Ohio State already has commitments from 15 of the top 205 prospects in the recruiting class of 2021, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. The rest of the Big Ten has just 11.
As you’ve probably heard by now, the Buckeyes’ recruiting class of 2021 is on pace to be Ohio State’s first No. 1-ranked recruiting class in 25 years, with no other class even close to Ohio State’s in the team composite rankings right now. The Buckeyes’ 19 commits for 2021 include four five-star prospects and 11 four-stars, giving Ohio State an overall class score of 301.39 that already would have ranked fourth in the final 2020 class rankings.
Combining quality and quantity, Ohio State has recruited at a level that no other school can match for the current cycle, and if the Buckeyes can finish strong, their class of 2021 even has a chance to finish as the highest-rated class ever since recruiting rankings became a thing.
That’s the kind of class Ohio State needs to get back to the mountaintop of college football and win more national championships, and it’s why the Buckeyes are chasing the top talent all over the country, competing as often with national powers like Clemson, Alabama and Oklahoma as they are other schools in the Big Ten.
In the process, though, the Buckeyes are continuing to expand the gap between themselves and everyone else in their conference.
This conversation – and subsequent arguments between Ohio State and Michigan fans – was inflamed on social media over the weekend after Michigan fan and sports journalist Scott Bell posted the following graphic on Twitter, showing how Michigan’s top commitments stack up with the rest of the Big Ten East except for Ohio State:
Michigan now has 6 of the 10 highest-ranked non-OSU bound commits in the Big Ten East. pic.twitter.com/NT0kXJAzHy— Scott Bell (@sbell021) May 24, 2020
As that graphic shows, Michigan has built some substantial momentum on the recruiting trail and is performing well in comparison to the rest of the conference; the Wolverines, who had just two commitments for the class of 2021 two months ago, now have 15 commits and are up to sixth nationally in the 2021 class rankings.
Numerous other Big Ten teams are building quality classes for 2021, too, including some unusual suspects: Minnesota is currently ninth in the class rankings, Iowa is 10th, Maryland is 13th, Penn State is 15th, Rutgers is 16th and Wisconsin is 17th.
When comparing the top-end talent in each of the Big Ten’s classes, though, it’s clear that Ohio State is currently recruiting on a different level from everyone else in the conference.
As evidence of that, the following table lists the 25 highest-rated prospects in the class of 2021 (according to their composite rankings) who were committed to Big Ten schools as of Tuesday, with Ohio State commitments highlighted:
|3||DE JACK SAWYER||OHIO STATE|
|15||QB J.J. MCCARTHY||MICHIGAN|
|19||RB TREVEYON HENDERSON||OHIO STATE|
|21||OG DONOVAN JACKSON||OHIO STATE|
|26||QB KYLE MCCORD||OHIO STATE|
|30||DE TUNMISE ADELEYE||OHIO STATE|
|43||CB JAKAILIN JOHNSON||OHIO STATE|
|49||OT LANDON TENGWALL||PENN STATE|
|57||DT MIKE HALL||OHIO STATE|
|58||DE DEMEIOUN ROBINSON||MARYLAND|
|59||WR MARVIN HARRISON JR.||OHIO STATE|
|67||OT GIOVANNI EL-HADI||MICHIGAN|
|68||WR JAYDEN BALLARD||OHIO STATE|
|70||LB REID CARRICO||OHIO STATE|
|84||RB EVAN PRYOR||OHIO STATE|
|104||OT BEN CHRISTMAN||OHIO STATE|
|113||CB AVANTE DICKERSON||MINNESOTA|
|116||LB JUNIOR COLSON||MICHIGAN|
|129||OT JP BENZSCHAWEL||WISCONSIN|
|137||OT DAVID DAVIDKOV||IOWA|
|141||DB ANDRE TURRENTINE||OHIO STATE|
|157||OT RILEY MAHLMAN||WISCONSIN|
|183||CB DENZEL BURKE||OHIO STATE|
|186||DT MARCUS BRADLEY||MARYLAND|
|195||S HUNTER WOHLER||WISCONSIN|
Ohio State’s recruiting efforts in the class of 2021 should only build upon a talent gap that the Buckeyes have already built through their efforts in recent recruiting classes.
With the exception of 2019, when Ohio State took an unusually small class of only 17 players (and still had the highest average signee rating of any Big Ten school), the Buckeyes have had the Big Ten’s top-ranked recruiting class in nine of the last 10 years. And the difference in the number of elite, nationally heralded recruits the Buckeyes have landed in comparison to everyone else in the conference has been especially stark.
Ohio State’s 15 commits ranked in the top 205 of the class of 2021 alone matches the number of top-205 prospects that Michigan has signed or landed commitments from since 2019 – and Michigan has been in the top two of the Big Ten class rankings every year since 2016. Penn State has landed 13 prospects ranked in the top 205 of their respective recruiting classes since 2019, but no other Big Ten school has accumulated more than seven (Wisconsin) in that timeframe.
The Buckeyes’ momentum on the recruiting trail has also already started to spill over into 2022, where they have commitments from three players who are ranked in the top 170 in their class (which does not yet have composite rankings) by 247Sports. The only other Big Ten schools that currently have any commitments for 2022 are Iowa and Michigan.
Ohio State’s work on the recruiting trail year in and year out has built the foundation for the Buckeyes to become the clear-cut frontrunner in the Big Ten, and they’ve won the last three conference championships as a result. If Ryan Day and his staff can continue recruiting the way they’re recruiting now and continue to develop the players they’re recruiting at a high level, Ohio State could continue to dominate the conference for years to come.