Football Recruiting

Where Are They Now? Buckeyes Recruits Who Ended Up Elsewhere

Ohio State Recruiting

The last few members of Ohio State’s 2018 class will sign their names on the dotted line this Wednesday for National Signing Day, officially making them members of the Buckeye football program.

If history is any indication, some members of this class will go on to stardom, perhaps win national awards, and hear their names called during the NFL Draft in a few years. Others will play out solid careers in scarlet and gray before wrapping up their time as Buckeyes with Senior Tackle and a salute from more than 100,000 fans in Ohio Stadium on Senior Day. A few may end up simply fading away, either due to injuries or off-field issues.

But there is a fourth group. They were players who were once part of this class, but ended up deciding to play their college football elsewhere. Not surprisingly for a class loaded with 4-and-5-star players, the list of one-time commitments is packed with star power.

Defensive end Brenton Cox, a 5-star recruit from Georgia, decommited from OSU on December 6 and signed instead with home state UGA.

Quarterback Emory Jones, a 4-star from Georgia, ended up flipping from the Buckeyes to the Florida Gators on the first day of the early signing period in December. That same day, California 4-star safety Jaiden Woodbey, who had been committed to OSU for more than 10 months, shocked a lot of recruiting experts when he decided to instead accept an offer that Florida State made less than two weeks earlier.

DE Andrew Chatfield, a 4-star prospect, changed his mind in August, two months after verbally committing to the Buckeyes. He will announce his destination on Wednesday, and is almost certain to end up somewhere in his home state of Florida.

Schools deal with decommitments virtually every year. Sometimes the player finds a place he thinks could be a better fit, sometimes the school finds a way to let the player know he’s no longer in their plans for one reason or another. Here’s a look at where some of the Buckeyes’ former commits from the previous five recruiting cycles ended up.

2017

Tyjon Lindsey warms up before the 2017 Ohio State-Nebraska game. (Tom Orr/TheOzone)

Tyjon Lindsey, 4-star WR: A high school teammate of OSU quarterback Tate Martell, Lindsey backed out on his OSU pledge in January 2017 and then committed to Mike Riley’s Nebraska program three days later. He saw action in seven games for the Cornhuskers this fall, starting one, and had 11 catches for 70 yards.

Jake Moretti, 4-star OL: Moretti flipped his commitment from OSU to Colorado two weeks after visiting Columbus. He had already suffered a knee injury and missed his senior year of high school. Moretti sat out this fall while recovering from the injury, but should be on track to join the Buffaloes for spring ball.

Todd Sibley, 4-star RB: An Akron native, Sibley committed to the home-state Buckeyes in April 2015, but balked when the coaching staff later asked him to take a grayshirt season and delay his enrollment for a year. He flipped his commitment to Pitt in June 2016 and redshirted there during the 2017 season and figures to see time as a backup this fall.

Antjuan Simmons, 4-star LB: He went to high school literally right across the street from Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, but seemingly wanted to play for anyone but his hometown team. He committed to the Wolverines’ archrivals in Columbus in March 2016. He stayed committed for nearly nine months before backing off his pledge. He ended up signing with UM’s other rival, Michigan State. He saw action in 12 games as a true freshman, recording 33 tackles. With the Spartans replacing two linebackers this fall, Simmons will compete for a starting job.

Danny Clark at the 2015 Friday Night Lights camp.

Danny Clark, 3-star QB: Clark committed to OSU as a high school freshman in December 2013 and was a leader of the 2017 class for more than three years. He even got a Block O tattooed on his shoulder. But as he progressed through his high school career, he didn’t develop the way the Buckeye coaching staff expected. When he ultimately decommitted, he said it was a decision he was “forced” to make. Clark signed with Kentucky. He redshirted in 2017, and had his Buckeye tattoo covered up. He will compete to replace outgoing starting QB Stephen Johnson this year.

Bruce Judson, 3-star Athlete: There are recruiting stories, and then there are #CROOTIN stories. Judson’s is the latter. He committed to OSU the day after the Buckeyes beat Oregon for the national championship, but then decommitted in October. He said that part of the reason was that when he was on a visit to Ohio State, Urban Meyer didn’t recognize him. Judson later committed to USF, then backed off that pledge and ended up signing with Oregon. However, he never actually showed up in Eugene last fall. He’s not listed on the Ducks’ 2018 roster.

2016

Terrell Hall, 4-star DE: Hall committed to OSU in March 2015 and then decommitted in August after a couple of visits to Alabama. He ended up signing with the Tide in February. Hall, who now goes by Terrell Lewis, played in 11 games as a true freshmen in 2016. He suffered an arm injury in the Tide’s season-opening win over Florida State and missed 10 games. He finished the year with 16 tackles, but earned a start in the national championship game, and recorded a crucial sack in overtime.

Kareem Walker, 4-star RB: Walker committed to the Buckeyes at halftime of the national championship game against Oregon, but then backed off that pledge in November 2015. He committed to Michigan a month later. He redshirted in his freshman season of 2016, and then saw limited action last fall, recording 20 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown. He did not dress for the Wolverines’ Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina.

George Hill, 4-star Athlete: The Hubbard, OH native committed to the Buckeyes in June 2014, but backed off 16 months later. Four days later, the Buckeyes landed a verbal commitment from RB Antonio Williams. Hill ended up at Pitt, but had to retire from football just a few months later after doctors discovered a heart condition.

Tristen Wallace, 4-star Athlete: Wallace, a native of Texas, verbally committed to OSU in April 2015 and was projected as a future star at quarterback. He ended up flipping to Oregon in December of that year, in part because he wanted to be a receiver and not a quarterback. That opened the door for OSU to get back in touch with another quarterback prospect in the class, a 4-star committed to Maryland named Dwayne Haskins. While Haskins is now on the verge of taking the starting quarterback job in Columbus, Wallace left Oregon in December 2016 after being “suspended indefinitely” following allegations of sexual assault. He spent last fall at Trinity Valley Community College in Texas.

2015

Ben Edwards, 4-star S: One of the shorter commitment periods on this list, Edwards verballed to OSU in February 2014 and then flipped his pledge to Auburn two months later. His commitment to the Tigers lasted a bit longer than his one to the Buckeyes, but he ultimately backed out on them as well. Edwards ended up signing with Stanford, where he has racked up 77 tackles and 3 interceptions as a free safety for the Cardinal, including a career-high seven tackles in their Alamo Bowl loss to TCU in December.

Carlton Davis, 4-star CB: Davis was a member of the Buckeyes’ class until the last week before Signing Day. He was committed for more than five months, but backed out just six days before signing with Auburn. He started 32 games during his time on The Plains, earning second-team all-American honors in 2017, and announcing that he would turn pro back in January. He can now be found in the first round of many mock drafts.

Tyler Green, 3-star S: Green earned an offer at an OSU camp during the summer of 2014 and committed on the spot. However, by the end of the year it was clear that OSU was moving on and Green announced that he would play his college football somewhere other than Columbus. That ended up being Indiana, where he has played in 31 games, mostly in a backup role. He had just three tackles, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup in 12 games in 2017.

2014

Lawrence Marshall, 4-star DE: A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it commitment from Marshall to Ohio State lasted all of three days. He committed on February 10, 2015, visited Michigan on February 13, and promptly decommitted. He initially looked to be favoring Michigan State, but committed to Michigan in May 2013 and enrolled there the following year. He redshirted in 2014 and has seen action in each of the three seasons since then, primarily as a backup. He has 11 career tackles.

Lonnie Johnson, 3-star S: One of the most widely-traveled recruits in recent memory, Johnson verballed to OSU in May 2013. However, once the Buckeyes’ class started to fill up with other offensive skill players like Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Noah Brown, Johnson announced that he was decommiting that November. He ended up signing with Western Michigan, but failed to qualify academically. He went to Garden City Community College instead. In February 2016, he signed a Letter Of Intent with Iowa State, but again failed to qualify academically, and headed back to Garden City for another year. In February 2017, he signed his third LOI with an FBS school, this time with Kentucky. He played in all 13 games for the Wildcats last fall, recording 41 tackles and a sack.

2013

Alex Anzalone, 4-star LB: Ranked as one of the nation’s five best outside linebackers, Anzalone ended up in the middle of one of the most bizarre recruiting stories in recent memory through no fault of his own. He originally committed to Ohio State on April 21, 2012 during an unofficial visit for the Spring Game in Columbus. However, he decommitted just three weeks later after photos from a convicted sex offender surfaced, showing him posing with Anzalone and other Buckeye players and recruits during his visit. By all accounts, none of the players knew who the man was, were aware of his history, or interacted with him beyond posing for those pictures. But the damage was done. Anzalone committed to Notre Dame in July, decommitted the following January and ended up signing with Florida. He had an injury-marred career in Gainesville, and declared for the NFL Draft after his redshirt junior season. The New Orleans Saints made him a third-round pick in 2017. He started his first four career NFL games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

Lewis Neal, 3-star DE: Neal committed to OSU the same weekend as Anzalone, and decommitted on the same day as well. He ended up committing to LSU on the 4th of July and signed with the Bayou Bengals the following February. He was a two-year starter in Baton Rouge, racking up 118 career tackles, and 12 career sacks. He signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and recorded eight tackles during limited action in his rookie season.

 

3 Responses

  1. Wasn’t it Kirk Barton who said “You can play for Ohio State or get beat by Ohio State” while he was out on the recruiting trail? Looking at that list, the man made a good point…

  2. I felt bad about the Danny Clark thing. You should take a committ from a true freshman high schooler. Kid got a tattoo and you had to force him out. I would’ve kept him. Anyone with that much fire has got to inspire others even if they don’t ever see the field. But then that is easy to say from the comfort of my recliner at home. Still felt bad about that whole situation.

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