Ranking The 12 Best Weeks In Ohio State Football Recruiting History (Since 2002)

Over the course of three days this week, Ohio State landed commitments from two five-star receivers and a four-star receiver.

On Monday, it was Carnell Tate, the No. 3 receiver in the nation. On Tuesday, Brandon Inniss — the No. 2 receiver overall — followed suit. Then on Wednesday, it was four-star North Carolinian Noah Rogers.

For most schools, that would be a great year. For the Buckeyes, it was just a 50-hour stretch bridging the last leg of spring to the first steamy steps of summer.

But it was still pretty special. On paper, it could be the best recruiting week the Buckeyes have ever had — and there’s still a few days left. Where would it rank right now in terms of best weeks in OSU football recruiting history? Well, we won’t really know how good a week it actually was for at least a couple of years.

In fact, we don’t even know if it was the best week in the history of the 2023 class. Floridians Bryson Rodgers, Mark Fletcher, and Dijon Johnson all committed in the same week back in April.

What a week looks like in the present tense is usually much different than how it actually looks in the past tense. For instance, there was a week back in 2008 where Ohio State received commitments from five-star linebacker Dorian Bell, five-star defensive end Melvin Fellows, and four-star running back Jordan Hall. Fourteen stars — just like this week. Things didn’t really work out as hoped for the that trio, however.

Interestingly, one week after that class, the Buckeyes landed commitments from an Ohio fullback named Zach Boren and an Ohio interior lineman named Corey Linsley. Seven stars worth of players. Barely a glimmer in the night sky, but how important they would become much later on.

When ranking a recruiting week, sometimes those three-stars end up being five-stars, and those five-stars end up burning out shortly after they arrive.

If you want to rank a recruiting week simply by the number of stars, then you would probably go with the week of June 29, 2019 to July 4, 2019. It was a 22-star week for the Buckeyes, which is more than any other week before it or since (as of 10:07 am on June 23).

Anyway, that 22-star week is still finding its path. It consisted of commitments from Darrion Henry-Young, Cody Simon, Joe Royer, Mitchell Melton, Josh Fryar, and Cam Martinez. So far, despite the lofty numbers, this group would not make the top 12.

If we went the Beatles’ route and stretched it to eight days in a week, you’d have a hard time topping Da’Von Hamilton, Damon Arnette, Isaiah Prince, and KJ Hill in the winter of 2015.

Winters always have the advantage in this kind of thing, however, because that’s when signing day is, and many players wait until the week of signing day to commit. You’ll notice it throughout the rankings as you go through them below.

But to get back to the eight days a week thing, how about Ohio State getting commitments from Jalyn Holmes, Jamarco Jones, Terry McLaurin, and Stephen Collier between June 21 and June 28 in 2013?

Those are pretty good, but they don’t qualify for this list because we are all Seven-Day Adventists here.

As you might suspect, there are plenty of impressive weeks that won’t make this Top 12. We’re talking over 20 years of weeks, after all, so some weeks are bound to fall short. Like the week in February of 2005 when Beanie Wells and Ross Homan committed to the Buckeyes.

Actually, now that I’ve typed that out, I don’t like leaving it off the list. So we’re gonna make this a Top 13 instead of a Top 12, and it starts right now.

(And just so we’re clear, we’re only going back to the start of “the internet era” for recruiting rankings, which is 2002. Also, for the commitment dates, I used Rivals, so if you have different dates, don’t blame me, blame Rivals. For the star rankings, I used the 247Sports Composite. And a “week” means any seven consecutive days.)

13. May 30, 2010 – June 5, 2010

QB Braxton Miller, WR Evan Spencer, OL/DL Joel Hale

At the time, Evan Spencer was the four-star son of former Buckeye Tim Spencer. Now, he’s the MVP of a national championship team. There was also Braxton Miller, one of the five or six most-exciting Buckeyes in OSU football history.

12. February 6, 2005 – February 12, 2005

RB Chris “Beanie” Wells, LB Ross Homan

Two stars whose commitments aligned. Beanie Wells may be the most talented running back in school history, while Ross Homan is one of the most underrated Buckeye linebackers of the last 20 years.

11. January 25, 2007 – January 31, 2007

DE Cameron Heyward, SAF Jermale Hines

Cam Heyward was a freshman starter at defensive end for the Buckeyes, eventually leaving as a first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jermale Hines was a versatile athlete who played the hybrid Star position and safety. They were both All-Big Ten selections as seniors.

10. December 17, 2002 – December 23, 2002

CB Donte Whitner, CB Ashton Youboty, CB Dareus Hiley, DL Brandon Maupin

At the time, the big story was Donte Whitner and Dareus “Superman” Hiley committing from Glenville, but it was Ashton Youboty who became an All-Big Ten player. Whitner was an All-American.

9. February 14, 2012 – February 20, 2012

CB Eli Apple, DL Billy Price

Any time you can land commitments from two future first rounders, that’s a pretty good week. Both were instrumental in the 2014 title run as redshirt freshmen. Billy Price was a two-time All-American. Eli Apple wasn’t all Big Ten, but he was a two-year starter for the Buckeyes.

8. June 17, 2014 – June 23, 2014

CB Denzel Ward, DT Dre’Mont Jones, LB Nick Conner, OL Kevin Feder

There’s a very good chance that this week would be much higher if not for career-ending knee injuries to Nick Conner. As it stands, securing commitments from Denzel Ward and Dre’Mont Jones is still plenty good enough to make this list. Ward technically only started for one season (2017), but was in the rotation as a sophomore in 2016. He was a First-Team All-American in 2017 and left for the NFL where he was the No. 4 overall pick of the Cleveland Browns. Jones was a three-year star and an All-Big Ten selection as a fourth-year junior. As a redshirt freshman playing part of a defensive tackle rotation, he had as many tackles in Big Ten play (43) as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Jabrill Peppers. He left after his fourth season and was a third-round pick of the Denver Broncos.

7. February 3, 2015 – February 9, 2015

CB Damon Arnette, OT Isaiah Prince, WR KJ Hill

There are no All-Big Ten players here, but you do have a three-year starter and future first-rounder in Damon Arnette, a three-year starter at right tackle in Isaiah Prince, and the all-time leader in receptions at Ohio State in KJ Hill. That’s a lot of bang for the Bucks.

6. February 2, 2016 – February 8, 2016

DB Jordan Fuller, OL Malcolm Pridgeon, LB Malik Harrison

Jordan Fuller was a two-time captain and three-year starter for the Buckeyes, essentially playing a different safety spot in each of those three years. He was also a three-time Academic All-American who averaged over 70 tackles per year as a starter. Malik Harrison was a two-year starter for the Buckeyes and a First-Team All-Big Ten selection in 2019. Malcolm Pridgeon was a ballyhooed JUCO All-American offensive tackle who needed a year of seasoning before starting at guard for the Buckeyes in 2018.

5. December 26, 2007 – January 1, 2008

DL John Simon, OL Jack Mewhort, FB Adam Homan

There is some serious hardware here. John Simon was the 2012 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection. He was a three-year starter on the defensive line and successfully transitioned from defensive tackle as a sophomore to defensive end for the rest of his career. He was the team MVP during OSU’s undefeated 2012 season. Simon was also a two-time captain. Jack Mewhort, meanwhile, was the team MVP in 2013. He could play anywhere along the line, and showed it as a three-year starter, moving from guard as a redshirt sophomore to left tackle for his final two years as a Buckeye. He was a First-Team All-American in 2013.

4. February 4, 2013 – February 10, 2013

RB Ezekiel Elliott, SAF Vonn Bell, RB Dontre Wilson, WR James Clark

Signing Day Week in 2013 was one for the ages. Months after committing to Ohio State, running back Ezekiel Elliott had kind of opened up his recruitment again before ultimately recommitting to the Buckeyes. As a Buckeye, Elliott was a two-year starter of some renown. He rushed for over 1,800 yards in both 2014 and 2015. His 2014 performance featured a three-game postseason run where he rushed for 696 yards on the way to a national championship. He won the Sullivan Award in 2014 as the nation’s most outstanding amateur athlete. Elliott was a one-time All-Big Ten selection and no-time All-American. Vonn Bell was another signing day coup. He ended up being a two-year starter and an All-American as a junior. Dontre Wilson brought a lot of hype, but he was very productive as a true freshman in 2013, posting 983 all-purpose yards and scoring three touchdowns.

3. April 17, 2012 – April 23, 2012

DE Joey Bosa, QB JT Barrett, DT Tracy Sprinkle

The star power here is tough to beat. Joey Bosa was the 2014 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a repeat winner of the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2014 and 2015. He was a two-time All-American and three-year starter. He left after his junior season and was selected third overall by the San Diego Chargers. JT Barrett was a three-time Big Ten Quarterback of the Year, the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year in 2014, a three-time All-Big Ten selection, a three-time captain, the 2016 Silver Football Trophy winner, and 4-0 as the starting quarterback against Michigan. Tracy Sprinkle was a captain in 2017.

2. January 28, 2002 – February 3, 2002

LB Bobby Carpenter, WR Santonio Holmes, DB Nate Salley, DT Quinn Pitcock

How about this lineup? Two three-year starters, two two-year starters, two first-rounders, and three All-Big Ten selections. Santonio Holmes was an All-Big Ten selection in 2005 and became a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bobby Carpenter was a two-year starter and the 18th pick overall of the 2006 NFL Draft. Nate Salley was a three-year starter at safety and All-Big Ten pick in 2005. Quinn Pitcock was also a three-year starter and All-Big Ten selection in 2006.

1. January 29, 2002 – February 4, 2002

LB Bobby Carpenter, WR Santonio Holmes, QB Troy Smith

Now, if we want to talk about the eight-day window, this is the one that would win out. In an eight-day stretch back in 2002, the Buckeyes landed the four names listed above at No. 2 and ALSO Troy Smith. However, since we are sticking to the seven-day week here, a Heisman-winning quarterback trumps two All-Big Ten selections. Smith was perhaps the ultimate “throw-in” at the end of a recruiting class, emerged as the Buckeyes’ best quarterback in 2004 and then proved to be a dynamic fixture over his 2.5 years as a starter. Smith swept almost every major award in 2006, including the Heisman, the Walter Camp, the Silver Football, and the Davey O’Brien award. He was also OSU’s first All-American quarterback since 1979.