Ohio State has consistently occupied the pole position in the race to land the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class on national signing day in February.
With the additions of 5-star receivers Trevon Grimes and Tyjon Lindsey—who both committed in a joint video with Bleacher Report released on Monday—the Buckeyes took another giant step toward accomplishing that goal.
Before Monday, Ohio State’s top-rated class had no receivers in it. As has been the case to date in the 2017 cycle, Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer filled that void with quality and quantity by adding two of the nation’s top five receivers.
Prior to the two newest additions to the class, the Buckeyes’ lead on No. 2 Alabama was a little more than two points. Now, they are nearly 20 points ahead of the Crimson Tide—who have captured the No. 1 class six years in a row.
To put its class in perspective, Ohio State’s current cumulative score of 302.31 is already better than Alabama’s top-rated class from last year, which had a rating of 301.41. Another factor to consider is that Alabama’s 2016 class had 24 prospects in it. Ohio State is now sitting with 18 commitments heading into the final months before signing day.
With the Buckeyes holding the top spot by a comfortable margin, is the race for the top overall class all but over?
First off, a bit of a disclaimer: Nothing in recruiting is ever certain until the dust settles after national signing day.
Plenty of things can happen.
For starters, Ohio State will have to work to hold on to all of its pledges. With 11 players rated among the top 100 players overall in the 2017 cycle, plenty of other schools will continue to recruit those players aggressively.
One such player is 5-star cornerback pledge Shaun Wade, who is still considering schools such as Alabama and Florida.
In the current age of decommitments and flips near the end of the recruiting cycle, keeping players committed is not the formality it used to be.
Additionally, the Buckeyes will have to hold off surges from schools such as Alabama, Clemson, Florida State Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame and Oklahoma—programs that all hold a spot in the top 10 of the 247Sports team rankings.
Given Alabama’s success on the recruiting trail under head coach Nick Saban, the Tide are the biggest threat to the Buckeyes. But with Alabama at 21 commitments, they are running out of spots to cut into the deficit they are facing.
Even with those circumstances, there are a few reasons that betting against Meyer and his staff in the race for No. 1 would be foolish.
Chief among them is the fact that the Buckeyes still have a number of elite prospects on their board who could realistically end up on their commit list by February.
Among the elite talents they are chasing include 5-star prospects such as corner Jeffrey Okudah, running back Cam Akers, linebacker Baron Browning, corner Darnay Holmes and receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones—all of whom rate among the top 15 players overall in the 2017 cycle.
Meyer has signed the top overall class in the Big Ten since he took over the Buckeyes program after the 2011 season.
Furthermore, the average class rank of the five classes Meyer has signed during his tenure in Columbus is fifth—which establishes him as one of the nation’s top closers on the recruiting trail.
Considering Meyer’s prowess as a recruiter and the interest shown by a handful of the nation’s elite recruits who are still on Ohio State’s radar down the stretch, it would be a shock if any team were to unseat the Buckeyes from the top overall spot between now and signing day.
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.
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Source: Bleacher Report-CFB News