Football Recruiting

After Signing Day Celebration, Buckeyes Must Deal With Roster Hangover

Urban Meyer Ohio State Football

It isn’t the first time something like this has happened around the campus of Ohio State.

Perhaps you know (or at least heard a story about) someone from your college years who went out one night and had a great time. But maybe they stayed out a little too late celebrating, and then woke up the next morning with some consequences to deal with. It wasn’t fatal, but it wasn’t particularly fun, either.

Wednesday, the Buckeyes locked in the final pieces of a truly remarkable recruiting class. A total of 26 players signed up to spend the next four years, give or take, in Columbus. Among them, the top-rated offensive tackle in the entire nation, the top-ranked center, and the number one defensive tackle. They brought in guys rated second nationally at safety, all-purpose back, tight end, and inside linebacker, and the third-ranked players at defensive tackle and running back.

That’s nine guys – more than a third of the class – rated as one of the three best players at their position in the entire country. That’s certainly cause to make a quick stop at the Varsity Club on the way home.

But after the party ended last night, the Buckeyes woke up Thursday morning knowing they would have to deal with the fallout. Grab some Gatorade and maybe a couple Advil and let’s look at the numbers.

By NCAA rule, all teams must have no more than 85 players on scholarship on their active rosters by the start of fall camp. Thanks to the big recruiting class and fewer early departures for the NFL Draft than expected, Ohio State currently sits at 89.

This is not a particularly unique situation. Attrition is a part of every offseason for every program in one form or another.

Guys who came to campus dreaming of being stars end up buried on the depth chart and transfer somewhere they can see the field. Sometimes a chronic medical issue forces a player to call it quits. Often, coaching staffs know that a player will be leaving weeks or even months before that information becomes public.

Many programs plan for this and bring in a couple extra guys, much like airlines overbook flights in anticipation of travelers failing to get there for one reason or another. Four, though, is a lot – especially when you can’t offer a voucher for a future flight.

The Buckeyes have already had their first wave of offseason transfers, with players like Kevin Feder and Jack Wohlabaugh opting to leave the program. The recent announcement that Dylan Thompson would be a graduate transfer does not impact the number, since he was not on scholarship last season.

We don’t know who else will end up leaving the program before next season, but now we know there will be at least four of them.

You can find a full accounting of the 89 scholarship players below. Alex Williams was identified as an “athlete” on the official class list put out by Ohio State. He is listed with the defensive line below.

Note: Please don’t speculate on potential transfer or medical hardship candidates in the comments or on the forum. That’s not fair to the student-athletes involved. 


8 Responses

  1. I think the difference between what Urban is doing here… and what some of the SEC schools do… is that they blatantly cut guys who aren’t performing up to the level expected. Meaning, go home, you don’t get anything else, good luck in life. It seems OSU at least tries to give guys academic scholarships or something to continue schooling… I have no problem with the coaching staff sitting a 3rd or 4th year player down and explaining that they probably aren’t going to play… and the NFL is not in their future… and getting that kid to realize that schooling is the correct path for that individual. Sure some guys probably don’t agree and end up transferring… but as long as we still try to take care of them academically… I have no problem with it.

  2. Whoa there, Christopher, let’s get off the SEC comparisons. Numerous SEC schools are proven over signers- focus on the word “proven”. Alabama has truly over signed- meaning they offered far too many scholarships beyond even gray shirting. A couple years ago I believe it was Arkansas that had a THIRTY member class. A host of those crud schools are quasi criminally run institutions as far as football is concerned- see UT, Auburn, Ole Miss, etc. One reason to root for OSU is that none of that nonsense is being whispered. Unless it’s shown otherwise, it’s prudent to assume the coaches know what is happening within their own walls and don’t want to be caught short handed. They have earned that.

  3. I seem to remember being a little over the 85 at this time either last year or the year before and it all worked out. The coaches likely already know that there are a few kids that will either transfer. This is nothing compared to the 8-10 that certain SEC programs were over signing every year. Plus there is always a chance that one of the lower rated kids, who needs a little more time for development anyway is asked to greyshirt. And, before you make a snarky comment about doing that to a kid, that likely has been told to the kid up front that it was a possibility.

  4. Don’t be surprised if Alex Williams never sets foot on campus. He was a knee jerk reaction to Brenton Cox spurning us… had we known we were getting the DE we got yesterday Williams never gets a look. A 3* kid from Ohio? Not Meyer’s style at all. Hopefully he can hang on, I think he would be a good offensive tackle.

  5. Sooo basically some kid who has turned out to be as good as hoped gets the rug pulled from under him… let’s just call it what it is. I have seen many on this site and throughout the B1G complain of over signing by SEC teams. Well, we have officially joined the party. There was never room for 26 players.

    1. Let it play out first then make your judgement. You should assume the best in people and not the worst. Meyer just might know something we don’t

      1. You’re right meyer knows something we don’t, he’s had the conversation with the players he is telling to leave. In big boy football osu just like the sec tells the non-producers to leave. Only an osu fanatic would suggest osu is holier than thou and throw ugly at institutions doing exactly what osu does. LOL

        1. Anybody home, Miles? “Throwing ugly” at someone? I just LOVE that one. It’s not “throwing ugly” when it’s true, partner. And there is no evidence whatsoever that OSU tells “nonproductive players”- or those guys who bust it every day in practice- simply to “leave”. Come back with some evidence and use the Kings English when you present it (not holding my breath on that one).

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