There’s no doubt about it: Ohio State has signed one heck of a 2017 recruiting class.
Even Urban Meyer, usually reserved in his praise of anything, couldn’t help but feel optimistic. He told the Big Ten Network on Wednesday that this class could be special.
Urban Meyer: "This could go down as one of those great classes."
— Ryan Ginn (@rmginn) February 1, 2017
But how special? To cover recruiting fairly means you have to be objective, and when you’re being objective you can’t just say that everything “your” team does is perfect, right? Right. Even the best recruiting classes in the country have holes or areas that could’ve been filled “better,” and that includes Ohio State.
Where did the Buckeyes excel? Where did they fall short? We’re going to try to get to the bottom of that. Let’s dive into the 2017 recruiting class of the Ohio State Buckeyes.
How did Ohio State grade out on offense?
Ohio State passed on a tight end in 2017 but, besides that, hit every other position and found some much-needed help with the ball.
Quarterback — Tate Martell
Martell fits a need for the Ohio State recruiting class and the style of the Buckeyes offense perfectly. He was a leader in the recruiting class from before he committed and helped secure many of the players who joined the class following his June decision. Grade: A
Running back – J.K. Dobbins
He’s fast, he’s versatile and he’s strong, and that’s what makes J.K. Dobbins such a good fit for the Buckeyes. The country’s second-ranked all-purpose running back, Dobbins is a big-time prospect and is going to be competing for playing time as a freshman. Still, I think Ohio State needed a second running back in this class and it didn’t get one. Grade: B+
Wide receiver – Trevon Grimes, Jaylen Harris and Elijah Gardiner
Ohio State needed three wide receivers in 2017 and that’s what it got, though a slot receiver – someone like recent de-commitment Tyjon Lindsey – would have been a difference maker. Instead, the Buckeyes went big and signed three players all over 6-foot-3 and signaled a serious change to the philosophy of the passing game moving forward. Grimes is coming off a torn ACL and Gardiner is a project, so this group – with tremendous upside – doesn’t bring in the overall grade you’d expect to see. Grade: B+
Offensive line – Wyatt Davis, Josh Myers, Thayer Munford
It’s tough to be disappointed in a group that has two top-50 players in it. Wyatt Davis is the star and Josh Myers is the big, solid, blue-chip Ohio lineman that everyone loves. Thayer Munford, though? He could have the highest ceiling in the group if he puts in the time and effort to hone his craft. I really like this group. Grade: A
Overall Offense Grade? A-
What about the Ohio State defensive haul?
This is where things get fun. Let’s take a look at the next wave of Silver Bullets.
Defensive line – Chase Young, Haskell Garrett, Jerron Cage
Defensive end Chase Young is the absolute star of the group but there’s nothing to scoff at when you think about defensive tackles Garrett and Cage, either. They’re both in the top 13 at their position. Still, the Buckeyes have not landed that monster defensive tackle that they covet for the second straight year, missing out on both Jay Tufele and Marvin Wilson on Wednesday. Overall, it’s a solid group but it could use one more piece. Grade: B+
Linebacker – Baron Browning, Brendon White, Pete Werner
There is a lot to like with the Ohio State linebackers group, especially 5-star prospect Baron Browning. He’s perhaps the country’s most talented linebacker prospect and is already on campus as an early enrollee. Brendon White was brought in as a linebacker but has since moved to wide receiver, but for class grading purposes, I’m including him at linebacker, where he was intended. I think Pete Werner could be the steal of the class for Ohio State. Grade: A
Defensive back – Jeffrey Okudah, Shaun Wade, Isaiah Pryor, Amir Riep, Marcus Williamson and Kendall Sheffield
This is the best single group in the Buckeyes class and potentially the best group of defensive backs ever signed by one program in a single recruiting class. Ohio State has landed the country’s No. 1 and No. 2 cornerbacks, two additional 4-star prospects and a top 5-ranked safety. Throw in former 5-star prospect Kendall Sheffield, the country’s premier JUCO cornerback, and it’s got the makings of something really, really special. Grade: A+
Kicker – Blake Haubeil
Oh, yeah, the Buckeyes also signed the country’s best kicker in New York’s Blake Haubeil. Not bad. Grade: A
So, to sum it up: the 2017 Ohio State football recruiting class is …
The best in the Big Ten. The best (maybe) in Ohio State’s history and a group that is capable of some big, big things in Columbus. The gap between Ohio State, Michigan and the rest of the Big Ten is growing.
Final Grade: A