Ohio State Football: Re-Evaluating the Buckeyes' Recruiting Class for 2011

Re-Evaluating Ohio State's Recruiting Class for 2011

6/24/14 in NCAAF   |   rlnichols11   |   22 respect

As the Ohio State recruiting class of 2011 enters its senior season this fall, let's take a look back on how well it has lived up to expectations so far. Blog Photo - Ohio State Football: Re-Evaluating the Buckeyes' Recruiting Class for 2011

Despite the mess created by Tattoogate and the subsequent resignation of Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes were able to keep their recruiting class intact. Headlined by Curtis Grant and Braxton Miller, Ohio State landed the seventh-ranked class in the nation, according to 247sports.

Overall, the 2011 class has performed very well. Probably even better than the coaching staff could have hoped when they arrived on campus three years ago.
 
The obvious standout of the '11 class has been Miller. He came out of Huber Heights, OH as the No. 1 recruit in the entire state, and he has done nothing to disappoint Buckeye Nation.
 
Miller showed a lot of promise during an up and down freshman year where the Buckeyes finished an abysmal 6-7 campaign, and propelled that success to back-to-back Silver Football awards each of the last two seasons.

Ryan Shazier was another standout from this recruiting class. Shazier was the No. 7 outside linebacker in the country coming out of Fort Lauderdale, FL. After playing in all 13 games his freshman season, Shazier would go on to be the anchor for the Buckeyes defense the next two years before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers this past April. 

There are other highly touted recruits like Michael Bennett and Doran Grant who have seen substantial playing time and have performed very well in their roles on the defensive line and at cornerback respectively. 

Although the good outweighs the bad for 2011, there have still been a handful of disappointments that came along with this class. 

Brian Bobek was the No. 2 center in the entire country coming out of high school, and was expected to be an anchor along the offensive line. But after not seeing the field his freshman year, he unexpectedly transferred to Minnesota.

Kenny Hayes and Chase Farris were both four-star defensive ends who arrived in Columbus with big expectations. Hayes never saw the field before transferring to Toledo, and Farris was eventually moved to the offensive line where he's yet to see a snap in-game.

Maybe the most frustrating disappointment of the 2011 class has been linebacker Curtis Grant. Grant was the No. 1 inside linebacker in the country according to 247sports, and the best overall prospect in the Buckeyes 2011 recruiting class, but he hasn't quite lived up to that ranking just yet.

Injuries and inconsistent play kept him primarily in a reserve role on special teams his first two seasons. Despite cracking the starting lineup in 2013 and getting off to a good start, he still battled ankle and back injuries, missing three games and barely making any kind of impact the entire second half of the season. 

The Buckeyes have also been fortunate to get some big contributions from some players who we probably didn't expect much from three years ago.

Devin Smith was only a three-star recruit and the No. 49 wide receiver coming out of Massillon, OH, but has managed to rack up over 1,500 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns in his three years wearing Scarlet and Grey despite playing in a very run-heavy offense.

Although he often flies under the radar, Jeff Heuerman is another pleasant surprise from the 2011 class. Like Smith, Heuerman was only a three-star recruit, but he has developed into a very important part of the Buckeyes high-powered offense.

Heuerman has always been a good blocker from the tight end position for Miller and Carlos Hyde, but in 2013 he asserted himself as a legitimate threat in the middle of the field, ranking third in the team in receptions.

It should also be noted that his particular class deserves a lot of credit for weathering the storm created by Tattoogate. It would have been very easy for many of these players to remove themselves from the mess and take their talents elsewhere, and they should all be commended for their loyalty and toughness.

All in all, I would give the Buckeyes 2011 an eight out of 10 three years in. Despite a couple of disappointments from some of the expected gems of the class, it clearly hasn't hindered their success at all the last couple of seasons.

If Grant can finally put it together, and Miller makes a legitimate Heisman run, this could be one of the best Buckeye recruiting classes in the last decade.


Luke Nichols is a Big Ten contributor for FanIQ with a keen insight for Ohio State football. Follow him on Twitter: @rlnichols11.

Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview