"I think when you look at this class, some of the things that come to mind are loyalty. Some of the things that come to mind are great families and quality student-athletes. And we’re very, very excited about the future as these guys will be a foundation moving forward into the next few years."
These were among the statements made about the incoming Ohio State football recruiting class on Dec. 19, 2018. What made them somewhat notable was that they were made by someone other than Urban Meyer for the first time since 2012, as Ryan Day was ushering in his first recruiting class as the successor to Meyer for the upcoming 2019 season.
When recruiting was officially concluded in February 2019, Day had signed a relatively small class of 17 players, which resulted in the class being ranked 14th nationally and third in the Big Ten, behind Michigan (eighth) and Penn State (12th). The class was diverse nationally, with the state of Ohio supplying five players. Georgia and Indiana supplied two players, while Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Texas each supplied one.
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 at just 18 players and was not highly regarded by 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 is an exceptional result in the unofficial "Rule of Thirds" concept that is applied to recruiting classes.
It's worth noting that there's one key concept that that previous Ohio State football coaches such as Meyer or Jim Tressel did not have to deal — the transfer portal. With the formation of the transfer portal in October 2018, players were granted and provided greater flexibility to transfer out of, or into, programs much more easily. Among the players Ohio State gained as a result of the transfer portal were offensive lineman Jonah Jackson from Rutgers and quarterback Justin Fields from Georgia.
Below is a listing of players from the 2019 recruiting class who left the Ohio State football program, for a variety of reasons. Players will be listed by when they gave Ohio State their verbal commitment to the program.
1. Ryan Jacoby, OT
Jacoby was a first-team All-Ohio selection as both a high school junior and senior out of Mentor, Ohio. After redshirting in 2019 and not earning any playing time in 2020, Jacoby entered the transfer portal in August 2021 and committed to Pittsburgh. Jacoby will be a redshirt junior at Pittsburgh in 2022.
2. Noah Potter, DE
Potter was a high school teammate of Jacoby and was an All-Ohio selection both as a junior and senior. Potter redshirted in 2019, and played sparingly in 2020. Potter missed the entire 2021 season due to injuries, including a detached retina, which nearly cost him his vision in his right eye. Upon the conclusion of spring drills in 2022, Potter entered the transfer portal and committed to Cincinnati.
3. Bryson Shaw, S
Originally a verbal commitment to Wisconsin, Shaw flipped his commitment to Ohio State in April 2018. Shaw redshirted in 2019, played sparingly in 2020, and then was a starter in the Ohio State secondary in 2021. Shaw finished third on the team with 59 tackles in 2021 and decided to enter the transfer portal during spring drills in 2022. Shaw committed to USC, reuniting with former Buckeye defensive assistant Alex Grinch, who had been instrumental in Shaw's recruitment
4. Harry Miller, OL
Miller was one of the highest-rated recruits in the 2019 class and moved into the two-deep as a true freshman along the Ohio State offensive line. A starter at left guard in 2020, Miller was looked at to be a probable starter in 2021. Miller announced in the spring of 2022 that he was medically retiring due to mental health challenges and concerns. Miller's openness and bravery about this subject have made him not only an Ohio State fan favorite but has earned respect from people around the country on this very important subject. Miller will help as a volunteer with the football program during the 2022 season.
5. Craig Young, S
Young was a versatile athlete, capable of filling different roles within the Ohio State defense. Young was a contributor on special teams in 2019 as a freshman and played sparingly in what turned out to be a redshirt season in 2020. Young eventually emerged at safety and returned an interception for a touchdown versus Maryland at the conclusion of the game. Young entered the transfer portal in December 2021 and committed to Kansas.
6. CorMontae Hamilton, DL
Originally recruited as a tight end, Hamilton made the move to the defensive line in the spring of 2020. Playing sparingly in both 2020 and 2021, Hamilton made the decision to transfer to Memphis in February 2022, where he will be reunited with former Ohio State defensive assistant Matt Barnes.
7. Jameson Williams, WR
Another unique story, Williams played in 11 games as a freshman in 2019, catching six passes for 112 yards, and scored a touchdown against Miami (Ohio). Williams started as a sophomore in 2020, catching nine passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Upon the conclusion of the 2021 spring practices, Williams announced a transfer to Alabama. After a spectacular 2021 season for the Crimson Tide with 79 receptions for 1572 yards and 15 touchdowns, plus two kickoff returns for touchdowns, Williams declared for the 2022 NFL Draft, and was selected 11th overall by the Detroit Lions.
8. Marcus Crowley, RB
The Gatorade Florida Player of the Year in 2018, Crowley appeared to have a bright future with the Buckeyes as a true freshman in 2019, with 25 carries for 237 yards and two touchdowns before sustaining an injury in November 2019 that ended his season. Crowley played sparingly in 2020, as he was trying to come back from the injury. Crowley, unfortunately, suffered another injury in 2021 that ended his season after only four games. Crowley retired in the spring of 2022, concluding his stats with 51 carries for 354 yards and one touchdown, with an additional three receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown.
With 8 out of 17 players signed having left the program for one reason or another, that calculates out to a substantially high 47% of the class no longer there. Part two of this series will focus on the members of the 2019 recruiting class that have been contributors for Ohio State. These players will have opportunities to not only help the Buckeyes this season, but also potentially serve as key contributors beyond 2022, if they decide to stay in Columbus.