A Look Back at Ohio State's 10 Highest-Rated Signees Out of High School

By Kevin Harrish on June 1, 2019 at 12:36 pm
Terrelle Pryor remains the highest-rated prospect in Ohio State history.

Julian Fleming just became the third highest-rated player ever to commit to Ohio State out of high school. His composite rating of 0.9977 puts him behind just Terrelle Pryor and Ted Ginn Jr. on Ohio State's all-time list and among some elite company.

Nearly every one of the Buckeyes' 10 highest-rated signees of all time lived up to their lofty ratings and made it to the NFL – or at least are on track to be there in the future.

Here's a look back.

10. Alex Boone – Class of 2005 – 0.9934 Composite Rating

Alex Boone was the highest-rated Buckeye offensive line signee for well over a decade, and he made his mark immediately, earning a starting spot at right tackle as a true freshman.

Boone was a rare four-year starter at Ohio State and earned All-Big Ten and second-team All-American honors. He went undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft, but worked his way into the 49ers starting lineup in 2012, earning Pro Football Focus All-Pro honors that same season. Boone started for four seasons in San Francisco before playing in Minnesota for the 2016 season and Arizona in 2017.

9. Jeffrey Okudah – Class of 2017 – 0.9955 Composite Rating

One of the active Buckeyes on this list, Jeffrey Okudah has already lived up to his lofty rating and proven himself one of the team's top cover corners through just two seasons in college.

With the departure of first-team corner Kendall Sheffield, Okudah figures to have a big role this upcoming season and is already projected by some to be a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

8. Chase Young – Class of 2017 – .9957 Composite Rating

Like Okudah, Chase Young has already lived up to his blue chip status in just two seasons at Ohio State.

Young was not supposed to be the team's top pass rusher in 2018, but when Nick Bosa went down with a season-ending injury in the third game of the season, Young filled the void better than should be expected for a first-year starter, finishing the season with 9.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss.

Heading into his junior season, Young is already seen as one of, if not the top pass rusher in the country and is near unanimously projected as a top-five pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

7. Nicholas Petit-Frere – Class of 2018 – 0.9963 Composite Rating

Nicholas Petit-Frere is the highest-rated offensive line signee in Ohio State history – a title that was long held by Alex Boone before him – but has not yet had a chance to crack the starting lineup.

Petit-Frere redshirted his first season at Ohio State – thanks to the new NCAA rule allowing players to play three games and still take a redshirt – but is competing for a starting spot this offseason. And after a strong spring, it seems he may be too talented to keep off the field, even if he is competing with experienced veterans.

6. Sam Maldonado – Class of 2000 – 0.9964 Composite Rating

Sam Maldonado is the only player on this list who's career did not pan out as expected.

Maldonado was one of the highest-rated players in the country coming in 1999, finishing his high school career with a New York state record 7,581 rushing yards and 99 touchdowns.

He seemed like a can't-miss prospect, but in two seasons at Ohio State, Maldonado had just 218 yards and a touchdown and transferred to Maryland after a reported rift between the former top-10 prospect and new head coach Jim Tressel.

At Maryland, Maldonado rushed for 305 yards and three touchdowns in 2003, and 560 yards and five touchdowns in 2004.

5. Nick Bosa – Class of 2016 – 0.9965 Composite Rating

Following in his brother's footsteps, there was never much doubt where Nick Bosa would be going to school, and there was never much doubt how dominant he would be.

Due to a stacked and deep defensive line his first two seasons and a junior season cut short due to a season-ending injury, Bosa never played a heavy number of snaps for the Buckeyes, but he was extremely effective with those he was given.

Before his injury in 2018, Bosa was on pace to shatter Ohio State's single-season sacks and tackles for loss records. He had six tackles for loss and four sacks in less than three full games.

Still, Bosa showed enough talent to become the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

4. Beanie Wells – Class of 2006 – 0.9965 Composite Rating

Chris "Beanie" Wells is the highest-rated Buckeye running back to date, and he lived up to it in his time in Columbus.

Wells split time with incumbent Antonio Pittman his freshman season, but still managed 576 yards and 7 touchdowns on 104 carries. His sophomore season, he was the bell cow back and helped bring the Buckeyes back to the national championship game for the second-straight season, rushing for 1,609 yards and 15 touchdowns on 274 carries.

Missing a few games due to an ankle injury in 2008, Wells finished the season with 1,197 yards and 8 touchdowns before declaring for the NFL Draft. He was selected in the first round with pick No. 31 by the Arizona Cardinals where he played four seasons.

3. Noah Spence – Class of 2012 – 0.9975 Composite Rating

Noah Spence's Ohio State career did not go as expected, but it had nothing to do with his ability on the field.

Spence remains the highest-rated Ohio State defensive lineman in history, and through two seasons was living up to the lofty ratings with 14 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks his sophomore season. Urban Meyer even called him one of the team's two best players heading into the 2014 season, along with Braxton Miller.

But Spence never played a snap for the Buckeyes after his sophomore season. He was given a three-game suspension for a failed drug test ahead of the 2014 Orange Bowl, then was ruled permanently ineligible in September after another failed drug test.

Spence transferred and played one season at Eastern Kentucky before he was selected in the second round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2016 NFL Draft, where he remains.

2. Ted Ginn Jr. – Class of 2004 – 0.9992 Composite Rating

Ted Ginn Jr. was always a can't-miss prospect, but we just weren't sure what position.

Ginn was signed by Ohio State as a cornerback, but quickly became one of the most lethal offensive and special teams weapons in Buckeye football history with his track speed. His final two seasons at Ohio State, Ginn had over 1,500 yards receiving with 14 touchdowns and he finished his Buckeye career with six kick or punt return touchdowns.

Ginn was selected in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, and he's had a long NFL career playing for the Dolphins, 49ers, Panthers, Cardinals and Saints. He's 500 yards away from moving into the top-25 in NFL history in terms of all-purpose yardage.

1. Terrelle Pryor – Class of 2007 – 0.9997 Composite Rating

Terrelle Pryor was perhaps Ohio State's biggest recruiting victory of all time, as the Buckeyes beat out Penn State, Michigan and Oregon to sign their highest-rated player ever.

In terms of athleticism, Pryor was absolutely unmatched. At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Pryor ran a 4.38 second 40-yard dash and was a nightmare to bring down. He became Ohio State's starting quarterback midway through his freshman season due to his ability to create with his legs.

Though passing was not Pryor's strength, he still threw for over 6,000 yards in three seasons with a career completion percentage of 60.9 percent.

Pryor's Buckeye career was of course cut short by the infamous scandal that also resulted in the resignation of Jim Tressel and Pryor went on to the NFL.

After a three-year stint as a quarterback in which he started multiple games for the Oakland Raiders, Pryor switched his position to wide receiver where he's found decent success, even posting a 1,000-yard season in Cleveland in 2016.

Not included on this list is Justin Fields, who tops all of these players with a 0.9998 composite rating, because he did not sign with the Buckeyes out of high school.

It also does not include current Ohio State commits Julian Fleming, who would be third with a 0.9977 composite rating, or Paris Johnson Jr., who would be fifth with a 0.9973 composite rating, since neither have signed with the Buckeyes yet.

If you factor in these players, Ohio State could have three of its top six prospects of all time on the same roster in the coming years.

The list also leaves off 2021 commit Jack Sawyer, whose current 0.9996 rating would put him just behind Pryor.

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