Much has been said already about the Ohio State football recruiting class and how it compares to the Super Sophomore group of 1967 that won a national championship in 1968 and lost only 2 games in 3 seasons. The jury is still out on the 2013 class, but they have already won the 2014 national championship.
2015 and 2016 will bring us more information about how they really compared to the Super Sophomores.
I use the three different recruiting services pretty equally. ESPN had the Ohio State recruiting class ranked third behind Alabama and Florida.
Rivals.com had the Buckeyes rated second behind Alabama and so did 247sports.com.
Alabama pretty much wins the recruiting title every season, but the Buckeyes have a strong case to call their own class the very best in the land.
I would not argue with them.
The highest rated recruit in this class was Eli Apple. The 6-0, 185 Cornerback from Vorhees, New Jersey was a 5 star recruit. Apple was their only 5 star recruit in their class and Running Back Derrick Henry was Alabama’s only 5 star signature.
Ohio State had 18 4 star recruits right after Apple, while Alabama had 19 4 stars right behind Henry. Ohio State had 5 3 stars and Alabama only had 4. Those are their ESPN star ratings.
Eli Apple started at one Cornerback position in 2014 and he was all that he was cracked up to be. Apple picked off 3 passes as a redshirt freshman and totaled 53 tackles. He also broke up 10 passes. Apple is the real deal and fans of recruiting can pin his name up on the wall of guys that prove their case for recruiting really does matter.
Gareon Conley was one of their second highest rated recruits and he played his high school football at legendary Massillon Washington High School. Conley was the 7th ranked Cornerback in the country in the eyes of the ESPN recruiting experts. He redshirted in 2013 and then backed up Eli Apple last season and has a chance to start at the other Cornerback spot in 2015. In part time duties, Conley managed 16 tackles and a couple of pass break ups.
Conley was 165 pounds when signed by the Buckeyes butt beefed up during his redshirt year, apparently, as he is listed as 6-0, 190 now and that is a great size for a Cornerback. Conley looks like he can be a good player for the Buckeyes in 2015 and beyond.
Coming into Columbus in 2013 as the 5th rated Wide Receiver in the country was Jalin Marshall from Middletown, Ohio. Middletown is the home of Chris Carter, Todd Bell and Jerry Lucas.
Marshall also redshirted in 2013 before making his debut in the opening game against the Naval Academy.
Marshall was outstanding for the Buckeyes last season while catching 38 passes for 499 yards and 6 Touchdowns. He also ran for 145 yards and a Touchdown, plus returned punts with 1 of them going for a Touchdown as well. Jalin Marshall looked like the next big star for the Buckeyes many times during the 2014 season. Very explosive and exciting player.
Vonn Bell signed with Ohio State out of Rossville, Georgia as the 4th ranked Safety prospect in the nation. Su’a Cravens that signed with USC was number 1, with Tony Conner from Ole Miss at number and Leon McQuay III at number 3. Bell played his freshman season some, but was a star last year as the second leading tackler for the Buckeyes with 92 total. After picking off 1 pass as a true freshman, he very impressively Intercepted 6 passes in 2014. I have no idea why Bell didn’t make any All Conference teams because he was really good and will be better next season.
Ranked slightly behind Marshall, Bell and Conley was Joey Bosa of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Bosa has been a beast from day one. I wrote about Bosa and his family in another article: http://collegefootballcrazy.com/the-mob-two-cousins-and-two-championships/
Bosa could be the very best Defensive Lineman in the country. He finished 4th in the country in Quarterback sacks with 13.5. Plus, he had an incredible 21 tackles for loss and 4 fumbles forced. My question on Bosa will be if he declares for the NFL or stays at Ohio State one more season to play
with his younger brother, Nick. The younger Bosa is one of the hottest Defensive Line recruits in the nation for next year. He has not committed to Ohio State and may decide to go elsewhere, but I doubt it. If I had to pick one guy that is the best of this incredible recruiting class it could be Joey Bosa.
Cam Burrows signed with Ohio State out of Trotwood, Ohio. He was a 4 star Cornerback with great size at 6-0, 203. He currently backs up Vonn Bell at safety and also plays some Nickel Back. Burrows had 17 tackles last season and was valuable depth for the Buckeyes last season and could start soon.
Marcus Baugh was a 4 star Tight End from Riverside, California. He redshirted in 2013, and played sparingly in 2014 but he wasn’t needed because of the presence of Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett. Heuerman is gone and Baugh will be one of the top 2 Tight Ends and should start after Vannett graduates after this season. He has grown to 6-4, 252 and should be a solid Tight End for the Buckeyes in 2015 and beyond.
Evan Lisle was a 4 star Offensive Lineman when he signed with the Buckeyes. As Offensive Linemen often do, Lisle redshirted as a true freshman and then missed some of 2014 with injuries. He should battle for playing time this Spring and beyond.
If Joey Bosa is not the best player out of this class, another candidate could be Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott was clearly one of the stars of their playoff run last season with right at 700 yards rushing in his last 3 games. Elliott is a power runner with great speed as he easily outran the Alabama secondary on his 85 yard run against the Crimson Tide. Elliott finished with an impressive 1,878 yards rushing in 2014 and no doubt will leave after next season for the large paychecks.
Mike Mitchell was another member of that class but has since transferred to Texas Tech. Strange move, in my opinion, but that was his choice.
The Buckeyes signed a 4 star Defensive Tackle out of Pendleton, South Carolina, Michael Hill. He redshirted as a freshman and then played in 4 games a season ago. But, he was not going to beat out Michael Bennett and Tommy Schutt. Bennett is gone and Schutt is now a Senior and Hill has a chance to play a lot in 2015 and he could be really good.
JT Barrett is another candidate for top player in this class, if he can even start in 2015. Barrett took over for an injured Braxton Miller last season and after a rough start was a fantastic player down the stretch. Before going down for the year against Michigan, Barrett threw for 2,834 yards and 34 Touchdowns and he ran for 938 yards and 11 more scores.
Barrett, Miller and Cardale Jones should be in the battle of the century at Quarterback this Spring and next Fall.
Donovan Munger was another 4 star Defensive Tackle coming in from Shaker Heights, Ohio. The Buckeyes were pretty deep in the Defensive Line so Munger took a redshirt in 2013 and backed up Adolphus Washington last season. Look for his playing time to increase in 2015 during his sophomore year.
The Buckeyes signed another Defensive Tackle and this one is from Youngstown, Ohio. Billy Price quickly converted to Offensive Guard and started at Left Guard last season. Price is supposedly the strongest guy on the team and will be a solid Guard for the Buckeyes over the next few years.
Corey Smith was a Junior College product signing with the Buckeyes from East Mississippi Community College. He redshirted in 2013 and played enough to catch 20 passes in 2014. The Buckeyes lose Devin Smith at Wide Receiver and expect Corey Smith to help out more there in 2015.
Chris Worley signed with the Buckeyes out of Cleveland and he also redshirted in his freshman season and backed up fellow freshman Darron Lee at Outside Linebacker in 2014. He played enough to record 11 tackles.
Darron Lee came in as a 4 star safety recruit from New Albany, Ohio and like many of the others he redshirted his first season in college. In 2014, Lee was one of the defensive stars for Ohio State in their title run, but after he moved to Outside Linebacker. Lee was a 3 star recruit.
Another 3 star was Tyquan Lewis from Tarboro, North Carolina. He was Joey Bosa’s back up last season but could start on the other side in 2015. He managed 9 tackles last season with 2.5 for loss. He came into Columbus as a true freshman at 225 pounds and has beefed up to 260 already.
It’s not just about one super class, but putting back to back classes together that can win championships.
The Ohio State Buckeye recruiting class of 2012 might could have been considered sub par for them. However, the class contained Cardale Jones, Noah Spence, Joshua Perry, Pat Elfien, Taylor Decker, Jacoby Boren, Michael Thomas and Tyvus Powell.
Jones, Decker, Boren and Thomas were all 3 star recruits and are some of the better players on the Buckeye roster and Tyvus Powell was only a 2 star and he starts at Safety.
The class of 2014 was also outstanding and was ranked 7th in the country by the experts at ESPN. This class was led by 5 star Linebacker Raekwon McMillan from Hinesville, Georgia. McMillan was a beast as a true freshman and will start as a sophomore at Middle Linebacker.
Offensive Tackle recruit Jamarco Jones should start at Right Tackle next season and he was a highly sought after 4 star recruit out of Chicago. Curtis Samuel was Ezekiel Elliott’s back up as a true freshman and was really good in his own right rushing for 383 yards as a true freshman.
Sean Neurnberger was the Buckeye kicker in 2014.
There are many others in this class that have a shot at helping the Buckeyes in 2015 and beyond.
The 2015 Buckeye class was also incredible, ranked 6th by ESPN.
The headliners in that bunch are 2 5 star recruits. Torrance Gibson is a 5 star Quarterback from Plantation, Florida. The last thing the Buckeyes need right now is another talented Quarterback, but they got one in Gibson. He’s so gifted that a lot of people listed him as an Athlete because at 6-5, 207 he could play other positions easily until the Quarterback position clears up a little.
Their other 5 star recruit is Justin Hilliard from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is a 6-1, 225 Outside Linebacker that runs like a deer.
Jashon Cornell was a 5 star but was lowered at the end probably because he didn’t sign with an SEC school. He is a gifted 6-3, 265 Defensive End that should help Joey Bosa out immediately on the other side of the Defensive Line. This class is also deep and talented with too many top players to list here in this post.
If you want to compare the Ohio State classes of 1967 with that of the 2013 there is one major difference. The recruiting classes before and after the 1967 classes were not elite and it showed clearly when the Super Sophomores graduated and left a huge void on the team. The Super Sophomores went 27 – 2 over a 3 year period. But, the year they all left the Buckeyes left behind went 6-4.
The recruiting classes before and after this class of 2013 are really good and should supplement this class into possibly winning more than just 1 national championship. By comparison, you have to eliminate the class of 2013’s freshman season because freshmen were not eligible in 1967.
The Super Sophomores went 10 – 0 in 1968 while winning the national championship, while the class of 2013 went 14-1 when they won their title.
Stay tuned in over the next couple of seasons and see how the modern Buckeyes really compare to the Super Sophomores.