It's been a month since we last took some for a recruiting mailbag.
As the calendar flipped over to May, we took some time this week to take a few questions, including our thoughts on Troy Stellato, Emeka Egbuka, Jacoby Mathews and a breakdown of Ohio State's past five draft-eligible recruiting classes, detailing the percentage of players who were drafted from the 2013-2017 classes.
Stellato and Egbuka
Back in October or November, the recruitment of Troy Stellato did start feeling like a “when, not if” scenario, and there was a strong sense in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center that the Florida slot receiver would eventually be committing to Ohio State. That same feeling was present in February, too, when that prediction was made – a prediction, we would like to point out, that was revisited in April and updated to reflect the craziness that has happened on the recruiting trail sparked by the coronavirus-induced shutdown of visits.
Things change so concretely and fluidly on the recruiting trail as is, and in this case, the shutdown put things a bit more up in the air for Stellato, as he was able to make an unofficial visit to Clemson before the shutdown but was unable to make another visit to Ohio State.
Stellato is no longer a “when, not if” scenario. It's an actual battle between Ohio State and Clemson, and neither pick would surprise me whatsoever. From what I'm told, Ohio State's heralded receivers haul that it signed in 2020, plus already having two major receivers in 2021, are factors in Stellato's decision. How much of a factor is obviously going to be seen over the next two or three months, as Stellato nears what is likely to be a summertime decision.
I don't have any information about whether Emeka Egbuka or Stellato are opposed to playing at the same school. But I do not believe they will both end up at Ohio State, especially if Stellato is looking at the Buckeyes' stacked receivers room in 2020 and 2021 as a potential roadblock. It's Egbuka or Stellato, one or the other. I am very confident that one of them will be a Buckeye, and it certainly could be a matter of who wants to commit first – because the Buckeyes would love to have either one.
Egbuka is Ohio State’s top target at the position. It’s not any sort of massive gap between the two, but we have heard that Egbuka is higher up the board. The current Ohio State commits in the 2021 class are doing a good job of making impressions on Egbuka, and the decision could come down to how his father views the program and the academic pathways it provides.
Gut feeling on Mathews
In short, it’s way too early in the recruitment of Louisiana safety Jacoby Mathews to tell for certain where this one will end up. For starters, an Ohio State offer has to be extended.
Mathews, the 12th-ranked safety and 154th-ranked overall player in the 2022 class who is close friends with cornerback commit Jyaire Brown, was supposed to talk on the phone with Kerry Coombs last weekend, but Coombs got busy with the NFL Draft and speaking with his former players – and the birth of his granddaughter. I’m not entirely sure when the offer is coming, but I expect it will be sometime soon.
My gut feeling is that Mathews will end up at LSU. We talked last week about how Ohio State has gotten its foot in the door down in the Bayou and how the potential of a Louisiana pipeline being built is in the beginning stages.
LSU sees that too. The Tigers see Ohio State trying to build a pipeline, and I believe they will heavily prioritize Mathews – whom LSU has already offered – and continue recruiting Texas defensive back Bryce Anderson, who’s been committed to LSU since September, like he is uncommitted in order to put an end to the building of that pipeline.
If Ohio State builds a true, consistent pipeline in Louisiana, it’s a headache Ed Oregeron and Co. absolutely do not want to deal with, so I think they will do whatever they can to put a halt to it.
Also, Mathews is going to be a lot longer of a recruitment. He doesn’t wanna commit soon like Brown did. He is wanting to slowly build relationships with the coaches and take his time.
Those two are also adamant that they want to play for the same college, but that doesn’t really mean much right now. Way too many guys say that type of thing at a young age before they’ve really gone through the recruiting process. (Exception to the rule: Barrett Carter/Jordan Hancock because they’ve both turned out to live up to the hype and be worthy of handpicking their school.)
Recruiting class draftee percentage
I went ahead and did a some digging to find out this percentage of the past five draft-eligible classes. The following are the classes from 2013-2017, each one belonging to the Urban Meyer regime that ushered in the era of Ohio State football we are in now. You can argue the 2012 class should be included here as well, but I excluded it since it was a mixture of Meyer, Luke Fickell and Jim Tressel.
I only included players on this list who finished their college careers at Ohio State, which excludes guys like Joe Burrow from the list.
2013 class – eight out of 23 enrollees – 34.8 percent
Draftees: Von Bell, Joey Bosa, Eli Apple, Ezekiel Elliott, Garreon Conley, Billy Price, Tyquan Lewis, Darron Lee
First-rounders (6): Bosa, Apple, Elliott, Conley, Price, Lee
Second-rounders (2): Bell, Lewis
2014 class – nine out of 23 enrollees – 39.1 percent
Draftees: Raekwon McMillan, Marshon Lattimore, Curtis Samuel, Jamarco Jones, Jalyn Holmes, Parris Campbell, Sam Hubbard, Terry McLaurin, Malik Hooker
First-rounders (2): Lattimore, Hooker
Second-rounders (3): Samuel, Campbell, McMillan
Third-rounders (2): Hubbard, McLaurin
Fourth-rounders (1): Holmes
Fifth-rounders (1): Jones
2015 class – 10 out of 26 enrollees – 38.5 percent
Draftees: Jerome Baker, Mike Weber, Jashon Cornell, Isaiah Prince, Dre’Mont Jones, K.J. Hill, Denzel Ward, Damon Arnette, DaVon Hamilton, Kendall Sheffield
First-rounders (2): Ward, Arnette
Third-rounders (3): Baker, Jones, Hamilton
Fourth-rounders (1): Sheffield
Sixth-rounders (1): Prince
Seventh-rounders (3): Weber, Cornell, Hill
2016 class – five out of 25 enrollees – 20 percent
Draftees: Nick Bosa, Dwayne Haskins, Michael Jordan, Jordan Fuller, Malik Harrison
First-rounders (2): Bosa, Haskins
Third-rounders (1): Harrison
Fourth-rounders (1): Jordan
Sixth-rounders (1): Fuller
2017 class – three out of 21 enrollees – 14.3 percent
Draftees: Chase Young, Jeff Okudah, J.K. Dobbins
First-rounders (2): Young, Okudah
Second-rounders (1): Dobbins
In total, 35 of Ohio State’s 118 enrollees in those five combined classes were drafted (29.7 percent), and 14 of those 35 were taken in the first round (40 percent). Let’s take a look at how those numbers stack up against the other four schools in the top five of 247Sports’ list that measured which programs have done the best job of developing players.
Alabama: 41 out of 127 total (32.3 percent); 16 out of 41 first-rounders (39 percent)
Ohio State: 35 out of 118 (29.7 percent); 14 out of 35 (40 percent)
Clemson: 22 out of 100 (22 percent); 8 out of 22 (36.4 percent)
Florida: 27 out of 120 (22.5 percent); 5 out of 27 (18.5 percent)
LSU: 32 out of 127 (25.2 percent); 9 out of 32 (28.1 percent)
Looking at Ohio State specifically, there is the obvious caveat that the 2017 class is far from over in putting players into the draft. We can safely assume that Shaun Wade and Wyatt Davis will be drafted, and we can probably assume that Pete Werner, Baron Browning, Josh Myers and Thayer Munford will be drafted as well.
So let’s be realistic but also objective in saying that two of those four (Werner, Browning, Myers and Munford) get drafted in 2021 or 2022. That would make it seven out of 21 enrollees for a percentage of 33.3 percent. Fair enough, right?
That would mean 39 out of 118 total enrollees in those five combined classes were drafted. That’s 33.1 percent of Ohio State’s enrollees.
Davis could be drafted in the first round, but that is not a guarantee. Wade, on the other hand, is basically a lock, barring an injury or a complete breakdown in his first season as an outside cornerback – although, even if the latter happened, NFL teams are still unlikely to pass on Wade’s skillset in the first round.
So let’s give Wade first-round status. That means 15 out of those 39 draftees (38.5 percent) were taken in the first round. Having 38.5 percent of your draftees selected in the first round is a hell of a recruiting tool – especially when you look at the projections of the contracts for this year’s first-rounders. Take note of the signing bonuses.
To make that statistical projection about the Buckeyes' 2017 class fair to the other four programs, I averaged out each of the four schools' 2013-2016 recruiting classes to find out how many players from their 2017 classes are likely to be selected and how many are likely to be first-rounders, based on averages. That leaves us with these total numbers, which are very similar to the ones already listed:
Alabama: 44 out of 127 total (34.6 percent); 16 out of 44 first-rounders (36.4 percent)
Ohio State: 39 out of 118 (33.1 percent); 15 out of 39 (38.5 percent)
Clemson: 25 out of 100 (25 percent); 9 out of 25 (36 percent)
Florida: 33 out of 120 (27.5 percent); 5 out of 33 (15.2 percent)
LSU: 32 out of 127 (25.2 percent); 9 out of 32 (28.1 percent)
Movie references are the key to my heart
Those who have been reading me for long enough know a couple things: 1) I like to end these mailbag segments with a quick comment from a reader that caught my eye, for whatever reason. Usually if it makes me laugh. 2) Movie references are the key to my heart.
This one did both. Well done with the Harvey Keitel/Pulp Fiction reference. Now lemme get back to this coffee with lotsa cream and lotsa sugah.
Mt. Rushmore of my favorite single-scene movie performances. Right up there with Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross, Gene Jones in No Country for Old Men and Christopher Walken from Pulp Fiction. (With Dave Bautista in Blade Runner 2049 being the odd man out.)