Jim Naveau column for anyone wanting to use it…
COLUMBUS – The question can be asked if this year’s recruiting class will be the best ever at Ohio State.
But the answer won’t be known for a year or two, or maybe even four years after this year’s national signing day on Wednesday.
On paper, it looks like the Buckeyes will bring in a huge haul of talent. They are adding seven high school seniors rated as 5-star recruits by one or more recruiting analyst.
The consensus ranking of this year’s class is that it is second only to Alabama’s recruiting class and that with a late addition of another highly regarded player or two it could go around the Crimson Tide’s class.
Right now, Ohio State has 19 players in its recruiting class. An unusually large group of nine of the recruits has already enrolled and 10 others have said they will sign on Wednesday.
247 Sports, which averages the recruiting analysts’ rankings, says OSU has five 5-star recruits coming in and only one player, kicker Blake Haubeil, who is less than a 4-star recruit.
It ranks cornerback Jeffrey Okudah (Grand Prairie, Tex.), linebacker Baron Browning (Kennedale, Tenn.), cornerback Shaun Wade (Jacksonville, Fla., Trinity Christian), defensive end Chase Young (DeMatha Catholic) and offensive lineman Wyatt Davis (Bellflower, Calif.) as 5-star prospects.
Offensive tackle Josh Myers (Miamisburg) has been listed as a 5-star recruit for most of the last two years but he got only four stars in the most recent 247Sports rankings.
How did that happen? Who knows? Maybe he struggled on the parallel parking part of the test.
Wide receiver Trevon Grimes, of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, also went from a 5-star to a 4-star recently. That might be because he suffered an ACL injury in October.
Another verbally committed player, cornerback Kendall Sheffield, is ranked the top junior college player at his position. He was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school who spent a year at Alabama.
One of the players who enrolled early is Brendon White, son of Lima Senior grad William White, a four-year starter at Ohio State who went on to play 11 years in the NFL.
There has been much speculation where White will end up playing. It could be safety, it could be linebacker or it could be wide receiver, definitely an area of need for OSU.
He practiced with Ohio State during its preparation for the Fiesta Bowl as a linebacker. But White recently said on Twitter that he would probably play receiver.
Ohio State’s recruits come from eight states – five from Ohio, four from Texas, four from Florida, two from Nevada and one each from California, Indiana, Maryland and New York.
So, which Ohio State recruiting classes would this year’s be battling for that “best ever” designation?
The most recent competitor would be the class of 2013, which included Vonn Bell, Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Eli Apple, Darron Lee, J.T. Barrett, Billy Price, Tyquan Lewis, Jalin Marshall and Gareon Conley.
That class was ranked No. 2 nationally, as was the 2002 recruiting class, which included Maurice Clarett, Nick Mangold, Santonio Holmes, Bobby Carpenter, A.J. Hawk, Troy Smith and Quinn Pitcock.
In the days before the internet and recruiting services ranking players, the 1967 recruiting class, which won one national championship and competed for two more would also probably have to be ranked among the best.
Ohio State could add one or two more players to this year’s recruiting class between now and Wednesday.
If 5-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson of Bellaire, Tex., or some other talented player can be persuaded to choose OSU, Urban Meyer will certainly find room for him.
One player who won’t be joining this year’s class, though, is Lakeland, Fla., 4-star wide receiver James Robinson, who was cited for possession of marijuana on a recruiting trip to Columbus last weekend. OSU reportedly has dropped him from consideration.