All Things Buckeyes: Recruiting Classes During Urban’s Reign at the Helm

National Signing Day 2016:

Yes folks, I know that it is far from February 3rd but I am a tab bit late on this.  National Signing Day has come and gone and the Recruiting Class of 2016 is now officially in the books.  This recruiting cycles signee’s are a rad tad bunch of recruits that were identified early on and recruited with relentlessness and poise and I hate to brag but, the Buckeyes have restocked and reloaded  for years to come.  Not only are we set for now, but we are set for years to come.  Let’s think about who the Buckeyes have signed from Urban Meyers fifth recruiting class during his tenure at Ohio State.

Here is the proverbial scoreboard:

For his first class (with a couple of months to recruit mind you) he finished with the 4th best class in the Nation averaging .9029.  This class included a mix of players from the previous staff.  This the 2012 class had key cogs in Ohio State’s run to the First College Football Playoffs.  Joshua Perry, Tyvis Powell, Cardale Jones, Jacoby Boren, Michael Thomas, Adolphus Washington, Taylor Decker and Pat Elflein.  That is a ton of talent that the Ohio State coaching staff had developed and it had certainly paid off with a National Title.

In 2013, Coach Meyer’s second class averaged .8910 and finished 2nd overall.  This is viewed by many recruiting pundits as Urban Meyer’s best recruiting haul while at Ohio State.  His signature class.  Let’s delve into the players that also help contribute to the Inaugural College Football Playoffs.  There are players like Gareon Conley, Dontre Wilson (even though he couldn’t contribute like he wanted to), Evan Lisle, J.T. Barrett, Billy Price, Tyquan Lewis and Corey Smith.   The star power came from Eli Apple, Vonn Bell, Darron Lee, Ezekiel Elliot and a dude, the shrug master, Joey Bosa.  This is definitely one of the better group of players that Coach Meyer has brought in and it is a testament to him as a Coach, a recruiter and his staff as a whole.

His third class in 2014, Coach Meyer finished the year ranked third overall with an average of .8666.  In this class he secured their Linebacker of the future in Raekwon McMillan.  He also stashed away some good talent to help in the secondary with Damon Webb, Marshon Lattimore, Erick Smith and Malik Hooker.  He also shored up the Offensive Line with Brady Taylor, Marcelys Jones (who was later dismissed from the team), Kyle Trout, Demetrius Knox and Jamarco Jones.  He also reeled in potential offensive juggernauts like Curtis Samuel, Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Noah Brown.  Defensive playmakers also were recruited and in what we saw from the Fiesta Bowl last season, Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard will assist in the warpath to the College Football Playoffs next season.

In Coach Meyer’s 2015 class, he filled it up with talent on both sides of the ball.  On defense, he kept Justin Hilliard, Nick Connor and Jerome Baker in their home state of Ohio.  He restocked the offensive line with names like Isiah Prince, Matthew Burrell, Grant Schmidt, Kevin Feder and Brandon Bowen. They brought in defensive line prospects like Dre’Mont Jones, Davon Hamilton, Rashod Berry, Joshua Alabi, Robert Landers and Jashon Cornell.  They did not leave any stone unturned either.  They brought in offensive weapons like Alex Stump, K.J. Hill, Torrance Gibson, Joey Burrow and A.J. Alexander.  The Buckeyes also brought in a few defensive players that will bring depth to the defense with recruits like Damon Arnette, Joshua Norwood, Jamel Dean (now at Auburn), Denzel Ward and Eric Glover-Williams. That is a lot of talent just waiting for their opportunity in the Buckeyes’ next man up mentality.

Now we are up to speed and now we have reached Coach Meyer’s most recent recruiting class.  2016 served as the springboard for next seasons fight stay competitive.  They finished 4th overall with a grade of .9157.  This class was the reload on both sides of the ball that the Buckeyes needed to ease the pain of losing the nine…  YES NINE!!!  Key players from the Championship team.  Meyer had to be picky, but like the theme of the previous classes, the Buckeyes have failed to seal the deal with a highly regarded Defensive Tackle prospect.  Luckily for the Buckeyes, they still have depth at that position and they signed a beastly group of prospects.  The “Big Fish” in this class is a familiar one.  After wreaking havoc in the Big Ten and the nation, Nick Bosa will pick up where his older brother left off.  Jonathan Cooper is a highly regarded Defensive End prospect that is projected to play opposite of Nick in the future.  They also signed Malik Barrow as the sole Defensive Tackle in the class.  The pair of Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor on the perimeter and Jake Hausmann, Kierre Hawkins and Luke Farrell are two pairs of the future for the Buckeyes in the offense.  Demario McCall, Antonio Williams and Dwayne Haskins look to also garner some consideration and possess the skills to compete in the Buckeyes two-deep when Spring Ball comes around.  The Buckeyes reloaded on the offensive line as well.  The trenches have and will always be an important part of the team and with names like Malcolm Pridgeon, Michael Jordan, Tyler Gerald, Gavin Cupp and Jack Wohlabaugh, the Buckeyes have certainly shored up the shortage of offensive lineman. They lost three out of four offensive line starters and I feel like the competition will be entertaining and filled with hungry underclassmen who will battle for a starting spot.  Tuf Borland and Keandre Jones are the two linebacker prospects who have joined the ranks of Linebacker U.  DB U also added key pieces like Wayne Davis, Rodjay Burns, Kareem Felder, Jahsen Wint and Jordan Fuller to battle out for spots.  Malik Harrison is an interesting prospect who wants to play with Zone 6.  He will have some time to decide because there have been a few current and former Buckeyes who have played multiple spots. Sam Hubbard was supposed to be a Safety, but grew into his frame and now Defensive End suits him perfectly fine.  There is also this one Athlete and former Quarterback named Darron Lee who blossomed into a mighty fine Linebacker.  All the kid needs is time and patience and he will eventually find his spot. Lastly, there is a specialist on board.  Punter Drue Chrisman is expected to grayshirt, but there is no doubt that when our current Aussie Punter leaves, Chrisman will take over his role on Special Teams.

Looking forward into the 2017 Class, the Buckeyes already ahead of the pack.  Ranked number one overall with 11, the Buckeyes will undoubtedly be extra picky with the limited number of scholarships to offer.  Quality over quantity and with two five start in Josh Myers and Shaun Wade on-board, this class can only improve.  A bunch of four stars have also joined the class.  Names like Isaiah Pryor, Jake Moretti, Haskell Garrett, Marcus Williamson, Brendon White, Todd Sibley, Jerron Cage and Danny Clark.  The Buckeyes have also secured a commitment from highly sought after kicker, Blake Haubeil. This class will have up to 18 members.  There could be more with the roster attrition.  There could be a surprise transfer or someone could lose their scholarship or get kicked off the team, but hopefully not and you will never know.  There also is a distinct possibility that there could be another mass exodus, part two on the horizon.  But that merely depends on how well the players developed and how well the season went.  If they take care of business and play to the level that they are capable of, they will be extremely happy and the players that are eligible will most likely leave.  If not, I can see players wanting to finish what they had  started.

Either way it has been a blast seeing the Buckeye Empire reload and rebuild itself repeatedly.  Although there have been a ton of notable misses on the Buckeyes end, don’t expect that to deter a coaching staff that builds men and players for the future.  Sure the focus should and will be about winning it all, but the way the coaches tend to their players is astonishing and it should be recognized and commended.  Here is to an outstanding recruiting class of 2017 and I for one will hope that the Buckeyes keep it up to secure the number one spot in the recruiting rankings.  Wrestling it away from Alabama will be a challenge, but with a number of highly ranked targets such as Trevon Grimes, Lamont Wade, Najee Harris, Darnay Holmes, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Jeffrey Okudah, Joshua Kaindoh, Tyjon Lindsey, Cam Akers, Jerry Jeudy, Tony Gray, Anthony Hines, Aubrey Solomon, Ambry Thomas, Jaylen Harris, Fred Hansard, Amir Riep, Antjuan Simmons, Dylan Moses, Isaiah Wilson, Jeff Thomas, Jamyest Williams who all have the Buckeyes within striking range, anything can be and will be possible.  With limited spots, the Buckeyes will be in no rush to sign them all, but like all of us in NCAA Football, WE WANT THEM ALL!!!  Hope you enjoyed this folks.  I miss football already.  Go Buckeyes!  Also I hope that my Broncos draft a few Buckeyes as well.  We need to reload like Ohio State as well.

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