Most Surprising Recruits, Based on High School Ranking, for Ohio State Football in the Past Decade - Part 1

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 will 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 one of the list, and stay tuned for the second five later today!

Pat Elflein at Ohio State

Pat Elflein (OL, No. 998) – From barely inside the top 1,000 recruits in his class to recently earning second team Big Ten All-Decade honors! The Central Ohio native became a 3x all-conference standout, playing in 55 games overall and starting the final 41… between both guard spots and then moving to center as a senior. He now starts for the Minnesota Vikings.

Michael Thomas (WR, No. 765) – This California native was ranked as the 89th-best wide receiver coming out of Taft High School, and now just earned a 99 Madden rating as the NFL’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year. He caught 110 passes over his final two seasons in Columbus, becoming a 2x All-Big Ten pick and part of the 2014 national championship squad.

Damon Arnette (CB, No. 653) – Went from not even being in the top 60 at his position as a recruit to a first round NFL draft pick. The Florida native started 25 games, made 84 tackles and was ultimately selected by the Las Vegas Raiders.

Bradley Roby (CB, No. 650) – Became a second team All-American, a 2x All-Big Ten performer and, in 2012, was the nation’s only defensive player to score a TD three different ways. Roby was a first-round draft pick and won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos.

Darron Lee (LB, No. 636) – This local New Albany, Ohio native was the No. 36 ranked player in the state as a high school senior but went on to become Defensive MVP of the 2015 Sugar Bowl. The linebacker tallied 146 tackles and 11 sacks in two full seasons for the Buckeyes before getting selected 20th overall by the New York Jets.

Part 2 coming up soon.... Stay tuned to BuckeyesNow and all of our social media outlets (@BuckeyesNowSI) on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for continued coverage! 

Comments (3)
No. 1-3

Thomas is great, but Roby’s ranking to where he is now even more impressive... All-American, first round pick, Super Bowl champ.

Will Ragatz
Will Ragatz

Pretty crazy that Elflein was dead last in recruiting ranking in the Buckeyes' 25-man class of 2012. He needs to have a strong camp with the Vikings this year if he's going to remain a starter, though.


Based on that HS ranking, Elf is playing with house money at this point, haha. But seriously.. hope he remains a starter or finds another solid role.