Ohio State, Michigan and the rest of the Big Ten aren’t the only programs mining talent in the state of Ohio–the SEC does a pretty good job too. Here’s a look at five Ohio natives from the past five signing classes (2010 through 2014) who have panned out the best, in our opinion.
Editor’s note: Saturday Down South’s references to ratings follow the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
1. Trey DePriest, LB, Springfield (Ohio)
- Ohio rank: No. 1 Ohio prospect in 2011
- SEC school: Alabama
- The skinny: DePriest was the No. 1 prospect in the state his senior year playing in Springfield (Ohio), even ahead of Ohio State QB Braxton Miller. The linebacker has gone on to a nice three-year career already with the Crimson Tide and has announced he is returning for his final year of eligibility in 2014. He had 11 tackles and a sack in the Iron Bowl last fall, and 7 tackles in the Sugar Bowl. He had 64 tackles as a junior and 59 as a sophomore.
2. Spencer Ware, RB, Cincinnati (Ohio)
- Ohio rank: No. 3 Ohio prospect in 2010
- SEC school: LSU
- The skinny: Texas signee Jordan Hicks and Ohio State’s Andrew Norwell were the only two rated ahead of Ware in the state rankings that year, and Ware went on to an outstanding career at LSU before being selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft last year. He also has a Super Bowl ring from earlier this year, as well as an SEC Championship ring from LSU from 2011. Ware finished with 1,240 career yards and 10 TDs
3. Ryan Kelly, OL, West Chester (Ohio)
- Ohio rank: No. 12 Ohio prospect in 2011
- SEC school: Alabama
- The skinny: Has fought through some injuries during his short career, but has been an impressive replacement for Barrett Jones after the 2012 season and has two years left to start. Was named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List last fall and was an all SEC freshman team member back in 2012 after redshirting in 2011. Is ranked the No. 3 center prospect for the 2016 draft by NFLDraftScout.com.
4. Maty Mauk, QB, Kenton (Ohio)
- Ohio rank: No. 19 Ohio prospect in 2012
- SEC school: Mizzou
- The skinny: By the time Mauk was heading to college, Missouri already knew it was heading into the SEC. Mauk finished his prep career with a national record 18,932 passing yards. He was buried in the prep recruiting rankings but has proven to be effective at Mizzou this past season. He will almost certainly get the nod as the starter this fall, and he threw for 1,071 yards and 11 TDs in a backup/fill-in starting roll last year.
5. Marcus McWilson, DB/LB, Youngstown (Ohio)
- Ohio rank: No. 17 Ohio prospect in 2013
- SEC school: Kentucky
- The skinny: McWilson was Kentucky’s No. 2 rated signee in 2013 behind Jason Hatcher, and his four-star status helped prove what kind of work Mark Stoops could do–even in the short span after Stoops was hired. McWilson made some plays last year as a true freshman, but 2014 will likely be his breakout season. McWilson was Stoops’ first big ‘get’ out of the state of Ohio, something the coach and his staff perfected with the 2014 signing class–which was made up of a majority of talent out of Stoops’ native Ohio.
THE JURY’S STILL OUT (2014 signing class)–Keep an eye on Kentucky true freshmen Mikel Horton, Thaddeus Snodgrass, Nick Richardson, Darius West and Mike Edwards this fall. All five could contribute early for the Wildcats, as they were the cornerstones of Stoops’ second signing class.