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Ohio State Football: Looking Back at the Buckeyes' 2017 Recruiting Class (Part Three)

Ohio State Football: Looking Back at the Buckeyes' 2017 Recruiting Class (Part Three)

Ohio State Football: Looking Back at the Buckeyes' 2017 Recruiting Class (Part Three)

In part one, we reviewed the few members of the 2017 Ohio State Buckeyes recruiting class who left the program. In part two, we looked at those players who have been contributors from the 2017 Ohio State recruiting class. In part three, we will examine those players who emerged as starters for Ohio State at some point from 2017 onward.

1. Shaun Wade, CB

The first player of the recruiting class to verbally commit to the Buckeyes, Wade has emerged as one of the best players within the class. Since redshirting in 2017, Wade has emerged as the leader of the Ohio State secondary in 2020. Wade contemplated entering the 2020 NFL Draft but came back for his senior season. Wade is projected as a first-round draft choice for next year's draft.

2. Josh Myers, C

The second player of the 2017 recruiting class to verbally commit to Ohio State, Myers emerged as a starter at center for Ohio State in 2019. The top-rated player in the state of Ohio when he graduated, Myers redshirted in 2017, thus allowing for the possibility of another year with the Buckeyes after the 2020 season. Like Wade, Myers is expected to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft and be a high selection.

3. Blake Haubeil, PK

Haubeil earned his scholarship at one of Ohio State's summer camps in 2017. Coming into his senior season, Haubeil has demonstrated an ability to come through for the Buckeyes with long field goals, as evidenced by his 55-yard field goal at Northwestern in 2019.

4. J.K. Dobbins, RB

Dobbins demonstrated his abilities from the onset with an impressive 181-yard performance in the season opener at Indiana in 2017. Dobbins had an outstanding 2019 season, with 2,003 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground. Dobbins declared early for the 2020 NFL Draft, where the Baltimore Ravens selected him in the second round.

5. Wyatt Davis, G

Davis redshirted in 2017 and was thrust into action as a redshirt freshman in the 2018 season. Davis was a first-team All-Big Ten and consensus All-American in 2019 and is widely expected to declare for the draft after this upcoming season.

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6. Chase Young, DE

Arguably the top-rated player in the recruiting class, Young's Ohio State career did not disappoint. Even along a well-stocked defensive line, Young was able to demonstrate his capabilities and skills as a true freshman. Young had a spectacular junior season in 2019 as a unanimous All-American and the winner of several national awards, including the Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award, and Hendricks Award. Young was taken second overall by Washington in this year's draft.

7. Baron Browning, LB

One of the best players in the nation according to both Rivals and 247Sports, Browning contributed primarily as a backup in 2017 and '18. While splitting time with Tuf Borland at middle linebacker in 2019, Browning began to demonstrate the skills and talents that made him a coveted national recruit. It is entirely possible that Browning may wind up starting at one of the outside linebacker positions, and he could even see time at defensive end in obvious passing situations in 2020.

8. Pete Werner, LB

Werner was originally committed to Notre Dame but switched to Ohio State in December 2016. Werner became a starter for Ohio State in 2018 after earning a letter as a true freshman for his work on special teams. Werner emerged as one of the better coverage linebackers in the Big Ten during 2019 and will look to conclude his Ohio State career with a strong senior season.

9. Jeff Okudah, CB

Ranked as one of the top cornerbacks in the nation along with Shaun Wade, Okudah enrolled early. After playing as a true freshman, Okudah began to display his talents, most notably in the 2019 Rose Bowl versus Washington where he was credited with four tackles and two pass breakups. A consensus All-American last season, Okudah went third overall to Detroit in this year's draft.

10. Kendall Sheffield, CB

Sheffield was a junior college transfer from Blinn (Texas) College in 2017, after starting his career at Alabama. Sheffield played for Ohio State in 2017 and '18, starting 17 games for the Buckeyes. Sheffield declared early for the 2019 NFL Draft, where he was a fourth-round selection by the Atlanta Falcons. He made 11 starts as a rookie, finishing with three passes defensed and one forced fumble.

11. Thayer Munford, OT

The last player to commit to the 2017 recruiting class, Munford has emerged as one of the cornerstones of the class as a starter at left tackle. Munford has started 26 games over the last two seasons, and he has played in 38 of the last 42. Like his linemates, Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis, Munford contemplated entering the 2020 NFL Draft but he decided to return for his senior season.

Final Analysis

Eleven of 21 signees, or 52 percent, from Ohio State's 2017 recruiting class have emerged as starters. That's an impressive stat by itself, but factor in the possibility that a few of the players who have been contributors could also wind up starting should the Big Ten play this spring or beyond and the success rate only grows. On Feb. 1, 2017, Urban Meyer stated that "This could go down as one of the great classes..." With another strong season even under these unusual circumstances, Meyer's words may truly prove prophetic.

— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He also is podcasting for Buckeye Scoop. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.