Most Surprising Recruits, Based on High School Ranking, for Ohio State Football in the Past Decade - Part 2

Adam Prescott

Landing four and five-star recruits is certainly a necessity to become one of college football’s powerhouse programs. However, securing unheralded prospects who end up blossoming into program-changing players is also critical.

In this two-part series, we take a look at the top-10 most overachieving/surprising Buckeyes of the last decade based on their 247Sports composite ranking from high school. You won’t believe where some of these underrated stars were positioned in their recruiting class.

See below for part two of the list, and revisit part one here!

Jacoby Boren (OL, No. 578) – The youngest of three Boren brothers ended up winning 50 games, a Big Ten title, a national championship and delivering a 4-0 record against Michigan as a lynchpin center.

Jeff Heuerman (TE, No. 413) – Ranked No. 20 at this position, he enrolled early at OSU and ultimately became a four-year contributor. Heuerman was All-Big Ten and has the rare combo of being a College Football Playoff national champion and Super Bowl champion with the Broncos.

Cardale Jones (QB, No. 398) – We all know the legend of this third-string replacement leading OSU to a national crown. He was actually the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in his class but also 22nd in the state. Jones was MVP of the Big Ten Championship game, beginning perhaps the most celebrated three-game run in program history.


Malik Hooker (S, No. 360) – Categorized as an “athlete” out of New Castle, Pa., Hooker eventually took over at safety as a redshirt sophomore in 2016, and had two interceptions in his first-career start. Fast forward, and he has earned first team All-Big Ten, was a consensus All-American, named to the league’s All-Decade Team and drafted 15th overall by the Indianapolis Colts.

Johnathan Hankins (DL, No. 324) – The No. 25 defensive tackle in his class made the rotation as a freshman and blossomed into a first team All-American in 2012. He was drafted in the second round and is still continuing a very productive NFL career. 

Honorable Mention:

Devin Smith (WR, No. 286)
Tyquan Lewis (DL, No. 293)
Tyvis Powell (S, No. 483)

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Comments (4)
No. 1-4

That is a great list of Buckeyes. Malik Hooker was an incredible safety and Cardale Jones is forever a legend in Columbus for taking down big bad Bama and Oregon!

Keegan Rice
Keegan Rice

We didn’t come here to play school!

Brendan Gulick
Brendan Gulick


The further we get away from the national championship season, the more I think it will stand up as one of the great seasons of all time. So many ridiculous storylines that year, including several around quarterback play. I don't think there's a team in college football that could go win a national championship with a 3rd string quarterback. That's just wild to me!


Cardale should have went to the NFL right after that national title. His stock was never going to be any higher.