Give new Ohio State head football coach Ryan Day credit. Taking over for Urban Meyer in mid-December, Day had the precarious task of keeping Ohio State's recruiting class together, while also trying to assemble a coaching staff to have the Buckeyes ready for 2019 and beyond. Yes, Ohio State suffered a few decommitments from its 2019 class, and yes, this class is not as highly ranked as previous ones under Meyer, but look closer at the situation.
Even without the change in coaches, Ohio State was going to have a smaller recruiting class, as several players (WR K.J. Hill, S Jordan Fuller, CB Damon Arnette) decided to stay in Columbus rather than leave early for the NFL. Given the choice, Day was happy to have some experienced talent on hand entering what is shaping up to be a transitional season.
While the overall numbers (17 signees) are down with regards to class size, the overall talent ranking is considerably high. Based on recruiting analysts' rankings, Ohio State's 2019 recruiting class was 14th overall in the country, but when the average star rating of each player is calculated, Ohio State's class is ranked third, behind only Alabama and Georgia. In other words, while there may not be the quantity there is still plenty of quality.
Below are five players to keep an eye on as soon as they arrive on campus.
Cade Stover, OLB
A rangy outside linebacker, Stover was named Ohio's Mr. Football and the Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year after his senior season. Like many Ohio State players, Stover may begin his career on the special teams coverage units, to earn playing time in 2019.
Harry Miller, OL
With four open spots along the offensive line, Miller has the potential to move up on the depth chart quickly. Listed at 6-foot-3, 305 pounds, Miller could challenge for playing time at guard or center.
Marcus Crowley, RB
An early enrollee, Crowley checks in at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. With Mike Weber leaving early for the NFL and Brian Snead departing the program this offseason, Crowley has an opportunity to show why he the Gatorade Player of the Year for Florida after starring at Jacksonville's Trinity Christian Academy.
Zach Harrison, DE
The highest-rated player of the 2019 recruiting class, Harrison is an early enrollee and will participate in spring practice. Harrison has exceptional speed (10.7 100-meter dash) given his size (6-5, 253), and will have every opportunity to carve out a role in Ohio State's deep defensive line rotation.
Garrett Wilson, WR
Wilson is another early enrollee who will take part in spring practice. With the loss of Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, and Johnnie Dixon, Wilson has a significant opportunity to move up the depth chart and contribute as a true freshman at wide receiver. Consider former Oklahoma star and current Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield as a believer in Wilson's abilities.
Don't forget about...
Excitement about the incoming class aside, Ohio State got its best piece of good news a couple of days after National Signing Day when Georgia transfer quarterback Justin Fields was deemed eligible for the 2019 season. With Dwayne Haskins projected to be an early pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Fields is now the front-runner to become the Buckeyes' starting quarterback.