Saturday could be a big day for Ohio State on the recruiting front, with one commit already in the books and the potential for more fireworks this weekend.
With that in mind, we decided to take a look at Ohio State’s recruiting hauls from past spring game weekends. Interestingly, it seems to be to be feast or famine when it comes to landing recruits on this type of big visiting weekend. But without further ado, let’s get on to the list.
Well… this is a grim start. Alex Anzalone, a 4-star linebacker from Pennsylvania, committed to the Buckeyes following the 2012 spring game. It was short-lived, however. Anzalone decommitted from Ohio State a couple weeks later after a convicted sex offender posted on Twitter a picture of him with Anzalone the weekend of the spring game.
“Ohio State had no idea that this guy was a perv,” his father Sal Anzalone said. “They were totally unaware. Let’s make that very clear. That’s not Ohio State. But Alex was creeped out by him. He thought something was wrong. Alex wasn’t going to get hurt. Alex could knock him out. But the point is, this creep shouldn’t be near recruits.”
Anzalone ultimately signed with Florida and now plays for the New Orleans Saints.
One of the most accomplished players in program history sealed his commitment on a visit to the Ohio State spring game. Joey Bosa was already high on the Buckeyes after visiting recently but he made the trek back to Columbus to check out the spring game in person. He apparently saw what he needed to see because he gave the staff a silent commitment the day of the spring game and then made his pledge public two days later.
Bosa went on to become an All-American at Ohio State and was chosen No. 3 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Chargers.
Lewis Neal, a three-star defensive end from Wilson (N.C.) James Hunt, did not spend much time as a Buckeye. He committed after visiting for the spring game, but a scholarship offer from LSU in late April led him to reopen his recruitment. Neal eventually signed with LSU and went undrafted but signed with the Dallas Cowboys.
Because of construction on Ohio Stadium — and perhaps also because of the recruiting implications — the Buckeyes held their 2013 spring game in Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. (Six years later, Mick Cronin still isn’t over it despite coaching a different sport in a different league, but perhaps taking the UCLA job will help with that.)
The change in venue didn’t do the Buckeyes any favors, and they didn’t pick up many commitments during that spring game weekend in the Queen City.
From a recruiting standpoint, Ohio State’s 2014 spring game was memorable for all the wrong reasons. The Buckeyes brought in a host of talent to visit that weekend but weren’t able to close the deal on a single prospect. Instead, some of the top visitors with Ohio State offers who were in attendance that day ultimately went on to sign with Alabama, Florida State, Iowa and Tennessee.
That fruitless weekend was an especially big deal because the Buckeyes came into the spring game with just two commitments in the Class of 2015 — Eric Glover-Williams and Jamel Dean. The third commitment in the class didn’t arrive until more than a month later when quarterback Joe Burrow broke the dry spell.
Four-star linebacker Tuf Borland got the ball rolling for the spring game weekend when he committed to the Buckeyes the night before the game. It was a big win for the Buckeyes because Borland’s father played at Wisconsin.
Borland developed a strong bond with OSU defensive coordinator Luke Fickell throughout his recruitment. In one February visit to Ohio State, Borland spent two hours talking football with Fickell in his office.
On the way to the Ohio State spring game, Jack Wohlabaugh let his parents know what would happen if Meyer gave him the scholarship offer he’s been chasing for months.
“I talked to my parents on the way down that if I was offered, I was going to take it,” he said. “They supported me 100 percent.”
However, Wohlabaugh never carved out a role on the Ohio State offensive line and transferred to Duke prior to the 2018 season.
It’s hard for central Ohio athletes to say no to Ohio State, and Marcus Williamson was no different when he pledge to the Buckeyes.
The talented 2017 cornerback from Westerville (Ohio) South announced his commitment around halftime of the spring game. In an interview after his commitment, he cited his connection with cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs as well as his overall comfort with the program as reasons he chose to commit to Ohio State.
The day after the spring game, 3-star defensive tackle Malik Barrow joined the fold.
“It was a great feeling,” he said. “I feel like I can be really successful there. Coach Johnson, the D-line coach, he’s really going to help mold me into a great player. I can really see myself there, from the coaches, the way Coach Meyer handles his team and the stuff he does for his players, he sets up jobs for them and stuff. That’s where I want to be. A place that’s going to help me succeed in life on and off the field.”
Barrow signed with Ohio State and played sparingly over a couple years, but ACL injuries led to a medical disqualification.
About 15 minutes after Barrow made his decision, Akron Archbishop Hoban running back Todd Sibley rounded out the commitments. In the process, he seemingly gave Ohio State yet another offensive weapon in the class of 2017.
“I committed to Ohio State because I became convinced during the spring game that it’s definitely the right school for me,” Sibley said. “I called Coach Meyer today and told him I wanted to be a Buckeye. He said that news made his day.
“It also made my day, as well. The spring game made all the difference in the world to me. Talking to the coaches, seeing all the athletes and seeing all the fans there just blew me away. I came out of the tunnel with Coach Meyer, and that’s something I will never forget.”
However, Sibley never played for the Buckeyes. He ended up flipping to Pitt, where he redshirted in 2017 and appeared in seven games last fall.
Ohio State didn’t land any commitments during the spring game weekend. The 5-star running back Najee Harris and 4-star quarterback Kellen Mond were on hand that weekend, but neither of them chose the Buckeyes.
Max Wray knew just hours into his visit to Ohio State that he wanted to be a Buckeye. The 4-star offensive tackle’s recruitment moved very quickly in terms of the time from Ohio State’s offer to his visit to his commitment, but there was a slight amount of patience involved. After visiting the week before theWray waited a few days until the spring game and started off the day with a boom, even if it was fired from his home and not in person.
As far as pleasant surprises go, it doesn’t get much better than the one delivered by Josh Proctor. He was in the stands at the spring game watching the Buckeyes scrimmage. At halftime, he fired off a tweet committing to Ohio State in a move that nobody saw coming. It may have been a spur of the moment decision to commit then and there on Twitter, but Proctor showed the feelings were true by staying committed and signing with the Buckeyes.
The night before the 2018 spring game, Ohio State gained a commitment from Ronnie “Rocket” Hickman. A 4-star athlete, Hickman became the fourth member of the Buckeyes’ class of 2019.
Hickman enrolled early, so the 2019 spring game will be his first time playing in Ohio Stadium and it will come roughly one year after he made his pledge to the Buckeyes.
Four months after decommitting from Ohio State, Lejond Cavazos rejoined the Buckeyes’ class of 2019. Cavazos, a four-star prospect ranked as the country’s 22nd-best safety prospect, first picked Ohio State in the summer of 2018, committing to Urban Meyer’s program thanks in part to his father’s longstanding relationship with the legendary coach. When Meyer retired, Cavazos’ recruitment was thrown into flux and he reopened his commitment, begrudgingly, the following day. However, he eventually came to realize Ohio State is the best place for him.
“I chose Ohio State because that’s where I belong,” Cavazos told Lettermen Row. “For football, life after football and just becoming a man. I can see myself developing into my better self at Ohio State.”