Reason for concern about Ohio State’s ‘slow start’ in recruiting?
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Is this a slow start for Ohio State recruiting? While they have 3 commits, with the amount of offers going out and narrowed lists of recruits, it seems like there should be a couple more early commitments.
— Bryant Schaefer (@bryantschaefer) March 28, 2018
This has been an interesting topic and one I’ve gone back and forth on myself several times. In a mailbag earlier in March, I did some research on recent Ohio State recruiting classes under Urban Meyer and crunched some numbers.
In the four recruiting classes from 2015-18, Ohio State has averaged between eight and nine commitments in each cycle by the end of April. The 2015 class was an outlier, with only two commitments by April’s end for the Buckeyes in that group. There were at least eight in 2016, ’17, and ’18.
As of Thursday, the Buckeyes have just three commitments in the 2019 recruiting class — running back Sampson James and offensive linemen Ryan Jacoby and Doug Nester. The Buckeyes have the No. 21-ranked class overall in the 247Sports composite team rankings and the No. 6 class in the Big Ten. They’re first among teams with three or fewer commits, but seeing Ohio State outside of the top 20 is still a little surprising.
I think Ohio State is off to a bit of a slow start, but much of that is based off the Buckeye’s own evaluations more than a lack of interest. If Ohio State would have pressed for commitments from a few of their earlier offers, they could have double-digit commits in the class by now.
Meyer and his staff are taking it slow — at some positions — by design. At quarterback, their evaluations are critical and in a down year at the position, they’re going to closely watch several top players before deciding who they want. With commits already in the fold at running back and offensive line, they need to make sure they don’t fill up too early and will be careful there. There simply aren’t a lot of players in the country who could commit to Ohio State right now.
Now, on the other hand, we could see some of the rare players who could commit choose to do so in the near future. Ohio State has placed a premium on in-state prospects such as linebacker Cade Stover and defensive end Noah Potter and they’re expected back on campus again in April.
Florida safety Jordan Battle, an Ohio State lean, will make an official visit on April 6 and could commit. Players such as Georgia lineman Harry Miller, Texas teammates Grant Gunnell and Jalen Curry, and Virginia running back Devyn Ford will all be in Columbus in April and have the Buckeyes among their final choices with possible decisions looming in the not-so-distant future.
In short, I think this class is perhaps starting off a little bit slow for the Buckeyes, but that will likely be a distant memory in about a month. Ohio State has always crushed it in April under Meyer — they landed four commitments off the back of the spring game last year — and I expect that trend to continue moving forward.
There’s rarely reason to worry about recruiting under Meyer. He’s a guru and will continue to have his program in the hunt for the top class in the country year in and year out. I’d be shocked if Ohio State finishes out of the top 5 in the 2019 recruiting rankings and I think the Buckeyes will get up to speed by late April or early May.
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