Recruiting Classes: Do They Live Up To The Hype?

Written February 5th, 2014 by Scott

Today is the offseason day college football junkies love.

It’s National Letter of Intent Day. The day high school seniors can make official their college choice. At the end of the day, or actually the signing period to be more exact, the so-called experts will rank the classes.

Ohio State is hoping to claim the No. 2 spot behind the Crimson Sabans. But do the rankings really mean anything or are they more like a ticket to see the Florida Marlins play the Houston Astros — crap? Will a top class bring a national title in a couple years?

With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to look back to 2012, when Urban Meyer inked his first class. He had 25 players, 12 on offense, 12 on defense and one who was termed an “athlete.”

That class was ranked No. 4 behind Alabama, Texas and Florida. By the way, how did those high rankings work for you, Texas and Florida fans?

After taking a look back, I’m not quite sure I would rank OSU’s class so high. Maybe top 10. Maybe. But definitely not top five. OSU went undefeated that season but certainly not because of anything major any of these recruits did. Some redshirted, others played mostly special teams.

And of the 25 players Meyer inked six are no longer or were never on the roster for various reasons. Of the remaining players, five do not appear to be in a position to earn meaningful playing time. Among them are running backs Bri’onte Dunn, who did not play last year after scoring a pair of touchdowns as a freshman, and Warren Ball, who played mostly special teams last season.

That leaves 14 players, four of whom I think are either absolute studs. Among them are linebacker Josh Perry who had 64 tackles and a sack this past season; Taylor Decker, who helped the Buckeyes have one of the country’s best offensive lines despite a few false start issues; defensive end Noah Spence, who had eight sacks and 52 tackles and defensive end Adolphus Washington, who had a pair of sacks and 36 tackles last season.

There are three very good players or studs-in-waiting: Defensive end Jamal Marcus, who filled in for Spence in the Orange Bowl and ended the season with a pair of sacks and 21 tackles; defensive back Tyvis Powell and his 48 tackles and DB Armani Reeves, who had 26 tackles.

The latter two should be in contention for starting spots in 2014 along with De’Van Bogard, who played in eight games this past season. Defensive tackle Tommy Schutt is also in position to earn some playing time but he certainly won’t start and linebacker Camren Williams will contribute too.

Ain’t Come Here To Play School…

On offense, Kyle Dodson, Pat Elflein and Jacoby Boren are projected starters on the line. Elflein filled in for Marcus Hall against the Michigan Twins and Boren groomed for two years under center Corey Linsley.

Let’s not forget quarterback Cardale Jones. No way he beats out Braxton Miller, if there is even any competition at all. But he could/should earn some playing time given Miller’s fantastic ability to get hurt.

So the bottom line here is that OSU inked 25 players and have gotten major contributions from four and solid contributions from three others, about 28 percent of the class.

The jury is still out on the rest and it will take another year to see.

I would have expected more from a class rated No. 4 in the country. Or was the ranking simply bogus because nobody knows.

My vote is for the latter.

4 Comments

  1. KenNo Gravatar
    February 5th, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Interesting piece, Scott. Like you, I’d vote “for the latter”. I wonder if the other “top 5″ classes had similar results? Not so much that I’ll actually do any analysis, just thinking aloud..

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  2. wildman1056No Gravatar
    February 5th, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    You of course know that only 22 players (25, if you count kicker, punter, and long snapper) can start. Another 15 will either spot start, play special teams, or give relief in blowouts. So, only half of your guys really have to be any good by your standards for you to have a quality team. It seems like Ohio State is right where they need to be.

    These class rankings are all BS, anyway. One never knows who will work out and who will not. Who will be able to handle being benched and work through it, who will study? Who will be able to keep his hands off of girls, drugs, and/or his floormate’s Ipod/laptop? When one class is ranked above another because one team got a QB, that is often insignificant. Are the guys you’re bringing in as good as or better than the guys they replace. That’s the only thing that matters.

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  3. BradNo Gravatar
    February 6th, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Yeah the recruiting classes don’t mean much. I am Vols fan and my team has fallen on hard times. It was good as fan to have something to be optimistic about, but as a diehard fan I know it doesn’t always translate to wins. In 2007 Vols had a #3 class that class went 28-24, and the only reason that class had a positive W/L is because the 2007 team had good players from the 2004 class and they won 10 games in 2007 in which there were minimal freshman contributions. My $.02 anyway.

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    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    February 6th, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Thanks for your input, Brad!

    Serious question- How do you feel about Tennessee’s HUGE recruiting class (numbers wise)? I know a lot of it was “backfill” for the roster depleted team this past year, but are you worried that Coach Jones is bringing in people who will only be “run off” later (see Saban, Nick)?

    [Reply]

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