Three years ago, Ohio State’s football recruiting class included Bradley Roby, Christian Bryant, Johnathan Hankins, Corey Brown, Carlos Hyde, Andrew Norwell and Drew Basil.
All of them will play important roles for OSU in the 2013 season except Hankins, who decided to take his talents to the NFL draft in April instead of returning for his senior season.
Hyde was Ohio State’s No. 1 running back last season and Brown caught more passes than any other Buckeye. Roby is one of the best cornerbacks in college football and Bryant, Norwell and Basil are all starters.
But the 2010 recruiting class also included Verlon Reed, Tyrone Williams, James Louis, Taylor Graham, Darryl Baldwin, Scott McVey and other people who either never played a prominent role for the Buckeyes or left the program.
Reed announced last week that he is transferring to the University of Findlay. Williams, Louis and Graham have also found new football homes. Baldwin is still at OSU but has seen the field only a few scattered times and McVey had to give up football after three shoulder surgeries.
There are hits and misses every year in recruiting no matter who you are.
Urban Meyer has hits and misses. So does Nick Saban. Jim Tressel had them and so did Bobby Bowden, Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes.
National signing day on Feb. 6 is less than two weeks away. Recruiting classes are being ranked, based on non-binding verbal commitments. Players are being given 5-star, 4-star and 3-star ratings.
The bottom line is you never know what you’ve got until they get on the field and actually play.
But speculation is rampant in the days leading up to signing day. And if even half that speculation turns out to be accurate, Ohio State appears to be headed for a very good day on signing day.
Three of its verbally committed players — wide receiver Jalin Marshall (Middletown), defensive lineman Joey Bosa (Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Aquinas) and linebacker Mike Mitchell (Plano, Tex. Prestonwood) are rated 5-star recruits by Scout.com.
Seventeen of the OSU recruits are rated 4-star or higher by Scout.com, Rivals.com or both of those recruiting sites. According to ESPN.com, the Buckeyes currently have the No. 4 recruiting class in the country.
Linebackers and wide receivers are two of the biggest needs for Ohio State and it appears to have addressed the linebacker issue by getting commitments from Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga., 4 stars) and Mitchell.
Finding some quality receiver is still an emphasis, with James Clark (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) and Oregon verbal commitment Darren Carrington Jr. (San Diego) as two of the remaining targets frequently mentioned.
Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s decision to take the Philadelphia Eagles’ job has given OSU at least some hope of landing Carrington and another Ducks commitment, running back Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Tex.). Wilson was scheduled to make a recruiting visit to Columbus this weekend, as was Clark.
Kelly’s policy, like Brady Hoke’s at Michigan, was to not allow verbally committed players to make visits to other schools. But new Oregon coach Mark Helfrich does not yet have the leverage with recruits that Kelly did.
Ohio State is going head to head with Alabama to try to sign defensive back Vonn Bell (Rossville, Ga.), who is rated a 5-star prospect by Rivals.com.
The Buckeyes also might be playing defense to keep some of their verbal commitments. Running back Ezekiel Elliott (St. Louis John Burroughs) is taking a visit to Missouri this weekend and lineman Donovan Munger (Shaker Heights) visited Florida State. Munger says he remains committed to OSU, though.