On Dec. 18, 2019, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day welcomed in a new recruiting class that would eventually number 25 players. Even though Day was involved in the 2019 recruiting class, this class was truly a result of the efforts of his staff and himself, as this cycle was also impacted by the retirement of Urban Meyer. At the press conference to announce the 24 players who signed (Cameron Martinez eventually signed on Feb. 5; Martinez will be mentioned more in part three of this series), Ryan Day stated,
We think it’s an unbelievable class. As this coaching staff’s inaugural class, there’s a lot of people that had to make this happen, and the thing that I want to make sure I do first off publicly is thank the families. There’s a lot of families here that jumped on board here before we won a game at all this year, and they believed in what we were talking to these families about and the philosophies and what was going to go on...I just want to say thank you publicly to all the families out there and the recruits who believed in us from the beginning, and this is going to be one heck of a class. We have eight guys from Ohio, we have 13 states represented, and 14 of these guys are coming in at mid year, which is the highest we’ve ever had here, so we’re excited to get these guys in here and get to work.
My personal history when it comes to analyzing Ohio State recruiting classes goes back to 2005, when the new Buckeyes included the likes of James Laurinaitis, Brian Hartline, and Malcolm Jenkins. That class was relatively small at just 18 players and was not highly regarded by recruiting analysts, but the coaching staff only lost three from that class due to transfer or academic issues, resulting in 15 who either started or contributed to Ohio State during their careers. This 83 percent success rate is an exceptional result in the unofficial “Rule of Thirds” concept that is applied to recruiting classes.
“The Rule of Thirds” is pretty simple — within any class, there will be approximately a third who will develop into starters as the coaching staff hoped and recruited, a third will be contributors in some fashion, and a third will not work out, leaving due to transfer, injuries. or possibly disciplinary reasons.
Part one of this series will look at the few players who eventually left the Ohio State program. I will address each player, why they left, and where they are currently in order of when that particular player verbally committed to the Buckeyes.
- Jack Miller — Quarterback
Hailing from Scottsdale, Arizona, Miller was among the first players to verbally commit to Ohio State back in July of 2018. Miller played sparingly in the abbreviated 2020 season and 2021, before he decided to transfer to Florida. Miller started at quarterback in the 2022 Las Vegas Bowl, completing 13 passes on 22 attempts for 180 yards versus Oregon State. Miller is competing for the starting quarterback position this season.
2. Lejond Cavazos — Cornerback
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Cavazos redshirted in 2020, and was in the defensive back rotation during the 2021 season. Cavazos played in 11 games in 2021 and tallied eight tackles and two pass breakups as a redshirt freshman. Cavazos transferred to North Carolina in 2022, and started the last three games for the Tar Heels.
3. Jake Siebert — Kicker
A Cincinnati native, Seibert was 16-of-16 on extra point attempts across three games in 2020, and made a 23-yard field goal in the national championship game against Alabama. After a lackluster performance in the 2021 Ohio State Spring Game, the Buckeyes brought in Noah Ruggles to handle the placekicking, and Seibert did not see any game action in 2021 or 2022. Seibert transferred to Northern Illinois after the 2023 spring game.
4. Grant Toutant — Offensive Tackle
An offensive lineman from Warren, Michigan, Toutant redshirted in 2020, and played sparingly in 2021 and 2022. Toutant was recently announced by Ryan Day as having to medically retire from the program.
5. Darrion Henry-Young — Defensive Line
A defensive lineman from Cincinnati Princeton, Henry-Young redshirted in 2020, and was able to get two tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss in the two games that he played. In 2021, Henry-Young played in two games, but did not make any defensive statistics. After the 2021 season, Henry-Young transferred to Kentucky. In 2022, Henry-Young played in five games for the Wildcats.
6. Mookie Cooper — Wide Receiver
Cooper redshirted in 2020, and was among the first to leave the program at the end of the 2020 season. Transferring back home to Missouri, Cooper has caught 42 passes for 477 yards and a touchdown over the last two seasons.
7. Jacolbe Cowan — Defensive Line
Cowan redshirted in 2020, and played in five games in the 2021 season, credited with three tackles. After Ohio State finished their spring practices in 2022, Cowan transferred back home to North Carolina, where he played in 12 games and was credited with six tackles and a sack.
8. Ryan Watts — Cornerback
Watts played in seven games for the Buckeyes in 2020, and was credited with four tackles. In 2021, Watts played in 12 games, and even started the season opener at Minnesota. Watts transferred back home to Texas after the 2021 season, and is a starter for the Longhorns. Watts was an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 selection by the Big 12 coaches after the 2022 season.
Out of 25 players signed, eight left the program, or 32%. Very close to the “Rule Of Thirds” when evaluating recruiting classes. In part two of the series, we will look at the players who have emerged as contributors to the program.