Who were Ohio State football’s biggest recruiting losses in the 2022 class? Buckeyes Recruiting


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State football program managed to once again put together one of the nation’s top five classes in the early signing period.

The 2022 group ranks fourth nationally, featuring two five-star recruits and nine others inside the top 100. On paper, it’s a quality group and the second highest-rated of Ryan Day’s three classes as the head coach.

But given the way things started vs. how they might end, it could’ve been better.

There was a time when it looked like the 2022 class may rival the 2021 group that featured five five-star recruits and seven other top-100 recruits on Signing Day. Then it added another five-star came along in July in J.T. Tuimoloau, then another in August in Quinn Ewers as they took over the top two spots in the class. That group finished second, and some of that is because Alabama raided an LSU class that fell apart to give it the highest-rated class of all time.

The 2022 group looked to be on that pace, spending most of the last year in the nation’s top spot unchallenged. Then for various reasons, things went sideways with enough recruitment to chip away at the chances of the program’s first recruiting championship.

Now a class that is still quality by all measure is left with a few what-ifs.

Not all decommittments are created equal. Sometimes they happen because of something that is within a coaching staff’s control. Other times it’s not.

Take Kyion Grayes, for example. The wide receiver was an Arizona commit as a lowly ranked recruit without many options. Then OSU found out about him, and the world quickly followed, and now he’s the borderline top-100 recruit constantly hearing Chris Olave comparisons. The Wildcats never had a chance of holding on to him.

Then there’s Devin Brown, a highly rated quarterback who signed up to join an already crowded room in Columbus in the name of competition. That’s on USC. Brown might be signing with the Trojans this week if they had gotten their act together. That problem’s been fixed now with Lincoln Riley, but the ship had long sailed in getting Brown to stay west.

Ohio State’s been on the wrong end of some decommitments this cycle, each falling on a different part of what we’ll call the Grayes-Brown scale.

First up is Dasan McCullough, a top-100 recruit who completed the trifecta of linebackers Al Washington was bringing in with this class. Together McCullough — an Ohio native living in Kansas — and C.J. Hicks would be the lead peer recruiters in building an elite class. Then his father, Deland, was hired as Indiana’s running back coach. Then his little brother, Daeh, committed to the Hoosiers as a highly rated 2023 safety. Then his older brother, Deland II, transferred to Indiana as a wide receiver from Miami (OH).

That’s a lot of family members to say no to, and OSU can’t compete with that. So now he’s the highest-rated player Indiana’s ever signed as the No. 58 player and No. 5 edge rusher.

Benji Gosnell was next as the second tight end in the class alongside Bennett Christian. He watched how OSU used its tight ends against Penn State in 2020 — combined with his relationship with Kevin Wilson — and it was all he needed to see. He saw it again in the Sugar Bowl against Clemson as he and Christian bragged about the way Luke Farrell and Jeremy Ruckert played.

He was committed to OSU for nine months before decommitting on June 27, just weeks after attending the Buckeye Bash 2.0 as part of his official visit. Now he’s headed to Virginia Tech as the nation’s No. 332 player and No. 16 tight end.

The last decommitment is probably the most significant, but also the one of the three that was most predictable.

Everything about Jaheim Singletary’s recruitment seemed rushed. There was a rush to offer him, then a rush for him to commit as the time between the two was a total of 58 days. It was an impressive feat, and the quick turnaround became somewhat of a habit for Kerry Coombs in this cycle.

Because everything moved so fast, it wasn’t that surprising that six weeks after his official visit on June 25, he decommitted.

Now he’s headed to Georgia as the No. 21 player and No. 5 cornerback. This hurts the Buckeyes because Coombs was just starting to fix the cornerback recruiting, and throwing a five-star on top of a 2021 class with two top-100 guys and a 2022 class with one more was the perfect way to do that.

Losing a five-star was already a dent in the class’ upside, then Terrance Brooks added to that on Signing Day by flipping to Texas. The nation’s No. 59 player and No. 8 cornerback’s OSU commitment moved even faster athans Singletary’s. Within 15 days he earned an offer, took an official visit and committed. That’s Coombs’ work and the uncertainty surrounding his future on the Buckeyes’ staff is why they couldn’t close the deal.

Everything about the recruitments of Brooks and Singletary emphasized the value Coombs’ had as a member of Ohio State’s coaching staff. It ended up being both a good thing and a bad thing even if Day would rather focus on the value of the guys who did come.

“When you look at th guys we signed here on defense it’s a good class,” Day said. “With some of a little of that uncertainty mixed in here in these first two weeks of December, this class that we’ve signed here today is really impressive.”

Momentum is an interesting thing in recruiting. It’s what makes the subject such a big deal in the first place because up until a player actually signs a National Letter of Intent, it’s all just about who might be in the lead.

There are plenty of top-tier players in the 2022 class where Ohio State was perceived to be in the lead. Of those players, 22 eventually committed, while, for now, 19 have signed. Then there’s the long list of other names of people who at some point in their recruitment seemed like OSU locks, and it went nowhere.

Here’s that list: Zion Branch, Kiyaunta Goodwin, Kam Dewberry, Domani Jackson, Chris McClellan, Blake Miller, Xavier Nwankpa and Aamil Wagner.

That’s eight players where the only one that’s not a top-150 recruit is Miller as an in-state kid who was considered an OSU lean all the way up to the moment he committed to Clemson.

In a world where these eight players sign where OSU and Brooks doesn’t flip, the Buckeyes’ class has 27 signees for the most of any class in program history.

It would’ve been only the third time — 2015 and 2018 — they’ve gone over 25. It would be worth 323.85 points — surpassing its 2021 class’ 321.68 points —and an average star rating of 94.91, featuring four five-stars and 15 top 100 recruits.

That list solves the issue of the missing highly-rated offensive tackle, eases the loss of a five-star cornerback, brings in two talented safeties and brings in another defensive lineman, among other things.

So what happened instead?

Jackson committed to USC then decommitted and committed again as the nation’s No. 7 player and No. 2 cornerback;

Goodwin picked Kentucky early and never wavered even though he flirted with Michigan State as the No. 25 player and No. 4 offensive tackle;

Nwankpa stayed home picking Iowa as the No. 45 player and No. 5 safety;

Branch picked USC as the No. 47 player and No. 6 safety on Signing Day;

Dewberry picked Texas A&M as the No. 91 player and No. 3 interior offensive lineman but OSU’s long been out of that race;

McClellan momentum took him to a few schools before picking Florida as the No. 100 player and No. 17 defensive lineman and;

Wagner picked Notre Dame instead of staying home as the No. 128 player and No. 12 offensive tackle.

Ohio State’s 2022 recruiting class is quality. It’s filled with guys who look ready to help this team as early as next season and others who may need a few years of development. That’s typical for an OSU class.

Putting together the fourth-best group in the country is something to be applauded, especially with how this season ended.

It’s a good class and perhaps even a great one with lots of potential worth 289.58 points holding an average star rating of 94.03. But it also isn’t everything it could have been. Some of those misses were in Ohio State’s control, while some weren’t.

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