Three Years Out: A Look at the 2010 Recruiting Class

By Kyle Rowland on May 13, 2013 at 9:30a
Bradley Roby, one of many diamonds in the rough of 2010

College football loyalists got an introduction to recruiting season in the 1990s. But the seriousness of the business wasn’t realized until the past decade, when recruiting became more popular than college basketball in the month of February.

National Signing Day is viewed as a holiday in several parts of the nation. With John Cooper, Jim Tressel and now Urban Meyer at the helm of Ohio State’s juggernaut football program, the Buckeyes often find themselves near the top of national recruiting rankings. Getting blue-chippers to enroll at your school doesn’t guarantee national championships, but it’s the clearest path to success.

Recruiting, like the NFL Draft, is a hit-and-miss industry. There are legendary cases of busts and No. 1 prospects that turned into hall of famers. The guesswork is all part of the thrill, similar to the unknown lurking past the first hill on a rollercoaster.

No coach knows for sure what he’s getting on the first Wednesday in February. The indicator light doesn’t flash for the first time until three years later, when a final grade is stamped on a recruiting class. For Ohio State, that time is fast approaching for the 2010 class, the last pre-TatGate group Tressel brought to Columbus.

If ever a class can be deemed feast or famine, it is 2010.

“Sometimes you end up with more and sometimes you end up with less,” Tressel said. “They’re an unselfish bunch. They have versatility, maturity and passion to be a part of this.”

Ranked 25th, uncharacteristically low by Ohio State standards, the collection of 19 players, including eight four-stars, has yet to fully make their mark on the Buckeyes. There was an undefeated season in 2012, but that was not totally the doing of the Class of 2010.

The 2010 Class
Name Pos Status
Darryl Baldwin DE Switched to OL; Backup
Drew Basil K Starter
Corey Brown ATH Led '12 team in catches
Christian Bryant DB Starter
David Durham DE Transferred to Pitt
Taylor Graham QB Transferred to Hawaii
Adam Griffin RB Backup DB
Chad Hagan LB Medical hardship waiver
Johnathan Hankins DT New York Giants (2nd)
Carlos Hyde RB Starter
James Louis WR Transferred to FIU
Scott McVey LB Medical hardship waiver
J.T. Moore DE Trying to crack DL rotation
Andrew Norwell OL Starter
Verlon Reed ATH Transferred to Findlay
Bradley Roby DB Starter
Rod Smith RB Backup
Jamel Turner DE Never enrolled
Tyrone Williams WR Dismissed from team

Four of those players will have one last opportunity this fall to become national champions – Drew Basil, Christian Bryant, Corey “Philly” Brown and Andrew Norwell. Bradley Roby can almost certainly be added to that list, but he’s not a senior. Only 10 of the 19 recruits remain at Ohio State. That doesn’t mean the assembly of talent has been a disappointment.

If the Buckeyes won their first national title in more than a decade this season, it will come as a result of several 2010 prospects playing a significant role. The top two running backs – Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith – were members of the class, as was Brown, one of Braxton Miller’s main offensive targets, and Norwell, one of Miller’s protectors along the offensive line. Then you have the defenders, Bryant and Roby.

Forgotten these years later is the one who got away – Seantrel Henderson. The mammoth offensive lineman from Minnesota chose USC on signing day then transferred to Miami after the Trojans were hit with NCAA sanctions. Henderson’s career has been underwhelming, marred by injuries, possibly NCAA violations and ineffectiveness. 

Another strikeout was defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who committed to Meyer and the Florida Gators. Floyd enjoyed a standout career in Gainesville that included All-American honors his junior season. He turned pro after the season and was recently a first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings.

Coming off a Rose Bowl victory, the 2010 class surprisingly didn’t experience a bump, this off the heels of highly touted groups that were brought in in 2008 and 2009. What 2010 did give Ohio State was two unheralded late commitments that turned out to be difference makers: Johnathan Hankins and Roby.

Hankins was the first post-Rose Bowl pledge the Buckeyes received, and Roby’s commitment came a week later. Hankins was a raw defensive lineman with tremendous potential coming out of high school. He wanted to attend Michigan State with high school teammate and best friend William Gholston. But Hankins, a three-star recruit, was never offered by the Spartans.

Ohio State and Hankins would get the last laugh. Now, the man known as “Big Hank” is a New York Giant, after being selected in the second round of the NFL Draft. During his career as a Buckeye, Hankins had 138 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and five sacks. He appeared in 38 games and started 25.

Roby committed to Vanderbilt as a wide receiver the summer before his senior season. That didn’t stop him from visiting other schools, though. And once he toured Ohio State’s campus, even in January, he de-committed from the Commodores and chose the Buckeyes instead. A position change came along with Roby’s commitment.

On signing day, former Ohio State defensive backs coach (now Kent State head coach) Paul Haynes raved about Roby’s ball skills and called him “a very intelligent kid.” That statement has proven to be prophetic. A redshirt junior, Roby is a surefire first-round draft pick. He’s distinguished himself as one of the best shutdown cornerbacks in all of college football and a frontrunner for the Jim Thorpe Award.

Not bad for an uncelebrated three-star recruit.

It hasn’t been all peaches for the 2010 recruiting class, though. Jamel Turner is the most striking example. After enrolling at Fork Union to shore up academic issues, Turner was shot in Youngstown and never enrolled at Ohio State. The once promising recruit has got his life back on track, however, and is a member of the Akron Zips.

Quarterback Taylor Graham (Hawaii) and wide receiver James Louis (Florida International) are the most prominent names that are elsewhere. Also gone is athlete Verlon Reed, a local Columbus kid who had high hopes when he got his big break from Ohio State.

“We don’t know what he’s going to be, but we know he’s going to be something,” Haynes said on signing day. That could still be the case, though it will be with the Division II Findlay Oilers.

But even with nearly half the class spread from sea to shining sea, the Buckeyes have prevailed and are placed in a holding pattern for further success.



Comments Show All Comments

rdubs's picture

Apparently Taylor Graham is getting a lot of praise from Norm Chow and that dude knows a bit about college QBs.

Kyle Rowland's picture

He had a great spring. Not totally his fault it didn't work out at Ohio State. Obviously his skillset and Meyer and Herman's vision of a quarterback are not compatible. 

rdubs's picture

Agreed, it seemed like the timing didn't work out well for him here, but he has the tools to be a solid QB.  I'd love to see him succeed and it seems likely that he has the best scenario for him to do so right now.

Statutoryglory's picture

Head coaches don't usually berate their QBs in the spring.  It's bad for season ticket sales, especially at mid major to small time programs.  Places like OSU can still sell out with guys like Blowsaman starting at QB.

Knarcisi's picture

Again, evidence of the ratings being, well, a little overrated. The 2 top players in this class, Hankins and Roby, were 3 stars at Scout. 

RunEddieRun1983's picture

I can remember being very underwhelmed by this class especally comparing it to 08 and 09, but it just shows you have to trust your staff, they know the players, and they know where the ability is.

I don't always downvote, but I do always downvote a Michigan fan trolling the Buckeye boards.

Hovenaut's picture

Nice revisit of this group. Not a stellar class by OSU standards, but the players that have developed have developed well.

The Seantrel Henderson saga was worth mentioning - karma's a bitch.

Ahh Saturday's picture

Glad to hear that Jamel Turner has landed on his feet.  Anybody know how he's doing there, and how much eligibility he has left?

BuckeyeLurker0509's picture

It sucks that Verlon couldn't make a name for himself here. He was doing well until that unfortunate knee injury.

BuckeyeChief's picture

I was always worried Graham was going to have a hard time fitting Tressel and Meyer's systems; Glad to hear he is thriving in Hawaii. I pulled hard for Reed, I wanted to see him do good things here, but I hope he shines at Findlay.

"2014 National with it!!!"

bucknasty13's picture

Wow, a Gholston-Hankins high school D-line.  That's impressive.  

BuckeyeChief's picture

I wouldn't want to be an opposing QB!

"2014 National with it!!!"

Poe McKnoe's picture

Gholston was a LB in high school.  MSU sold him as a LB.  Then, to no one's surprise, he ended up at DE.

OSUs12-OH's picture

Great article and it's good and bad to see how some from this class faired.  I'd say there wouldn't have been so many transfers if Urban's renewal wasn't thrust into motion.  I had great expectations for TY since he was such a big WR.  But that didn't work out as well as we thought it would.  
I'd like to see J.T. Moore get more time this year but with the depth at D-line I'm not so sure this will happen.  He and Roby have always been my favorites from this class (with Big Hank of course being my all time fav. form 2010 class but he's unfortunately gone now and will be greatly missed).   

"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

tdible2132's picture

This just further illustrates that recruiting really does matter IMO. They don't call it the life blood of programs for no reason!

Squirrel Master's picture

As I recall, isn't this the same class that also missed out on Hicks and DePriest? I still like a good portion of these players but it was definitely short of what was expected at the time.
that is why people need to keep these recruiting classes in perspective. Even with a top notch coach and the brand, its hard to bring in a top 5 class every year.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

tennbuckeye19's picture

that is why people need to keep these recruiting classes in perspective. Even with a top notch coach and the brand, its hard to bring in a top 5 class every year.

You're right. And even if you manage to bring in a top class every year, there's no guarantee the talent will pan out or that wins will inevitably come as a result. 
BTW: Hicks was 2010, DePriest was 2011.

Buckidelphia's picture

6 starters from a recruiting class, isn't that par for the course? 24 starters altogether including punter & kicker?

Crimson's picture

Only if you assume that you're equally likely to start for the first time in any year 1-4.  You would think it would be more than 6, especially since freshman cannot be a starter before they hit campus.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Definetly hit or miss.  Some really good players on there as well as some that we should have passed on.  It's interesting how far off some of the recruiting rankings can be along with the number of start a player gets. 

tae1986's picture

I think we should look at this different way. Just because they couldn't start at tOSU, it doesn't mean they were "miss". At the end of the day, there are only 24 starters (including punter nad kicker) out of 85 scholarship players, so if a player couldn't beat out superstar player or get beat out by up and coming superstar but become reliable back-up (i.e. Kenny Guiton) or transfered to other school and have a great college career, we should consider them as successful recruits too. Those kids usually bleed scarlet and grey even after they transfer, right?

Remind yourself, Nobody built like you, You designed yourself.