Coach Urban Meyer has been part of attracting big-time recruiting classes, first at Florida and then at Ohio State.
But as he assessed the strengths Wednesday of the Buckeyes’ 21-member 2017 class, which bears a consensus No. 2 ranking in the nation, it was easy to tell from his demeanor that he thinks he and his staff put together something special.
“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,” Meyer said, referring to the nine who have enrolled at Ohio State and are going through offseason work with the team.
The class features five five-star players, based on the 247Sports composite of major recruiting rankings, and another 14 with four-star ratings.
They come from all over — arguably the top two cornerback prospects in the country in Jeffrey Okudah from Texas and Shaun Wade from Florida; the highest-ranked linebacker in Baron Browning from Texas; the only offensive lineman ever to win the California Mr. Football award, Wyatt Davis; and defensive end Chase Young from Maryland.
Analyst Tom Lemming said the class could rival Ohio State's 1967 class, which helped the Buckeyes win the 1968 national championship.
Ohio State wound up second to Alabama in the class rankings, but the Crimson Tide signed 29 players, including six five-star prospects. In terms of whole-class quality, the Ohio State class was tops, said Mike Farrell, director of recruiting services for Rivals.
Rivals rated a sixth Ohio State recruit with five stars, receiver Trevon Grimes of Florida.
The only misses came in the pursuits of five-star defensive tackles Marvin Wilson of Texas, who picked Florida State, and Jay Tufele of Utah, who picked Southern California.
Four-star prospect Tate Martell of Nevada, the No. 2-ranked dual-threat quarterback and, is one of the prospects already in class at Ohio State. He said no one should be surprised that when Meyer and staff go knocking, players across the country answer. Five members of the class are from Texas, unprecedented for Ohio State.
“I think this program has already been elite for a long time,” Martell said. “You can just tell by looking at the class that just got drafted last year — 12 guys, five in the first round, that’s just unheard of.”
Although signing day is all about the show, Martell said he knows he and his classmates ultimately will be judged two and three years down the road for what happens on the field.
“We just got here as a class, you don’t know how we’re going to turn out,” he said. “We’ve just got to come out here and work and hopefully it all turns out for the best.”