Ranking the Best Ohio State Recruiting Classes of the Urban Meyer Era

By David Regimbal on July 4, 2019 at 2:05 pm
Urban Meyer

When Urban Meyer was hired in the fall of 2012, he elevated Ohio State's recruiting to a level it had never been before.

The Buckeyes were a force on the recruiting trail with Jim Tressel at the helm, but it kicked into high gear with Meyer. From 2012-2018, just one class ranked outside the top five (2015), and not once did the Buckeyes finish without the best class in the Big Ten.

How does each class stack up against each other? Here's a breakdown of each crop of freshmen Meyer signed. 

*Note: The 2019 class is not included because Meyer didn't finish that recruiting cycle as Ohio State's coach.

7. Class of 2015

Ranked No. 7 Nationally, 26 Pledges

The class Meyer signed after winning the first-ever College Football Playoff produced some absolute studs, but a lot of members never reached their potential.

Jerome Baker, Mike Weber, Dre'Mont Jones, K.J. Hill and Denzel Ward highlight the class after surging with the Buckeyes. 

The crown jewel of the class, 5-star Justin Hilliard, leads the group of Buckeyes who never reached the level they wanted. Torrance Gibson, Eric-Glover Williams and Joe Burrow were high 4-star prospects who transferred from the program. 

There were some surprises, though. Damon Arnette and Robert Landers were low 3-stars who emerged as starters.

6. Class of 2016

Ranked No. 4 Nationally, 24 Pledges

The two Buckeyes selected in the first round of the NFL draft this year — Nick Bosa and Dwayne Haskins — came from this recruiting class, but the group didn't have the depth of other Meyer hauls.

There have been solid contributors who still have a chance to make a big impact this fall. Guys like Demario McCall, Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor have that opportunity. Safety Jordan Fuller and defensive end Jonathon Cooper are expected to help anchor an overhauled defensive unit.

5. Class of 2018

Ranked No. 2 Nationally, 26 Pledges

The 2018 group has the chance to move up as time goes on. The class was anchored by a trio of 5-stars Nicholas Petit-Frere, Taron Vincent and Tyreke Johnson, all of whom are fighting for playing time this fall.

Absurdly, half of the class ranked inside the top 100 nationally and just five of the pledges ranked outside of the top 250. Teradja Mitchell and Tyreke Smith will be players to watch this fall and could emerge as impact players for Ryan Day's first team.

4. Class of 2012

Ranked No. 5 Nationally, 25 Pledges

Meyer got more out of the 3-star pledges then he did from the five highest-rated players in this class — 5-stars Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington and 4-stars Tommy Schutt, Se'Von Pittman and Bri'onte Dunn.

Among the 3-stars in this class were Michael Thomas, Cardale Jones, Pat Elflein, Cardale Jones and Tyvis Powell, all of whom were starters and stars on that national title winning team.

While on paper this class was inferior to the '18 group ranked behind it, those 3-star surprises elevate the ranking.

3. Class of 2017

Ranked No. 2 Nationally, 21 Pledges

The smallest class of the Meyer era was absolutely loaded with star power.

An incredible 5 5-star recruits anchored the class in Chase Young, Jeffrey Okudah, Baron Browning, Shaun Wade and Wyatt Davis. J.K. Dobbins, Josh Myers and Brendon White will start this year and have all-conference potential. Kendall Sheffield started last year and was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth round of this year's NFL draft.

The group did include two high-profile players who decided to transfer in wideout Trevon Grimes and quarterback Tathan Martell.

2. Class of 2014

Ranked No. 3 Nationally, 23 Pledges

Scroll through the names of Ohio State's 2014 recruiting class and you'll see a lot of players on NFL rosters today.

There's Raekwon McMillan, Marshon Lattimore, Curtis Samuel, Jamarco Jones, Jalyn Holmes, Parris Campbell, Sam Hubbard, Noah Brown, Malik Hooker and Terry McLaurin were all drafted into the league. Several others, like Johnnie Dixon and Demetrius Knox, just signed with teams as undrafted free agents.

The group was instrumental in getting Ohio State to the 2016 College Football Playoff.

1. Class of 2013

Ranked No. 2 Nationally, 23 Pledges

The cornerstone of Ohio State's 2014 title team was the 2013 recruiting class.

That group had a pair of 5-star commits in Jalin Marshall and Vonn Bell, both of whom started during the playoff run. Joey Bosa was the anchor defensively and Ezekiel Elliott fueled the offense. J.T. Barrett rewrote every career school record and most of the conference benchmarks for a quarterback. Gareon Conley and Billy Price emerged as studs and had great careers. And the second-lowest rated prospect in the class — linebacker Darron Lee — helped turn a defense that had been gashed the previous season into a fast, efficient unit before being drafted in the first round by the New York Jets in 2016. 

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