Print and Go Back ESPN.com: On The Trail: Midwest Region [Print without images]

Friday, February 21, 2014
Early Offer: QBs wanted in Columbus

By Jeremy Crabtree

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Ohio State has made quarterback recruiting a major priority under Urban Meyer and it’s a trend that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon; and it’s a good year for talent in the Pacific Northwest, especially in Washington. Will that translate to good classes for Washington and Washington State?

Meyer always wants QB depth
Urban Meyer
Urban Meyer has been aggressive in pursuing a quarterback in the 2015 class.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has made it clear that quarterbacks are always going to be a priority in his recruiting classes. After signing three-star QB Stephen Collier (Leesburg, Ga./Lee County) in 2014 and four-star QB J.T. Barrett (Wichita Falls, Texas/Rider) in the 2013 class, quarterback looks to be a major focus for the Buckeyes in 2015 and beyond.

Ohio State has already offered eight quarterbacks in the 2015 class, including highly-coveted passers like Torrance Gibson (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./American Heritage), Jarrett Stidham (Stephenville, Texas/Stephenville) and Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas/Allen). On Thursday the Bucks extended a scholarship offer to 2016 quarterback Brandon McIlwain (Newton, Pa./Council Rock), who is regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the country for the 2016 class. McIlwain already has offers from Boston College, South Carolina, Temple, UCLA, Penn State and will certainly add more as he progresses through his junior season. Meyer also has a head start on the 2017 class with a pledge from quarterback Danny Clark of Massillon (Ohio) Washington. Clark started as a freshman for one of the top high school programs in Ohio and has a bright future ahead of him.

“Anybody that watches Urban Meyer’s teams knows that quarterback is what makes them go,” said an SEC assistant who was on Meyer’s staff at Florida. “He would always tell us that quarterbacks were always the most important position on the recruiting board, so it’s no surprise to see that it’s that important for him at Ohio State, too. It’s a smart way to recruit with the style of offense he runs.”

Watch out for Washington talent
Talent in the Pacific Northwest has been up and down over the past few recruiting cycles, but make no mistake: The Class of 2015 in Washington is really talented. Headlined by Washington State defensive tackle commitment Thomas Toki (Kirkland, Wash./Juanita), Washington has six players on the ESPN Junior 300 list. Toki ranks as the No. 13 defensive tackle in the country, No. 97 player overall and draws rave reviews from scouts for his high-level effort. Quarterback Brett Rypien, the nephew of former NFL star and Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien, broke a number of his uncle’s records at Shadle Park High School in Spokane and already has offers from Boise State, Colorado State, Idaho, Mississippi State, Oregon State and Washington State. Washington’s No. 3 prospect, Austin Joyner of Marysville-Pilchuck, has already committed to the Huskies and backed away from the pledge. With all the talent in Washington in the 2015 class, it could set up for some of the most fascinating recruiting battles to follow in the Pac 12. Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State are going to do all they can to secure the top talent, while keeping USC, UCLA and others away.