This is a several article series of Ohio State football recruiting busts of the 2010s, which we will start off with 2010.
In order to be considered for this, there are several factors that go into it. Obviously overall ranking in their class is a big factor, as well as fanfare, the possibility of filling a position of need, geographic location, etc.
BIGGEST BUST OF THE 2010 OHIO STATE RECRUITING CLASS: James Louis
In Jim Tressel’s final recruiting class, there ended up being some significant pieces that helped the Buckeyes to a 24-game winning streak to begin Urban Meyer’s tenure with the Buckeyes. They had NFL starters such as offensive guard Andrew Norvell, wide receiver Corey (Philly) Brown, defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins, cornerback Bradley Roby (future first-round pick), and running back Carlos Hyde.
However, there were a bunch of guys who never panned out, such as the highest-ranked player of the class in running back Rod Smith, who was mediocre to average before being kicked off the team his senior year. T.Y. Williams, a 6’7 receiver from Cleveland that showed flashes but could never put it all together. Lastly, James Louis a speedy receiver who was hoped to fill a role the Buckeyes had left void since the days of Teddy Ginn Jr.
Louis came in with a ton of hype, despite his small 5’10 frame. The south Florida native chose the Buckeyes over a host of SEC and ACC schools. You have to remember, back in 2010 you didn’t see all that many top recruits from the south coming to the north to play for cold-weather teams.
It was a different era, and not like 2020 where the likes of Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, etc. all compete regularly for top talent in the southern region. Getting Louis was a huge deal at the time. Rated the no. 134 prospect in the country via 247sports, the Buckeyes were getting a speedy playmaker, who had the numbers to boot, putting up over 110 receptions for over 2000 yards and 31 touchdowns over his final two seasons at Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, Fla.
Louis really had a tough time moving up the depth chart as a freshman. Guys such as Dane Sanzenbacher and Devier Posey were established veterans on the outside in a time where Ohio State utilized tight ends on the vast majority of downs.
Because of this, there were not as many targets to go around to receivers like you may have seen in an Urban Meyer offense. This presented a problem for Louis, who was truly meant for the slot role in an offense that really did not use the slot.
No Ohio State receiver outside of Sanzenbacher or Posey had more than eight receptions in 2010, signaling an emphasis on getting balls to the Buckeyes top two receivers as much as possible. Because of the lack of targets to go around and Louis’s inability to climb the depth chart, he was redshirted and did not appear in any games for the Buckeyes.
Louis ultimately decided to transfer due to family concerns in August of 2011, although there is a chance the Jim Tressell tat-gate fallout could have had something to do with it. Either way, he did transfer back close to home and landed at FIU, where he sat out the 2011 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
This is where it gets interesting, Louis was named to Phil Steele’s 2012 preseason all Sun-Belt second team, and then proceeded to not play in a single game for the Panthers. Not much is known of why he did not play, but he didn’t.
In 2013 on the FIU Football website he was listed as a redshirt, despite already using a redshirt year, so we would have to assume he received a medical hardship or sat out the year. 2014 was the last time he was listed on a football roster, as he was listed as #18, a redshirt junior wide receiver for the Golden Panthers. After this, not much is known.
Louis received the spot as the 2010 Ohio State recruiting class bust not only because he played one year and left, but he never managed to catch a single collegiate pass in four years. That is quite the drop off from being a top 150 recruit in 2010.