Grading Ohio State’s 2018 offensive signing class
It is an A for the Buckeyes on offense from top to bottom, thanks in part to the massive decision of 5-star Florida tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere to choose Ohio State over Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame and Michigan. There were some ups and downs along the way for the Buckeyes — a quarterback de-commitment stung, in particular — but Ohio State landed a deep, talented recruiting class on offense, bringing in talent and depth at every position.
Along the offensive line, each of Ohio State’s three signees are highly regarded blue-chip prospects. Petit-Frere’s decision to attend Ohio State sent this group from adequate to elite. He is the No. 1 tackle prospect in the country and the No. 7 player overall, and Petit-Frere will be expected to compete for a spot in the two-deep as a freshman. Petit-Frere joins Max Wray, the No. 9 tackle in the country, and Matthew Jones, the No. 1 center in the country. The Buckeyes bring in two impressive tackle prospects, where they need immediate depth, and bring in an expected future starter at center in Jones.
Ohio State’s wide receivers group features five impressive signees, and four of them are designated as blue-chip recruits. Jaelen Gill, the No. 30 prospect in the country, leads the group as an expected H-back, where his offensive versatility and ability to contribute as a pass catcher and runner will be utilized best. He is joined by Kamryn Babb (No. 73 prospect, No. 13 wide receiver), L’Christian Smith (No. 126 prospect, No. 5 athlete), Cameron Brown (No. 322 prospect, No. 53 wide receiver) and Chris Olave (No. 396 prospect, No. 68 wide receiver).
The skill players are rounded out by three top-rated signees at running back and tight end. Jeremy Ruckert, the country’s No. 2 tight end and No. 37 prospect overall, will join Ohio State from Lindenhurst (N.Y.) in Long Island and is one of the most talented prospects in the class. With Marcus Baugh graduated, Ruckert may have a chance to compete for playing time in Year 1. At running back, the Buckeyes signed two 4-star ball carriers. Brian Snead, the country’s No. 3 running back and No. 80 prospect overall, will arrive on campus in June, when he will join the already-enrolled Master Teague. Teague is the No. 11 running back and the No. 228 prospect overall.
At quarterback, Ohio State suffered a setback after losing quarterback commit Emory Jones to Florida late in the process. However, the Buckeyes prepared for the loss by adding a commitment (and eventually a signature) from Texas native Matthew Baldwin. Baldwin hails from Austin (Texas) Lake Travis, a dominant program that has sent its last eight quarterbacks to an FBS scholarship, including Baldwin and Heisman-winning Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. He is ranked as a 4-star recruit, the No. 12 pro-style quarterback and the No. 331 prospect overall, but Baldwin’s rankings have been impacted because he started only one season for Lake Travis. Still, to land such a talented quarterback late in the process was a huge win for Ohio State.
Grading Ohio State’s 2018 defensive signing class
It’s an A again from me for Ohio State on defense. It is hard to give any lower grade when the defense holds two 5-star signees and 10 4-star signees for the Buckeyes. Ohio State has seven future Silver Bullets ranked within the top 100 prospects nationally — that is more than any program besides Georgia has with offense and defense combined. The Buckeyes loaded up on blue-chip talent to fill out the defense.
It all starts on the defensive line, and that is arguably Ohio State’s most stacked position group in the class. The Buckeyes landed 5-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent (No. 20 prospect overall, No. 1 DT), Tyreke Smith (No. 34 overall, No. 4 weakside defensive end), Tommy Togiai (No. 55 overall, No. 3 DT), Tyler Friday (No. 96 overall, No. 6 DT), Antwuan Jackson(No. 1 JUCO prospect overall, No. 1 JUCO DT), Javontae Jean-Baptiste (No. 219 overall, No. 16 OLB, but expected to play defensive end) and Alex Williams (No. 616 overall, No. 33 weakside defensive end). Landing such a robust group provides Ohio State with an excellent basis to win with and build its defense around in the future.
Of course, the talent doesn’t drop off in the back seven. The Buckeyes have landed a haul of blue-chip prospects in the linebacker corps and secondary. Five-star defensive back Tyreke Johnson is the nation’s No. 21 prospect overall and No. 2 safety. Teradja Mitchell (No. 44 overall, No. 2 inside linebacker) and Josh Proctor (No. 71 overall, No. 7 safety) help headline the group as well. They are joined by 4-star linebackers Dallas Gant and K’Vaughan Pope, two of the country’s best outside linebacker prospects, and talented defensive backs Sevyn Banks and Marcus Hooker.
There are some areas in which Ohio State may have been able to upgrade its roster talent — in particular, Hooker seemed like a reach at the time Ohio State took him and the Buckeyes lost out on two highly regarded de-commitments in Jaiden Woodbey and Brenton Cox — but the overall effort is incredible. Nitpicking is the only way to find negatives in this excellent recruiting class.
Grading Ohio State’s 2018 overall signing class
What more can you say about the Buckeyes? They have secured the No. 2 class in the country, trailing only Georgia’s historically dominant recruiting class that features more 5-star prospects (seven) than any other class in the internet era. They lead the nation in average star ranking for the second consecutive year, landed elite prospects from all around the country and filled every major need.
It’s an A for Ohio State on the whole; it must be. This is the highest-ranked class in Buckeyes history, securing 23 prospects ranked as 4-star or 5-star players. The class features three 5-star prospects, all of them from out of state. Are there areas to improve for the Buckeyes? Of course, there always is a way to get better and perfect recruiting efforts. But Ohio State has landed one of the best and most complete classes that Urban Meyer has assembled, and the Buckeyes will contend for titles for years on the strength of their recruiting.