It's All About Ohio

Ohio is absolutely loaded with prep football talent in 2005. This has to put a smile on the face of Jim Tressel. The only problem is that the Buckeyes can't take everyone and that has to make the rest of the schools that recruit in Ohio very happy. Here's a look at the Midwest "Hot 100" prospects.

The offensive line class in Ohio is especially deep. Cincinnati's Connor Smith leads the MIDWEST HOT 100 in that category, followed by Michigan bound road-grader Justin Boren.

The Buckeye State also boasts the #1 prospect in the Midwest and arguably the best running back in the nation, Chris Wells. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder from Akron has already given Ohio State his verbal commitment.

Chicago's Isiah Williams is the top signal caller in the region. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder, from Chicago (Vocational) has a rocket attached to his shoulder and he's already been invited to participate in the prestigious "Elite 11" Quarterback Camp.

Cleveland (Glenville) quarterback Arvell Nelson is seeing his stock take a steady rise. The 6-foot-4, 180-pounder, recently received a scholarship offer from Iowa. Michigan State and North Carolina are just a few other schools that have offered Nelson a scholarship.

The wide receiver crop is lead by two-sport star Josh Chichester. The 6-foot-8, 205-pounder from West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West is being compared to Purdue wide receiver Kyle Ingraham Will Chichester play basketball in college or football? Maybe both?

Decatur (Ill.) MacArthur wide-out Marques Wilkins could be the most underrated prospect in the Midwest. Wilkins is a quick-twitch athlete that has terrific speed and burst in the open field.

Taking a look at the tight end position, this could be perhaps one of the deepest pools at this position in a long time. Ohio's Zach Meagher is already committed to Louisville. Two more Ohioans, Jake Ballard, an Ohio State commitment and Jeff Cumberland, could also make an impact at the next level at the tight end position.

Moving over to the defensive side of the ball, the list starts and ends with Detroit (MI) Crockett linebacker Brandon Graham. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound, Graham is a one man wrecking crew he has given Michigan his verbal commitment.

Linebacker is a position that's very deep this year in the Midwest. Coldwater, Ohio's Ross Homan is committed to Ohio State while Cincinnati (Colerain) inside linebacker is set to give his pledge to Michigan.

Euclid, Ohio linebacker Thaddeus Gibson is a tenacious hitter that will have his pick of schools come February. Mixon's teammate over at Colerain, Tyler Moeller, has surprised everyone on the camp circuit this summer earning scholarships from Iowa, Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Indiana and Cincinnati.

Indiana linebacker A.J. Edds, the cousin of Notre Dame verbal commitment Luke Schmidt, is also a rock solid linebacker that brings plenty of talent and athletic ability to the table.

The defensive line position in the Midwest isn't as deep as past years but there's still some talent to be had by college recruiters. Ohio's Kallen Wade (defensive end) has already given Notre Dame his verbal commitment as has fellow Ohioan John Ryan. Both are being recruited to play on the defensive line for the Irish.

Cleveland (Glenville) defensive end Robert Rose didn't make the Scout.com National "Hot 100" but in my eyes he has the potential to be one of the best defensive linemen to come out of this class.

Ohio State commitment Jake Ballard could play defensive end in Columbus. Could Jeff Cumberland play defensive end in college? He'd be a night-mare coming off the edge with his 4.5 speed.

Taking a look at the defensive backfield, it's more Ohio. Clayton's Kurt Coleman is a terrific cornerback that just gave Ohio State his verbal commitment. Cleveland's Ray Small is a game-breaking prospect that could play on both sides of the football. Trotwood's Jovani Chappel is a little undersized but he makes up for that with his aggressive style of play.

Indiana's Steve Brown is another prospect that was left off the National "Hot 100" but that's not because he wasn't deserving of the honor. Don't be surprised if Brown is the best of this bunch in a few years.

In closing, looking at the talent pool in the Midwest, Ohio is absolutely loaded while just about every other state in the Midwest is having a down year. Illinois had its best year in ages only a year ago but there's only a few blue-chippers in the Land of Lincoln this season.

Besides Brandon Graham, the state of Michigan isn't what it usually is and the same goes for Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.

However, this is an unusually good year in Indiana led by Notre Dame bound running back prospects James Aldridge and Luke Schmdit. We already talked about Steve Brown and A.J. Edds as well. A pair of Hoosier offensive linemen, Brandon Jordan and Cody Faulkner are also solid prospects.

Look for this "Hot 100" to fluctuate on a monthly basis. Nothing stays the same in recruiting. There will be prospects emerging in the upcoming months and there will be prospects that may drop as well. We'll be sure to keep you up to date.

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