Past Signing Days Have Given Smiles, Groans

National Signing Day is coming up, and it's sure to present plenty of ups and downs for Ohio State fans. For proof of that, look no further than the past few seasons. The Buckeyes have received their fair share of commitments and heartbreak on signing day, which are recounted within.

2013's National Signing Day is just hours away, and no day among the college football is looked forward to as much as this one simply because of the happiness and madness it can provide.

Of course, there's no guarantee that NSD success will lead to great things to come, as sometimes the best-laid plans can blow up in a program's face. But there's still no denying that it's easier to win with blue chippers, and hope springs eternal when the fax machine turns on Wednesday morning.

With that in mind, BSB has decided to take a trip down memory lane with some recent signing day greatest hits. What follows are short recaps of the past five National Signing Days for Ohio State, which should bring back some positive – and a few negative –thoughts.

Ohio State welcomed in a class of 19 signees, but the big fish was still at large.

The nation's top-rated player, quarterback Terrelle Pryor of Jeannette, Pa., didn't sign with anyone. In addition to postponing his decision in order to have more time to visit schools – which he could not do because of a hectic football and basketball schedule – he said he was having a family conflict.

"Me and my dad had a little battle of differences," Pryor said. "He had a different mind and I had a different mind. He likes a couple of schools – not the school I was thinking."

That didn't take away from the joy in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, though. Much of the fun was centered on offensive linemen Michael Brewster and J.B. Shugarts, early enrollees from out of state who were at OSU's NSD press conference. Both had parents who spoke glowingly about Ohio State, and when the two arrived at the lectern, they were equal parts happy and confident.

"We have a great class coming in – not only great players, but these are great people," Shugarts said. ‘Just the fact that we already know each other and we're already coming together as a family, that's what sets us over the top with all these other schools like USC and Florida, so I think it's going to be special and you can get prepared for a lot of national championships."

Ohio State's class was also boosted by the addition of three-star athlete Orhian Johnson of Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport, Fla. Johnson picked OSU over Indiana and South Florida.

"He was trying to decide in recruiting whether he wanted to go on and be a quarterback, which many schools recruited him for, or if he wanted to play defense," OSU head coach Jim Tressel said. "He decided that he wanted to play defense, and we were fortunate to have Orhian come aboard."

On the other side of the coin, five-star offensive lineman Josh Jenkins of Parkersburg, W.Va., chose West Virginia on signing day, while five-star cornerback Brandon Harris of Miami Booker T. Washington chose to stay home and sign with the Hurricanes.

Jenkins, once thought to be a good bet to join fellow linemen Brewster, Shugarts and Mike Adams in Columbus, instead said Ohio State placed third on his list.

The Buckeyes inked 25 players on National Signing Day, its largest class since 2002 and the No. 1-rated class in the nation according to Scout, but the actual day was about the players that got away.

Five-star wideout Marlon Brown of Memphis (Tenn.) Harding Academy had Ohio State on his list until the end, but he told a national television audience that he would be signing with Georgia.

That came on the heels of Louisville (Ky.) Male two-way standout Justin Green – whose brother, Marcus, started at OSU on the defensive line – decommitting and picking Illinois as signing day dawned.

Four players who were Buckeyes – fullback Adam Homan, offensive lineman Jack Mewhort, and linebackers Storm Klein and Zach Boren – were in attendance at OSU's press conference after enrolling early.

"I think this group is mature," Tressel said. "I think they're focused. I think they're talented. It's an outstanding group of young men."

The class included late additions in Cleveland Glenville offensive lineman Marcus Hall and Houston (Texas) Eisenhower quarterback Kenny Guiton.

It was yet another year of signing day swings and misses for Ohio State, including one on the biggest recruit out there – both literally and figuratively.

Offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson – all 6-8, 338 pounds of him – chose USC despite a spirited effort from Ohio State to earn the signature of the No. 1 player in the country. However, the St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall prospect said he would not sign a letter of intent until finding out the results of the Trojans' upcoming meeting with the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

The Buckeyes also lost out on Cincinnati St. Xavier offensive lineman Matt James, who picked Notre Dame; Tampa (Fla.) Catholic offensive lineman Chaz Green, who went with Florida; and Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy lineman Morgan Moses, who selected Virginia.

In addition, four-star safety Latwan Anderson of Cleveland Glenville, who had previously chosen West Virginia, did not sign. He said he was still considering Ohio State, USC and WVU.

Of course, Tressel was philosophical about the situation.

"Sometimes time passes and you say, ‘Man, I wish we could have gotten that guy,'" the head coach said. "Then there are times when time passes and we say, ‘Boy, did we dodge a bullet not getting that guy.' When you don't get a guy … it might sting for a moment but not unlike a sting in a game. What's most important, is what do you do tomorrow? Our guys will press on."

As it went, 19 new Buckeyes still sent in signed letters of intent for a class that rated No. 20 in the nation. The only player already on hand was running back Carlos Hyde of FUMA.

Even with a program reeling from the suspensions of multiple players for the start of the 2011 season in connection with a tattoos and memorabilia scandal, Ohio State was able to have a happy National Signing Day.

Not only did the Buckeyes sign a highly regarded class of 23 prospects that ranked third in the nation, Ohio State picked up a verbal pledge on NSD from five-star linebacker Curtis Grant of Richmond (Va.) Hermitage, the nation's No. 1 outside linebacker.

"I pulled the trigger for the Buckeyes because that's where I felt the most love," he said after picking OSU on national television. "These guys recruited me in a different way and I liked the way they recruited me."

The Buckeyes got more good news on the linebacker front when Pittsburgh Woodland Hills prospect Ejuan Price, a four-star player who had committed to OSU in mid-January, stuck with the team. He was torn between the Buckeyes and hometown Pittsburgh, settling his decision with a signing day coin flip.

Lastly, quarterback Cardale Jones agreed to a grayshirt situation after picking up his OSU offer right before signing day.

There was some bad news, though, as Cleveland Glenville offensive lineman Aundrey Walker picked USC, four-star wideout JuJuan Story of Florida picked the Gators, and four-star wideout Darius Jennings of Baltimore selected Virginia.

The Buckeyes were also waiting for clarity when it came to offensive lineman Chris Carter of Cleveland JFK, a three-star prospect who had recently been charged with molesting girls at his high school.

The annual signing day press conference was all smiles, especially among the five prospects who had enrolled early – quarterback Braxton Miller, tight end Jeff Heuerman, defensive lineman Joel Hale, linebacker Ryan Shazier and safety Jeremy Cash.

"I want to be part of (Ohio State's tradition) one day," Miller said. "I have to get an early start. I looked at it like I was going to be around here anyway, so I might as well start now."

Urban Meyer's relentless recruiting train showed no signs of slowing down on National Signing Day as the Buckeyes finished a whirlwind few months by adding a pair of commitments.

Ohio State's class moved up to third with the pledges, which came from four-star offensive tackle Kyle Dodson of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and three-star defensive end/linebacker Jamal Marcus of Durham (N.C.) Hillside.

"I have to do what is right for me, and that's all about Ohio State," said Dodson, who had previously committed to Wisconsin. "All the other schools were even and gave me opportunities, but I am happy to be a Buckeye."

Dodson certainly picked the Buckeyes with style, as he gathered his teammates around for vocal demonstration that ended with him shouting "Ohio State!" to the delight of onlookers – minutes after lacrosse player Meg Lentz talked about her decision to attend Stanford.

The Buckeyes also remained in the running for five-star wide receiver Stefon Diggs of Olney (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel, who was still looking at Maryland and Florida in addition to the Buckeyes.

Despite inking the highly rated class, Meyer wasn't quite ready to anoint it as ready to dominate.

"We'll evaluate that later," he said. "We signed a class one time when I was at Florida that I heard a reporter say was the greatest class in the history of football. Half of them aren't there anymore. You just don't know."

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