Ohio State started out national letter of intent signing day with nine players — including three five-star prospects — from the 2017 recruiting class already in school. It quickly moved to a 21-member class that likely will be ranked No. 2 in the country when the dust settles.

“Deep down I feel this is going to be an exceptional class with a bunch of them playing (early), because I’m seeing it now,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said, referring to the nine already going through offseason work with the Buckeyes.

And coming in June will be defensive end Chase Young of DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Maryland, and offensive lineman Wyatt Davis of Bosco Prep in Bellflower, California, two five-star prospects who were among the 11 added Wednesday. Young, who had been chased by Alabama down the stretch but stuck to his July commitment to the Buckeyes, forecast big things for his class.

“I know that for the next three to four years we’re going to be real good, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I know that for a fact,” Young said. “Just looking at the people from my class, I think we’re going to be able to compete. I think we’re going to get a national championship under our belt before it’s all said and done.”

>> VIDEO | Ohio State recruit Jeffrey Okudah

>> VIDEO | Ohio State recruit Shaun Wade

That’s the aim of recruiting for coach Urban Meyer and his staff, and longtime national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said the 2017 OSU class likely will stack up with the best in school history.

“It might be the best class at Ohio State since that freshman class in 1967 that went on to help the Buckeyes win the 1968 national championship,” Lemming said. “Back then I know that was considered the best class of all time, and this one could rival that.”

Included among the nine already enrolled were three consensus five-star talents (according to the 247sports composite of the major recruiting service rankings): cornerbacks Jeffrey Okudah and Shaun Wade, and linebacker Baron Browning. And four-star Tate Martell, the nation’s No. 2 dual-threat quarterback, also started school early.

Ohio State had a chance to add one or two more five-star players on Wednesday but two elite defensive tackles opted to go elsewhere.

Marvin Wilson of Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas, committed to Florida State late Wednesday afternoon. Besides OSU, he also had considered LSU and Oklahoma.

>> VIDEO | Ohio State recruit Tate Martell

>> VIDEO | Ohio State recruit Brendon White

A few hours earlier, defensive tackle Jay Tufele of Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah, chose Southern California over OSU and Utah, among others.

Wednesday wasn’t a total loss for Ohio State, though. About an hour after Tufele put on his USC cap at a school function, the Buckeyes received some better news when they got a commitment from four-star offensive lineman Thayer Munford, who played at Massillon Washington High School last year after transferring from Cincinnati LaSalle.

Munford, 6 feet 6 and 325 pounds, became a target in the closing weeks of the 2017 cycle, after one-time OSU commitment Jake Moretti opted to play at Colorado in his home state.

Despite missing out on Tufele and Wilson, the Buckeyes still have reason to cheer the class as a whole.

Alabama is expected to have at least a 25-member class that also includes five five-star players from the 247sports composite, and it was considered to be No. 1 headed into the day. But in terms of average star ratings per player, rivals.com analyst Mike Farrell said, the 2017 OSU class “is historic.”

“It’s not the best ever, it’s up there though,” Farrell said. “In 2007 at Rivals we had USC with a 4.22 average. The Buckeyes are at 4.21, so it’s right there. Then USC in 2013 had a 12-man class because of all the sanctions Pete Carroll left behind, and of those 12, the average ranking was 4.42, but that was a much smaller group, obviously.

“Let’s just say the Ohio State class is top three right now, and I’m talking about in Rivals history, which goes back to the 2002 rankings.”

>> VIDEO | Ohio State recruit Baron Browning

>> VIDEO | Ohio State recruit Jeffrey Okudah

Linebacker Pete Werner, a four-star prospect from Cathedral High School in Indianapolis who flipped in December from an earlier commitment to Notre Dame, was the first to fax to Ohio State his signed letter of intent on Wednesday.

Kicker Blake Haubeil of Buffalo, New York, was next, followed by cornerback Amir Riep of Cincinnati Colerain; receivers Trevon Grimes of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jaylen Harris of Cleveland Heights and Elijah Gardiner of Kemp, Texas; and defensive linemen Jerron Cage of Winton Woods in Cincinnati, Young and Haskell Garrett of Las Vegas.

Junior college cornerback Kendall Sheffield of Missouri City, Texas, signed his letter of intent in December, according to an OSU spokesman, and is expected to be at Ohio State in March. The former five-star prospect signed with Alabama in 2015, was redshirted that year, and decided to leave, enrolling at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, for a reset.