The Commercial Appeal

Meyer has top-5 haul at Ohio State; Miami gets Ray Lewis’ son

- From Our Press Services

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two minutes before Rossville, Ga., defensive back Vonn Bell stepped before the cameras Wednesday morning to declare where he would go to school, he dialed Ohio State coach Urban Meyer’s cellphone.

Too anxious to sit still, Meyer had gotten on a treadmill to burn off energy.

“(Bell) said, ‘You know I’m in, right?’ ” Meyer recalled. “I said, ‘No I didn’t know you were in. Congratula­tions.’ ”

Bell’s commitment to the Buckeyes was the crowning piece to a strong recruiting class for Meyer, who was hampered a year ago in his first year at Ohio State because he wasn’t hired until late November.

Bell is the biggest newcomer. Rated as a five-star prospect by most of the top recruiting services, the 6-1, 190-pounder had 146 tackles and three intercepti­ons as a senior at Ridgeland High. On offense, he had more than 1,700 all-purpose yards and scored 21 touchdowns.

He had been rumored to be going to Tennessee — until he pulled Meyer out of his impromptu workout.

The Buckeyes landed three prime players out of Texas in quarterbac­k J.T. Barrett, linebacker Mike Mitchell and running back Dontre Wilson.

Late in the day, they added running back Ezekiel Elliott from St. Louis as their 24th and final member of the class.

Elsewhere around the nation:

For Ray Lewis III, going to Miami has been a safe assumption since the day he was born.

His father — newly retired Baltimore Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis — played for the Hurricanes. His mother is a Miami graduate as well. So when it came time for their son to pick a school, the decision was easy.

Lewis III, a three-starrated running back, was one of 10 players to send letters of intent back to Miami on Wednesday.

Lewis III sent his letter of intent in very early Wednesday, then with his father at his side, went through a ceremonial signing later in the day at his school, Lake Mary Prep near Orlando, Fla.

“I walked two days from retiring and winning a Super Bowl to walking in and seeing my son following me to my alma mater,” Ray Lewis said. “Who writes a storybook ending like that?”

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly wasn’t about to quibble with recruiting experts who called the recruiting class he signed Wednesday his best.

“I love agreeing with experts,” he joked.

Most recruiting services had the Irish ranked in the top five in the country.

Among the other highly touted players in the class are linebacker Jaylon Smith of Fort Wayne, Ind.; running back Tarean Folston, who rushed for 1,186 yards and 13 touchdowns for Cocoa (Fla.) High School; running back Greg Bryant of Delray Beach, Fla., who rushed for 1,447 yards and 17 touchdowns last season; and safety Max Redfield of Mission Viejo, Calif.

Smith won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top high school linebacker, the same award Irish AllAmerica­n Manti Te’o won four years ago.


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