As much as it pains this writer to say this, the Ohio Bobcats put together a solid class in 2018 as they added depth with five-year players for the most part, particularly on defense. Frank Solich and his staff snatched up 21 recruits, five of which being three-stars, and their class came in at #122 on 247Sports.com’s class rankings. Let us now go through position-by-position to get acquainted with the new ‘Cats.
QB Joe Mischler - Cathedral Prep High School, Erie, Pennsylvania (5’11”, 180 lbs., two-star)
Mischler comes to Athens as an accomplished passer as he was a two-time state champion as well as a two-time All-State selection and two-time AAAA Player of the Year. He threw for 3,255 yards and 38 touchdowns as a senior and added six more scores on the ground. As you can see on his Hudl film, he is dangerous outside of the pocket and has excellent ball placement but will be forced to make plays from the pocket at the next level, which will be problematic with his small stature. Mischler will likely be redshirted in 2018 with Quinton Maxwell, Nathan Rourke, and Drew Keszei all returning as signal callers.
RB O’Shann Allison - Malvern Prep High School, Malvern, Pennsylvania (5’10”, 195 lbs., two-star)
Also a basketball player at Malvern Prep, Allison was the #3-ranked RB in the state following a career in which he rushed for 3,000 yards and 35 touchdowns. He fits the downhill running style of Ohio’s offense and gets yards after contact, but needs some more build to handle the physicality of college football. He’ll redshirt this season with five other RBs on the roster.
WR Jerome Buckner - Gahanna Lincoln High School, Columbus, Ohio (5’9”, 165 lbs., two-star)
WR Darfnell Gouin - South Fort Myers High School, Fort Myers, Florida (6’2”, 205 lbs., two-star)
WR Shane Hooks - Olympia High School, Orlando, Florida (6’4”, 175 lbs., three-star)
This trio of receivers hace a strong athletic pedigree with Buckner being a three-time State Champion in track in addition to reeling in over 4,600 recieving yards and 44 touchdowns, Gouin also running track and being a two-way player, and Hooks using his experience as a basketball player to haul in seven scores in his senior season. Buckner is an explosive playmaker despite his size, Gouin is a physical presence outside, and Hooks is a big target and is good at getting separation. These WRs will also be redshirted with 16 other players at their position still on the roster.
TE Alec Burton - Danville Community School, Danville, Indiana (6’4”, 215 lbs., three-star)
Ohio might be getting a gem in Burton as he was named Mr. Football and All-State in Indiana following a senior season where he caught 46 passes for 700 yards and 15 TDs. He is really effective as a receiver as he high points the ball and is good at getting yards after catch but will have to develop as a blocker at the next level. The former basketball player will likely sit out 2018 with four other TEs remaining on the roster.
OL Kurt Danneker - Williamsport Area High School, Linden, Pennsylania (6’3”, 330 lbs., two-star)
OL Patrick Gilliland - Bishop Hartley High School, Gahanna, Ohio (6’6”, 315 lbs., two-star)
OL Bryce Ramer - Beaver Area High School, Beaver, Pennsylvania (6’5”, 315 lbs., two-star)
The Bobcats have some OLs to develop in this class as Danneker was named as a 6A All-American in 2016 and is a great finisher of blocks, Gilliland is a two-time state champion and All-Stater, and Ramer was nominated for Mr. Pennsylvania his junior and earned All-State honors his senior year thanks to his physicality in the run game. This group could form the nucleus of the ‘Cats offensive line with a year or two of development.
DL Antrez Baker - Brownsburg High School, Brownsburg, Indiana (6’3”, 235 lbs., two-star)
DL Cole Baker - East Mississippi Community College, Pinson, Alabama (6’3”, 275 lbs., two-star)
DL Zach Burks - Coffeyville Community College, Olathe, Kansas (6’2”, 290 lbs., three-star)
DL Kylen McCracken - Cleveland Heights High School, Cleveland Heights, Ohio (6’4”, 285 lbs., two-stars)
DL Bryce Stai - Norris High School, Lincoln, Nebraska (6’3”, 230 lbs., two-star)
Cole Baker had a strong showing at the school featured on “Last Chance U” with four sacks and nine TFLs on his way to a national title, while Burks recorded eight TFLs at his JUCO last season. Antrez Baker registered 52 tackles and five sacks as he was named to the All-State team twice, McCracken showed some versatility as a two-way player and a wrestler, while Stai was named to the All-State Class B team. Ohio doesn’t have a lot of seniority on the defensive line, so Cole Baker and Burks could potentially get some playing time in 2018.
LB Bryce Houston - Olentangy Orange High School, Lewis Center, Ohio (6’0”, 215 lbs., two-star)
LB Jack McCrory - Springfield Shawnee High School, Springfield, Ohio (6’2”, 220 lbs., two-star)
LB Keye Thompson - Barberton High School, Barberton, Ohio (6’0”, 205 lbs., two-star)
A two-time All-Stater in football and a All-State honoree in wrestling, Houston was a landshark at middle linebacker as he had 81 tackles, seven sacks, and two picks in his senior season while McCrory is effective at getting off blocks as he was a First Team All-Stater with 101 tackles, two sacks, and an interception in his final high school season. Thompson was a force as he was named All-State as well as a three-time Defensive Player of the Year as he tallied 144 tackles, four sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in his senior season. The ‘Cats are deep at LB, so expect this group to sit for the 2018 season.
CB Justin Birchette - Dwyer High School, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (5’11”, 175 lbs., two-star)
CB John Gregory - Indian Land High School, Indian Land, South Carolina (6’2”, 190 lbs., two-star)
These CBs come into Athens as productive players as Birchette is a complete CB as he registered 50 tackles, 30 PBUs, and six INTs last season while Gregory had 41 tackles, 14 PBUs, five TFLs, and a sack as his length causes problems for WRs. The CB room is fairly deep, so redshirts should be expected for these two.
S Jamison Collier - (Brookwood High School, Snellville, Georgia (6’2”, 185 lbs., three-star)
S Jeremiah Wood - Pickerington Central High School, Pickerington, Ohio (6’0”, 200 lbs., three-star)
The Bobcats picked up some talent on the back end as Collier is the prototypical long, athletic, physical safety as he had 96 tackles, five PBUs, and three picks in his senior season, while two-time All-State honoree Wood led his team to a state title with 100 tackles and two INTs as he is an instinctive player from his spot at SS. These two Ss will likely be redshirting this season with eight players at the position returning from 2017.
Next up in the National Signing Day 2018 Recap series: the Central Michigan Chippewas. You can get caught up with the recaps below: