COLUMBUS, Ohio — A three-year journey for Ohio State’s class of 2017 is coming to an end, and a new one will soon begin.
From a pure recruiting standpoint, this class has been one of the more memorable groups at Ohio State in recent memory. Loaded with 5-star talent and full of plot twists, the players that call themselves #Select17 came together in a way few classes have. What follows is a look back at how Ohio State coach Urban Meyer put together what became — on paper — the most talent-rich recruiting class of his career.
To view the timeline graphic below, click Continue. Select the 3D option on the left for the best viewing experience and scroll through to revisit the construction of Ohio State’s class of 2017.
The 2017 class began earlier than any other Meyer class has ever started. Danny Clark had just finished his freshman season at Massillon (Ohio) Washington. He was the first freshman to ever start at quarterback at the storied program, and he’d already visited Ohio State for several home games.
Ohio State brought him in for a practice Dec. 13, 2013, and offered him a scholarship. He accepted on the spot. At the time, Ohio State only had one commitment in the class of 2015 and none in the class of 2016. However, the 2017 class was already off and running.
The day that changed it all
More than a year passed without any commitments. That was perfectly expected given how early Clark pledged to the Buckeyes. Ohio State made a splash, though, on Jan. 12, 2015. Just hours before the College Football Playoff National Championship against Oregon, 5-star cornerback Shaun Wade announced he was committing to Ohio State. The Buckeyes went on to beat Oregon, and in the hours after the game, 3-star athlete Bruce Judson joined him.
In-state 4-star offensive tackle Josh Myers committed later in January 2015. Two more Ohioans — 4-star running back Todd Sibley and 4-star cornerback Marcus Williamson — pledged the weekend of the spring game in April.
Championships pay dividends two or three recruiting cycles in advance because they have the biggest effect on kids first beginning their recruitment. When members of the 2017 class began the recruiting process, Ohio State was in the middle of a 23-game winning streak that included a national title and a Sugar Bowl win over Alabama.
The seeds were planted, and the waiting began.
The booms returned, fittingly, on July 4, 2015. Arvada (Colo.) Pomona 4-star offensive tackle Jake Moretti committed to the Buckeyes. He was joined by 4-star defensive tackle Jerron Cage, 3-star kicker Blake Haubeil and 4-star safety Isaiah Pryor the last week of July. Cage gave Ohio State the defensive tackle help it so desperately needed, and Haubeil finished as the top-ranked kicker in the country.
Brendon White, the son of former Buckeyes player William White, committed Oct. 2. Two days later, Judson gave the class its first de-commitment. Judson later claimed Meyer didn’t recognize him. He eventually committed to South Florida but reopened his recruitment Jan. 24, 2017.
A loss to Michigan State ended Ohio State’s chance of a repeat national championship. However, the Buckeyes entered the offseason with a 26-2 record over the previous two seasons. During the early winter months of 2016, Meyer caught fire, NBA Jam-style.
Las Vegas Bishop Gorman 4-star defensive tackle Haskell Garrett committed Feb. 9, 2016, without ever having visited Ohio State. Less than a month later, La Grange (Texas) 4-star running back J.K. Dobbins also committed without a visit. In between those two commitments, Ohio State landed Ann Arbor (Mich.) Pioneer 4-star linebacker Antjuan Simmons. He went to high school across the street from Michigan Stadium.
That success continued into the summer. A de-commitment from Sibley did nothing to stop the good vibes. Garrett’s teammate, Tate Martell, one of the most coveted players in the class of 2017, committed in June. He was soon joined by Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco 5-star offensive guard Wyatt Davis. Then 5-star defensive end Chase Young committed at Friday Night Lights, and Cincinnati (Ohio) Colerain 4-star cornerback Amir Riep pledged one day later.
Ohio State capped off the summer by landing two 4-star wide receivers on the same day: Bishop Gorman’s Tyjon Lindsey and Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas product Trevon Grimes.
What was once viewed as unthinkable eventually became a reality. Clark, who sports an enormous Ohio State tattoo on his left arm, saw the writing on the wall with Martell’s commitment and de-committed on Sept. 27.
Moretti, who tore his ACL at an Ohio State camp in June, flipped to Colorado on Nov. 17. Simmons reopened his recruitment Nov. 30 as the Buckeyes continued to chase other linebackers. The most shocking one of all came last, as Lindsey backed off his commitment Jan. 11 and later pledged to Nebraska.
Undeterred, Ohio State continued to add quality pieces during the wave of de-commitments. The day after Simmons left, Ohio State landed 5-star outside linebacker Baron Browning out of Kennedale, Texas. Indianapolis Cathedral 4-star linebacker Pete Werner committed less than two weeks later.
South Grand Prairie (Texas) 5-star cornerback Jeffrey Okudah chose Ohio State at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. JUCO cornerback Kendall Sheffield, a former 5-star recruit, committed Jan. 10, and Cleveland Heights (Ohio) 4-star receiver Jaylen Harris pledged Jan. 13.
With five 5-stars already on board (six counting Sheffield), it’s going to be the most top-end talent Meyer has ever brought to Columbus.
It took more than three years to fully assemble, but Ohio State fans got to enjoy virtually every step of the way.