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Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class would’ve been No. 1 in almost any other year

The Buckeyes finished second in the recruiting rankings, but they did it in a big way.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl - USC v Ohio State Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ohio State’s recruiting class is incredible. Those analyzing recruiting are going to spend a lot of time analyzing Georgia’s No. 1 class that makes Kirby Smart look like he’s building the Death Star in Athens. But let’s not forget just how good Ohio State’s is.

In nearly any other year, the Buckeyes would have finished No. 1.

With a 247Sports Composite class score of 317.06, here’s a list of the years in which Ohio State would have claimed a recruiting national championship since 2002, roughly the year in which the current internet rankings era began:

  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2004
  • 2003
  • 2002

And here’s where the class ranks all time:

Highest-scoring recruiting classes, 2002-2020

Rank Team Class score Signees
Rank Team Class score Signees
1 2010 Florida 324.6 28
2 2017 Alabama 323.9 29
3 2018 Georgia 323.3 26
4 2014 Alabama 319.7 26
5 2013 Alabama 319.5 26
6 2019 Alabama 317.5 27
7 2018 Ohio State 317.1 26
8 2006 USC 317 28
9 2020 Georgia 313.3 25
10 2012 Alabama 313.1 26
11 2007 Florida 313.1 29
12 2017 Ohio State 312.1 21
13 2010 Texas 312.1 24
14 2015 Alabama 311.1 24
15 2015 USC 310.9 27
Anything 300 or above is typically in the running for a #1 ranking. Scores via 247Sports Composite

Ohio State’s 20 four-star signees are the most in any recruiting class all time, and the 94.29 average per player is tops too, ranking a negligible 0.6 points higher than Georgia’s.

It’s amazing one season produced two classes of this quality. Ohio State actually entered Signing Day No. 1 overall. But one thing that pushed UGA over the top actually has to do with OSU rival Michigan’s misfortune, so the Buckeyes can’t be too unhappy about it. The rival Wolverines only had one top-100 player committed in their class, LB Otis Reese, who flipped to Georgia and put the red and black over the top.

And as for whether these rankings matter? Urban Meyer seems to think so, if only in the sense of pure competition.

“..If they are keeping score, you try to win, and, but is that the end-all? Of course not. Will that matter? I think it matters that successful teams have great players. And the rankings, that’s something we keep an eye on, but that’s not an end all… I have fun with the number one class. I don’t want people to think that’s what we recruit for, it’s not at all. It’s something we keep an eye on. At Ohio State you should, the coaches here have always recruited very well. If you can’t recruit at Ohio State, you should — you’re not a very good recruiter.”

One of the most interesting things about this class: The overwhelming majority of it didn’t come from Ohio.

Ohio State is a truly national brand. Locking down the state is a nice talking point, but the Buckeyes don’t usually worry about it for two reasons. There’s not another big fish program in the state, and the state isn’t part of the big four talent states (Florida, Georgia, California, and Texas). Ohio certainly has the chops, and it’s tied with four other states for fifth-place in total blue-chips this year with 12, but it’s a distant fifth.

Five of Ohio State’s 26 signees came from Ohio. That’s really low.

That’s the lowest total and lowest percentage (19) of Ohioans in an Ohio State recruiting class since at least 1985.

The previous low was the previous class. Meyer’s 2017 class had seven in-state signees out of 21 (33 percent).

Since 2013 (Meyer’s first full-year class), Ohio State has signed 54 Ohioans out of 146 players, a percentage of 36.9.

The previous two coaches — Jim Tressel and John Cooper — signed classes that averaged 60.4 and 59.5 percent Ohio natives, respectively.

Four of the state’s top five players signed with OSU. Ohio State signed players from 13 states, and as many from Florida as it did from Ohio.

But perhaps the most important signees weren’t players.

During Meyer’s Signing Day press conference he announced two things. One was that he had signed an extension through 2020, and the other that defensive coordinator Greg Schiano will stick in Columbus after flirting with the New England Patriots.

Both those signings mean more incredible recruiting classes to come.