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When it comes to the state of Ohio, the class of 2008 is dominated by offensive players. Thirteen of the top 15 players in the newly released Rivals.com Ohio top 50 project the offensive side of the ball. While there are still plenty of good defenders littered throughout the list, there's no question that Ohio's talent is quite offensive this season.
At the top of the list is the nation's No. 1 tight end, five-star prospect Kyle Rudolph. The 6-foot-6, 229-pounder committed to Notre Dame in late March, turning down offers from many national programs. Rudolph can create some horrible matchup problems for defenders.
Not only is he big enough to go up and get the ball over defenders, he's also fast enough to get past them. He's one of the top basketball players in Ohio, so there's no questioning his athletic ability. He finished his junior campaign with approximately 30 receptions for 400 yards and seven touchdowns.
"Being a leader on the field is important to me," Rudolph said. "I know that my teammates look up to me in key situations, and I have to do whatever I can to inspire them to victory. I also know that actions speak louder than words, so I have to go out there and do the best that I can and show them the way to victory."
The state's No. 2 player is Massillon Washington athlete Devoe Torrence.
The 6-foot-2, 210 pounder can project on either side of the ball, but he said Ohio State recruited him to start out at running back. The nation's No. 31 player oval had 981 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns in 2006. He also had 130 tackles and six sacks.
Ohio State got an early pledge out of him in March, as he turned down offers from Pittsburgh, Purdue, Akron, Cincinnati, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi and others. He played his junior ball at Canton South, but moved to Massillon – one of the top football programs year in and year out – in Ohio.
"I wanted to play Division I football," Torrence said. "I wanted to prove to myself I can play at that level. And I have friends at Washington. It's been an easy adjustment."
Cincinnati La Salle receiver DeVier Posey, another Ohio State commit – locks down the No. 3 spot. Posey had a great junior season where he racked up 33 receptions for 750 yards and nine touchdowns. He's also an elite track athlete, but this spring he blew up at the NIKE Training Camp in Piscataway, N.J. He took home receiver MVP honors after blowing away everybody he faced in the camp.
"I didn't know I was going to dominate like this, but I know I work on my route running a lot, and I'm hard working," Posey said after the camp. "If it comes down to hard work, then you're going to have look all over the country to find somebody that'd beat me in that department. I didn't think I was going to dominate, but I thought I was going to do well.
"I kind of like to make DBs look goofy. I like running post corners where I can dupe the guy and make him think I'm going inside and then when he jumps it I can cut it back out to the corner. It's a real honor to get named MVP, but it was something that I worked really hard to earn."
Along with Torrence and Posey, Ohio State has reeled in pledges from four other top 50 players in Ohio. At No. 6 on the list is Dublin Coffman tight end Jake Stoneburner, behind him at No. 8 is offensive tackle teammate Mike Adams, Washington Court House defensive end Nathan Williams comes in at No. 12 and kicker Ben Buchanan comes in at No. 42.
Michigan has also been able to dip south of the border and snag two really quality players – tight end Brandon Moore of Trotwood Madison, who is ranked as the No. 5 player, and offensive tackle Elliott Mealer of Wauseon, who is ranked as the No. 13 player.
Other Big Ten schools that have scored solid pledges include Purdue landing No. 22 ranked receiver Roy Roundtree, Wisconsin landing No. 40 ranked offensive guard Jake Current and Penn State landing No. 14 ranked linebacker Mike Zordich.