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.