II. The Contributors (35%)
1. Chris Carter, DL: Originally signed as an offensive lineman in 2011, Carter was moved over to the defense when Coach Meyer's staff came on board for the 2012 season. Carter is a massive presence at a listed 6'4", 342 lbs along the defensive interior. With another year of eligibility remaining for 2015, Carter could wind up with a NFL career, as NFL teams are always looking for massive defensive linemen of his stature for 3-4 fronts.
2. Chase Farris, OL: Farris has been a willing human ping-pong for the Ohio State coaching staff throughout his career. Originally recruited as a defensive lineman in 2011, Farris redshirted. In 2012, Farris moved to the offensive line midway through the season. In 2013, Farris battled Taylor Decker for the starting right offensive tackle position, but moved to defensive line when Tommy Schutt's injury caused defensive line depth issues. Farris has been moved back to the offensive line for 2014, where he could battle for a starting position during fall camp. Farris will have eligibility to play in 2015.
3. Joel Hale, OL: Hale moved on his own volition for the 2014 season to offensive line. Hale originally entered Ohio State as a defensive lineman in 2011, and lettered each season from 2011-2013. Hale does not have eligibility remaining for 2015, so I will be anxious to see how much Hale will be in the mix for playing time along an inexperienced offensive line in 2014.
4. Cardale Jones, QB: Jones has positioned himself for high importance this coming season as the primary backup quarterback to Braxton Miller. Jones signed with Ohio State in February 2011, but attended Fork Union Military Academy to concentrate on academics that season. Enrolling at Ohio State in 2012, Jones did not seem to endear himself to Coach Meyer's coaching staff, as Jones did not see any game action in the 2012 Ohio State Spring Game. Jones redshirted in 2012, earning playing time in a handful of 2013 games. Jones emerged as the backup quarterback during the 2014 spring practices, and will have a year of eligibility remaining in 2015.
5. Steve Miller, DE: One of the more highly-touted players in the 2011 recruiting class, Miller has lettered as a defensive lineman from 2011-2013. While projected as a backup for his final season in 2014, Miller should be able to contribute along the defensive front, adding to Ohio State's strength across the defensive line.
6. Ron Tanner, DB: Redshirted as a freshman in 2011, Tanner has lettered in 2012 and 2013 primarily for his work on the special teams units. Look for Tanner to contribute also in the defensive backfield this coming season. Tanner has a year of eligibility remaining for 2015.
7. Antonio Underwood, OL: Underwood earned playing time as a true freshman in 2011, even starting at Purdue late in the season. Underwood played sparingly in 2012, and was injured during spring practice in 2013. With knee surgery, Underwood took a redshirt season in 2013, thus allowing him an extra year of eligibility for 2015. Underwood is a projected starter along the offensive line heading into fall practice, but will be pushed for playing time this season.
8. Nick Vannett, TE: While listed as a contributor on this list, it would not be surprising to list Vannett as a starter, as Vannett is considered a primary offensive contributor at tight end by the coaching staff. Redshirted in 2011, Vannett lettered in 2012 and 2013. Vannett will look to build upon his strong 2013 season, and will have eligibility remaining for 2015.
III. The Departures (26%)
1. Brian Bobek, OL: Originally recruited as a potential successor to center Mike Brewster, Bobek decided to transfer to Minnesota after falling to third on the depth chart in June of 2012. Bobek has battled health issues while at Minnesota, and did not see game action for the 2013 season.
2. Tommy Brown, OL: Redshirted in 2011, Brown did not see any game action in 2012. The majority of Brown's playing time in 2013 took place on special teams, and in games when Ohio State was well-ahead on the scoreboard. Rated a three-star recruit by 247sports.com, rivals.com, and scout.com, Brown decided to transfer to Akron right before fall camp began for 2014...
Former Firestone football standout LT Tommy Brown is transferred to UA, will seek hardship waiver to play 2014.
— George Thomas (@GeorgeThomasABJ) August 2, 2014
3. Jeremy Cash, DB: Cash lettered as a true freshman for Ohio State in 2011, contributing on the special teams units. Upon the conclusion of the 2011 season, Cash decided to transfer to Duke, where he has emerged as one of the top defensive backs in the ACC.
4. Conner Crowell, LB: Crowell left Ohio State due to injuries sustained while in high school. Crowell redshirted in 2011, and played sparingly in 2012. After going through additional surgeries at Ohio State, Crowell was not medically cleared to play football in January 2013.
5. DerJuan Gambrell, DB: Gambrell was dismissed from Ohio State by Coach Meyer in January 2012 for a "violation of team rules". Gambrell redshirted in 2011, was dismissed from Ohio State, and I have been unable to find out if Gambrell ever enrolled elsewhere to continue his football career.
6. Kenny Hayes, DE: The first commitment to the 2011 recruiting class, Hayes redshirted in 2011. Hayes decided to transfer at the beginning of 2012 spring practices, announcing his intentions to play at Toledo. Looking at Toledo's roster, Kenny Hayes is not listed, so I am not sure if Hayes has discontinued his football career.
Honorable Mention ~ Ejuan Price, LB: Price makes this list, as he originally signed with Ohio State, yet never reported in 2011. Price was a late commitment to the recruiting class (01/17/2011), and decided to ask for his release when Coach Jim Tressel resigned. Price wound up at Pittsburgh, where he will have eligibility remaining for 2015.
CONCLUSION: Out of twenty-three players, Ohio State has nine starters, eight contributors, and only six departures. To have 74% of the class either starting or contributing is a strong testament to the recruiting job done by Coach Jim Tressel, as well as the coaching/development by Coach Luke Fickell and Coach Urban Meyer. Considering the circumstances these players have dealt with during their time in Columbus, these Buckeyes are worthy of praise and recognition by fans throughout the Ohio State community.