National signing day is officially behind us, and for the Ohio State Buckeyes, the early returns look wonderful.
Check out how the Bucks' class ranks according to the biggest recruiting databases:
|Database||National Rank||Big Ten Rank|
Even though the class might be special; that doesn't mean it has everything.
Let's take a look at where the newest Buckeyes are strongest, and where they need some help.
Big Ten teams struggle to pass the ball against inferior competition, but good luck playing the Buckeyes in a couple years.
Ohio State landed a preposterous haul of secondary prospects this year, starting with Eli Apple and continuing with Gareon Conley, Cam Burrows and Vonn Bell.
The first three, all cornerbacks, are No. 3, 7 and 9 in ESPN.com's positional rankings. That is, the Buckeyes got a third of the nine best cover guys in the country.
Almost as importantly, no other Big Ten team even got one. The conference doesn't check in until Michigan commit Jourdan Lewis at No. 13, and the third player doesn't show up until Ross Douglas at No. 33.
Don't sleep on Bell either. The six-foot safety from Rossville, Georgia, was a major coup for the Buckeyes secondary. Though many expected him to choose Tennessee, he came around to Urban Meyer's ways and is a major part of Ohio State's future.
Between the four of them, the Buckeyes gave themselves a big leg up in what's becoming an increasingly pass-heavy game. So many teams—even if not in the Big Ten, then in bowl games, which the Bucks can now play in—employ three-plus receiver sets, so being deep at corner is imperative.
Getting four highly-ranked secondary guys also allows for a little development buffer. There's a good chance one or maybe two don't pan out as Ohio State hopes they will. But there's virtually no chance that happens to the whole lot. They're basically guaranteed at least—at least—one elite secondary player.
And not to keep harping on the same point, but that's a very, very, very important thing to have.
This could be a problem.
Urban Meyer is an offensive guru, but after a while, game-planning will only get you so far. You need Jims and Joes to supplement those Xs and Os.
Which isn't to say the offensive recruits are bad. Trust me, most teams would kill to have them. But comparatively—next to how the team did on defense, and how they've recruited offense in the past—it's certainly a little bit weaker.
Dual-threat QB J.T. Barrett has shown flashes on occasion, but he doesn't have the game-changing impact of a Braxton Miller. According to ESPN.com, five Big Ten teams—Penn State, Northwestern, Michigan, Nebraska and Purdue—got higher-ranked signal-callers.
The Buckeyes should not be getting "middle of the conference" players at the game's most important position. They should be blowing their competition out of the water.
And what the hell happened on the offensive line? Ohio State only brought in two trench-men, Evan Lisle and Tim Gardner, the latter of which ESPN.com ranked the team's worst incoming player.
I know alluded to how the game of college football is changing, but at the end of the day, this is still the Big Ten. Teams are gonna be rough, teams are gonna be nasty and teams are gonna play physical.
Ohio State didn't afford itself much depth or talent up front, and those are issues that can derail an otherwise perfect roster. They'd be wise to address that next season.