Ohio State's season opener against Indiana is less than 10 days away, at which time we may get our first glance at true freshman like Jeffrey Okudah, Shaun Wade, J.K. Dobbins, Chase Young and Trevon Grimes — among others — in real game action. And seeing as they all represent what is arguably the highest-rated recruiting class of all time, each is expected to make a rather large contribution for the Buckeyes this season.
But all that said, head coach Urban Meyer returns 15 starters from one year ago, making the 2017 squad his most experienced roster in his six seasons in Columbus, meaning a majority of the freshmen won't likely be called upon until later in their careers.
“We have a ton of great leaders here,” Meyer said this spring.
That wasn't always the case, though, as Meyer had to rely upon less experienced players during his first few seasons at the helm. Some are simply too talented to leave off the field, as well.
That being the case, here's a look at which true freshmen — not redshirts — have made the greatest impact at Ohio State under Meyer.
Wilson played in all 14 games (two starts) as a true freshman, and ranked fourth on the team behind running back Carlos Hyde, quarterback Braxton Miller and wide receiver Corey "Philly" Brown with 983 all-purpose yards. He led the team with 523 kickoff return yards.
Samuel played 14 of a possible 15 games as a true freshman, and finished as the team's third-leading rusher with 383 yards and six touchdowns. He also contibuted on special teams and was second on the team with 246 return yards.
Bosa was named a freshman all-American by The Sporting News and College Football News after he recorded 44 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks and a team-high six quarterback hurries. He was also named honorable mention all-Big Ten.
McMillan, who played in all 15 games for the eventual College Football Playoff national champions, was named a freshman all-American by Athlon, 247Sports and Scout. He finished the season with total 54 tackles, good for eighth on the team.
Elliott played in 11 games as a backup to eventual Big Ten running back of the year Carlos Hyde. He racked up 262 yards rushing on the season, 162 of which came on 14 carries 76-0 shellacking of hapless Florida A&M.