Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer (Courtesy of Cleveland.com)
This past weekend, Ohio State earned three more blue-chip commitments following their annual Friday Night Lights events. Although one was for the class of 2018, the focus for several months has been on the class of 2017 and its dominance on the class rankings.
Currently, Ohio State is #1, followed by Alabama and Georgia, with 16 commitments. There has been much talk on whether this class will become the best class ever (either for Ohio State or any program). I decided to look into this claim to see how this class is projected to stack up, compared to the great classes of the recruiting site era (2002 till now), according to the 247 Sports Composite class rankings.
Compared to Other OSU Classes
At this present moment, with the commitments of 4-star recruits defensive end Chase Young and cornerback Amir Riep, the class calculator is at 285.12. That total puts the 2017 class already ahead of the 2015 class, which had 26 commits and a score of 277.78. 2017 is just four points below the 2016 class, which was ranked #4 in the nation with a score of 289.12.
The class that had the largest class calculator score in modern history is 2013, which scored 303.27. The class, which was ranked #2 in the country, became legendary in 2016 NFL Draft when four of the members were drafted in the top 20: Ezekiel Elliott (#3 pick), Joey Bosa (#4), Eli Apple (#10) and Darron Lee (#20). Vonn Bell was drafted in the second round as well. In addition, J.T. Barrett is a Heisman candidate, and several other players have their eyes on the NFL in the future: Tyquan Lewis, Marcus Baugh, Gareon Conley, Billy Price, Dontre Wilson, Corey Smith, Chris Worley and Tracy Sprinkle.
(left to right) Ohio State director of player personnel Mark Pantoni, Darron Lee, Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott and Eli Apple as high school recruits at an Ohio State game in 2012 (Courtesy of @markpantoni)
Although I mention the class of 2013 as it pertains to their college success and NFL draft status, this analysis is based solely on their ranking/recruiting impact entering college.
Total Score Comparison
With that said, while 2013 has a score of 303.27, it also had 29 commits. The 2017 class has just 16 thus far, but due to scholarship restrictions this year due to just six seniors on the team, it is expected to end up at 18-21 commits. Four of the players that have been considered leans, according to 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball predictions, to Ohio State are running back Cam Akers, wide receivers Trevon Grimes and Tyjon Lindsey, and safety Jeffrey Okudah.
If those four commit (Lindsey and Grimes are set to announce their decisions Aug. 22 and 24, respectively), the class score is 316.41 with 20 commits, which topples the 2013 class, with nine less recruits.
Let’s take this 20-commit class and now hold it for a comparison overall.
Say Ohio State’s 2017 class does get these four recruits… How does this projected 316.41 score stack up all-time?
Florida defensive linemen Shariff Floyd (#73) and Dominique Easley (#2) were two of the stars of the Gators’ 2010 recruiting class (Courtesy Photo)
Well, there are five classes in total score are:
• 2010 University of Florida – 323.66 (30 commits)
• 2014 University of Alabama – 319.58 (29 commits)
• 2013 University of Alabama – 319.48 (26 commits)
• 2006 University of Southern California – 315.36 (28 commits)
• 2010 University of Texas – 311.49 (24 commits)
Per Capita Score Comparison
Notice the size of the classes. The only classes that have a larger class score have a minimum of four more recruits than the 2017 Ohio State class I projected. The 2017 class would be fourth all-time if these projections hold true.
While 247 Sports doesn’t allow me to project the class per capita average, the current 16-member class (without the four recruit projection I just made) is at 94.73.
That average is the highest in the recruiting era. Based on the fact that the players that Ohio State is recruiting are all over 94.73 in their individual rankings, this number will only get higher.
It’s safe to say that the class per capita average is the best of all-time.
The five classes have the highest average are:
• 2017 Ohio State University – 94.73 (16 commits)
• 2015 University of Alabama – 93.64 (24 commits)
• 2017 University of Georgia – 93.46 (14 commits)
• 2013 University of Alabama – 93.25 (26 commits)
• 2010 University of Texas – 93.55 (24 commits)
I want to note that the 2017 University of Georgia class is currently ranked #3 and we will pay attention to see how they progress and if they remain in the top five per capita scores of all-time.
Five-Star Recruit Comparison
Now, let’s talk about the amount of five star recruits per class. Currently, the 2017 Buckeyes have three: Josh Myers, Shaun Wade and Wyatt Davis. Based on the fact that the top 32 recruits end up five-star recruits at the end of the season, Chase Young would qualify, ranking #28 in the nation. (Currently, the top 27 are listed as five-stars). Since currently his individual score is a 0.9832, and a score of 0.9835 is what’s needed to be a five-star, I’m going to assume that his ranking will help push his score high enough to be a five-star in the very near future and add him as a five-star for this exercise.
With four five-stars in a class of 16 (not including the four projections I mentioned earlier), how does that stack all-time?
USC wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett was one of the six five-star recruits in the Trojans’ 2004 class. (Courtesy Photo)
Here are the classes with the highest percentage of five-star recruits:
• 2004 University of Southern California – 6 five-stars/20 commits: 24%
• 2007 University of Southern California – 6 five-stars/20 commits: 24%
• 2005 University of Southern California– 5 five-stars/17 commits: 29.4%
• 2012 Florida State University – 5 five-stars/19 commits: 26.3%
• 2017 Ohio State University – 4 five-stars/16 commits: 25%
If I add in my projections of Akers, Grimes, Lindsey and Okudah, all of which are five-star recruits (Lindsey is #32 in the nation so he will end up five-star based on the aforementioned criteria soon), that means Ohio State would have 8 five-stars out of 20 commits. This percentage of 40% would be the highest in recruiting era history. However, thus far, it is third all-time.
Florida State running back Lorenzo Booker was the highest-ranked recruit for the FSU’s 2002 class (Courtesy Photo)
That 8 five-star total would also be the most five-star recruits ever placed into one class. There have been six classes are tied for the record with 6 five-star recruits each:
• 2002 Florida State University
• 2004 University of Southern California
• 2006 University of Southern California
• 2007 University of Southern California
• 2013 University of Alabama
• 2014 University of Alabama
Blue-Chip Recruit Comparison
Now as far as overall blue-chip recruits, which are five-star and four-star recruits, and the percentage of blue-chips in a class, the current class has just one skill player who is not a four-star recruit: quarterback Danny Clark, a three-star. The remaining three-star recruit is Blake Haubeil, who is the #1 kicker in the country. We will add both to this comparison to make it accurate.
This gives Ohio State 14 blue chips out of 16, which is a percentage of 87.5%.
How does this figure stack up?
Well, in total, Ohio State isn’t even close in having the most blue-chips in one class. Here are the top five classes with total blue-chips:
• 2010 University of Florida: 22 blue-chips (5 five-stars and 17 four-stars)
• 2014 University of Alabama: 21 blue-chips (6 five-stars and 15 four-stars)
• 2015 University of Alabama: 20 blue-chips (5 five-stars and 15 four-stars)
• 2013 Ohio State University: 20 blue-chips (1 five-star and 19 four-stars)
• 2010 University of Texas: 19 blue chips (5 five-stars and 14 four-stars)
• 2011 University of Alabama: 19 blue chips (3 five-stars and 16 four-stars)
Now, what about per capita? 2010 Florida had 30 total recruits, which means it had a blue-chip percentage of 73%. 2014 Alabama had 29 total recruits and 72.4%. 2015 Alabama had 24 total recruits and 83.3%.
Let’s look at the blue-chip percentage in the recruiting era:
• 2017 Ohio State University: 14 blue-chips out of 16 – 87.5%
• 2015 University of Alabama: 20 blue-chips out of 24 commits – 83.3%
• 2017 University of Georgia: 12 blue-chips out of 14 commits – 83.3%
• 2010 University of Texas: 19 blue-chips out of 24 commits – 79.2%
• 2010 University of Southern California: 16 blue-chips out of 21 commits – 76.1%
Being that the only players Ohio State is recruiting for the remainder of scholarships in this class are five-star and four-star recruits, it’s safe to say that the 2017 class will have the highest blue-chip percentage of all-time. If I add the four projections, the class blue-chip percentage goes from 87.5% to 90% (18 blue-chips out of 20 commits).
As the class stands today, 2017 Ohio State is one of the greatest classes of the 21st century already. It is 1st in per capita class score, 1st blue-chip percentage and 5th in five-star percentage. However, its total scores of 285.12, 4 five-star recruits and 14 total blue chips are great but not amongst the greatest just yet.
Now when you factor in the four projections of Akers, Grimes, Lindsey and Okudah, the class remains first in those two categories, becomes first in five-star and blue-chip percentage, and first in total five-stars.
The only way the 2017 class can top the best overall score record of 323.66 set by 2010 University of Florida is if they also sign five-star linebacker Baron Browning (or five-star cornerback Darnay Holmes) and four-star defensive tackle Jay Tufele. Browning and Tufele, along with the four projections, would give the 2017 Ohio State class a total score of 325.03 (or 324.71 with Holmes instead of Browning). However, due to the scholarship restrictions, this now total of 22 recruits seems unlikely.
Kyle “Scoop” Yeldell is a native of Washington, DC. One day in 1993, as an eight year old budding sports fan, he turned on his first college football game and Ohio State, a school he had previously never heard of, was playing. He’s been a die-hard Buckeyes fan ever since. He earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College and his Master’s degree from Georgetown University’s Sports Industry Management program.