Ohio State’s roster for the 2021 season is loaded with talent, includes a wide variety of experience and is populated with players from all over the country – and even the world.
After bringing in its best recruiting class ever this offseason, the Buckeyes have 16 players who were five-star recruits on their roster this year, as well as 52 players who were composite four-star recruits. And thanks to the NCAA giving all players an extra year of eligibility while also deciding that “super seniors” would not count against the 85-man scholarship limit this year, Ohio State enters this season with even more scholarship players than usual, along with a group of walk-ons that includes several players who could see playing time this season.
The Buckeyes’ 2021 roster includes players from six different recruiting classes, from a sixth-year Buckeye in Demario McCall to the loaded freshman class. It includes players who already have four years of playing experience at Ohio State, like Thayer Munford and Haskell Garrett, yet mostly features players who haven’t seen a ton of playing time yet. And it includes who came to the Buckeyes from coast to coast as well as a punter from down under.
With all of that in mind, we take an in-depth look at the makeup of Ohio State’s 2021 roster, including the composite recruiting ratings of each player, how long they’ve been around and how much they’ve played, which states are most represented among the current Buckeyes and which high schools have produced multiple players on this year’s roster.
|PARIS JOHNSON JR.||OG||0.9953|
The three highest-rated recruits on Ohio State’s 2021 roster are all new freshmen: Ewers, who’s the highest-rated signee in Ohio State history, and Tuimoloau and Sawyer, the Buckeyes’ two highest-rated defensive signees ever. Ewers, Tuimoloau, Sawyer and Fleming all rank among the six highest-rated recruits Ohio State has ever signed.
Ohio State has 16 total players on this year’s roster who were five-star recruits, making up more than 18% of Ohio State’s roster of scholarship players (though Gaoteote is not actually on scholarship yet while Ohio State waits to see if he will be NCAA-eligible to play this season). Eight of those 16 players are new additions to the roster, including Gaoteote from the transfer portal and seven freshmen: Ewers, Tuimoloau, Sawyer, Egbuka, Jackson, Henderson and McCord.
Five-star recruits who are expected to play major roles for the Buckeyes this season include Petit-Frere, Johnson and Miller as starting offensive linemen, Wilson and Smith-Njigba as starting wide receivers and Harrison and Vincent on the defensive line.
Ohio State is loaded with four five-star recruits each at wide receiver and both the offensive and defensive lines, along with two five-star freshman quarterbacks, one of the top running back recruits in Ohio State history in Henderson and a five-star linebacker prospect in Gaoteote, who the Buckeyes also recruited as a high school prospect before he chose to start his college career at USC.
|GEE SCOTT JR.||TE||0.9702|
|MARVIN HARRISON JR.||WR||0.9583|
|MASTER TEAGUE III||RB||0.9132|
|JACK MILLER III||QB||0.8951|
Four-star recruits make up the core of Ohio State’s roster, populating nearly 60% of the team’s contingent of scholarship players. The Buckeyes’ roster includes multiple players who were four-star prospects in every single position group on offense and defense.
Some of those four-star prospects – like Smith, Ruckert, Stroud and Mitchell, all of whom will play key players for Ohio State this season – weren’t far off from also being five-star recruits. The 20 highest-rated four-star recruits on the team were also top-100 overall prospects in their respective recruiting classes, giving the Buckeyes 36 such players on the 2021 roster.
Four-star recruits expected to play major roles for the Buckeyes on offense this season include Stroud as the starting quarterback, Ruckert as the top tight end and Munford on the offensive line.
The vast majority of the Buckeyes’ defensive production this season is also likely to come from four-star prospects. Smith, Garrett, Jackson, Jean-Baptiste and Cage could all be regulars on the defensive line; Mitchell, Simon and Gant are expected to be among the regulars at linebacker; Proctor, Hickman, Ransom, Williamson, Watts, Banks and Brown are among those who could play substantial roles in the secondary.
As well as Ryan Day and the Buckeyes have been recruiting lately, there isn’t much room on the roster for three-star recruits. Ohio State’s freshman class of 2021 includes only a trio of three-star prospects, and as a result, the Buckeyes’ 2021 roster includes only two more three-star recruits on scholarship than it does five-star recruits on the roster.
That relatively small group of three-star recruits is far from insignificant, as it includes a superstar wide receiver in Olave and two other potential offensive starters in Williams and Jones. Young is a candidate to start on defense at the bullet position. Seibert is competing for the starting kicker job with Noah Ruggles, the only two-star recruit on scholarship for the Buckeyes, while Mirco is expected to be the starting punter.
Ohio State’s walk-on roster includes four players who were rated as three-star recruits yet chose to walk on at Ohio State: Andrade, Johnson, Rau (who started his career at SMU before transferring to Ohio State) and Wilson.
Robinson is entering his second year as Ohio State’s starting long snapper. Rossi saw playing time in the tight end rotation last season and could again this year. Booker and Johnson were both regulars on special teams in 2020 and likely will be again in 2021.
There could be additional walk-ons added to Ohio State’s roster once the season begins, but the walk-ons listed above are those that were included on the 120-man roster that was distributed to media members before the last practice that was open to the media on Wednesday.
Players By High School Class
|2016||5||CHRIS BOOKER, ANTWUAN JACKSON, DEMARIO MCCALL, COREY RAU, BRADLEY ROBINSON|
|2017||8||JERRON CAGE, AARON COX, DOMINIC DIMACCIO, HASKELL GARRETT, THAYER MUNFORD, MITCH ROSSI, NOAH RUGGLES, MARCUS WILLIAMSON|
|2018||26||SEVYN BANKS, KAMRYN BABB, RYAN BATSCH, CAMERON BROWN, ROBERT COPE, DALLAS GANT, TYLER FRIDAY, PALAIE GAOTEOTE, MARCUS HOOKER, JAVONTAE JEAN-BAPTISTE, XAVIER JOHNSON, MATTHEW JONES, CADE KACHERSKI, AUSTIN KUTSCHER, JAGGER LAROE, LLOYD MCFARQUHAR, TERADJA MITCHELL, CHRIS OLAVE, NICHOLAS PETIT-FRERE, K’VAUGHAN POPE, JOSH PROCTOR, JEREMY RUCKERT, TYREKE SMITH, MASTER TEAGUE, TARON VINCENT, SAM WIGLUSZ|
|2019||18||J.P. ANDRADE, STEELE CHAMBERS, MARCUS CROWLEY, TOMMY EICHENBERG, CORMONTAE HAMILTON, ZACH HARRISON, RONNIE HICKMAN, DAWAND JONES, JADEN MCKENZIE, HARRY MILLER, MICHAEL O’SHAUGHNESSY, NOAH POTTER, BRYSON SHAW, RYAN SMITH, CADE STOVER, ENOKK VIMAHI, GARRETT WILSON, CRAIG YOUNG|
|2020||28||LEJOND CAVAZOS, JACOLBE COWAN, JACK FORSMAN, JOSH FRYAR, JULIAN FLEMING, PATRICK GURD, TY HAMILTON, DARRION HENRY-YOUNG, JAKOB JAMES, PARIS JOHNSON JR., CAMERON KITTLE, TREY LEROUX, CAMERON MARTINEZ, MITCHELL MELTON, JACK MILLER III, ANDREW MOORE, LATHAN RANSOM, JOE ROYER, GEE SCOTT JR., JAKE SEIBERT, CODY SIMON, JAXON SMITH-NJIGBA, C.J. STROUD, GRANT TOUTANT, RYAN WATTS, KOURT WILLIAMS, MIYAN WILLIAMS, LUKE WYPLER|
|2021||35||JAYDEN BALLARD, DENZEL BURKE, REID CARRICO, BEN CHRISTMAN, CORBAN CLEVELAND, JANTZEN DUNN, EMEKA EGBUKA, QUINN EWERS, MIKE HALL, ZAK HERBSTREIT, JORDAN HANCOCK, MARVIN HARRISON JR., SAM HART, TREVEYON HENDERSON, DONOVAN JACKSON, JAKAILIN JOHNSON, JAYLEN JOHNSON, JACKSON KUWATCH, MAX LOMONICO, KYLE MCCORD, ZEN MICHALSKI, JESSE MIRCO, JOOP MITCHELL, JALEN PACE, BRYCE PRATER, ZACH PRATER, EVAN PRYOR, CAYDEN SAUNDERS, JACK SAWYER, GARRISON SMITH, REIS STOCKSDALE, J.T. TUIMOLOAU, ANDRE TURRENTINE, TYLEIK WILLIAMS, TOBY WILSON|
Before this year, having even one sixth-year senior on a college football team – which Ohio State did last year with Justin Hilliard – was a rarity. Because the NCAA gave all players a free year of eligibility last season, however, Ohio State’s 2021 roster includes five players who graduated high school all the way back in 2016 – though only one of them, Demario McCall, has actually been with the Buckeyes for all of those years. Booker (Dayton), Jackson (Auburn), Rau (SMU) and Robinson (Michigan State) all started their college football careers elsewhere before transferring to Ohio State.
With eight “super seniors” who would have exhausted their eligibility last year – also including Garrett, Munford and Williamson – Ohio State’s roster includes a whopping 39 players who are in at least their fourth year out of high school.
On the other hand, more than half of Ohio State’s current players – 63 in total – are in either their first or second year out of high school. In part because only one member of the 2018 class entered the NFL draft after last season (Tommy Togiai) and in part because Ohio State took an unusually small recruiting class in 2019, the Buckeyes currently have eight more fourth-year players than they do third-year players.
19 Players with 300+ Snaps Played
Not including special teams snaps, 19 players on the roster have played more than 300 career offensive or defensive snaps at Ohio State entering the 2021 season. Munford, who had already played the most snaps on the team going into last season, has played more than twice as many career snaps as any other Buckeye after starting at left tackle for the past three seasons.
Ohio State’s five most experienced players in terms of snaps played entering the 2021 season are all on the offensive side of the ball, but the Buckeyes do return 11 total defensive players with at least 300 snaps of playing experience, compared to just eight on offense.
The Buckeyes have six returning defensive linemen who have played at least 350 snaps and five returning defensive backs who have played more than 300 snaps at Ohio State, but no linebackers. That said, Palaie Gaoteote did play 857 defensive snaps at USC over the past three years, according to Pro Football Focus, which makes him the most experienced defender and fifth-most experienced player on the team in terms of snaps played at any college.
Offensively, the quarterback position is notably absent from the list, as Jack Miller (10) and C.J. Stroud (8) combined to play just 18 snaps last season – with no passing attempts – while Kyle McCord and Quinn Ewers are true freshmen.
Players from 22 States – and Australia
|OHIO||48||JAYDEN BALLARD, RYAN BATSCH, CHRIS BOOKER, JERRON CAGE, REID CARRICO, BEN CHRISTMAN, ROBERT COPE, AARON COX, DOMINIC DIMACCIO, TOMMY EICHENBERG, JACK FORSMAN, DALLAS GANT, PATRICK GURD, MIKE HALL, DARRION HENRY-YOUNG, TY HAMILTON, ZACH HARRISON, JAKOB JAMES, JAYLEN JOHNSON, XAVIER JOHNSON, PARIS JOHNSON JR., CADE KACHERSKI, CAMERON KITTLE, AUSTIN KUTSCHER, JACKSON KUWATCH, TREY LEROUX, MAX LOMONICO, DEMARIO MCCALL, LLOYD MCFARQUHAR, JOOP MITCHELL, ANDREW MOORE, THAYER MUNFORD, MICHAEL O’SHAUGHNESSY, NOAH POTTER, BRYCE PRATER, ZACH PRATER, JOE ROYER, JACK SAWYER, JAKE SEIBERT, REIS STOCKSDALE, GARRISON SMITH, RYAN SMITH, CADE STOVER, TYREKE SMITH, SAM WIGLUSZ, MIYAN WILLIAMS, MARCUS WILLIAMSON, TOBY WILSON|
|TEXAS||9||LEJOND CAVAZOS, CORBAN CLEVELAND, QUINN EWERS, DONOVAN JACKSON, JAGGER LAROE, COREY RAU, JAXON SMITH-NJIGBA, RYAN WATTS, GARRETT WILSON|
|TENNESSEE||5||CORMONTAE HAMILTON, ZAK HERBSTREIT, MITCH ROSSI, MASTER TEAGUE, ANDRE TURRENTINE|
|CALIFORNIA||4||J.P. ANDRADE, CHRIS OLAVE, C.J. STROUD, KOURT WILLIAMS|
|FLORIDA||4||SEVYN BANKS, MARCUS CROWLEY, NICHOLAS PETIT-FRERE, NOAH RUGGLES|
|GEORGIA||4||STEELE CHAMBERS, JORDAN HANCOCK, HARRY MILLER, ANTWUAN JACKSON|
|INDIANA||4||JOSH FRYAR, DAWAND JONES, ZEN MICHALSKI, CRAIG YOUNG|
|MICHIGAN||4||CAMERON MARTINEZ, BRADLEY ROBINSON, CAYDEN SAUNDERS, GRANT TOUTANT|
|MISSOURI||4||KAMRYN BABB, CAMERON BROWN, JAKAILIN JOHNSON, JALEN PACE|
|NEW JERSEY||4||TYLER FRIDAY, RONNIE HICKMAN, CODY SIMON, LUKE WYPLER|
|PENNSYLVANIA||4||JULIAN FLEMING, MARVIN HARRISON JR., MARCUS HOOKER, KYLE MCCORD|
|VIRGINIA||4||TREVEYON HENDERSON, TERADJA MITCHELL, K’VAUGHAN POPE, TYLEIK WILLIAMS|
|ARIZONA||3||DENZEL BURKE, JACK MILLER III, LATHAN RANSOM|
|MARYLAND||3||MITCHELL MELTON, BRYSON SHAW, TARON VINCENT|
|NEW YORK||3||JAVONTAE JEAN-BAPTISTE, MATTHEW JONES, JEREMY RUCKERT|
|NORTH CAROLINA||3||JACOLBE COWAN, JADEN MCKENZIE, EVAN PRYOR|
|WASHINGTON||3||EMEKA EGBUKA, GEE SCOTT JR., J.T. TUIMOLOAU|
|NEVADA||2||PALAIE GAOTEOTE, HASKELL GARRETT|
Ohio, unsurprisingly, is by far the most represented state on Ohio State’s 2021 roster. Exactly 40% of the team’s current 120-man roster hails from the Buckeye State. Exactly half of those 48 Ohioans are scholarship players, while the other 24 are walk-ons.
Texas remains the second-most represented state on Ohio State’s roster with the addition of three new freshmen from the Lone Star State: Ewers, Jackson and Cleveland.
Tennessee becomes the third-most represented state on Ohio State’s roster with the arrivals of Herbstreit and Turrentine this summer. Nine states have exactly four players on Ohio State’s 2021 roster, while five others have three players. Nevada is the only state with exactly two players on the roster, while only four states – Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky and Oklahoma – have exactly one.
Among the 28 states that don’t have any players on the Buckeyes’ 2021 roster, the most notable omission might be Illinois, which has no natives on Ohio State’s roster this year despite being the sixth-most populous state and its Midwest location.
15 High Schools with Multiple Buckeyes
|IMG ACADEMY||BRADENTON, FLORIDA||LEJOND CAVAZOS, TARON VINCENT, MARCUS WILLIAMSON|
|MASSILLON WASHINGTON||MASSILLON, OHIO||JAYDEN BALLARD, AUSTIN KUTSCHER, THAYER MUNFORD|
|BISHOP GORMAN||LAS VEGAS, NEVADA||PALAIE GAOTEOTE, HASKELL GARRETT|
|CHRISTIAN BROTHERS COLLEGE||ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI||KAMRYN BABB, CAMERON BROWN|
|CLEVELAND HEIGHTS||CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OHIO||ANDREW MOORE, TYREKE SMITH|
|DUBLIN JEROME||DUBLIN, OHIO||ROBERT COPE, CADE KACHERSKI|
|ELDER||CINCINNATI, OHIO||JAKOB JAMES, JOE ROYER|
|LA SALLE||CINCINNATI, OHIO||JAYLEN JOHNSON, JAKE SEIBERT|
|NEW ALBANY||NEW ALBANY, OHIO||PATRICK GURD, MICHAEL O’SHAUGHNESSY|
|NORWALK||NORWALK, OHIO||TREY LEROUX, GARRISON SMITH|
|PICKERINGTON CENTRAL||PICKERINGTON, OHIO||TY HAMILTON, MAX LOMONICO|
|PRINCETON||CINCINNATI, OHIO||DARRION HENRY-YOUNG, PARIS JOHNSON JR.|
|RIDGEWOOD||WEST LAFAYETTE, OHIO||BRYCE PRATER, ZACH PRATER|
|ST. JOSEPH’S PREP||PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA||KYLE MCCORD, MARVIN HARRISON JR.|
|WINTON WOODS||CINCINNATI, OHIO||JERRON CAGE, MIYAN WILLIAMS|
IMG Academy and Massillon Washington High School both have three players on Ohio State’s 2021 roster, tied for the most of any high school. Considering that IMG Academy attracts top talent from all over the country while Massillon is a longtime Northeast Ohio powerhouse, it’s no surprise that either of them sit at the top of the list.
Notably, three other high schools from outside Ohio also have multiple players on this year’s Ohio State roster: Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High School, where Garrett and Gaoteote (who are also cousins) were teammates; Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, where Babb and Brown both starred before coming to Ohio State together as members of the recruiting class of 2018; and St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia, where McCord and Harrison were a record-setting quarterback-receiver tandem.