For five years, I have reviewed the upcoming senior class at Ohio State. Generally speaking, I have applied a simple "rule of thirds" to the recruiting classes - a third will turn out as expected and start, a third will contribute in some way, but may not turn out as fully expected, and a third may wind up not contributing in a great manner to the program.
When reviewing the eighteen players signed by former head coach Jim Tressel in February 2010, this theory will truly be put to the test. Coming off the impressive Rose Bowl victory over Oregon, Ohio State signed what was considered to be a class modestly ranked by recruiting analysts at rivals.com ( 25th) and scout.com (20th). Ohio State's class was considered behind both Penn State and Michigan in B1G recruiting rankings for 2010. Prime Ohio State offensive line targets Seantrel Henderson, Matt James, Moses Morgan, and Chaz Green all spurned Ohio State on Signing Day 2010.
1. PK Drew Basil - Basil began his placekicking career at Ohio State in 2010 rather inauspiciously, missing two field goal attempts that season. Basil made his mark handling the kickoffs, becoming the full-time placekicker for the 2011 season. Although Basil was not called upon as much during the 2012 season for field goal attempts, Basil will be a key component for the 2013 team.
2. WR Corey "Philly" Brown - Brown arrived at Ohio State after an outstanding high school career at running back. Moved to wide receiver, Brown truly emerged as the Buckeyes' top receiving threat during the 2012 season under Coach Meyer's offensive scheme.
3. DB Christian Bryant - Bryant played as a true freshman in 2010, earning a full-time starting position for the 2011 season. Maintaining the "Glenville pipeline" to Ohio State, Bryant is a hard-hitting safety who will be expected to provide leadership for the Buckeyes this season.
4. RB Carlos Hyde - Originally intending to be a part of the 2009 Ohio State recruiting class, Hyde spent the 2009 season at Fork Union Military Academy working on his academics. Hyde played sparingly in 2010, had a challenging 2011 season fighting for playing time, and emerged as Ohio State's top rushing threat for the 2012 season. Hyde has been suspended for at least the first three games of the 2013 season for a well-publicized incident at a Columbus bar, resulting in at least a quarter of his senior season at Ohio State eliminated. Hyde will need to make every carry truly count in 2013.
5. OT Andrew Norwell - Norwell was arguably the top player signed by Ohio State in February 2010. Ranked eighth in the scout.com 100 when signed by Ohio State, Norwell played in eleven games as a true freshman as a backup. Norwell moved into the starting offensive line in 2011, moving between left tackle and left guard.
6. CB Bradley Roby - Roby was a "flip" from Vanderbilt, choosing the Buckeyes later in the recruiting process. Redshirting in 2010, Roby earned a starting position for the 2011 season at cornerback. Recently suspended for the 2013 season opener against Buffalo, Roby should contend for All-American honors this upcoming season.
While these players above have emerged as starters for Ohio State, part two of this series will review the players from the class who have either become occasional contributors for Ohio State, or departed the program altogether.