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Looking back at the 2020 Ohio State recruiting class: The Contributors

Part two of the series focuses upon those players who will be playing in 2023 and possibly beyond.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Joseph Scheller/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Every day from now until the start of the season, Land-Grant Holy Land is highlighting Ohio State football players that you should be watching this season. Check out all of our ”Player to Watch” articles to get ready for the season opener against Indiana.

Part one of this series focused on players who were a part of the 2020 Ohio State recruiting class who have since departed the program. This time, we are going to focus upon those who have remained, have contributed to the program and could potentially decide to stay for another season at Ohio State after 2023. As I did in part one of the series, I will address each player, and where they are currently on the depth chart, in order of when that particular player verbally committed to the Buckeyes.

  1. Gee Scott - Tight End

Recruited out of Eastside Catholic in Seattle, Washington as a wide receiver, Scott made the move to tight end during spring practices in 2021. For his career at Ohio State, Scott has caught 10 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown. Scott has been a member of the special teams units during his time at Ohio State, and will have eligibility remaining after the 2023 season. Scott recently graduated from Ohio State, in only three years.

Considering how this is Cade Stover’s last year in the program, it will not be surprising if Scott decides to stick around and try to compete for the starting tight end position for the 2024 season. It is for those reasons why I listed Scott as a “Player To Watch” in 2023.

2. Jakob James - Center

Recruited out of Cincinnati Elder, James redshirted for the 2020 season, and will have eligibility remaining after the 2023 season. James played primarily on special teams units during the 2021 season, and played in 12 games during the 2022 season, most extensively versus Toledo.

James was expected to compete for the starting center position during spring practice, but had to miss the spring due to surgery rehabilitation. James is battling Carson Hinzman and Vic Cutler for the starting center position in 2023 fall camp. When asked about the upcoming season and the battle for the starting center job, James said,

“I gotta earn the respect of my teammates, my coaches and show them that I can do it...I feel like I’m getting there every day. And we’ve got a great team and I’m excited. We’ve got to fill some spots on the O-line, and we’re excited for that challenge.”

3. Trey Leroux - Offensive Line

Recruited out of Norwalk, Ohio, Leroux redshirted in 2020. Leroux has played sparingly over the last three seasons, and is not being projected to move up the depth chart this upcoming season. Leroux has been Academic All-Big Ten the past two seasons, and will have eligibility after the 2023 season.

4. Joe Royer - Tight End

Another player from Cincinnati Elder, Royer redshirted in 2020. Royer is being talked about as the possible second tight end this coming season, with Cade Stover firmly entrenched as the starter. For his career, Royer has caught three passes for 19 yards. Royer played extensively versus Georgia in the 2022 Peach Bowl, after Cade Stover was injured.

Royer had a rough 2022 season overall, due to the in-season passing of his mother. Like his teammate Scott, Royer has eligibility remaining after the 2023 season, and could be in line to start at tight end for Ohio State in 2024.

5. Mitchell Melton - Linebacker

Melton is one of those players that Ohio State fans are hoping will have a solid 2023 season. After redshirting in 2020, Melton missed both the 2021 and 2022 seasons due to injury; the 2022 injury took place during the 2022 Ohio State Spring Game. Recruited out of Good Counsel High School in Maryland, Melton has been projected by Jim Knowles and the defensive coaching staff as a possible candidate for the 2023 season for the “Jack” position, the hybrid defensive end-linebacker position on the Ohio State defense.

Melton will have eligibility remaining after the 2023 season.

6. Kourt Williams II - Linebacker

Like his teammate Melton, Williams is a player Ohio State fans are hoping can have an injury-free 2023 season. Recruited out of St. John Bosco in California, Williams was projected as a safety who had the potential to be moved to linebacker. Going into the 2023 season, it appears that the coaching staff believes linebacker is Williams’ best position, as that position switch was made at the beginning of fall camp.

Technically, Williams has started a game: the 2022 Rose Bowl, versus Utah. Considering how Williams has battled injuries over the past two seasons, I felt more comfortable listing Williams as a contributor, versus a starter. Over his career, Williams has been credited with 32 total tackles, with 23 of them being solo. Williams also has one sack, and one pass defensed.

Despite his injuries, Williams has made significant contributions to the program, and is held in very high regard by the coaching staff and his teammates, as he was named a captain for the 2022 season. Williams graduated from Ohio State in May of 2023, with a degree in communications. Like his teammates listed in this article, Williams will have eligibility remaining after the 2023 season.

Out of 25 players signed, six have emerged as contributors, or 24%. Below the “Rule Of Thirds” when evaluating recruiting classes, and considering how everyone listed above has eligibility remaining after the 2023 season, it could look even better if some of these players develop into starters for the 2024 season.

In part three of this series, we will look at the players who have emerged as starters in the program.