Despite concluding the 2016 college football season on a very disappointing note, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and his restructured coaching staff were able to land one of the nation's best recruiting classes. Ever since being hired as Ohio State's head coach in November 2011, Meyer has been bringing in quality talent to Columbus. What has Ohio State's coaches and fans excited, and national recruiting analysts in a state of awe and admiration, is that the 2017 recruiting class Meyer has assembled may be the very best in his prestigious career, which is saying something.
With so many highly-touted freshmen to choose from within the 2017 recruiting class, as well as redshirt freshmen from the 2016 crop who are eager to make an impact, it was challenging to come up with only five players who will bear watching in 2017. As half of the 2017 recruiting class are already enrolled and will participate in spring football for the Buckeyes, here are five players who have already enrolled at Ohio State and who may emerge this fall.
1. Baron Browning, LB
Browning was ranked as a 5-star prospect by the major recruiting analyst sites (247Sports, Rivals and Scout), and was considered one of the top 10 players in the country. Despite being listed as an outside linebacker, Browning could emerge as an option to take over Raekwon McMillan's spot at middle linebacker this spring.
2. J.K. Dobbins, RB
Dobbins was considered one of the top all-purpose running backs in the country, despite missing his senior season due to an injury sustained in his first game. While Mike Weber will enter spring practice as Ohio State's starting tailback, Dobbins could make a move on the depth chart and emerge as a playmaker during the 2017 season.
3. Josh Myers, OL
Myers is one of the few Ohioans in the recruiting class, but is already being touted by Urban Meyer as someone who will play this upcoming fall. While Myers played offensive tackle in high school, Myers could get a look at the open spot at guard, now that Billy Price has moved over to play center this season.
4. Jeffrey Okudah, DB
Even with so many highly regarded recruits in the 2017 class, Okudah may rank as the best. Ohio State is listing Okudah at cornerback, but he also could factor at safety as well. If Okudah does play safety, that may open up the door for...
5. Shaun Wade, CB
Wade committed to Ohio State during the 2015 national championship game against Oregon. Even Urban Meyer was surprised that Ohio State was able to hold onto Wade's commitment, as the Jacksonville, Fla., product was heavily pursued by the other top programs in the country from 2015 until National Signing Day last week. Jeffrey Okudah and Wade are considered the top two cornerback recruits in the nation, and Ohio State was able to land them both.
So often in recruiting it comes down to quantity versus quality. As it stands with Ohio State in 2017, it truly seems as though the Buckeyes were able to gain both.
— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.