Ohio State commit Arvell Reese

Closer Look: Arvell Reese Brings Size, Range To Linebacker Position

Arvell Reese comes to Ohio State from the familiar stomping grounds of Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the latest in a long line of former Tarblooders who are now Buckeyes. Reese was a summer enrollee, so his next practice at Ohio State will be his first.

Reese was ranked the No. 22 linebacker in the nation and the No. 211 player in the 2023 class overall. He was the fifth-ranked player in the state of Ohio State. He chose the Buckeyes over offers from Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State, USC, and others.

What To Like

As a high school junior, it was speculated that Arvell Reese could eventually grow into a defensive end. As a senior, however, he spent most of his time playing linebacker. He still moved around plenty as Glenville looked for ways to unleash him on opposing offenses. His physicality stands out immediately, which will bode well down the road.

Currently listed at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Reese certainly stands out as a taller linebacker in his highlights. You can see why defensive end was seen as an eventuality. However, he runs just fine for a linebacker, and he arrives at the football like the person who shows up to the office Christmas party with zero internal filter.

The Potential

So what happens in Jim Knowles’ defense when you have a big linebacker like Arvell Reese who excels at attacking the line of scrimmage? Maybe he eventually becomes a Jack.

Knowles’ hybrid linebacker/defensive end position was manned by sophomore Jack Sawyer last year, but this year will be handled by fourth-year junior Mitchell Melton and sophomore CJ Hicks. It’s a position that attacks the line of scrimmage from potential weak spots, forcing an offensive line to make on-the-fly adjustments.

This is something that Reese has already done at Glenville, as you can see in the clips below. He is comfortable rushing the passer from the edge, or as a quasi-blitzer between a defensive and and defensive tackle. He is able to show certain looks and still back out of them to run east and west, or drop back into coverage in some kind of a zone blitz package.

The Expectations

Ohio State generally only plays two linebackers at a time, and there’s already a logjam at the position this year. The same could go for the potential depth chart at Jack. As such, a redshirt year is quite possible for Arvell Reese. The Buckeyes could be losing a number of linebackers after this season, however, so next year could be an interesting one for Reese.

Even though much of the talk so far here has been about a hybrid role, there isn’t any reason to think that Reese can’t be a linebacker at Ohio State. He has shown a ton of potential when it comes to reading and reacting, and he gets to where the ball is going, which Jim Knowles loves. Reese can get sideline to sideline, or stay right between the tackles. He is also looks comfortable in pass coverage.

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The Bottom Line

The bottom line with Arvell Reese is that he is big enough — and more importantly good enough — to give Ohio State options down the road. He will provide some unique possibilities for OSU’s defensive staff. However, if the coaches decide that his best path is to simply play linebacker and do what a linebacker does, Reese won’t have any issues with that. Opposing running backs might, of course.

Reese uses his size and motor to bring physicality to the field, and that’s going to be his style regardless of the position he is playing.

Previous Closer Look editions

Quarterback Lincoln Kienholz | Wide Receiver Carnell Tate | Wide Receiver Brandon Inniss | Wide Receiver Noah Rogers | Wide Receiver Bryson Rodgers | Tight End Jelani Thurman | Offensive Lineman Vic Cutler | Offensive Lineman Josh Simmons | Offensive Lineman Luke Montgomery | Offensive Lineman Joshua Padilla | Defensive End Joshua Mickens | Defensive Tackle Kayden McDonald Defensive Tackle Jason Moore | Cornerback Jermaine Mathews, Jr. | Cornerback Calvin Simpson-Hunt | Cornerback Davison Igbinosun | Safety Ja’Had Carter | Safety Jayden Bonsu

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