JK Dobbins, 2017 Ohio State running back commit, was named the 2016 Nike+ Football Ratings Champion at Nike's The Opening this weekend, posting a final score of 146.76.
The Nike test is designed to measure how speedy, powerful, agile, responsive and quick (SPARQ) athletes are for their size. The components of the test include the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump, the 5-10-5 shuttle run, and the kneeling powerball toss. The results of all of these tests are combined into one score which essentially measures a player's overall athleticism. The higher the rating, the better the athlete.
The results of this year's testing spells good news for the Buckeyes: not only was Dobbins named the Nike+ Football Ratings Champion, two top OSU targets and apparent Ohio State leans finished just behind him in the standings at second and third: safety Jeffrey Okudah (142.6) and running back Cam Akers (140.1).
Put simply, it's possible Ohio State will end up with the three best athletes in the 2017 class, all on one team.
That sounds great in theory, but how successful are these ratings at projecting a players' career at the next level? Let's take a look at the careers of the previous years' top-three rated players.
Note: Any score rating above a 130 is regarded as "elite."
1. Donovan Peoples-Jones (149.49) - WR - Cass-Tech High School
At Nike's The Opening 2015, Donovan Peoples-Jones became the first underclassman ever to win the Ratings Championship. Now a senior, the nation's top receiver is a big Buckeye target, and it appears his decision will come down to Ohio State and Michigan.
2. Nigel Knott (147.96) - CB - Alabama
3. Josh Imatorbhebhe (142.41) - WR - USC
1. Kirk Merritt (147.60) - WR - Texas A&M
Kirk Merritt began his career at Oregon, where he played sparingly during the 2015 season, catching just five passes in the 12 games he appeared in. Following the season, Merritt announced his intention to transfer from Oregon and recently announced he will now be attending Texas A&M.
2. Malik Jefferson (145.65) - LB - Texas
Malik Jefferson found his own early at Texas, earning a spot on the starting lineup as just a true freshman. Jefferson started nine games for the Longhorns and was named to a number of freshman All-American teams. He finished second on the team in tackles with 61, led it in pressures with six, and was fourth on the team in tackles for a loss with seven.
3. Chad Smith (140.97) - LB - Clemson
Chad Smith redshirted during the 2015 season, but looks to be in the mix for meaningful playing time during the 2016 season.
1. Speedy Noil (153.51) - WR - Texas A&M
Speedy Noil had a stellar first season for Texas A&M, serving as the team's primary return man while also contributed as a receiver. Noil led the Aggies in all-purpose yardage as just a true freshman. Though is numbers dipped in 2015, he remains a big time weapon on the Texas A&M offense and will be a leader entering 2016.
2. Nick Chubb (143.91) - RB - Georgia
Nick Chubb had huge shoes to fill in 2014 when he took over for the injured Todd Gurley, and he exceeded expectations. As a true freshman, Chubb rushed for over 1500 yards and 14 touchdowns. In 2015, he rushed for over 700 yards in just five games and was a Heisman frontrunner before a knee injury ended his season.
3. Terry McLaurin (141.96) - WR - Ohio State
Terry McLaurin is entering his third year of a injury plagued career at Ohio State. He redshirted his freshman season and played in just six games in 2015, not so much as catching a pass. In 2016, McLaurin will have another chance to contribute as the Buckeyes search for playmakers to fill the shoes of the departed Michael Thomas, Jalin Marshall and Braxton Miller. It could be do-or-die time for him.
1. Mike Mitchell (154.47) - LB - Ohio State
This name should be familiar to Buckeye fans. Mike Mitchell of Plano, Texas turned in the highest-ever rating at Nike's The Opening (154.47) and was rated as the fifth best player in Ohio State's vaunted 2013 recruiting class that won oodles of hardware and broke a few NFL Draft records. Only, he never played. After redshirting his freshman season, Mitchell decided to leave Ohio State to be closer to family, transferring to Texas Tech. Coincidentally, his younger brother Mickey followed suit, transferring from the basketball program after just one season.
2. Altee Tenpenny (144.69) - RB - Alabama
Altee Tenpenny began his career at Alabama where he spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons as a reserve running back. Following the 2014 season, Tenpenny transferred to UNLV, then Nicholls State. He was then dismissed from the Nicholls State football program following weapons charges, and was killed in a car accident just two days later.
3. Derrick Henry (144.60) - RB - Alabama
Derrick Henry had a successful college career, to say the least. Henry spent three seasons at Alabama, helping guide them to two college football playoff appearances and one national title while also earning the 2015 Heisman Trophy in the process. He was selected 45th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans.
1. Landon Collins (143.76) - S - Alabama
Landon Collins played three season at Alabama, contributing right from the start as a true freshman as a back-up safety. Collins was named a starter as just a true-sophomore after Vinnie Sunseri suffered a season ending injury. His junior season, Collins dominated, leading the team in tackles on his way to becoming a unanimous All-American. He was drafted by the New York Giants with the first pick of the second round.
2. Altee Tenpenny - RB - Alabama
3. Derrick Henry - RB - Alabama
Do these ratings mean anything? Since 2011, there has been at least one legitimate star among the top-three rated players. On the flip side, there's been about one player among those same three that didn't come close to living up to the hype. So, it's difficult to say.
One thing's for sure, though – you'd be hard-pressed to find any Buckeye fan unwilling to take commitments from Dobbins, Okudah and Akers given what they've displayed thus far.