Ohio State has seemingly wrapped up their class of 2023 when it comes to the Early Signing Period, inking 20 prospects in a group that ranks 5th nationally in the 247 Composite Team Rankings, and has the 3rd best average player rating.
Now that the 20 future Buckeyes have signed, it’s time to take a closer look at the class as a whole, and hand out some superlatives for the OSU Class Of 2023.
Editor’s Note: Each player can only be used once
MOST NFL POTENTIAL
I love what defensive lineman Jason Moore brings to the table. He’s already at 6-foot-6, 255-pounds and hasn’t been in Mickey Marotti’s care yet. He has long arms and is explosive off the line for his size. He has the ability to play on the end, but likely grows into a 3-tech who can defend the run and rush the passer at the next level. The best part about Moore is he hasn’t scratched the surface with his on-field production, making his NFL prospects sky high.
MOST LIKELY TO MAKE AN IMPACT AS A TRUE FRESHMAN
I look at positions of need on the roster versus the most talented player for this one. I know most would immediately jump to offensive tackle, cornerback, or tight end, but I don’t think that is where the impact will come from in this class in year one. Moore would have been a strong candidate here, as OSU loses some bodies on the interior of the defensive line, but I already used him. So, with Rocket Hickman and Tanner McCallister (and possibly Lathan Ransom) moving on at safety, and with the roster being fairly young and inexperienced there, I think Malik Hartford could surprise some people. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Hartford crack the two deep and be a solid special teams contributor in year one for the Buckeyes.
MOST PHYSICALLY GIFTED
After seeing tight end Jelani Thurman up close and personal in Texas at the new Army Bowl, he gets the nod for me. Thurman stands is the son of a former NFL player and star basketball player. He’s got natural freakish athleticism that can’t be taught, and was gifted with an impressive 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame that has room to add plenty of weight. Thurman is unlike any tight end on OSU’s roster and his physical gifts could allow him to find a role sooner versus later in Ryan Day’s offense.
When all but one of your commits are 4-stars or higher, it is hard to find a sleeper in this class. But going off of rankings, I am going to say Bryson Rodgers takes this one. Ranked at 325th in the Composite, I think he is extremely underrated. He has a little JSN to his game (not his hamstring, the other stuff), and with his work ethic and love for Ohio State, I think he could play himself into a first round talent one day.
MOST LIKELY TO BE A CAPTAIN ONE DAY
Usually the leadership comes out in the recruiting cycle and the guy who has taken the reins in that regard is Luke Montgomery. Luke has been the glue to this year’s class and has led both vocally and by example. I think he’s going to turn into an outstanding player on the field, but I think he’ll bring tremendous value off the field as well.
Usually you look at the offensive side of the ball for a playmaker in space here, but I am going with cornerback Calvin Simpson-Hunt for this award. Simpson-Hunt ran a 100-meter track time of 10.67 as a junior, also running 21.77 seconds in the 200-meter dash. He high-jumped over 6-feet as a sophomore. Simply, this is an athletic specimen and those attributes could help him make some pretty electrifying plays in the Buckeyes’ secondary.
STRONGEST POSITION UNIT
He won it last year and he takes the cake again this year. Brian Hartline’s wide receivers group is second to none, not only in this class, but also nationally when comparing this foursome against other program’s receiver commits. Three of the four commits are in the top 65 nationally, and Bryson Rodgers is criminally underrated at 325 in the Composite, in my opinion. What a haul. Defensive tackle and safety were close behind.
BIGGEST RECRUITING WIN
This not only is about highest ranking, but also about who Ohio State beat to land this player, as well as a number of other criteria (position of need, etc.). This year’s biggest win could have gone to Brandon Inniss, Carnell Tate, Lincoln Kienholz, or a few others, but I am going with Joshua Mickens. Given that OSU ended up missing on their top three defensive end targets, being able to flip the former LSU commit so late in the game to give the program a high quality defensive end, a huge position of need, was a massive pickup that should not be overlooked.
BIGGEST RECRUITING MISS
While Mickens was a huge win, he wouldn’t have had to have been had Ohio State been able to reel in one of the other three big time defensive ends they were chasing. While it would have been nice to grab Keon Keeley or Damon Wilson, the one that stings the most to me is Matayo Uiagaleilei. I think defensive end is a huge need for OSU moving forward and not only were the Buckeyes firmly in the battle with Oregon and USC for Matayo, but I feel confident that they led for the majority of this recruitment. To fall short so late in the game definitely was a blow. There are others who qualify for this and were considered, such as Keeley, Wilson, Mark Fletcher, Dijon Johnson, Caleb Downs, Richard Young, Justice Haynes, Ty Lockwood, Olaus Alinen, AJ Harris, Troy Bowles, Tackett Curtis, Keon Keeley, and Darron Reed, amongst a few others.
Ohio State Releases Football Coaching Salaries
Faster Kyion Grayes Ready To Prove His Worth
A-Deck: Predicting The Ohio State Class Of 2024 – Offense (Version 1.0)
Eyes On The Trail: Defensive Tackle From Florida Sets Visit
How Transfers Could Help Rebuild The Ohio State Secondary
Transfer Portal Additions Should Bolster Buckeyes Secondary
Three Young Buckeyes With A Chance To Break Out This Spring
Kyle McCord Willing To Do Whatever It Takes To Get Job Done