The 2015 Ohio State Recruiting Class, By The Numbers

Before reviewing the 2015 Ohio State recruiting class, I want to congratulate Coach Stan Drayton for his recent move to the NFL’s Chicago Bears as the Bears running backs coach. Coach Drayton was highly instrumental in the development of Ohio State running backs Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott from 2012-2014. I wish Coach Drayton all the best as he moves onto the NFL.

The 2015 Ohio State recruiting class, with twenty-seven players signed, ranks as one of the top recruiting classes in the country. While I have never placed too much emphasis on how various recruiting analysts rate recruiting classes, I do pay attention to 1) if other top programs are recruiting the players that Ohio State has signed, and 2) if the recruiting class helped to address needs within Ohio State’s program. By those measurements, Ohio State’s 2015 recruiting class did very well.

Geographically, Ohio State signed twelve players from Ohio, three from Florida, two each from Michigan and Virginia, and one player each from Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Utah. While Ohio players may be the majority, the graph below will demonstrate that Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer and his staff will scour the nation in order to find the best players and convince them to become Buckeyes.

2015 OSU Recruits By State

The best position group with this recruiting class? In my estimation, the offensive line recruits are tremendous. Branden Bowen, Matthew Burrell, Kevin Feder, Mirko Jurkovic, Isaiah Prince, and Grant Schmidt will help Ohio State co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Ed Warriner maintain the strong play at the line of scrimmage that Ohio State fans have become accustomed to since the 2012 season. Schmidt is an early enrollee and will participate in spring practice. It is such a relief to see Coach Meyer and Coach Warriner place the strong emphasis on offensive line recruiting; gone are the days of 2010 when Andrew Norwell was the only offensive lineman signed in the recruiting class. One!

A concern for this recruiting class? Very minor, but few interior defensive linemen were signed. Joshua Alabi, DaVon Hamilton, and Robert Landers were signed, but even Coach Meyer stated that the backup defensive line play has been “disappointing”, and “”You’ve got to go, or you’ve got to go.”. With Michael Bennett’s departure to a probable NFL career, and the targeted departures of Adolphus Washington and Joey Bosa after the 2015 season, I am guessing defensive linemen will be a premium target for the 2016 recruiting class.

Which player will be able to make an impact during the 2015 season as a true freshman? Early enrollee Nick Conner may be able to make a mark on special teams, and even at linebacker. A sleeper pick may be Rashod Berry, who will be played at tight end. With Jeff Heuerman’s departure, Nick Vannett a senior, and Marcus Baugh sometimes skirting the good graces of the coaching staff, it may be possible for Berry to get some playing time at tight end.

Yes, recruiting is key to the long-term health of any program. As my Dad used to say, you have to have the horses in order to be able to win, and Coach Meyer was able to secure some highly-touted talent with this class. I believe Fox Sports 1’s Joel Klatt said it best as it relates to what now awaits all of the talented football players who signed their respective national letters of intent on February 4, 2015…

Best of the B1G, #25-21

b1g_iconWe are counting down who we feel are the best players of the B1G. This first week we started at the bottom of the top twenty-five and worked our way up to twenty-one. We started with a Buckeye, offensive guard Andrew Norwell.

#25 Andrew Norwell

Norwell is as steady as she goes and pretty much the definition of consistency on an offensive line loaded with talent and experience. Norwell anchored a Buckeye running game that finished an impressive 10th in the nation last year. Norwell has 25 starts in his career, 20 of which came at left guard. He’s played more snaps last year than any other Buckeye, playing 862 snaps. Norwell played 98.8% of the offensive snaps last year as well and that lead the team.

#24 Chris Borland

there is no better-run stopper at linebacker in the Big Ten due to the fact he always fills the right hole and he is strong enough to disengage blocks from quite a few offensive lineman. He has a knack for punching the ball loose, in his career at Wisconsin he has forced a total of 13 fumbles, which is one shy of setting both a Big Ten and FBS record of 14 forced fumbles. Borland is on the Bednark watch list for the second straight season. He also finished with the honors of first team all Big Ten in 2012.

#23 Max Bullough

This year, it’s up to last year’s leader in tackles, Max Bullough, to take the reigns of the defense and lead it through a favorable conference schedule that dodges Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin while facing the rival Wolverines at home.

#22 Darqueze Dennard

As a junior, he played all 13 games and was selected as an All-Big Ten player, recording 52 tackles and 3 interceptions. What he brings to the team is a great blend of skills; he can play zone and man coverage, can break fast from the line of scrimmage, has impressive catch-up speed, and as an added feature, he can tackle.

#21 Shane Wynn

Shane Wynn is the smallest player in the B1G at 5’7″ and 163 lbs. But the tiny WR from Cleveland Glenville High School puts up giant numbers for the Indiana Hoosiers. He is a prime example of a guy who wasn’t recruited by larger more more successful CFB programs and had to fight his way onto a B1G team.