For Ohio State under Urban Meyer, a consensus top-five ranked recruiting classes is something you come to expect. With National Signing Day 2017 officially in the books, the Buckeyes once again bring in a loaded group of prospects with limitless talent and NFL futures ahead of them.
Urban Meyer has had a number of great players come in over his five seasons as head coach in Columbus, with a number of very talented signing classes. The 2013 class comes to mind first as undoubtedly the best class Meyer has assembled to date, with players like Ezekiel Elliott, Joey Bosa, Eli Apple, and Vonn Bell to name a few.
With as good as that class was, the 2017 signees come in with the most hype of any class Meyer has had. The 2017 class saw Ohio State bring in nearly as many five-star players in this one class than all of Meyer’s previous classes at Ohio State combined.
The Buckeyes suffered more early departures this off-season, with six players from the 2016 team deciding to forgo their remaining eligibility at Ohio State to enter the NFL draft. With those players leaving, and the Buckeyes suffering even more early departures from the 2015 team, it was very important to sign a class like this in 2017.
With some openings for playing time available for the upcoming season due to those early departures, or simply a lack of production from current starters, the extremely talented 2017 class will have its opportunities to prove its worth early.
Ohio State’s secondary took the worst hit when it comes to depth and experience for the upcoming season. Early departures from Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conely, and Malik Hooker leave Damon Webb as the lone returning starter in the defensive backfield.
With those openings available, look for 2017 signees and five-star players Shaun Wade (ESPN No. 1 ranked corner), and Jeffrey Okudah (ESPN No. 1 ranked safety) to have a say in filling that void. Wade (Jacksonville, Florida), and Okudah (Grand Prairie, Texas) come from powerhouse football states and have the ability to play right away as both have enrolled early to get a head start of the college learning curve.
Okudah may have the better chance at playing due to his ideal size and Wade still needed to add some muscle, but both players will have a shot come fall. Kendall Sheffield, (ESPN No. 1 ranked JuCo corner) a former five-star prospect and Alabama signee will also get a crack at playing time after spending a season at Blinn College. Sheffield is known for his blazing speed and has the ability to get on the field right away if he can catch on quickly in Columbus.
After losing center and team captain Pat Elflein to graduation, the Buckeyes will move Billy Price from his right guard spot over to center next season. That leaves a hole at guard for mauling 6’3′, 319-pound incoming freshman Wyatt Davis from Bellflower, California. Davis is one the top ranked guards in the 2017 class and has a college ready (some could argue even NFL) body coming in. Davis could be in line to earn a starting spot as a true freshman. Josh Meyers, a 6’6′, 310-pound tackle/guard from Miamisburg, Ohio and another one of the nation’s top offensive line recruits in the 2017 class will also get his shot to earn early playing time this season.
Ohio State is loaded at defensive end with names like Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis, and Nick Bosa. But what Ohio State doesn’t have is a household name at defensive tackle. Season-ending injury to game one start Tracy Sprinkle saw the Buckeyes playing with a number of inexperienced defensive tackles during the 2016 season.
Dre’Mont Jones and Michael Hill stepped up for the most part, but the Buckeyes could use some more talent at the position. Enter incoming freshman and four-star prospect Haskell Garrett, who ESPN ranks as the No. 7 Defensive tackle in the nation in the 2017 class. Garrett comes in as a winner, playing at powerhouse program Bishop Gorman high school in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a very well coached player and is stout against the run and pass, and should give the defensive line group some much-needed bulk weighing in at just under 300 pounds.
Urban Meyer is in very good hands with this incoming recruiting class, it has the potential to be the best Meyer has ever brought in when it’s all said and done. With a class this good, the Buckeyes should see a few if not a number of true freshman see the field in 2017.
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