A commitment used to mean something in college football.
Once a prospect chose a school, he'd put on his own recruiting cap in hopes of bringing all kinds of elite talent with him to the next level. But in the 2017 recruiting cycle alone, nearly 800 prospects reopened their recruitment at one time or another — be it a coaching change, better offers or another commitment player at their position that influenced their decision.
No matter the reason, it's becoming increasingly difficult for schools to hold on to commitments from prospects.
Ohio State wasn't spared, either, and saw its fair share of turnover in its most recent recruiting cycle. A total of six players — which ranked second in the Big Ten and tied for 20th nationally — decommited from the Buckeyes, highlighted by (what was essentially) a flip to Nebraska from four-star wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey.
Some believe early decisions, changes to recruiting legislation and the accelerated recruiting calendar — which includes a December signing period — will only lead to an unprecedented number of decommitments in the future.
Hold on to your seats. It's going to be a bumpy roller-coaster ride these next few years.
Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, though, we've decided to take a look at look at those six players who changed their mind following their pledge to Ohio State, as well as detail where their respective careers have taken them in their first season on their new campuses.
TYJON LINDSEY - WR - NEBRASKA
From the time Ohio State offered him a scholarship, Lindsey referred to Ohio State as his “dream” school. The Buckeyes eventually landed his pledge when he and fellow four-star wideout Trevon Grimes announced their decision together in August 2016.
Lindsey, just days after saying at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl how excited he was to get to Columbus, abruptly decommitted in the middle of the night on Jan. 10. The Buckeyes and wide receivers coach Zach Smith tried to regain his pledge, but Lindsey committed to Nebraska just four days later.
Familiarity with several players and the coaching staff, as well as the opportunity for early playing time, were among the reasons for Lindsey’s flip. He’s seen limited time in Lincoln, however, hauling in only 9 receptions for 48 yards — good for fifth on the team.
Ohio State replaced Lindsey by flipping three-star wideout Ellijah Gardiner From Missouri just days before signing day.
|TYJON LINDSEY||NEBRASKA||4||9 receptions for 48 yards|
|TREVON GRIMES||OHIO STATE||2||3 receptions for 20 yards|
|JAYLEN HARRIS||OHIO STATE||3||2 receptions for 27 yards|
|ELLIJAH GARDINER||OHIO STATE||--||--|
JAKE MORETTI - OL - COLORADO
Moretti committed to Ohio State to Ohio State on Independence Day 2015, but a knee injury he suffered while participating in the Buckeyes’ one-day camp the following June proved to be a recruitment-altering moment. He would miss his entire senior season as a result.
Moretti planned to enroll early, but the staff asked if he’d hold off until the fall since he couldn’t practice in the spring anyway. He was set on early enrollment, however, and flipped his pledge to Colorado in mid-November. The Buffaloes offered him that chance, as well as the opportunity play close to home.
Moretti hasn’t yet played at Colorado because of the injury and is expected to redshirt as a result.
|WYATT DAVIS||OHIO STATE||--||--|
|JOSH MYERS||OHIO STATE||--||--|
|THAYER MUNFORD||OHIO STATE||4||Game participation|
TODD SIBLEY - RB - PITTSBURGH
Sibley was committed to Ohio State for more than a year, but he elected to flip his pledge to Pitt in June 2016 after the staff approached him about a possible grayshirt because of tight numbers — the Buckeyes already held a commitment from Texas four-star running back J.K. Dobbins and planned to chase Mississippi five-star Cam Akers through signing day.
Sibley hasn't played with the Panthers this season, as a pair of juniors get most of the reps from the running back position. It's likely he takes a redshirt as a result.
|J.K. DOBBINS||OHIO STATE||6||669 yards and 4 touchdowns rushing|
ANTJUAN SIMMONS - LB - MICHIGAN STATE
It was a big deal when Simmons announced his commitment to Ohio State in March 2016, as his high school sits just steps from Michigan Stadium. There was always concern he’d flip if the Wolverines pushed for his pledge, but that never happened.
Instead, it was Ohio State’s all-out pursuit of Texas five-star Baron Browning that rubbed Simmons the wrong way. He took a visit to Michigan State without telling the staff in November and then decommitted shortly thereafter.
He signed with the Spartans in February and has played in every game this fall, recording 13 total tackles. The Buckeyes replaced him in the Class with Indiana four-star linebacker Pete Werner.
|ANTJUAN SIMMONS||MICHIGAN STATE||5||13 tackles|
|BARON BROWNING||OHIO STATE||4||13 tackles and 1.5 TFL|
|PETE WERNER||OHIO STATE||3||7 tackles and 0.5 TFL|
DANNY CLARK - QB - KENTUCKY
Clark, Sibley’s teammate at Akron Archbishop Hoban, committed to Ohio State the moment he landed an offer from the staff following a fantastic freshman season. He even got a Block “O” tattoo to show how solid his pledge was.
A little over two years later, the Buckeyes added Las Vegas four-star quarterback Tate Martell, who was undoubtedly a better fit for the offense. Seeing the writing on the wall, Clark had no choice but to move on and later chose to continue his career at Kentucky.
He made his freshman debut and only appearance with the Wildcats last month, but did not record a statistic in a win over Eastern Kentucky.
|DANNY CLARK||KENTUCKY||1||Game participation|
|TATE MARTELL||OHIO STATE||--||--|
BRUCE JUDSON - ATH - OREGON
Judson — a native of Cocoa, Florida — committed to Ohio State just minutes after the program knocked off Oregon to win the College Football Playoff National Championship, but reopned his recruitment nine months into his pledge. He later said the reason he decommitted was because head coach Urban Meyer didn't recognize him while he was on a campus visit.
Judson eventually committed to South Florida, but elected to follow head coach Wilie Taggart to his new job at Oregon just days before signing day. Academic issues prevented him from being admitted, however, and he's not currently listed on the roster as he attempts to work through it.
|BRENDON WHITE||OHIO STATE||3||1 tackle|