Ezekiel Elliott

Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Eli Apple and Darron Lee look at the photo all the time.

The picture was taken after the recruits visited Ohio State on October 6, 2012, following the Buckeyes' 63-38 victory against Nebraska.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," Elliott said. "It was my first visit to Ohio State. That's when we first saw each other. We spent some time together. That's when our friendship started."

That foursome of the same recruiting class all went in the top 20 picks of the 2016 NFL Draft on Thursday in Chicago.

Joey Bosa

The Chargers selected Bosa third, the Cowboys selected Elliott fourth, the Giants selected Apple 10th and the Jets selected Lee 20th, while a fifth Buckeye, senior Taylor Decker, went to the Lions at 16th.

"This is why we came to Ohio State, to play at the next level," Bosa said. "It's great to share that moment with them."

It's the perfect culmination for a group who helped lead Ohio State to a title in the very first year that Division-I adopted a playoff system.

"The championship is definitely like the best feeling ever," Apple said. "This is up there, though for sure."

Apple understandably relished the latter Ohio State accomplishment.

It was the second most players ever drafted from one school in the first round. It was also the first time since 2010 that three players from the same school were selected in the top 10. That's when Oklahoma's Sam Bradford went No. 1 to the Rams, Gerald McCoy went No. 3 to the Buccaneers and Trent Williams went No. 4 to the Redskins.

Eli Apple

At No. 3 Bosa is the highest Buckeye pick since the Rams selected Orlando Pace, a 2016 Hall of Fame inductee, first overall in 1997.

Right after Bosa was drafted third overall, he hugged Apple and Elliott.

"I was crying like a baby, of course," Bosa said, "knew it was just going to happen, just didn't know when."

Joked Apple: “He was crying like crazy. He was crying on my shoulder and everything … I’m not going to be the one to cry and I didn't."

Bosa's outflowing of emotions is a bit amusing, considering he's a mountain of man. Several pundits considered the 6-5, 269-pounder with 4.86 speed in the 40 to be the best player in the draft.

During his three years at Ohio State, the defensive end posted 26 sacks and 51 tackles for loss, including 21.5 TFL, 13.5 sacks and 55 tackles during the national championship season in 2014.

Darron Lee

With his Jeff Spicloli, surfer-like pronunciation, he'll fit perfectly in his new San Diego environs, and with his bolo over a necktie look, he'll fit in perfectly with his new quarterback, Philip Rivers.

Though many saw him as a 4-3 defensive end in the pros, he proved to be adept at dropping in coverage during drills at the combine and should fit as 3-4 outside linebacker for the Chargers.

Drafted immediately after Bosa was Elliott. The 6-0, 225-pounder rushed for more than 1,821 yards the last two years and averaged 6.7 yards per carry during his career.

He expressed his elation in landing in Dallas, where the Cowboys hope Elliott, quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant can form a trio like the triplets of Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, who fueled Dallas’ success in the early 1990s.

Along with 4.48 speed in the 40, Elliott has great balance and vision. He’s an every-down back who can run inside or out or catch passes.

"He can do everything," said Maurice Jones-Drew, former Jaguars All-Pro and current NFL Network analyst.

That includes blocking skills, which impressed the likes of a road grader like Decker.

"He will chop people in half," he said. "As a lineman, to see a running back play without the ball in his hands, you have total respect for that."

Ezekiel Elliott

Elliott will play Apple twice a year as NFC East foes.

"I can't wait play against him, man," Apple joked. "He talks so much trash all the time … I'm looking forward to it."

Apple had his best year in 2014 with 53 tackles, 10 pass breakups and three interceptions.

The redshirt sophomore has great length and size for a cornerback at 6-1, 199 pounds. He also has 4.42 speed. He's an aggressive man corner but can grab too much or have difficulty locating the ball.

Apple, who grew up in New Jersey, has the perfect surname for his new team in the Big Apple, where he will share a stadium with Lee.

The redshirt sophomore, Lee, also will join Jets receiver Devin Smith, another former Buckeye teammate. Lee said he talked to Smith more than any other person during the draft process.

"Devin was like a big brother to me,” Lee said. "I connected with him."

Taylor Decker

The 6-1, 232-pound Lee is one of the most athletic defensive players in the 2016 class. He has 4.48 speed in the 40 and had the fastest 10-yard split of any linebacker at combine (1.54) and longest broad jump (11 feet, one inch) of any linebacker.

Those measurables allow him to be strong in coverage. The question is whether his lack of size will cause him to get pushed around.

The self-described lowest ranked recruit of the quartet, though, was certainly productive at Ohio State, where he had 146 career tackles, including his 80 tackles, 6.5 sacks and two interceptions in the 2014 championship season.

"My finger is getting a little tired," he joked as he sported his championship ring during the draft. "This is just a reminder of all the hard work."

Elliott also wore the ring. During the running back's press conference, he heard NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announce the Lions' selection of Decker.

Ezekiel Elliott Taylor Decker

"That's my guy," Elliott said.

That senior is 6-7, 310. He combines that size and length with a nasty, old school demeanor. His versatility allows him to play in zone or man-to-man schemes and at left tackle, right tackle or guard.

His forte is run blocking, which right now is ahead of his pass blocking.

"We were run-heavy team. We felt like that was our strength and gave us the best opportunity to win games," he said. "I obviously have a ton of reps at doing that."

And he's had a ton of success, which can be seen in Ohio State's nearly record-setting draft haul.

Miami (Fla.) has the record of six set in 2004 when the Redskins drafted Sean Taylor fifth overall, the Browns drafted Kellen Winslow II sixth overall, the Jets drafted Jonathan Vilma 12th overall, the Broncos drafted D.J. Williams 17th overall, the Dolphins drafted Vernon Carey 19th overall and the Patriots drafted Vince Wilfork 21st overall.

The first night of the 2016 draft was like an Ohio State reunion. In addition to head coach Urban Meyer, defensive line coach Larry Johnson, cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs, conditioning coach Mickey Marotti and former defensive coordinator Chris Ash were in attendance.

"They got the whole crew back there," Bosa said.

Though now the head coach of Rutgers, Ash was part of the Ohio State contingent that saw five players get drafted in the top 20.

"An amazing day for us, for Ohio State fans everywhere," Decker said.

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