How does Ohio State's 2017 recruiting class compare to the B1G's best ever?
Yes, it’s already worth looking at.
Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting class is already on a torrid pace. Anybody who has paid attention to the recruiting circuit knows that. For about 24 hours, the No. 1 class belonged to Alabama (247sports). But fittingly, OSU took the top spot back with a verbal pledge from another five-star recruit, No. 1 offensive guard Wyatt Davis.
As you may or may not know, the B1G has never had the top recruiting class in a given year. Well, it hasn’t since recruiting rankings became a thing in the beginning of the 21st century. The closest that a B1G team came to accomplishing that feat was in 2013. That, of course, was Urban Meyer’s highly touted 2013 class.
If the question hasn’t already been asked yet, it’s going to asked in the near future, especially as more commitments roll in. How does Ohio State’s 2013 group compare to 2017? We obviously won’t be able to measure that in any on-field metric until 2018 at the earliest. After all, the 2013 group played a massive part in winning a title in its second year in Columbus.
Recruiting rankings won’t answer the bigger questions. Will Tate Martell develop into a Heisman candidate as a redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett? Will J.K. Dobbins set postseason rushing records like Ezekiel Elliott?
We obviously don’t know that. For now, all we have to look at are the recruiting rankings.
It’s early, but those look pretty promising:
|OHIO STATE 2013||OHIO STATE 2017|
|National rank (247sports composite)||2||1|
|Recruits from conference footprint||54%||33%|
|Top-rated skill player||WR Jalin Marshall||QB Tate Martell|
So yes, by the look of it, there’s already more top-end talent in the 2017 class than there was in 2013. That is, according to the rankings. The fact that Ohio State already has three five-star recruits on board before the 2016 season even starts is huge.
The only team that might touch OSU’s 13 combined four- and five-star recruits is Michigan. Right now, the Wolverines are No. 4 in the 2017 class rankings, but they only have seven four- and five-star recruits.
RELATED: #B1GCoachRank: No. 1 Urban Meyer
This early in the game, things can change. Chances are, the Buckeyes will lose recruits here and there as they start to double up on positions. But with that, there will also be top-100 recruits added to the list.
Here are all of OSU’s top-100 targets that 247sports’ crystal ball projects will wind up in Columbus:
So even if Meyer could land only three of those guys, he’d still be looking at a better class (on paper, of course) than the 2013 group. That would give him 11 top-100 recruits, possibly five 5-star recruits and likely the No. 1 class.
That doesn’t even include guys like Donovan Peoples-Jones, the top-rated receiver in the 2017 class who has OSU among his favorites. It doesn’t include five-star running back Cam Akers, who is also high on the Buckeyes.
The list of top-100 recruits with Buckeye interest is tough to keep track of. Maybe that’s why Martell mapped out his targets for the 2017 class:
Hopefully I'll be able to put a ✔️ on my white board next to Wyatt Davis name after tomorrow! #GoBucks @wyattdavis53 pic.twitter.com/X6ICrSLCOO
— Tate Martell (@TheTateMartell) June 23, 2016
Martell, of course, was able to check off Davis’ name. Will there be others? It certainly helps that a top QB like Martell is already in place, especially one as nationally known as he is.
Barring some sort of unforeseen circumstance, let’s hypothetically say that OSU does pick up a few more top-100 recruits and bypass the 2013 class (again, only on paper). Would that mean that it would be in line for the No. 1 overall class?
That’s too early to say. After the late run that Alabama went on in 2016, a No. 1 ranking likely won’t be determined until signing day is in the books.
Here’s how Alabama’s top-ranked 2016 class compared to OSU’s 2017 class so far:
|ALABAMA 2016||OHIO STATE 2017|
|Recruits from conference footprint||59%||33%|
|Top-rated skill player||RB B.J. Emmons||QB Tate Martell|
If that’s the standard for your average No. 1 class, the 2017 group is far ahead of the pace. But it is Alabama. You know, the program with six straight No. 1 classes.
The only reason the Buckeyes’ 2013 group didn’t earn a No. 1 overall ranking was because of Alabama. That class had talents like Derrick Henry and A’Shawn Robinson. In all, there were a whopping six 5-star recruits and 15 (!) total ranked in the top 100.
More important than recruiting rankings, what do Ohio State and Alabama’s 2013 classes have in common? They both played a big part in winning a national title. That will be the standard in Columbus for Meyer’s 2017 group, regardless of what kind of final ranking it receives.
But it’s hard not to notice the new standard Meyer is setting for B1G recruiting.