Football

Buckeye Seniors Ready For Final Ride

Marcus Baugh J.T. Barrett Johnnie Dixon

The 2017 Cotton Bowl will mark the end of a legendary era in Ohio State football. When the clock hits zero Friday night in Texas, the remaining members of OSU’s 2013 recruiting class will take off their scarlet and gray uniforms for the final time.

J.T. Barrett, Marcus Baugh, Johnnie Dixon, Michael Hill, Tyquan Lewis, Billy Price, Tracey Sprinkle, and Chris Worley are the fifth-year seniors left from that class, which was one of the mostly highly-touted in Buckeye history. It was the first full class recruited by Urban Meyer, and Thursday he made it clear that the group is very special to him.

“Ohio State is a very proud program that you’re expected to represent the university the right way. And I think that group in particular have,” he said. “I want to make sure they’ll never be forgotten because I know I’ll never forget them.”

Meyer said that the class, and especially the remaining members, has lived up to the goals he set for his program on the day he arrived at OSU.

“I remember the introductory press conference talking about my home state and making the great state of Ohio proud in everything we do on and off the field. They have,” he said. “They haven’t been perfect, but they’ve been pretty close. And they’ve won a lot of football games.”

In five seasons in Columbus, the class of 2013 has been a part of 60 wins and only 8 losses, won two Big Ten titles, a Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and national championship.

But Meyer sounded even more proud of what that group had accomplished away from football.

“They’ve done it the right way. You don’t hear about any issues we have to deal with off the field,” he said.

“The graduation rate is going to be 100. Every one of those players is going to graduate. Something we started several years ago. The real-life Wednesday program, every one of them with job opportunities waiting for them.”

Another member of that recruiting class will also be at the Cotton Bowl game, although not in uniform. Meyer said he’s been in touch with Ezekiel Elliott.

“I texted him and then also I anticipate he’s going to be with us for the game,” he said.

A final member of the 2013 class has made headlines this week, but not for anything he did on the field. Eli Apple was suspended by the New York Giants for their regular season finale for “conduct detrimental to the team.” Meyer said he planned to reach out to Apple as soon as the Cotton Bowl ended.

“Eli was fantastic for us, zero issues,” Meyer said. “A team player and always put team before self and became one of the best corners in college football.”