COLUMBUS — Ohio State’s 2015 football recruits, most of whom will sign national letters of intent on Wednesday, don’t impress the recruiting analysts as much as the Buckeyes’ last two classes.
But they still are ranked in the top 10 and far outdistance the rest of the Big Ten in the opinion of those recruiting watchers.
ESPN.com and 247 Sports, which compiles an average of all the recruiting rankings, both have Ohio State No. 7 in this year’s talent search.
Both rank Alabama No. 1 and Florida State No. 2. Both have Clemson, Georgia, Tennessee and USC ahead of Ohio State, though in a different order. Penn State (No. 13) and Michigan State (No. 23, according to 247) are the only other Big Ten schools in the Top 25.
The Buckeyes have 24 recruits in their 2015 class now after Florida defensive back Carlton Davis, a 4-star prospect, went back on his verbal commitment and appears headed to Auburn.
There is one 5-star player in the class, linebacker Justin Hilliard, of Cincinnati St. Xavier. There are 13 4-star players, including quarterback Joe Burrow (Athens The Plains), linebacker Jerome Baker (Cleveland Benedictine), quarterback Torrance Gibson (Plantation, Fla. American Heritage) and running back Mike Weber (Detroit Cass Tech).
Gibson and Weber have been getting extra attention from OSU’s coaching staff recently to avoid having them flip to another program.
The fear is that Gibson might think Ohio State has too many quarterbacks with Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller all back, Stephen Collier coming off a redshirt season and two QBs in the recruiting class.
Weber originally committed to Michigan while Brady Hoke was still the Wolverines’ coach and flipped to Ohio State before Jim Harbaugh took over. He insists he is still going to sign with Ohio State and turned down an offer to visit Michigan.
Twelve of the 24 players in the recruiting class are from Ohio and the other 12 are from Minnesota, Florida, South Dakota, Michigan, Virginia, New Jersey, Georgia and Utah.
Four players have already enrolled at Ohio State — 4-star defensive end Jashon Cornell, 4-star linebacker Nick Conner, 4-star cornerback Jamel Dean and 3-star offensive lineman Grant Schmidt.
Recruiting is done so far ahead that Ohio State’s national championship did not have a major effect on the 2015 class. Most of those players were committed before the Buckeyes beat Alabama and Oregon on the way to winning the College Football Playoff national championship.
Where that could help is in 2016 and 2017. OSU has already acquired commitments from highly regarded athletes in those classes.
The day after OSU’s 42-20 win over Oregon in the championship game, coach Urban Meyer said, “The door’s open. You move to the front of the line. If you can’t recruit to this now, you’re officially a bad recruiter.”
And everyone knows, Meyer is a great recruiter.
Ohio State already has six verbal commitments for its 2016 recruiting class and four of those are ranked in the top 100 nationally by Scout.com. Those four top 100 players are already one more than this year’s OSU recruiting class has.
And Ohio State has already gotten a commitment from 5-star offensive lineman Josh Myers, of Miamisburg, for 2017.
Winning on the field could translate into big wins in the recruiting battles down the road.