On Feb. 6, 2013, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer addressed the media to discuss the recruiting efforts of the Ohio State coaching staff. "Our first year together as a coaching staff last year did not count because that was not a coaching staff. That was a bunch of guys coming together like a bunch of gypsies trying to find players anywhere we could find them. We did pretty good...This year it was a full cycle of recruiting. And I’m very impressed with our coaching staff."
My personal history when it comes to analyzing Ohio State recruiting classes goes back to 2005, when the new Buckeyes included the likes of James Laurinaitis, Brian Hartline and Malcolm Jenkins. That class was relatively small with 18 players signed, and was not highly rated by the recruiting analysts, but the coaching staff only lost three from that class due to transfer or academic issues, resulting in 15 who either started or contributed to Ohio State during their careers. This 83 percent success rate ranks that group highly in the unofficial "Rule of Thirds" concept that is applied to recruiting classes.
“The Rule of Thirds” is pretty simple — within any class, there will be approximately a third who will develop into starters as the coaching staff hoped and recruited, a third will be contributors in some fashion, and a third will not work out, leaving due to transfer, injuries or possibly disciplinary reasons.
For this exercise, I will review how the 2013 class ranked using the above criteria. For starters, no Ohio State should be surprised that the 2013 recruiting class ranks as one of the best in the program’s illustrious history. Ranked second in the country by 247Sports in 2013 behind Alabama, this Ohio State recruiting class will be held in high regard for years to come by Ohio State fans. The 2013 recruiting class originally numbered 24 players. Entering the 2016 season, a whopping 87.5 percent of this class either started or contributed in some way on the field for the Buckeyes.
Part one of this series will look at the few players who eventually left the Ohio State program. I will address each player, why they left and where they are currently in order based upon when he verbally committed to the Buckeyes.
1. Jayme Thompson, S
Thompson was originally a verbal commitment to West Virginia, but decided to switch to Ohio State. Thompson redshirted in 2013, and requested a release from Ohio State in April 2014. After playing for Iowa Western Community College at the junior college level, Thompson signed with Indiana in December 2015. Thompson is listed as a redshirt junior on Indiana's roster on its athletics Web site.
2. Tim Gardner, OL
Gardner never even made it out of fall camp of his freshman year with Ohio State. Cited by Columbus police for obstruction of official business, Gardner was dismissed by Meyer in July 2013. Gardner eventually signed with Indiana, and played for the Hoosiers in 2015, after sitting out in ‘14 as a transfer. It was recently announced that Gardner would not be with Indiana for the 2016 season.
3. Mike Mitchell, LB
Mitchell was one of the highest-rated players in the 2013 recruiting class, ranked as the best high school player from the state of Texas. Despite Mitchell's lofty high school accolades, he redshirted at Ohio State in 2013. Mitchell decided to transfer to Texas Tech after his first season. He sat out the 2014 season per NCAA transfer rules, played for Texas Tech last fall, and then decided to transfer from Texas Tech after the season.
Out of 24 players signed, only three (12.5 percent) left the Ohio State program without any contributions. In comparison, the 2012 recruiting class had 11 players of 25 signed (44 percent) who departed without any contributions.
Part two will look at the players Ohio State signed in February 2013 who have been contributors during their time in Columbus. Several of these players will have opportunities to not only contribute to Ohio State in 2016, but also emerge as possible starters this upcoming season.
— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a diehard Ohio State fan. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.