It’s Oct. 6 and though the Alabama Crimson Tide are certainly pulling close, the 2017 Ohio State recruiting class — back to 17 commitments after the September decommitment of Danny Clark — remains the nation’s top-ranked group.
We are 118 days from National Signing Day and while the majority of Ohio State’s class is set, a few important questions remain as Urban Meyer and his staff look to lock up their first national recruiting “championship” in Columbus and end Alabama’s seven-year reign.
Let’s take a look at the particulars of the recruiting class as we head into the final four months of the 2017 recruiting cycle.
Where do the Buckeyes current commitments stand in their pledges to Ohio State? Here’s what’s what:
Who is in?
While there’s never a 100-percent “sure” thing in recruiting — even when a player is committed — because we all know anything can happen in this crazy business. But there are a handful of players currently verballed to the Buckeyes that feel like a pretty safe bet to sign with Ohio State come February.
- Quarterback • Tate Martell • Las Vegas, Nev. • Bishop Gorman • National Rank: 2 (dual-threat quarterback)
- Martell committed to Ohio State in June and has been as active as any player in the country trying to recruit what he considers his recruiting class. He played a major role in recruiting Trevon Grimes, Tyjon Lindsey, Wyatt Davis and is now working hard to bring in others.
- Wide receiver • Trevon Grimes • Fort Lauderdale, Fla. • St. Thomas Aquinas • National Rank: 3
- Grimes was a “lock” for the Buckeyes for almost three years before he finally made his commitment official in August. There will be no drama from here as Grimes begins rehabbing his recently torn ACL with an eye on being 100 percent healthy by the time he enrolls at Ohio State in June.
- Wide receiver • Tyjon Lindsey • Las Vegas, Nev. • Bishop Gorman • National Rank: 5
- Like Grimes, Lindsey was close to a sure thing for the Buckeyes for months before he committed on Aug. 22. The country’s premier slot receiver has made no plans to visit elsewhere and it’d be a major surprise if he somehow ended up anywhere but Ohio State.
- Offensive Line • Josh Myers • Miamisburg, Ohio • Miamisburg • National Rank: 3 (offensive tackle)
- With Clark out of the class, only Shaun Wade has been committed to Ohio State longer than Myers and the nation’s most athletic offensive tackle has no plans to go anywhere else.
- Offensive Line • Jake Moretti • Arvada, Colo. • Pomona • National Rank: 12 (offensive tackle)
- Moretti has been as solid as any commitment since he pledged to the Buckeyes on July 4, 2015. He’s not playing his senior season as he recovers from a knee injury suffered in the summer and plans to enroll at Ohio State in January.
- Offensive Line • Wyatt Davis • Bellflower, Calif. • St. John’s Bosco • National Rank: 1 (offensive guard)
- One of the summer’s most surprising commitments, Wyatt Davis picked the Buckeyes just days after his first – and to this point only – visit to Columbus but he’s made it clear he’s not looking at any other schools.
- Defensive end • Chase Young • Hyattsville, Md. • DeMatha Catholic • National Rank: 2 (weakside defensive end)
- After months of fighting off Alabama and Maryland for the exceptionally talented Chase Young, the Buckeyes aren’t doing any more chasing. He’s solid to Ohio State and his relationship with Urban Meyer and especially Larry Johnson, Sr. will keep it that way.
- Defensive tackle • Haskell Garrett • Las Vegas, Nev • Bishop Gorman • National Rank: 4 (defensive tackle)
- Garrett may not get the credit for it, but he’s proven to be the ringleader of the Buckeyes’ Bishop Gorman invasion and though in the weeks after his surprise commitment there were some Notre Dame concerns, he’s firmly entrenched in his commitment and is all Ohio State.
- Defensive back • Marcus Williamson • Westerville, Ohio • IMG Academy • National Rank: 16 (cornerback)
- Williamson got the one offer he wanted early, committed to the Buckeyes early, and has been solid from the start.
- Defensive back • Isaiah Pryor • Lawrenceville, Ga. • IMG Academy • National Rank: 5 (safety)
- Another star at IMG’s high school football powerhouse, Pryor has been diligent in looking at other schools since he committed in July 2015 but he’s never wavered in his pledge to the Buckeyes even as blue bloods like Alabama have made earnest efforts to sway him.
- Defensive back • Brendon White • Powell, Ohio • Olentangy Liberty • National Rank: 3 (athlete)
- An Ohio State legacy, Brendon White may not know what position he’ll play in college (though it’s likely linebacker) but he knows where he’ll play, and that’s at home in Columbus for the Buckeyes.
- Defensive back • Amir Riep • Cincinnati, Ohio • Colerain • National Rank: 15 (cornerback)
- A defensive back that burst onto the national recruiting scene in early 2016, Riep went to the wire between Ohio State and Michigan State but chose the Buckeyes in July and hasn’t – and won’t – look back.
- Kicker • Blake Haubeil • Buffalo, NY • Canisius • National Rank: 1 (kicker)
- Haubeil isn’t interested in looking at any other schools and will be a Buckeye next year.
Committed but with questions?
There are bound to be some dramatics when it comes to recruiting today and a few players currently committed to the Buckeyes have been, for a number of different reasons, brought up over and over as a player that could end up elsewhere. Which players have the questions and what’s the deal?
- Running back • J.K. Dobbins • La Grange, Texas • La Grange • National Rank: 1 (all-purpose running back)
- Dobbins committed to Ohio State sight unseen in March and almost from that moment the talk about him eventually ending up at Texas, the school he grew up following and rooting for, began. The 4-star running back has continued to say all the right things and dismiss all conversation about the Longhorns and any other school but has said that if the Buckeyes were to bring in another running back that he’d consider visiting other schools. That’s why he’s on this list.
- Defensive tackle • Jerron Cage • Cincinnati, Ohio • Winton Woods • National Rank: 12 (defensive tackle)
- Another player that may not belong under this sub-heading but finds himself on it anyway is Jerron Cage. Cage’s questions arise primarily because his brother Daniel plays at Notre Dame and he’s made multiple visits to South Bend and has never hid his affinity for the Irish or their coaching staff. If they made a big push would he flip? If Ohio State brings in another big-name defensive tackle, would he feel slighted? Those are the questions.
- Linebacker • Antjuan Simmons • Ann Arbor, Mich. • Pioneer • National Rank: 20 (outside linebacker)
- I realize that the “committed but with questions” list is supposed to be providing clarity but with Simmons, as with Dobbins and Cage, his inclusion is based more on conjecture and rumor mills than any of his words or actions. He’s not visited other schools – despite being right across the street from the University of Michigan – and he’s not publicly stated he’d like to, yet talk of him wanting to visit Michigan State, or potentially Arizona, persist. Is he concerned about the potential addition of another linebacker? Does he have the cachet to visit another school and have Ohio State’s staff be OK with it?
- Defensive back • Shaun Wade • Jacksonville, Fla. • Trinity Christian Academy • National Rank: 3 (cornerback)
- Shaun Wade is the longest-tenured commitment in the Buckeyes 2017 recruiting class and he’s probably the most talked about commitment in the entire country. The 5-star cornerback has made multiple trips to multiple schools not named Ohio State and his mother’s family’s connection to Alabama – she hails from Montgomery – had made the Crimson Tide the presumptive spoiler here. While Bama is the primary competitor for Wade, Florida has worked overtime to put themselves into the conversation and the Gators have given Shaun and his family something to consider, but this will almost assuredly boil down to Ohio State and Alabama. Nick Saban and Urban Meyer. The belief held by many is that if Wade has his druthers he’ll stick with the Buckeyes but that some family pressure to stay closer to home and head to Tuscaloosa – where the only school in the country on par with Ohio State in terms of football development, championship aspirations and overall program health lives – will push him toward the Crimson Tide. An early November official visit to Ohio State is likely going to tell the final story.
So, there it is, your current 2017 Ohio State recruiting class. Next Thursday we’ll take a crack at filling in the final spots for 2017, operating under the pretense that five more players will be added, bringing the class to a total of 22 players. A number of big names remain on the list for the Buckeyes and a handful of key official visits are already scheduled for the end of October and into November.