The Ohio State football team isn’t scheduled to take the field again until Sept. 7, but Wednesday is surely circled on coach Urban Meyer’s calendar.
Wednesday is national signing day, meaning Meyer and college coaches across the nation will be finding out — for the most part — which players will make up their new freshman class.
While 21 players have already verbally committed and another four have already signed on for Meyer and the Buckeyes, not all of them will necessarily be donning the scarlet and gray next year. Until their national letter of intent is signed, anyone who’s made a verbal commitment could still choose to go to a different school, and signing day flips happen every year.
So from the sure things to the unknowns, here’s what OSU fans should know on signing day.
All rankings and ratings are from ESPN.com’s recruiting database.
Listed as the No. 2 athlete and a five-star recruit by ESPN, Torrance Gibson is probably the biggest name for OSU fans to watch on Wednesday.
Gibson is a quarterback at heart, and has said he chose OSU because the Buckeyes were going to give him a shot to play quarterback in college. He could play a ton of positions, but he wants to stay under center (or, more likely, in shotgun).
The thing is, when he committed to OSU on Nov. 3, redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett wasn’t even a sure-fire starter for next season.
But since he committed, Barrett finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting, redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones set the world on fire in the College Football Playoffs and senior quarterback Braxton Miller is, for now, expected to return next season.
That all means that Gibson will have basically no shot to play quarterback next season, and would either have to play another position or redshirt. And even if he redshirted, there’s no guarantee of when, or if, he would become the Buckeyes’ starter.
Even though he’s still committed to OSU verbally, Gibson has visited Auburn (Jan. 16) and LSU (Jan. 23), and could easily choose to sign with another program.
Undecided OSU targets
While the majority of OSU’s top targets have already committed to either the Buckeyes or another school, there are a few big names to watch who haven’t made a decision yet.
The No. 1 defensive tackle in the nation, Terry Beckner Jr., is a five-star recruit who has OSU in his top four. Since Nov. 28, Beckner Jr. has visited Florida State, Auburn, OSU and Missouri.
He’s the only ESPN five-star still seriously considering OSU, but four-star recruits wide receiver K.J. Hill and offensive lineman Isaiah Prince both visited Columbus on Jan. 23 and could commit to the Buckeyes on Wednesday.
Already signed and enrolled
All four of the OSU recruits who have already signed were able to enroll early for Spring Semester and are set to take part in spring practice with the Buckeyes.
Those early signees are:
- Jashon Cornell: No. 7 defensive end, St. Paul, Minn.
- Jamel Dean: No. 9 cornerback, Cocoa, Fla.
- Nick Conner: No. 11 inside linebacker, Dublin, Ohio
- Grant Schmidt: No. 46 offensive tackle, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Top verbal commits unlikely to flip
While Cornell, Dean, Conner and Schmidt have already signed on, most of the 21 other verbal OSU commits are unlikely to change their minds on Wednesday, and that includes one of the top players in the class.
Justin Hilliard is the No. 1 outside linebacker in the nation, and committed to the Buckeyes on July 2, along with Cornell, who is a close friend. According to ESPN, Hilliard, a Cincinnati native, didn’t even take an official visit to another school. He’s is currently one of two five-star prospects committed to OSU.
OSU’s fourth-highest rated prospect is Jerome Baker, the No. 7 outside linebacker. The Cleveland native committed on Oct. 21 and didn’t take another official visit after that.
Going down the list, four-star athlete Eric Glover-Williams has been committed since Aug. 25, 2013, and the Canton, Ohio, native can be expected to sign on for OSU.
Other big names like Matt Burrell Jr., who is the No. 6 offensive guard in the country, has been a firm OSU commit, while No. 14 running back Mike Weber — a former Michigan verbal commitment — is unlikely to change his mind after committing to the Buckeyes on Dec. 10.
Total class breakdown
Overall, OSU has 25 current verbal (or already signed on) commits. Ten of those prospects are in the ESPN 300, two are five-star recruits, 14 are four-stars and eight are three-stars.
Two players are rated No. 1 at their position in Hilliard (OLB) and long snapper Liam McCullough from Worthington Kilbourne High School in Columbus. Seven other players are ranked in the top-10 for their position group, including players listed as “athletes” by ESPN.
Twelve of Meyer’s commits are prospects from Ohio.