- Brad Bournival, RecruitingNation
Many of Ohio State's greatest players weren't five-star recruits, from A.J. Hawk to James Laurinaitis to Nick Mangold to many others. They came Columbus under the radar and went on to have solid careers both at Ohio State and in the NFL.
BuckeyeNation went back as far as 2006 and scanned the recruiting classes for sleepers. Here are five from the last seven years:
Johnathan Hankins (recruiting class of 2010): He was a three-star defensive tackle and the No. 49 defensive tackle in the nation. Hankins is now a projected first-round pick in this year’s NFL draft after declaring early following a standout junior season.
Jordan Hall (2009): He was also ranked No. 49 at his position -- running back -- and will return for a senior season after being granted a medical redshirt. He’s carried the ball 224 times for 1,032 yards and scored six touchdowns and is expected to challenge Carlos Hyde for the leading spot. Hall was No. 1 on the depth chart before getting hurt in 2012.
Bradley Roby (2010): He was a three-star senior and the 42nd-ranked athlete in the nation. This season, he was an ESPN first-team All-American after a year where he had 19 pass breakups, two interceptions, a blocked punt and three touchdowns. Roby contemplated heading to the NFL, but stayed home.
Dane Sanzenbacher (2007): He was ranked as the 168th-best wide receiver and is currently on the Cincinnati Bengals roster after a strong career with the Buckeyes. After a 36-catch, 570-yard, six-touchdown junior season at Ohio State, he came into his own leading the Buckeyes in catches (55), receiving yards (948) and receiving touchdowns (11) as a senior.
Devin Smith (2011): He was the No. 55 wide receiver in the nation and a three-star athlete. As a freshman in 2011, he led the team in receptions (14) and receiving yards (249). This season, he logged 30 receptions for 618 yards and had a team-leading six touchdown receptions. He also made one of the greatest touchdown catches of the season with his acrobatic, one-handed grab against Miami (Ohio) that was Ohio State's first touchdown of their unbeaten season.
2dDan Murphy and Mitch Sherman
2dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
3dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy