Ohio State’s 2020 recruiting class finished as one of the very best in the nation.
Top prospect Cameron Martinez signed his Letter of Intent after delaying his decision in December.
The class included four players ranked as 5-star prospects by 247 Sports, and finished No. 5 overall.
In a sport where having even half of your class ranked as a “blue chip” prospect (4 or 5 stars) is considered enough to be a national championship contender, Ohio State brought in 17 blue chips out of 25 recruits (68 percent).
But it’s possible that the class could have finished even stronger.
There were several top players who were still considered possible additions to the OSU class as recently as January, but none of them panned out.
The most notable was 4-star running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who was planning on visiting Columbus before being told the Buckeyes didn’t have room for him.
The issue was that Ohio State was already on track to be over the NCAA-mandated scholarship limit for the season.
As a reminder, every FBS team is limited to 85 scholarship players at the start of fall camp. That’s still about six months away, and OSU is only over by four at the moment.
In a normal season of attrition, most programs lose at least that many guys to transfer or injury retirement. But Ryan Day said he didn’t want to take any chances.
“These things have their way of working themselves out, as we know. But that’s also a tricky thing,” he said. “We had to walk away from a couple of guys here in February because I didn’t want to be put in that situation.”
You can find a full scholarship chart at the bottom of this article, showing each of the 88 players currently projected to be on scholarship this fall.
CJ Saunders, a wide receiver, is on there even though he has not yet been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. Saunders missed the entire 2019 season with an injury, and has applied for an extra year. There’s no guarantee that he will get it.
Martinez is now on that chart, listed as a cornerback. He could end up as a wide receiver or safety, but he had to go somewhere.
Kourt Williams, who was listed as a linebacker on recruiting sites, is included with the safeties because he is projected as a Bullet at OSU.
However it happens, four of the names on that chart below won’t be there when fall camp opens in August. The tricky part for Day and his staff is figuring out how many guys are actually likely to move on.
If more players depart through transfer or medical retirement than they project, they could end up playing this year a little short-handed, and have missed out on recruits this month.
If fewer guys leave than they expect, they could be in for some uncomfortable conversations.
One scholarship player has already left the program this offseason. DE Alex Williams transferred to Vanderbilt. But how many more players will follow Williams out the door after spring practice or over the summer?
Every year, some do. But projecting the exact number isn’t easy.
Day said he and his staff tried to play it safe to avoid having to usher someone out of the program who didn’t really want to leave.
“Obviously with the transfer portal we never want to lose anybody. But you also have to forecast that out a little bit so you’re not short, and there’s also medicals and different things that way,” said Day. “They have their way of working themselves out and we’ll just try to forecast the best we can.”
Players marked with an asterisk (*) have already used their redshirt season.
|Justin Fields||Gunnar Hoak *||4|
|RB||Steele Chambers *|
|Marcus Crowley |
Master Teague *
|Demario McCall *||5|
|Kamryn Babb *|
Jaelen Gill *
|Elijah Gardiner *|
Jaylen Harris *
|C.J. Saunders *||12|
|TE||Cormontae Hamilton *|
|Jeremy Ruckert||Luke Farrell * |
Jake Hausmann *
Ryan Jacoby *
Enokk Vimahi *
Matthew Jones *
Nick Petit-Frere *
Max Wray *
|Wyatt Davis * |
Josh Myers *
|Gavin Cupp * |
Noah Potter *
Cade Stover *
|Zach Harrison |
J. Jean-Baptiste *
|Tyler Friday |
|Jonathon Cooper *||8|
Jaden McKenzie *
|Taron Vincent *||Jerron Cage * |
|Haskell Garrett |
Antwuan Jackson *
Tommy Eichenberg *
|Craig Young||Dallas Gant |
|Justin Hilliard * |
Tuf Borland *
|Tyreke Johnson *||Sevyn Banks |
Shaun Wade *
|SAF||Ronnie Hickman *|
Bryson Shaw *
|Marcus Hooker *||Josh Proctor||Amir Riep |
Jahsen Wint *