oklahoma State kicker Matt Green, and a redshirt freshman, Matt Amicone.
He spoke with Scout.com reporter Simone Scott the day after Christmas, saying, "I committed to Ohio. It's the right fit for me." The senior previously fielded conversations from fellow MAC schools Toledo, Kent State and Buffalo, but never received offers.
The 'Cats struggled to find stability at kicker earlier on this season before ultimately settling on Yazdani as the placekicker and moving Green to punter in place of struggling second-year punter Grant Venham. Yazdani performed well, nailing his first 14-field goal attempts of the season before missing his last, a 45-yarder in the fourth quarter of Ohio's bowl loss. With Green likely making a permanent move to punter in 2014, and Yazdani likely to remain the starting kicker, Royster will most likely redshirt in 2014, and was likely added as a future insurance policy.
The addition of Royster might not be the only new member to Frank Solich's 2014 class. There are whisperings going around that former Louisville commit, offensive tackle Jared McCray has tossed a verbal to the Bobcats as well, though nothing has been confirmed by any of the scouting services yet. A 3-star recruit according to 247sports, Rivals, Scout and ESPN, the 6-foot-4, 303-pounder has offers from fellow MAC schools Akron and Kent State as well as from larger programs, including Louisville which he de-committed from in late November.
He took an official visit to Ohio on Dec. 6 according to 247sports.com, but none of the services are showing a commitment to the Bobcats yet, despite word that he has in fact committed. If Ohio can add him in addition to Ryoster it would be a pair of solid 3-star recruits to a class that is starting to fill out nicely.