Ohio State recruiting well during the Urban Meyer era isn't breaking news. The Buckeyes have been mainstays near the top of the national recruiting lists every season, and even led the country for much of last year. But even compared to some excellent hauls, the 2017 class is shaping up to be a special one. Ohio State is currently number one with a bullet in the 2017 rankings, with 13 commitments adding up to a 250.26 ranking on the 247 Sports Composite board. For some perspective, Oklahoma, in second place, has a 200.21 record. Ohio State is crushing everybody right now.
With the exception of Blake Haubeil, who is a kicker, every single Ohio State commitment is a consensus four-star recruit. Two, Josh Meyers and Isaiah Pryor, are five-stars. Seven are listed in the top 100 prospects by 247. Any way you want to slice it, that news is good news.
Ohio State doesn't typically have quite as many commitments this early in a recruiting cycle. That leads to a few questions, as we head into the spring game, typically one of the bigger recruiting events of the offseason.
How big is this class going to be?
It seems like almost every year, we hem and haw about how this Ohio State recruiting class might be a little bit smaller, but then lo and behold, Ohio State still signs 25 kids. This year might honest to God be different, since the Buckeyes have a small senior class and few players who project to be locks to declare for the NFL Draft early. If the Buckeyes want to sign a big class again, it will require roster attrition, possibly significant attrition.
That will likely be a big storyline in the post spring game/practice world. Will players who find themselves lower on the depth chart seek transfers for more playing time? Will everybody stay academically eligible? Will anybody get kicked off the team over the summer for breaking team rules? I would not be surprised, for example, if anybody from Ohio State's crowded wideout room, or offensive line, decided to find another place to play before the season started.
My best guess at this point is that Ohio State takes around 20-21 kids in this class. Of course, we've been wrong before, but without a lot of players leaving the program, a full allotment feels a little unlikely.
Seeing that Ohio State's class then would already be more than half full, I'd be pretty surprised if there were many more commitments in the near future. I'd expect the Buckeyes to be careful and judicious in who they offer and who they accept, especially in the short term, so they can make sure they have enough room to fill their needs.
What position groups could be addressed still in this class?
A big one is wideout. The Buckeyes added multiple solid names in 2016, but with still a lot of uncertainty at that position, and given the quality of targets that have OSU interest in this class, look for Ohio State to restock at WR in a big way in 2017. The Buckeyes don't have any pure WRs committed yet, but they could take as many as three.
Trevon Grimes, from Ohio State pipeline St.Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, is a five-star, and rated the second best WR in the country for 2017. He's been considered a substantial Ohio State lean for months, and if/when he eventually gets back to campus, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him pull the trigger. Another five-star, Tyjon Lindsey, recently visited Ohio State, and Crystal Ball predictions have started to come in. The Bucks will need to battle USC for that commitment, but Lindsey would be an impressive addition as a slot receiver.
Closer to home, Ohio's highest rated uncommitted recruit, Jaylen Harris, is also considered a Buckeye lean. Harris, a 6-5, four-star from Cleveland, would provide another big target that can stretch the field for Ohio State's big-armed QBs.
Ohio State is monitoring other WRs too, like Michigan product Donovan Peoples-Jones, the top rated WR in the entire class, Jeff Thomas, a high four-star from East Saint Louis, and Danny Davis, a four-star from Springfield, Ohio. Davis is the only one on that list that does not currently have an Ohio State offer. The Buckeyes will have lots of quality targets to chose from, and that position group should get a nice talent infusion.
What about other positions?
Another position of note could be defensive tackle, perhaps the only position where Ohio State hasn't reeled in a ton of blue-chip recruits over the last few seasons. That should change in 2017. Ohio State already has verbals from Haskell Garrett, a high four-star from Las Vegas, and Jerron Cage, a four-star from Winton Woods. The Buckeyes are likely to take at least one more.
Perhaps the most likely candidate would be four-star Darnell Ewell, out of Norfolk, VA, a place where Ohio State has had some success recruiting these past few years. Jay Tufele, a four-star from Urban's old stomping grounds in Utah, is another possibility. Don't be surprised if the Bucks kick the tires on other names as well.
The Buckeyes are likely to also look for additional help in the secondary (perhaps their least deep position group right now), along with another running back, and potentially another QB. Offensive line is likely to be less of a priority, along with linebacker.
Wait, QB? I thought Ohio State already had a QB.
They do. Danny Clark, a four-star, pro-style quarterback out of Akron, has been committed to Ohio State for basically forever. It would be a huge surprise for his commitment to waiver, even if his star isn't perhaps quite as bright as it was maybe a year or two ago. It would also be a big surprise if Ohio State decided they didn't want him anymore.
But that doesn't mean Ohio State is done looking at QBs. They hosted Texas A&M commit Tate Martell recently, and he had nothing but good things to say about Ohio State. Martell is the top ranked dual-threat QB in the country (and a five-star). Ohio State may also look to host other dual-threat QBs in the next few months.
This doesn't necessarily mean they like Clark less. But if J.T. Barrett leaves early, Ohio State's QB room is Joey Burrow, Dwayne Haskins, Stephen Collier, and Danny Clark. While Burrow and Haskins certainly aren't statues, there isn't really a speedster in that group, and Meyer may simply want to augment his unit with somebody capable of giving them a different look.
I wouldn't say it is guaranteed that Ohio State takes another QB. But don't be surprised if they do.
How many Ohio kids are going to be in this class?
The Buckeyes currently have commitments from three of the top five ranked prospects in Ohio right now. Ohio State is favored with the two uncommitted prospects, Jaylen Harris, and defensive back Amir Riep, who has been offered by basically everybody in the country at this point. The Buckeyes currently have six Ohio commitments in total.
It's April, so a lot can and will change, obviously, but I would not be surprised if Ohio State takes Harris, Riep, and fills out the rest of the class with out of state prospects. There are plenty of other great players in Ohio this year, but the Buckeyes have not have the room, or the positional fit, to take all of the best ones. That's good news for Michigan State, Notre Dame, Kentucky, and others.