The five top-rated Ohio State outside linebacker recruits since 2000

The five top-rated Ohio State outside linebacker recruits since 2000

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We have been diving into some of the more highly touted recruits in Ohio State history. We recently discussed the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive tackles, guards, center, defensive ends, defensive tackles, and inside linebackers. We wanted to look into the history of recruiting outside linebackers.

Some exciting names are on this list. Even though 247Sports‘ recruiting rankings only go back to 2000, there are some memorable names. It is always fun to reflect on how some of these guys performed and whether they lived up to expectations.

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This list only confirms the insane wealth of talent Ohio State has had at the outside linebacker position. Some of the guys that just missed the cut are Justin Hilliard — whose career was riddled with injuries — Reggie Arden, who played multiple positions including tight end, and Mike Mitchell, who ended up transferring to Texas Tech.


Etienne Sabino, Class of 2008

(Dispatch photos by Kyle Robertson)

247Sports Composite Rating .9870

Etienne Sabino is a former high school All-American who was a five-star stud from the state of Florida. Sabino spent most of his collegiate career as a middle linebacker and didn’t exactly live up to the high expectations before going undrafted in 2013.

Etienne Sabino @bino6 Leghhgoo!!! RT @SammySilv: We Are Ready! @bino6 @markpantoni …

— John winterrod (@jwinterrod) August 3, 2015


Dorian Bell, Class of 2009

Sept 2, 2010; Columbus, OH, USA; Marshall Thundering Herd running back Andre Booker (19) fumbles while being tackled by Ohio State Buckeyes defensive back Dominic Clarke (28) and linebacker Dorian Bell (11) on the opening play of their game at Ohio Stadium. Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

247Sports Composite Rating .9899

Dorian Bell is another former five-star recruit who was named a high school All-American from the state of Pennsylvania. Bell transferred from Ohio State to the FCS level in Duquesne, where he dominated.


Marco Cooper, Class of 2000

Ohio State pistol wins third-straight national title | Buckeyes Wire

Jan. 4, 2011; New Orleans, LA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes logo prior to the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at the Louisiana Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

247Sports Composite Rating .9918

Another high school All-American, Marco Cooper was a five-star recruit from Michigan with big expectations but was suspended in 2002 after an arrest.


Baron Browning, Class of 2017

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

247Sports Composite Rating .9940

Another former five-star recruit and high school All-American, Browning was severely underutilized at Ohio State despite seeing significant action since his sophomore season. Browning was moved around and never given the opportunity to properly thrive, but his success in the NFL is evidence of his obvious talent. Browning was drafted in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Baron Browning introducing himself to Trevor Lawrence in the #SugarBowl #OSUvsClemson

— The Buckeye Nut (@TheBuckeyeNut) January 3, 2021


C.J. Hicks, Class of 2022

Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch
Ncaa Football Michigan Wolverines At Ohio State Buckeyes

247Sports Composite Rating .9948

C.J. Hicks is one of the highest-rated players in Ohio State’s recruiting history and the expectations are very high for him and most even expect him to see significant action this season.

The first of several good plays from sophomore C.J. Hicks. Risky throw from Kyle McCord trying to connect with Cade Stover.

— Bill Rabinowitz 🗞 (@brdispatch) April 17, 2023

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