Ohio State's 2015 recruiting class was the fifth-best in the nation. But only one member of that five-player class will be wearing scarlet and gray when their sophomore seasons start.
Three Buckeyes coming off their freshman seasons — Mickey Mitchell, Daniel Giddens and A.J. Harris — will transfer away from Ohio State, the program announced Tuesday.
“I have given freshman guard A.J. Harris permission to seek a transfer,” Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said in an announcement. “Mickey Mitchell and Daniel Giddens have asked for their release as well. We appreciate what A.J., Daniel and Mickey did for our program as freshmen, and we wish them well.”
These transfers follow the transfer of Austin Grandstaff, whose departure from Columbus was announced shortly after the season began in December.
All in all, it means four of the five members of last year's highly ranked recruiting class — Ohio State ranked behind only Kentucky, Duke, Arizona and LSU — won't be around for their sophomore seasons. Grandstaff was the No. 44 player in last year's class, per Rivals. The website ranked Giddens, Harris and Mitchell at No. 51, No. 104 and No. 117, respectively.
JaQuan Lyle, the 24th-ranked player last year, will be the lone returning member of the class. And it doesn't look like Buckeye fans need to worry about him leaving.
Not going anywhere lol...Imma buckeye https://t.co/DUXwyyAwx1
— JaQuan Lyle (@JMamba13) March 28, 2016
[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Buckeyes gear right here]
The departures of the four players figure to have to do with playing time and their expected roles on the team. Giddens was sixth on the team with 18.2 minutes per game, while Harris averaged 13.7 minutes per game and Mitchell averaged 12.8 minutes per game.
That excuse, if indeed it was the reason for the transfers, didn't sit well with former members of the program.
I will say this though.... Leaving because you didn't play as much as you hoped after your Freshman year says a lot.... That's weak to me.
— James JJ Sullinger (@MrOH1O) March 29, 2016
It was a disappointing season for the Buckeyes, who missed the NCAA tournament for the first team since 2008 and lost in the second round of the NIT.