Part one of this series focused on members of the 2019 Ohio State recruiting class who have left the program, while part two focused on the contributors. This article will focus on players who signed with Ohio State and established themselves as starters.
While Ohio State did not sign a large class in 2019 — just 17 players total — there are quite a few notable names who have started or will start for the Buckeyes. Players are listed by when they gave Ohio State their verbal commitment to the program.
1. Ronnie Hickman, S
Classified as an athlete on signing day, Hickman was among the few shining spots on the Ohio State defense in 2021. Hickman led the team with 100 tackles and was named second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and third-team by the media. Redshirted in 2019, Hickman will have two years of eligibility after the 2022 season, although it is widely expected that Hickman will declare for the 2023 NFL Draft.
2. Steele Chambers, LB
Also signed as an athlete, Chambers spent his freshman and sophomore seasons as a backup running back in 2019 and '20. He switched positions in fall camp in 2021 to linebacker, where he started four times and was second among Ohio State linebackers with 423 defensive snaps. Chambers is being heavily counted upon by new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles for the upcoming 2022 season. Chambers will have two years of eligibility remaining after the 2022 season.
3. Cade Stover, TE
Originally signed as a linebacker, Stover has bounced back and forth between the defense (linebacker, defensive end) and offense (tight end) during his career. He is finally projected to start after settling at tight end. Stover was recently named a captain for the upcoming season and will have two years of eligibility remaining after the 2022 season.
4. Garrett Wilson, WR
One of the best wide receivers in Ohio State history, Wilson quickly emerged as arguably the best player in the 2019 recruiting class. Wilson was a first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association and The Athletic in 2021 after catching 70 passes for 1,054 yards and 12 touchdowns. Wilson declared for the 2022 NFL Draft, where he the New York Jets with the tenth overall pick.
5. Tommy Eichenberg, LB
Eichenberg was originally a verbal commitment to Boston College but switched his commitment to Ohio State shortly after Ryan Day was named as Urban Meyer's successor as head coach in December 2018. Eichenberg emerged at middle linebacker down the stretch in 2021 and has established himself as one of the starters at linebacker, alongside Chambers, in new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles' 4-2-5 scheme. Eichenberg was also named a captain for the upcoming season, and he will have two years of eligibility after the 2022 season.
6. Dawand Jones, OT
Listed at 6'8", 350 pounds, Jones is a massive presence for the Buckeyes as a starter at right tackle. Jones was the last player to officially commit and sign with Ohio State, signing like his teammate Enokk Vimahi in February 2019. Jones will have one year of eligibility after the 2022 season but is widely expected to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft.
When looking at the numbers of starters, the 2019 recruiting class comes out at 35 percent. Even with "The Rule Of Thirds," Ohio State usually shoots for a higher rate than that. But when factoring in players who started for Ohio State but eventually left the program, such as Bryson Shaw, Harry Miller, and Jameson Williams, the percentage of starters comes in at nearly 53 percent. For a 17-person recruiting class, that is not bad at all.