Head coach Urban Meyer has done it again with another impressive recruiting class in 2017. Since coming to Ohio State in 2012, Meyer has not had a class rank below 7th on 247sports. In this time span, Ohio State has had 10 five-star recruits, 95 four-star recruits, and 39 three-star recruits. The only team that has beaten Ohio State consistently in this time span is Alabama. In the 2017 class, Ohio State already has five five-stars, 14 four-stars, and two three-stars. Of the 21 athletes already committed, there is a lot of talent, some of which can be utilized immediately. Here are the top five Buckeye commits to watch for.
Five Buckeye Commits to Watch
Ohio State landed Tate Martell back in October of 2016 after he decommitted from Texas A&M last summer. The Gatorade National Player of the Year threw for 2,362 yards his senior year, including 41 touchdowns to only one interception. Martell accompanied this with 1,257 rushing yards and 21 more touchdowns. The dual-threat quarterback has led Bishop Gorman High School to three consecutive National Championships, and to their fifth straight State Championship. At only 5’10.5″ and 203 lbs., his size is the only thing that seems like it could limit him in the B1G.
Because J.T. Barrett has decided to return for the 2017 season, it is likely that Martell will red shirt and focus on adjusting to college life. Barring an injury to Barrett, Martell will likely work on bulking up so that when the quarterback position is open in 2018, he will be ready to take over the reigns.
Jeffrey Okudah is certainly the highest profile player that Ohio State has landed for 2017. The five-star defensive back was ranked 7th in the nation among all positions, the best defensive back in the 2017 class, and the 2nd best player in the state of Texas. Okudah committed to Ohio State on January 7th of this year, and enrolled early only two days later. Okudah is known for his speed. In high school, Okudah ran a 11.35 100m dash and accompanied that with a 23.57 200m dash.
With Malik Hooker, Gareon Conley, and Marshon Lattimore all leaving for the NFL, Okudah will likely compete for a starting spot as a true freshman. It is likely that he will be competing for a safety position as opposed to corner back.
Another five-star recruit from the state of Texas is Baron Browning. Browning is the 11th best player in the 2017 class and has already met some of his other teammates from his class. In May this year, Browning and Okudah both visited Ohio State and talked about how they want to win rings. Browning did not typically drop back into coverage, with only one interception in both his junior and senior years.
The only linebacker job that has an opening this season for Ohio State is at ILB. With Raekwon McMillan departing for the NFL Draft, Browning could make some noise for the job, but it is still early to tell. Browning is an early enrollee at Ohio State so he will be available for the Spring Game this April. This game will likely give fans more insight on just who will be fighting for the starting job.
Chase Young adds to the long list of elite defensive ends that Meyer has brought to Ohio State. Young joins the list of Nick Bosa, Jonathon Cooper, Jashon Cornell, Dre’Mont Jones, Sam Hubbard, Joey Bosa, Tyquan Lewis, Noah Spence, and Adolphus Washington of four and five-star defensive ends to commit under Meyer. During his visit in July, Young reportedly ran right through Ohio State’s offensive lineman in a drill with Meyer watching. After a short discussion with his parents, Young then committed to Ohio State. He signed his letter of intent today. Young is the 8th best player in the 2017 class, the second best at his position, and the best player in the state of Maryland.
Young will likely not take the field right away. He may be forced to red-shirt a year because of the talent Ohio State has at the position. Currently, the Buckeyes have Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis, and Nick Bosa to rotate between the two spots. If Young is willing to wait a year to take the field, he could be lethal for the Buckeyes in 2018.
To go along with the best defensive back in the 2017 class, Ohio State also got the second best, Shaun Wade. Wade is fairly small, at 6’1″ and 177 lbs. The five-star defensive back is 17th in the class of 2017 overall and should bring a lot back to the Ohio State secondary after their losses this season. Like Okudah, Wade has also enrolled early so that he can participate in spring ball this semester. The one flaw that Wade currently has in his game is his lack of physicality due to his size. He was also known to be beat by some of the faster receivers. With the additional few months of elite weight training, he should be able to gain the speed and strength he needs to be a top corner.
Unlike Okudah, Wade plays more at corner back. He has been compared to Eli Apple, and with proper training, he very well could gain the speed he needs to become more like him. Wade and Okudah will certainly be a dynamic duo to watch in the coming years.