Skip to main content
Publish date:

Ohio State Football: Looking Back at the Buckeyes' 2018 Recruiting Class (Part Three)

Chris Olave, Ohio State Buckeyes Football

A look at the members of Ohio State's 2018 recruiting class that emerged as starters, if not standouts, for the Buckeyes.

In part one, we reviewed the few members of the 2018 Ohio State recruiting class who left the program. In part two, we looked at those players who have been contributors for the Buckeyes. In part three, we will examine those players who emerged as starters for Ohio State at some point from 2018 onward.

1. Josh Proctor, S

Proctor verbally committed at the spring game on April 15, 2017. Proctor contributed as a backup to Jordan Fuller in 2018 and '19, while also playing on the special teams units, before emerging as a starter last season. Proctor has earned a reputation for delivering big-time hits at safety.

2. Sevyn Banks, CB

Banks was an early enrollee in 2018, earning his first letter as a backup and special teams contributor. Beginning in 2019, Banks was starting at cornerback and received Honorable Mention All-Big Ten recognition last season.

Related: Looking Back at Ohio State's 2018 Recruiting Class (Part One)

3. Master Teague III, RB

Redshirted as a freshman in 2018, Teague ran for 789 yards and four touchdowns as a backup to J.K. Dobbins in 2019. As a starter for most of 2020, Teague put up 514 yards and four scores on the ground. Teague will likely share the carries this fall, as Ohio State's roster features several other talented tailbacks who are worthy of playing time.

4. Matthew Jones, OL

Redshirted in 2018, Jones played in eight games as a backup to Jonah Jackson the following season. Last fall, Jones was thrust into the starting lineup due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the team, getting his first start against Michigan State and also receiving the assignment in the College Football Playoff games with Clemson and Alabama. Jones enters fall camp competing for a starting spot at guard or center. He could return for a fifth year in 2022.

Related: Looking Back at Ohio State's 2018 Recruiting Class (Part Two)

5. Jeremy Ruckert, TE

Ruckert has emerged as one of the best tight ends in college football. His decision to bypass the 2021 NFL Draft was overwhelmingly welcomed by Ohio State's coaches and fans, as Ruckert will look to build upon his impressive résumé, as well as his highlight reel, this fall.

Recommended Articles

6. Marcus Hooker, S

The younger brother of former Buckeye Malik Hooker, Marcus redshirted in 2018. He was a starter on special teams in 2019 while also earning playing time as a backup in seven games. Hooker emerged as a starter at safety in 2020 and will have one year of eligibility remaining after this season.

7. Antwuan Jackson, DT

It's possible that no member of Ohio State's 2018 recruiting class has had a more circuitous route than Jackson. Originally signing with Auburn, Jackson decided to transfer after his redshirt freshman season in 2016. He played at Blinn (Texas) College in 2017, before signing with Ohio State as part of the '18 crop. After graduating with his degree in Human Development and Family Science, Jackson is taking advantage of the extra year of eligibility this season and will provide much-needed depth along the interior defensive line.

8. Tommy Togiai, DT

Togiai became the first player from Idaho to be signed by the Buckeyes when he submitted his LOI in February 2018. Togiai has been a solid contributor along the defensive line before blossoming last season. He declared early for the 2021 NFL Draft and was selected in the fourth round by the Cleveland Browns.

9. Cameron Brown, CB

Originally a wide receiver, Brown converted to cornerback early after arriving in Columbus. He played in five games as a true freshman before being sidelined with an injury. He returned as a backup in 2019. He then started the first two games last season before suffering an Achilles injury. If healthy, Brown will likely start opposite Sevyn Banks and he has another year of eligibility remaining.

10. Tyreke Smith, DE

Smith was able to contribute as a true freshman before starting four games as a sophomore in 2019. Last season, Smith made his presence known in the College Football Playoff semifinal win over Clemson, registering a sack, forced fumble, and pass defended. Even with a stacked position group, Smith is expected to start as a senior this season.

11. Tyler Friday, DE

Friday has contributed since his freshman season in 2018 and was able to parlay his success into starting assignments in both 2019 and '20. However, the team announced in early August that Friday is battling undisclosed injuries and will be unable to play for most of the upcoming season, so it is widely expected that Friday will redshirt and return in 2022 for the Buckeyes.

12. Chris Olave, WR

One of the last players added to the 2018 recruiting class has emerged as one of its best. Olave began to make a name for himself in the latter portion of the 2018 season when he announced his presence by coming up big in THE GAME against Michigan. A starter the past two seasons, Olave earned first-team All-Big Ten recognition as a junior. Olave surprised everyone when he announced a return for his senior season. An All-America candidate, Olave could be a high pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

13. Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT

A five-star recruit, Petit-Frere redshirted as a freshman in 2018 and began to earn playing time in his first season on the field. A starter in 2020, Petit-Frere allowed pressure on just 0.5 percent of Ohio State’s total pass attempts. An All-Big Ten candidate, Petit-Frere will have another year of eligibility remaining if he chooses to return.

14. Javontae Jean-Baptiste, DE

The last player in the 2018 recruiting class to sign, Jean-Baptiste redshirted his first season. A lanky defensive end, Jean-Baptiste began to contribute as a pass rusher in 2019, and started in two games last season. Jean-Baptiste will have another year of eligibility remaining after this season.

Final Analysis

Fourteen signees, or 54 percent, from Ohio State's 2018 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 in 2022, or some of those already starting could stick around for another year. If that comes to pass, Urban Meyer's final Ohio State class will truly be considered a fitting contribution to his Buckeyes legacy.

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