The Hurry Up: How the Scholarship Cap Affects Ohio State in 2020

By Taylor Lehman on July 12, 2019 at 6:30 pm
Ryan Day
Ryan Day

The Hurry Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.

Looking at 25-scholarship cap

The 25-scholarship rule has taken over much of the recruiting conversation as classes begin to reach the 20-scholarship mark for the 2020 cycle, but the rule has actually been in effect since 2011. What’s forced coaching and recruiting staffs to crunch their numbers a bit more during this cycle in particular are the rules within the 25-scholarship cap that have been tweaked between 2019 and 2020.

Like Lettermen Row wrote yesterday, it’s “complicated,” within those newly tweaked rules as well, but here is the gist, according to The Advocate

1. Scholarships for prospects who have signed and are not academically eligible cannot be used in the next class to break the cap.

2. Blueshirting players to count toward the next recruiting class is no longer available. Blueshirted players are prospects that aren’t the best recruits in the class or are even transfers that come in to a program with the promise of a scholarship but aren’t given a scholarship until the appropriate time. That was a good way for coaches to bring in players to avoid the 25-scholarship cap until they counted onto the next class. Now, they must be counted toward the same class that they’re brought in with, and that’s mostly a change in support of the players who aren’t given the promised scholarships. 

3. Grayshirting players will be monitored more closely to avoid unfair treatment of players. Since 2011, some teams have abused the grayshirt opportunities once they realized they were hitting the 25-scholarship cap. Grayshirts withhold scholarships and financial aid form players until after the first semester of their freshman years. They cannot participate on the team that year either obviously. Now, grayshirts are still available for programs to use – how much longer is still to be determined – and Ohio State is using one for Cincinnati kicker Jake Seibert, which is why the current scholarship count for the Buckeyes is 19 scholarships for 20 commitments.

4. Back counting scholarships is potentially also no longer an option. If players graduated early, or if prospects did not qualify academically, those scholarships could be offered to prospects form the class ahead and would allow incoming early enrollees to be considered in the class before they actually hit the roster. This made for some confusing signing classes in hindsight and was an effective loophole for college coaches to jump through.

There are some more technical and detailed rules within those rule changes that likely won’t be known until signing day gets closer, which makes it difficult to claim for a fact that Ohio State is looking at bringing in just 25 prospects for 2020.

Even with Seibert grayshirting, Ohio State would have 25 scholarships to hand to other commitments, so that would be 26. 

Regardless, the rule changes make for some serious numbers games when considering transfers and who will graduate from the program early. The Advocate article details those scenarios really well.

Jalin Conyers commits to Oklahoma

No. 3 tight end Jalin Conyers announced via Twitter that he has committed to Oklahoma. He had Ohio State and Georgia also in his top-three.

The announcement isn't much of a surprise, as he grew up in the panhandle of Texas. Oklahoma is till a five-hour drive from Gruver, but that's much closer than Columbus or Athens. When the tight end announced his top-three, it was clear that he would need to make the decision between staying close to home or pursuing options farther away.

Ohio State was going to be a long-shot to land Conyers' commitment, since it offered him so late and he quickly moved them into his top-six and top-three within a week of each other. 

While it seemed like his decision was made before releasing those top lists, he was one of three tight ends to make an official visit during the weekend of June 21. If Kevin Wilson and the staff were going to make an impression, it would've been then, but it never really hit Conyers like it did some other 2020 prospects.

With Conyers' decision made, all eyes are on Cam Large, who is the lone uncommitted tight end of the trio that visited in June. Large will likely pick Georgia at this point, with Joe Royer having committed to Ohio State earlier this month and now Conyers going somewhere other than Georgia.

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