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Looking Back at Ohio State's 2015 Recruiting Class (Part Three)

Ohio State Buckeyes RB Mike Weber

Ohio State Buckeyes RB Mike Weber

In February 2015, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and his staff signed a group of 27 players that was ranked seventh by 247Sports. Of those 27 players signed, 12 left the program due to transfer, injury or retirement.

Of the remaining 15, five players are contributing in some shape or form. That leaves 10 members of the class who have been able to emerge as starters for the Buckeyes since signing their LOI back in February 2015. This article will focus on those players.

1. Liam McCullough, LS

McCullough is just the second long-snapper in Ohio State history to earn a scholarship out of high school. A redshirt junior, McCullough has one more year of eligibility after this season. While McCullough is well respected for his play on the field, the local media always enjoy McCullough's tradition of wearing shirts of himself (see below) during fall camp check-in.

2. Dre'Mont Jones, DL

Redshirted in 2015 after suffering a knee injury during a high school basketball game, Jones is a force on the defensive line for the Buckeyes. While Jones is just a redshirt junior, it is widely expected that he will declare for the 2019 NFL Draft after the season. The starter at one of the defensive tackle spots, Jones recorded two sacks in the season-opening, 77-31 rout of Oregon State last Saturday.

3. Denzel Ward, CB

Ward was a member of the coverage units on special teams as a true freshman in 2015. After becoming part of the defensive back rotation in 2016, Ward earned a starting spot the following season. After a tremendous junior season in which he was a consensus All-American, Ward declared for the 2018 NFL Draft where he was taken fourth overall by the Cleveland Browns.

4. Jerome Baker, LB

Baker contributed on special teams as a true freshman in 2015. Emerging as a starter at outside linebacker in 2016, Berry demonstrated a flair for big plays in his time at Ohio State. Baker declared for the 2018 NFL Draft, and was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the third round (73rd overall).

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5. Branden Bowen, OL

After redshirting in 2015, Bowen won the starting right guard for the '17 season. But he suffered a broken leg against Maryland in the sixth game and missed the rest of the season. Bowen has been working hard to get back on the field, but he did not dress for the opener against Oregon State. He will have one more year of eligibility after the 2018 season.

6. Mike Weber, RB

Weber didn't commit to the Buckeyes until National Signing Day, as some believed he was going to stay close home to sign with Michigan. After redshirting in 2015, Weber will have one more year of eligibility after this season but he could end up declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft. He got his 2018 campaign off to a strong start, rushing for 186 yards and scoring four times in the 77-31 rout of Oregon State. 

7. Robert Landers, DL

Originally committed to West Virginia, Landers flipped to Ohio State in December 2014. A contributor along the defensive line, Landers got the start alongside fellow classmate Dre'Mont Jones at tackle in the opener against Oregon State.

8. Damon Arnette Jr., CB

Arnette emerged as a starter at cornerback for the Buckeyes last season. An honorable mention All-Big Ten pick by the media, Arnette is expected to be one of the leaders for Ohio State's rebuilt secondary this season.

9. K.J. Hill, WR

Hill also committed to the Buckeyes on National Signing Day in 2015. He led the team with 56 receptions last season and had a team-high six catches for 82 yards in the season-opening win over Oregon State.

10. Isaiah Prince, OT

Prince was another National Signing Day commitment for Meyer and his coaching staff. After playing some as a true freshman, Prince emerged as a starter at right tackle in 2016. A third-team All-Big Ten honoree in 2017, Prince was one of seven players voted by teammates to serves a captains this season.

Of 27 players signed in 2015, 12 departed, leaving 15 as either contributors or starters or 56 percent. Labeled a "misfit" group by Meyer, the 2018 season will have a large impact on the legacy that the '15 recruiting class will leave behind.

— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He also is writing and podcasting for www.theozone.net. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.