When Urban Meyer was hired to be the new head football coach at The Ohio State University, everyone knew things were going to change at Ohio State. Many predicted that recruiting in particular would be dramatically different under Urban Meyer’s watch.
That’s no slight on Jim Tressel. Urban Meyer will be lucky to match what Jim Tressel accomplished in his decade at the helm. But Jim Tressel was a rare, unique man and coach. His laid back approach to recruiting meant that Ohio State took a decent number of “projects”, if you will. If there was a player of exceptional character but borderline talent, Tressel wasn’t afraid to offer the kid a scholarship in the belief that he could coach him up. And it worked. Tressel’s track record of turning overlooked 2- and 3-star recruits and turning them into players drafted by NFL teams speaks for itself.
That methodology doesn’t work for most coaches. In Urban Meyer’s case, it’s a philosophy he doesn’t believe in. Urban Meyer’s recruiting philosophy is to consider Ohio State the best place to play football in the country, and to recruit with that mentality. That means no more projects. If Coach Meyer offers someone a scholarship, he believes that player is among the elite at his position.
It’s hard to argue with that approach when you consider what Meyer has accomplished in such a short amount of time. If you recall, Meyer wasted no time in convincing Brionte Dunn to stop his flirtation with Michigan and re-commit to the Buckeyes and followed that up by flipping Se’Von Pittman, Tommy Schutt, and Noah Spence to OSU.
This week Urban Meyer continued to work his recruiting magic. It started actually when Meyer hired Ed Warinner and Tim Hinton from Notre Dame to join his staff. Those were two of the coaches who developed the closest relationship with Taylor Decker, a 4-star OL recruit from Vandalia Butler. Decker was a kid who grew up rooting for the Buckeyes and always wanted to be a Buckeye, but inexplicably the previous staff ignored Decker in recruiting. As a result, Taylor went to Notre Dame and even when Coach Meyer was first announced, Decker said he was going to reward Notre Dame’s faith in him by sticking with the Irish.
When Meyer hired the two coaches closest to Decker at Notre Dame, though, things changed for Decker. He decided to take a visit to OSU and meet with Meyer and hear him out. Earlier this week, Taylor Decker informed the Notre Dame coaches he would be switching to Ohio State.
That commitment was followed by 2 more important commitments. Having already addressed the defensive line by bringing in a stunning haul of elite defensive linemen in Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington, Tommy Schutt, and Se’Von Pittman, Meyer turned his focus to the O-Line. Decker fills an enormous need at tackle and will likely see the field very early in his career. Then mid week, Meyer received a commitment from Joey O’Connor, a 3 star guard from Windsor, Colorado.
The good news kept rolling for Meyer then when David Perkins somewhat unexpectedly announced him commitment to Ohio State via his twitter account. Perkins is a 4 star LB from South Bend who was also being recruited as a RB at several schools including Michigan.
When Urban Meyer took over at Ohio State, this year’s recruiting class was ranked outside the top 20 according to Scout.com. Today, that class is ranked 4th behind Alabama, Texas, and Michigan. Ohio State’s four 4-star recruits are the 2nd most (tied with Florida State and Notre Dame) behind Texas’s five. Ohio State is still in the running for big names like Kyle Dodson, Cam Williams, Jordan Diamond, Dalton Santos, Davonte’ Neal, Armani Reeves, Demetrious Cox, and Joel Caleb. Obviously Ohio State can’t and won’t get all of them, but the point is there’s still room for this class to get even better.
Finally, lest anyone think Urban Meyer is only focused on the 2012 class, Ohio State got its first commitment from the Class of 2013 when Cam Burrows, a 4-star CB out of Trotwood-Madison, announced his decision to go to Ohio State. The Class of 2013 in Ohio is perhaps even deeper in talent than 2012 and Urban Meyer is already in good shape with many of the top recruits in Ohio and the surrounding states.
National Signing Day is rapidly approaching (February 1st), a day which just 2 months ago most Buckeye fans weren’t really forward to. That has all changed under Urban Meyer and suddenly fans are eagerly watching and waiting to see just how great of a class this might end up being. The last time fans were this excited for a recruiting class was the Brew Crew (Mike Brewster, Mike Adams, DeVier Posey, JB Shugarts, Jake Stoneburner, Andrew Sweat, and Terrelle Pryor). Of course, we all know how that one turned out. Hopefully things work out a little better this time around for the scarlet and gray.
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