Ohio State has had an unprecedented run of success on the recruiting trail since Urban Meyer’s arrival in November 2011.
But recruiting never will be an exact science. Surprises always await. Players will pop when you don’t expect them to, and 5-star prospects can flame out without so much as a single on-the-field highlight.
So far, in Meyer’s tenure in Columbus, there’s been very little for fans to complain about. According to Rivals.com, 68 percent (98 of 145) of Ohio State’s signees since 2012 have been ranked as either a 4-star or a 5-star prospect. The Buckeyes have won 61 of 67 games, and all is well in Columbus, Ohio. Meyer has built a juggernaut, quickly, and things are likely to get better.
That doesn’t mean there haven’t been mistakes on the recruiting trail, though, right? If every rose has its thorn, then every class has its busts. Even Ohio State, for all its success, hasn’t be able to completely avoid that. There have been a handful of players who have arrived in Columbus with lofty expectations but failed, for whatever reason, to live up to them.
As has been the case every recent Friday at 3 p.m., I’ve reached out to a couple of my peers and asked them to contribute to this week’s “3 for 3.”
The question this week is simple. Which Ohio State player signed by Urban Meyer has seen the most disappointing outcome compared to his national expectations?
Today we’re joined once again by Marc Givler of Rivals.com and BuckeyeGrove.com, and we welcome Andrew Ellis, the fabled “TeddyHeisman” on Twitter, from elevenwarriors.com. For the second week in a row, our contributors have agreed on their choice, while I’m left flittering in the wind, all alone with mine.
Life is hard, man.
Anyway, let’s get to it.
Who is the biggest recruiting ‘bust’ in Urban Meyer’s Ohio State tenure?
My friends agree that it’s a former 5-star prospect from Plano, Texas.
Marc Givler: [Mike] Mitchell arrived to Ohio State with plenty of accolades as a highly rated prospect and a player that some of the top schools in the nation fought over.
The out-of-state kids always seem to draw the most excitement from the fan base, and after a solid Army Bowl week before his enrollment at Ohio State, there was no reason to believe he would wash out of the program so quickly. Mitchell lasted less than a year in Columbus. But perhaps even more surprising than washing out at Ohio State was that he could not find his footing at Texas Tech, a place with a much less-crowded depth chart, eventually leaving Lubbock as well.
This wasn’t just a case of a player not quite living up to his ranking and high school accolades. In this instance it was never close.
TeddyHeisman: The 2013 class was obviously an exceptional one, and while one athlete-turned-linebacker [Darron Lee] is suiting up for the New York Jets, the unit as a whole didn’t turn out so well.
I remember hearing about Mike Mitchell’s athleticism and ungodly SPARQ score, and I was pretty much instantly sold. The guy was 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, and ran a 4.39 forty while playing high school football in Texas. He was a 5-star on both Rivals and Scout and had offers from everyone. Perhaps most importantly, his nickname was “The Abusement Park.”
What could possibly go wrong?
Birm: So, I am once again the voice of dissent.
My choice is Torrance Gibson, because from the time that he was first blew up on the recruiting circuit, everyone – except for one person – who ever saw Gibson saw the same thing: a first-round pick at wide receiver someday. The only problem is that the person who didn’t see that was Torrance Gibson.
Gibson had everything you’d want in a big-time receiver. The size (6-foot-4, 210 pounds), the speed (sub 4.5 in the 40-yard dash) and the athletic ability to beat cornerbacks, safeties or linebackers to the football. If NFL executives dream about what Terrelle Pryor could have been at wideout had he focused on it his whole career, they may have found out in Torrance Gibson.
What happens with Gibson now is anyone’s guess. He’s expected to continue his playing career at Cincinnati at some point, but his university-mandated suspension by Ohio State last fall ended what could’ve been a truly special career in scarlet and gray.