One of the biggest concerns over the last week, as Urban Meyer has been banking in recruits, is the scholarship count. Not only are the Buckeyes limited to 25 commitments per class, but they also only have 82 total scholarships to play with after the sanctions.
A quick look at the current numbers shows the Buckeyes are in danger of being over both of those counts. There are currently 23 commitments in the 2012 class and 62 returning players on the roster. That would mean the Buckeyes are already three over their total limit and two away from the class limit, and yet the staff are still after a handful of prospects to finish out this class. So, what gives? How are Urban and company going to pull off adding more players and still get the numbers to equate. Well, it all comes down to bookkeeping and attrition.
Tim May over at the The Dispatch already did a great job breaking down both of those in detail, especially that 25 number. The staff has very little concern about that number thanks to the six early enrollees. They actually count towards last year's numbers.
"So, 23 minus six equals 17. That means that, at the moment, the Buckeyes still are eight short of the maximum of 25 players who can be signed to any one recruiting class. And there might be a member or two already committed who could be weeded out because of academic concerns or could change his mind before signing day."
As to the 82 number, well that all comes down to attrition. The Buckeyes have already bid farewell to Taylor Graham, Jeremy Cash, DeJuan Gambrell and Dominic Clarke. None of those guys are part of the 62 returning players. Thanks to medical hardship, as May explains, the number goes down even further.
"But still listed with the 62 are sophomore defensive end Melvin Fellows and redshirt freshman linebacker Scott McVey, though both were declared medical-hardship casualties by OSU in December. That means they will stay on scholarship but won’t count against the official number, which whittles it down to 60."
Still, the Buckeyes are one over and further attrition will need to happen. Thanks to the coaching change and the increased demand on the players already in January workouts, I fully expect another handful of players to head elsewhere before next fall. Let's take a look at a few of the possibilities and the likelihood that they leave.
FB David Durham (definitely gone) - Durham, who moved to fullback this past season, has already publicly stated that he plans to transfer elsewhere. With the change in scheme and only receiving minimal playing time, he is wisely looking to find a school that can utilize him. He hasn't officially picked a school yet, and is looking at Pitt among others.
RB Jaamal Berry (likely gone) - While Berry's skills would seem like a great fit in Urban's offense, his legal problems will likely keep him from playing in scarlet and gray again. In November Berry had his second issue being charged with assault and disorderly conduct charges for his role in an alleged incident. The legal process is still playing itself out, and it appears the staff will wait to make a judgment call until it does.
WR TY Williams (likely gone) - Williams has also been facing some off the field issues at the end of last season, and has seemed to have problems with his lack of playing time. He might see the new coaching staff as an opportunity to turn his career around, but at this point I don't see him staying in Columbus.
OL Chis Carter (keep an eye on) - There has nothing been said publicly that would indicate that he is on the fence, but Urban's new set of rules makes him a guy to watch. Word is that Meyer thinks many of the Buckeyes players are not in shape, and you have to believe that Carter is one of those guys and will have to go through a major conditioning program. He also will be fighting for playing time on the interior line with a talented freshman class coming in.
OL Tommy Brown (keep an eye on) - Again, nothing has been said indicating that he is looking elsewhere. Still, where does he land on the depth chart throughout spring ball? Would the combination of a new staff and a possibility of lack of playing time make him look elsewhere?
OL Marcus Hall (keep an eye on) - He's had a bevy of issues at Ohio State. While he is desperately needed for depth purposes, he's one to watch.
LB Chad Hagan (keep an eye on) - There have been lots of rumors circling throughout January that he was looking to transfer. Nothing has come of those rumors yet, so I don't place his status any higher than this. Will there be smoke with all that fire?
Those seven guys, along with Roger Lewis, could be part of the attrition in the coming months, and I'm sure there will be other names that no one expects. I have no doubt Meyer will get that number to 82 by fall practice, but how he gets it there should be interesting to watch.