COLUMBUS, Ohio — Spring games have been BOOOOOOM or bust for Ohio State from a recruiting standpoint during the Urban Meyer era.
Meyer has coached six spring games during his time as the Buckeyes coach. Three have ended with multiple commitments, and three have included no commitments. Several of the players who committed never made it to Ohio State, while others turned into stars or appear on their way to promising college careers.
What follows is a look back at the players who’ve committed during an Ohio State spring game weekend during the Meyer era.
2012 Ohio State spring game
Meyer’s first spring game led to three commitments, though the outcomes couldn’t have differed more wildly.
Alex Anzalone, a 4-star outside linebacker from Reading (Pa.) Wyomissing, committed to Ohio State on the day of the spring game in 2012.
That commitment was short-lived, however, after it was revealed that a convicted sex offender and Ohio State fan posted a picture online that he’d taken with Anzalone the weekend of the spring game. After committing on April 21, Anzalone de-committed on May 5.
He ultimately signed with Florida, where his career was marked by injuries, before being drafted in the third round by the New Orleans Saints in 2017.
Incredibly enough, Anzalone’s commitment lasted longer than that of Lewis Neal, a 3-star defensive lineman from Wilson (N.C.) Hunt who committed on April 23. Neal didn’t even make it to May before LSU offered, at which point he ended his commitment to the Buckeyes.
Neal went on to have a productive career with LSU as a defensive tackle and signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent. However, he may be best known for starting his own investment firm.
One out of three’s not bad when Joey Bosa is the one, right? While neither of the other two commitments lasted more than a couple weeks, Bosa went on to become one of the most dominant defensive ends in program history.
Bosa visited for the spring game and committed two days later on April 23.
“Everything about Ohio State was just awesome,” he said. “The people, the coaching staff, the campus, the city, they all just came together perfectly and I knew this was the place I had to go.”
In three seasons, Bosa was twice named a consensus All-American and Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. He also won a Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award. He was drafted No. 3 overall by the San Diego Chargers and was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year for the 2016 season.
2013 Ohio State spring game
Perhaps in part because it was held at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, no players committed to Ohio State the weekend of the 2014 spring game. The week before the game, however, Ohio State landed commitments from a pair of 4-star linebackers — Kyle Berger and Sam Hubbard.
2014 Ohio State spring game
In the midst of a commitment drought that lasted nearly half a year, Ohio State didn’t land any commits at the 2014 spring game. A number of talented recruits who ultimately chose other schools attended the game, including Damien Harris (Alabama), Darrin Kirkland (Tennessee), Sh’Mar Kilby-Lane (Florida State), Joshua McMillon (Alabama) and James Daniels (Iowa).
2015 Ohio State spring game
The 2015 Ohio State spring game was part of an incredible stretch in which Ohio State landed six commitments in five days. Earlier in the week, the Buckeyes accepted pledges from DeSoto, Texas, 4-star quarterback Tristen Wallace and Bolingbrook, Ill., 4-star linebacker Tuf Borland.
During the spring game weekend, four more players committed to the Buckeyes — including two from the Class of 2017.
While visiting for the 2015 spring game, 3-star center Jack Wohlabaugh was summoned into Meyer’s office for a meeting the morning of the game.
“Coach [Ed] Warinner was messaging me earlier in the week and said he had big news and that I’ll leave a really happy man,” Wohlabaugh said. “So I kind of thought it might happen, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Then it was actually Coach Meyer, me, my dad, my mom and Mark Pantoni in Coach Meyer’s office right after I arrived and then he broke the news that I had an offer. It was hard to put the emotions I felt in to words. I was just insanely happy.”
Wohlabaugh committed on the spot, giving the Buckeyes a center for the Class of 2016. He lasted just two seasons at Ohio State, though, announcing after the 2017 season that he would be transferring to Duke to finish out his college career.
Williamson, a 4-star cornerback in the Class of 2017 from Westerville (Ohio) South, gave an early commitment when he committed at the 2015 spring game.
“They are a family at Ohio State, and I want to be a part of it,” he said. “That was a big part of it for me as well. This was the right time because when you want something badly, you just go get it, and I felt this was the right time for me. I felt great about giving them my verbal commitment.”
Williamson finished his high school career at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy before enrolling early at Ohio State in 2017. He played in 10 games as a freshman and recorded 6 tackles.
Barrow, a 4-star defensive tackle, committed to Ohio State the day after the spring game.
The Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy product said at the time that he was exited to play for defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
“It was a great feeling,” he said. “I feel like I can be really successful there. Coach Johnson, the D-line coach, he’s really going to help mold me into a great player.
“I can really see myself there, from the coaches, the way Coach Meyer handles his team and the stuff he does for his players, he sets up jobs for them and stuff. That’s where I want to be — a place that’s going to help me succeed in life on and off the field.”
Barrow’s first two years at Ohio State have been set back by injuries. As a high school senior he tore an ACL and ultimately redshirted as a college freshman. He then tore his other ACL in 2017, ending his season after just four games.
Sibley, a Class of 2017 4-star running back from Akron (Ohio) Hoban, committed to Ohio State the day after the spring game.
“I committed to Ohio State because I became convinced during the spring game that it’s definitely the right school for me,” Sibley said. “I called Coach Meyer today and told him I wanted to be a Buckeye. He said that news made his day.
“It also made my day, as well. The spring game made all the difference in the world to me. Talking to the coaches, seeing all the athletes and seeing all the fans there just blew me away. I came out of the tunnel with Coach Meyer, and that’s something I will never forget.”
One year later, though, things changed drastically. After landing a commitment from talented Texas running back J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State asked Sibley to grayshirt and enroll one season later. He flipped his commitment to Pitt, where he redshirted in 2017.
2016 Ohio State spring game
The Buckeyes didn’t land any commitments the weekend of the 2016 spring game. The game did feature some big visitors, though, including Najee Harris, the 5-star running back who was at that point the No. 1 overall prospect nationally in the 247Sports composite rankings. Harris ultimately chose Alabama.
2017 Ohio State spring game
The 2017 spring game featured a pair of commitments for the Class of 2017, both of which came from out of state. While neither was expected, one was especially a surprise.
A week before the spring game, 4-star tackle Max Wray reluctantly took a visit to Ohio State and almost immediately fell in love.
“He knew what he was looking for, and it was like everything came together when we were at Ohio State,” said Wray’s mom, Stacy. “He was sitting in a meeting with [offensive line coach Greg Studrawa] and I looked at Sam and said, ‘He’s going to commit to Ohio State.’ We’d been on campus for an hour and a half. It was just different, and that was the X-factor for Max. It was just the school for him.”
Wray announced his commitment the morning of the spring game, a week after that visit. One year later, he’s enrolled at Ohio State and has been taking part in spring practice.
A 4-star safety in the Class of 2017, Josh Proctor committed to Ohio State at halftime of the Buckeyes spring game in 2017. His commitment was a huge surprise, as all recruiting projections had him pegged as an eventual Oklahoma commit.
Ohio State had to battle with the Sooners for the rest of the recruiting cycle to hold on to him, but Proctor stuck with the Buckeyes and signed in December. He’ll arrive in June for his freshman season.