Even with Joe Burrow's commitment a few days ago, many Buckeye fans remain worried about the state of the 2015 class. It's easy to see why -- you won't find Ohio State listed on 247Sport's 2015 Composite Team Rankings until you scroll to the very bottom and click "see more." There you'll find the Buckeyes at 53rd.
That's not a good position to be in.
Alabama, the top-ranked class, has 13 four- or five-star commitments. Not only are Michigan State, Illinois, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Northwestern, and Penn State currently ahead of the Buckeyes from the Big Ten, but so are Rice, Tulane, and Florida Atlantic.
Obviously it won't stay like this. Ohio State will end with a bigger, more talented class than those final three schools, and it will likely also be better than most (if not all) of our in-conference rivals too. But the slow start has disconcerting for even the most optimistic fans.
Just how worried should we be at this point, though? I took a look at Ohio State recruiting data from 2010-2015 to try and answer three basic questions:
- Is this recruiting class off to a significantly slower start than previous classes at the same point in the recruiting cycle?
- Which year (between 2010 and 2015) started off with the fewest early commitments?
- When are the best months for recruiting for Ohio State?
To answer those questions, I made a dataset with all of the commitments over the last five years with a focus on the month that they committed. Then I made a variable for "total class score", which adds up the total number of stars in a recruiting class over time. So, if a four-star kid commited to the 2014 class first, then the total class score would be four; if the next commitment was from a three-star kid, then the total class score would be seven, and so on.
The idea was to get a sense of not only when players commit, but also the total size and talent of the recruiting class as well. Adding recruiting stars (from Rivals) was an easy way to get at both size and talent together.
Here was the result from calculating the total class score by month from 2010-2015:
To answer the first question, I just compared the total class scores for May for each of the years in my sample:
So yes, the 2015 class looks like it's off to a slower start than in previous classes. The 2015 class has three commits for a total of ten stars.
The next lowest total commit score in May was in May of 2009 for the 2010 class, which had 17 total stars from Scott McVey, David Durham, Andrew Norwell, Jamel Turner, and J.T. Moore (funny enough, only J.T. Moore and Andrew Norwell played significant time for the Buckeyes from that group).
The 2010 class had five commits, the 2011 class had ten, the 2012 class had six, the 2013 class had nine, and the 2014 class had seven.
Second, the 2015 class also had the fewest early commitments as well. Here I said a recruit was an early commitment if they committed before the previous class's signing day. The 2015 class had just two commits and seven total stars in February 2014:
|Year||Total class score|
Finally, a reason to be optimistic. I took a look at the largest differences between two months' total commit scores and tried to see if there were any patterns for each recruiting class. May to June and December to January (and obviously, recruits committing in February for National Letter of Intent Day) were the months with the biggest average change.
That means that, if the pattern holds, we should see plenty of activity over the next month or so, then another jump at the end of 2014.
In any case, there's no need to panic. Urban has plenty of time to pull together yet another fantastic class, despite the slower than average start.