In 2013 we as Buckeye fans were treated to one of the most incredible displays of recruiting we had ever witnessed. Now the 2014 class is being reeled in and the coaches are hard at work securing the future of our beloved team. So what will that class look like? When you break down what this recruiting season has been so far, I think it's pretty easy to see what it will be.
We're looking at a class that probably won't feature more than one 5* player (Raekwon McMillan), I don't think there will be any sure fire players that we forecast to have heavy rotation in any player group, say for one (McMillan), I don't think there will be any players that any recruiting service holds as a "holy grail" recruit in such a way guys like Von Bell, Jalin Marshall, Eli Apple, Dontre Wilson, Mike Mitchell, and Joey Bosa were (again the status of said players is relative to what service you look at), but what this class will be is rich with depth.
I went into this class thinking that with only 20 spots, or less, there will be 20 players varying between 4 or 5 stars, and Ohio State isn't taking a kid that won't be a huge playmaker from day one, but it's become apparent to me that Urban knows that the class he pulled last year was special, and this year the name of the game is bringing in guys that add immense depth and become a part of the future of Ohio State.
Understand this post in no way knocks what they're doing, and who they're bringing. Quite the contrary, after the unreal class that the OSU staff got last year, I think a conservative approach, focusing on players who will come in and learn, as opposed to come in and challenge the guys we have in place already, is a sound strategy to ensure the future of the program. I see it more as knowing that we have a young team this year (with the exception of the o-line), and that most of these guys will still be there after the LOI come in for the 2014 class. The obvious exceptions are Carlos Hyde, CJ Barnett, Philly Brown, Andrew Norwell, Jack Mewhort, Corey Linsley, Marcus Hall, Jordan Hall, Christian Bryant, and Kenny Guiton (all obviously Seniors). Also I think the exception can be made for Bradley Roby, Ryan Shazier, and possibly Braxton Miller. The former two are both forecasted to have stellar, All-American level years, which could lead them to the NFL, and of course if Braxton realizes his potential this year, he could take off for the NFL as well, but I think him returning for his senior year is a pretty comfortable assumption.
The good news is that with Hyde, Barnett, Philly, Jordan Hall, Bryant, Guiton, Roby, and Shazier, their replacements are going to be on the roster this year, and will have at least a year or more under their belt to step up. Obviously the o-line is where the huge hole is, but I think Decker will come on this year, and I think Chase Ferris will continue to develop.
Looking ahead, I think we can, at this point, assume that we're looking at a class that doesn't add sizzle, it adds substance, and I for one am OK with that. Had we not pulled so many outstanding players in 2013 it would raise concern, but let's be honest, this is year to year recruiting. Urban Meyer is a master at the hat dance, and he knows when and where he will need particular players.
With all this being said, if tOSU staff using 2014 to build the roster, then 2015 has to bring in some game changers, because year to year we all know what can change, and that you have to have those guys that can absolutely break the game wide open.