Urban Planning

By Alex on November 23, 2011 at 2:00p
Urban Planning in ColumbusHow will a recruit say no to this?

Right now all the buzz is surrounding Urban Meyer coming to Ohio State to become the Buckeyes' next head football coach.

People want to talk about what this means for Luke Fickell, who Meyer will poach to become members of his coaching staff, how the Bucks will fare in shifting to Urban's spread offense, and other things of the sort. One thing not many people are talking about is how this will effect recruiting.

In place of the 11W Recruiting Notebook, it seems like a good time to talk about how the hiring of Urban Meyer will effect the Buckeyes on the recruiting trail. The first thing that comes to mind is that hiring Meyer would be a home run. People are envisioning many top recruits in the country all of a sudden getting interested in Ohio State and switching their current verbal pledges from whatever big school they're committed to right now in favor of the Buckeyes.

While that very well could happen, chances are things won't pick up steam that quickly in my opinion. While OSU could land a big time player like Se'Von Pittman (currently committed to Michigan State) or draw interest from a stud like Noah Spence (undecided, but liked UF with Meyer), there is also the possibility that bringing in a new coach could have a negative impact on some targets still in the fold (Ifeadi Odenigbo) or some players that are currently committed (Bri'onte Dunn).

Right now it's hard to say what will happen in terms of filling out the recruiting class of 2012, but that doesn't mean we can't start to speculate how a move like this could impact recruiting for Ohio State in the long run. Today we take a look at Urban Meyer's recruiting successes at Utah and Florida, how it compares with Ohio State's recruiting, and what it could possibly mean for the Buckeyes going forward.


Meyer only spent two years (2003 and 2004) at Utah, so the sample is really small here. Considering he was hired before the 2003 season and left before the 2005 season, those recruiting classes do not fully belong to him (just like 2012 won't), so 2004 was his only real class while in Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City FiestaMeyer lead the Utes to a Fiesta Bowl victory.

Because of those circumstances, I think when discussing Utah it is important to take a look at the players Meyer had a hand in recruiting during the 2003-2005 classes that are still currently playing in the NFL.

In 2003, the class featured a little known wide receiver out of California by the name of Eric Weddle. As many of you know now, Weddle switched to defensive back under Meyer's direction during his freshman year, and developed into a second round pick who is now in his fifth NFL season with the San Diego Chargers. Oh yeah, Weddle also is an All-Pro and signed a contract this past off-season to make him the highest paid safety in the league at the time.

The 2004 class featured two current NFL players in Paul Soliai and Paul Kruger. Soliai came in to college as an offensive tackle, but Meyer saw his athleticism and size as a way to get an advantage on the defensive line. The transition to the other side of the ball worked well, as Soliai is an NFL defensive tackle with the Miami Dolphins after being selected in the fourth round of the 2007 draft.

As for Kruger, he came to Salt Lake City as a quarterback in the Tebow mold, and if Urban had stayed maybe he would have never made the switch to defensive end where he was chosen in the second round of the 2009 draft by Baltimore. There was no questioning Kruger's athleticism however, and the former Utes star is now an outside linebacker in the Ravens' 3-4 system.

Finally, 2005 was another partial recruiting year for Meyer, but he didn't leave the cupboard bare for Kyle Whittingham. Meyer helped court current NFL players Koa Misi, Sean Smith, and Brice McCain in advance of National Signing Day in February 2005.

Misi was selected in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Miami Dolphins where he currently plays linebacker. He has registered 66 tackles and 6 sacks in a little over a year and a half in the NFL and has also recorded a touchdown.

Smith was also a second round pick of the Dolphins, a year earlier in 2009. He has entrenched himself as a starter and one of the rising, young corners in the league, notching 133 tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and 26 passes defended in his career, missing just one game.

McCain is a member of the Houston Texans where he is receiving a lot of playing time for the AFC South division leaders. McCain turned himself from a 6th round pick into a Wade Phillips favorite and has played in 38 total games out of a possible 42 in his career. He has 54 tackles and 3 interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, during his short tenure in the league.

Overall, you can say these results yield more than a minor success for Meyer during his days at Utah. The Utes are still a competitive program and have built off the momentum Meyer gave them after hauling in players such as the above and giving the school a Fiesta Bowl win over a Larry Fitzgerald-lead Pittsburgh team.


Meyer was at Florida from 2005-2011, so the sample size here is a little bigger. Just like with Utah, it will be easier to look at his recruiting classes of 2006-2010, as he arrived in 2005 and left in 2011, only having a partial hand in bringing those prospects in.

Tebow was Meyer's top recruit everTebow and Meyer got two national titles together.

During the span of 2006-2010, Meyer brought in 30 five-star players, 52 four-star players, 49 prospects that were in the top 10 nationally in their position, and 49 players from outside the state of Florida. In comparison, Jim Tressel at Ohio State during the same time period brought in just 14 five-star players, 48 four-star players, 35 players that were top 10 nationally in their position, and 45 players from outside the state of Ohio.

Looking at those numbers, Meyer had quite the impressive haul at Florida, considering they more than one-up what The Vest did in Columbus and I'd say many would consider Ohio State to have some pretty solid recruiting classes. In addition to the data above, the 2006 class was ranked #2 overall (OSU ranked #13), the 2007 class was ranked #1 (OSU #16), the 2008 class ranked #12 (OSU #4), the 2009 class ranked #21 (OSU #1), and the 2010 class ranked #1 (OSU #20). That is an average of about being ranked #7 year in and year out, compared to about #10 or #11 during the same span.

Shifting gears to players during his time at Florida that are currently in the NFL, there are currently 18 of them. That number is slightly below the 25 Buckeyes currently playing in the league right now, so tip your cap to Tressel and his staff for that one, but 18 isn't too shabby in four years in which at least one player from the class went to the NFL (2005-2008 classes).

If you want to play the Meyer > Tressel card in this argument, you can look at the break out of these numbers and see that in the first two years Meyer has 3 players from the '05 class and 6 from the '06 class and in the second two years had 8 from the '07 class and 1 from the '08 class. Breaking out OSU's numbers, Tressel has 9 players in the league from each the '05 and '06 classes, while having 6 from '07 and 1 from '08. Looks like once Urban had his legs under him at Florida, the factory started pumping out prospects.

Overall Meyer did an outstanding job while at Florida. After Ron Zook took down the empire that Steve Spurrier built in Gainesville, Meyer reconstructed and Urban Planning lead to two national titles during his seven years in charge of the Gators.

What Does It All mean?

The question now is, what does this all mean for Ohio State? I think the answer to that question isn't as obvious as the super-optimistic types want it to be, nor do I think it is what the glass half-empty people are predicting.

From one era to anotherIf you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

 I think any time you have a coaching change things can go one of two ways. I hate to use Michigan as an example, but they are a recent and fresh to mind display of these possible occurrences.

The first being the negative effect, a la Rich Rodriguez. When Rodriguez came on board, there was a mass exodus in Ann Arbor. Ryan Mallet and Justin Boren, just to name a couple, lead the charge out of what was to become an ultimate culture shock in converting to the spread offense and what RR liked to call the 3-3-5 defense, better known as the optional defense around these parts. It took a full year for Rodriguez to land on his feet and sans a few exceptions, recruiting just didn't work out with the change from Carr to Rod.

Fast forward to the end of 2010 when lesser-known Brady Hoke is hired at Michigan. You would have thought things would continue to go down hill in recruiting, but Hoke hired a quality staff, namely Greg Mattison, played the "Michigan Man" card, and quickly displayed he knew what the program was about and was going to rebuild the dynasty. Result ends up being Michigan pieces together a solid class for 2010 and has one of the top classes in the entire country for 2011 lined up.

Am I saying Urban Meyer is going to be Rich Rodriguez? Definitely not. Am I saying he's going to be Brady Hoke? I don't think so either. What I am saying is that nobody is 100% sure of what the Buckeyes are going to get, but history tells us that as fans we are going to be pleased.

For the 2012 class Meyer already has a solid group to build on. Keeping that group together and adding some key pieces to finish off will be icing on the cake and a job well done. Looking ahead to 2013 and beyond is where the Meyer impact hits Columbus and where Urban Planning in the 614 really takes place.

Starting with that extremely talented class, Meyer has the opportunity to change the way recruiting is done at Ohio State. In-state players will always be the root, heart, and soul of this team, but if there was any fish to fry with the way Tressel went about his business, it was with national level recruits and his pursuit of a smaller number of players rather than casting a bigger net to get more prize fish. This is where Meyer will excel and this could be the key to pushing the Buckeyes from runner-up to national champions.

Urban Meyer is sure to bring a lot of changes to Columbus with him if named as the next head coach of the Buckeyes. Some fans will like and some they will dislike. One thing I think we can all enjoy is the future of recruiting under Meyer. All you have to do is look at his past work to see why.


Comments Show All Comments

Conroy's picture

No doubt in my mind we have the number one recruiting class next year.

Denster's picture

That could be challenging with reduced scholarships.

Like the confidence though.

"It's a double-barreled pistol that fires hard work and victory..."

TatumRuled's picture

ENOUGH! Enough of this Urban talk. Have some respect for Coach Fick, who was thrown into an impossible situation and is truly passionate for Ohio State.

Have some courtesy and wait until after the game up north. I don't think that's too much to ask.

"Hell, Woody didn't recruit me; he recruited my mother!" -Jack Tatum                       

RoweTrain's picture

This is one hell of a website with great articles and breaking news. But, until you can prove to me that Luke Fickell actually reads this site, I don't see a problem with us, the fans of The Ohio State University discussing this. I think he has more important things to worry about right now. Fuck Michigan, Go Bucks!!!

"Just bow up and go out and play." ~ D. Lee

"As it stands right now, I know I am the best athlete in college football." ~ B. Miller

buckeyejonross's picture

I love Ohio State too, what's your point? Look, the situation was obviously dire, but I expect the head coach to have his players ready to play the first quarter, not just the last three, take proper angles to the ball, read the gaps and fill the hole, know where they are in zone coverage, not have communication breakdowns in week 10, etc. etc. etc. Should Luke Fickell have had this team in the NCG? No, should he have had them ready to play smart, disciplined football every week? Hell yes. Has he? Not even close. He may have been in over his head, but he also couldn't even handle the basics. No one said the job would be easy, and if his feelings got hurt this past week, all I can say is he should have coached better, he's an adult, he can handle it.

"You might as well appeal against a thunderstorm as against these terrible hardships of war. War is cruelty, there is no use trying to reform it; the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over." -William T., Battle of Atlanta, B1G.

onetwentyeight's picture

I think if Fick has half a brain (and I think that he's a bright guy) he would be first in line to welcome Urban with open arms. Think about it. How often does a guy who's a 1st year HC get a COMPLETE Mea Culpa. Everything Fick has done this year will basically never count against him. He gets to learn the game some more under a SECOND elite HC, no one is forcing him out, and when Urbz retires (after many, MANY Nat'l championships) Fick gets a SECOND CHANCE at this , his dream job. How lucky would you feel? 

Fick is the one who benefits the most from this. This is also why I'm not surprised at the reports of him being active in recruiting Meyer TO osu. 

Enzyte Bob's picture

After reading the biographical article from the 2009 SI, my impression is that this is a good hire.  He absolutely has the right character and work ethic to get us over the hump.  He's also a known quantity both at Ohio State and in Ohio coaching circles so that's another plus.  I also remember people throwing out his name as a potential coach when Cooper got fired.  That tells you he left an impression on people around here.

That said, I have some doubts about the spread.  God knows we need a more aggressive offense, but to me the spread seems like the poor man's way to be competitive.  It has obviously worked for Meyer, but I wonder if it's beneath a program like Ohio State.  It's not like Kelley is setting the world on fire at Notre Dame.

All in all, if we keep our strong "D" I don't see any downside to beefing up the offense.  This hire looks like a home run.

Here are a couple of interesting biographical articles for those who didn't get them the last time they were posted:



Denster's picture

"the spread"? It's not like it's one style.

What ND does and what UF has done under Meyer are two COMPLETELY different things. Not even in the same ballpark... except for they both do a lot out of shotgun. That's about it.

One thing that is worth mentioning though... That Florida offense without Tim Tebow was utter garbage. I would imagine with the personnel differences, we won't see the exact same style of play. If the rumor's are true about the LSU o-coord, then we might not see that style at all. I would say let's just wait and see what he does with us.

"It's a double-barreled pistol that fires hard work and victory..."

Enzyte Bob's picture

True - The quick results at Utah, BG and Florida lead you to believe like Tressel, he's smart enough to tailor what he does to the talent he has.  Plus, unlike Rich Rodriguez he had to go up against teams with actual defenses.  We'll see what happens.

As another aside, I've read dozens of times in the media lately about how the Ohio State program "isn't what it used to be" and how Meyer is going to get us back to where we were.  LOL!  We've had one down year for Christ's sake!  Are people really so dense? 

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

Every offense Urban Meyer has ever coached going back to his first year at Utah is better than this year's OSU offense. Even last year's terrible Florida offense was better than 2011 OSU in every statistical category except rushing yards per game. And they arguably saw much better defenses. Even in only his second year at Florida with Chris friggin Leak at the helm, his offense ranked 18th in yards per game and 23rd in points per game.

Denster's picture

All I'm saying is, don't expect our offense to suddenly resemble Oregon or Ok. St.

The one thing I think you can count on is, we will have better effective play calling and strategy (read: not running draws before we throw a pass) and a generally all-around better coached team than before.

"It's a double-barreled pistol that fires hard work and victory..."

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

I agree on both points. I don't expect our offenses to suddenly go from painfully inept to explosive in a year, but anything is better than Walrus-ball/which Dave should I run/I hate screens and slants.

Denny's picture

We shouldn't delude ourselves into thinking that any sort of offense, if effective, is 'below us'. If it works, it works.


Nappy's picture

scoring points > time of possession

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

Big Swede's picture

Get out of here with this crazy new-age offensive philosophy. It's only a fad that has no basis for long term sustainability. 

BuckeyeSaab's picture

Right now, pretty much all other offenses are above us.

I'm sorry for not being sorry.

OSUbucknut's picture

OSU will add several top recruits and loose one or two.  Top flight national recruits will give us a second look.

chitown buckeye's picture

I know everyone is excited but can we just wait until it becomes official!? I mean isnt there a game or something this weekend? No need to write an article spectulating the recruiting of a retired coach at a university where he hasnt even been announced as the Head Coach! Believe me I am as excited as the next guy about Urban but lets get the focus back on TTUP!!! We have all off season to discuss Meyer and what he will bring to the program!

"I'm having a heart attack!"

Alex's picture

All about Michigan but we can multi-task....being this slot on the site is a weekly recruiting piece I thought this was relevant...to each his own I guess

chitown buckeye's picture

Understood, just tired of everywhere I turn people are speculating. Would rather just wait to discuss once it is officially official!

"I'm having a heart attack!"

Nappy's picture

Wasn't it a lot of Urban's recruits that embarrassed Alabama in the Sugar Bowl a few years ago?

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

Bucksfan's picture

Yes, yes they were.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Florida is regarded by many as the best football recruiting state talentwise.  An unmentioned advantage that Meyer had while at UF was that he could use "in-state" and "close to home" pitches to the abundance of talent in the area, just as Tressel could for the Ohio boys.  Because of this, I believe it was far easier for Meyer to get better talent then Tressel was based on location alone - i.e. if 75% of the top players in both states attended each respective school, UF would always have the better class. So I'm not so sure we should assume that Meyer will be able to bring in anymore talent than we've had in the past.  The good news is that we've been bringing in unbelievably talented kids lately.

Read my entire screen name....

Alex's picture

Valid points and even better is that now hell be able to use those ties plus the home field Ohio advantage and national ties (out west from Utah days; south region from SEC days) to help OSU

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Hopefully, because, as much as I don't like to admit it, a good bit of our recent impact players were out of state recruits.  And for a current example, I'm looking at Shazier.

Read my entire screen name....

btalbert25's picture

Tressel recruited Ohio very well but Meyer may be able to retain Trey DePriest or Jordan Hicks.  Hard to say he definitely would.  He may have more success with guys like Taj Boyd, Floyd, Seantrel(although hindsight it's good we missed out on him) etc.  A lot of those big name out of state 5 stars that we seemed so close to locking down, may opt to come here instead.

Menexenus's picture

I was wondering whether oversigning might have had any impact on the recruiting numbers cited in this piece.

Real fans stay for Carmen.

Conroy's picture

Florida has never really over signed.

William's picture

They have signed over the 25 player limit, but they haven't ever had the medical hardship problem or players being cut like the SEC West has and does. I'm all for being able to sign over the 25 player limit, as long as that doesn't lead to going over the 85 player limit, and someone's scholly being taken away.

Conroy's picture

IIRC the year they signed over 25 they lost a ton of players to the NFL, but I'm not sure.

Enzyte Bob's picture

"i.e. if 75% of the top players in both states attended each respective school, UF would always have the better class."

Remember two things: 

1. Florida has 19 million people while Ohio has 11 million people.  You're going to have more talent on the basis of sheer numbers alone.

2. There are 3-5 major schools fighting over Florida talent -- Miami, FSU, Florida, Auburn and Alabama (the panhandle is referred to by locals as South Alabama).  We are fighting Michigan, Notre Dame and Penn State for the best talent to some degree, but Tressel has been pretty good about getting the people he wants in here.  Overall, I think the talent is better down there, but it's split more ways.

Enzyte Bob's picture

Whatever happens, it's heartening to have an accomplished person like Meyer who can have any job he wants and wants to come back here.  Gotta love it.

ChicagoBill's picture

This is exciting and all, but I still really, really hate that team north of us. 

** Go Bucks! **

btalbert25's picture

One thing that is exciting to me is that Urban has a killer instinct, and that's something I feel under Tressel this team missed.  When he has his foot on someones throat he crushes it.  It may ruffle some feathers when the team puts up 70 on Indiana or Northwestern but the players need that attitude.  That way you won't see games like the almost debacle against Arkansas.  The Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame would've been the blowout it should've been etc.  I'm all for getting the 2nd and 3rd string in, but I think Ohio State has missed that swagger that we're coming to your house and we're going to beat the everloving shit out of you because that's what we do. 

Denster's picture


"It's a double-barreled pistol that fires hard work and victory..."

faux_maestro's picture


Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

M Man's picture

I really don't buy any comparisons to Rodriguez, Hoke, or anybody else in the case of Urban Meyer.

I think Meyer will do just fine in recruiting.  He'll probably be great in recruiting, at least starting with the 2013 class.  He's interested in recruiting, and he values assistants (like Mattison) who are good at it.

Rich Rodriguez wasn't a bad recruiter, and Brady Hoke isn't a recruiting genius.  Rodriguez was recruting the midwest at the absolute peak of the powers of Tressel, Paterno, Dantonio, Bielema and Ferentz.  Rodriguez was also recruiting under the cloud of the preposterous newspaper stories and NCAA investigation.  And, Rodriguez suffered through some unusual years in Michigan h.s. football when talent was down, and what little there was, was exemplified by players like Will Gholston coming out of pure Sparty-feeding/Michigan-hating places like Detroit Southeastern. 

The entire status quo has been reversed for the time being, to Brady Hoke's advantage.  Hoke's got Greg (900k) Mattison helping him with defensive recruiting while Rodriguez had Gerg (275k) Robinson helping him.

I hope we steal Dunn away from the OSU recruit list.  But no matter what, I expect Buckeye recruting to pick up extremely fast with Meyer and almost no discernable falloff.

As for the departures of Mallett and Boren from Ann Arbor; a close look at both of them finds almost no personal blame on the part of Rodriguez, but the reality is that most coaching changes do involve some student-athlete departures and transfers.  Mallet and Boren were notable, for entirely unrelated reasons.  Hoke's regime, having retained all of the star players, is supposed to stand as proof that it doesn't always have to be that way, but even with the Hoke lovefest in this state, we've seen a half dozen departures of lesser guys in the past eleven months. 

LABuckeye's picture

M Man... I wish more Michigan (and OSU) fans were like you: understanding the rivalry and respecting your foe. I get a little ticked when I hear people say they always want Michigan to lose. I think a down Michigan/OSU/ND (though I really hate ND) are bad for college football. Michigan being down was bad for the rivalry... I would prefer OSU and Michigan enter "The Game" every year undefeated... and then we beat your ass.

baddogmaine's picture

Word on Fickell is that he is a strong recruiter. If Meyer keeps Luke we should be able to hold the Ohioans who want the ties to the past, and get some boys from away who like Meyer's two rings.

What impresses me is that Meyer is good not just at getting bodies on campus but at evaluating the talent as well. He turned offensive recruits into defensive players because that was where they would shine. He was able to use both Leach and Tebow. He likes a zone-read kind of offense because of the pressure it puts on defenses but will run what his personel support. With his experience in the SEC he also will be able to evaluate our defense not just in scrimmages, not just against the B1G and generally cupcake non-conference foes, but against what he knows a good defense should look like.

The Buckeyes have taken some knocks for being slow on defense. Where I'd like to see improvement even more is on the O-line.

William's picture

The only position on defense where we are lacking speed is the linebacking corps, and that has been remedied by playing Shazier. The linebackers will be faster next year when we have Shazier, Grant, and Crowell playing. The secondary has plenty of speed, as does the D-line, this team is really lacking when it comes to the Offensive line, for a unit that has three seniors on it, they have really sucked.

Northbrook's picture

If Crowell fully recovers he will be something special. His film was something else.

tampa buckeye's picture

so does this mean no more Hyde in the wildcat?  

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

absolutely dumbest thing i ever saw..i freaked when i saw that

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

theDuke's picture

Cooper was a helluva a recruiter too. 1-13-1.  Tressel knew what matters.


BuckeyeSaab's picture

True.  But Cooper was a true outsider whereas Meyer is an Ohio boy that worked under Bruce for two years.  I am confident he knows the importance of The Game.  Also Cooper came in with a terrible record against rivals while Meyer has a favorable one.

PS: Cooper was 2–10–1.

I'm sorry for not being sorry.

Enzyte Bob's picture

Urban worked under Bruce 4 or 5 years actually.  Two at Ohio State and two or three at Colorado State.

faux_maestro's picture

Off topic but I love the pic/name. I have that damn song in my head now....

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

DamienJax's picture

Hate to be a grammar nazi, but there are several "effects" in there that should be "affects"

Other than that, yey recruiting!

SensibleBuckeye's picture

Three things to consider:

1. While Florida is a talent rich football state, Urban did have to recruit against FSU, Miami and  UCF (to a lesser extent).  Compare that to Univ. of Cincinnati knocking on the same Ohio recruits door vs. OSU. 

2. Urban's understanding of what it takes to win in the SEC could prove quite valuable - as the goal here is to vie for and win national championships...not just B1G Championships

3. Urban's understanding of oversigning could bring about change whereby the NCAA makes sure that all conferences are in line with student-athlete polocies...unlike the oversigning SEC where they've become the leader in year to year scholarships and redefined the student-athlete and who should rightly be referred to (in the SEC) as the "athlete-student" 

luckynewman13's picture

even saying "athlete-student" implies that there are classes at those schools that are worth taking.

There aren't

dharmabuckeye's picture

Corch Irving Meyers

Corch Irving Meyers

Denster's picture


"It's a double-barreled pistol that fires hard work and victory..."

poguemahone's picture

This would make a hell of a t-shirt

dharmabuckeye's picture

That's the plan bro-I'm going to make it at Skreened soon

Bucksfan's picture

I don't get it, did I miss something?

Denster's picture

"It's a double-barreled pistol that fires hard work and victory..."

Jugdish's picture

One thing that really burns my ass is how a player wants to be a Buckeye and hate ttun. Then they switch allegiance meaning they hate OSU and love TFSUN. Their heart is not into it as much as what I think it should be.

Remember to get your wolverine spayed or neutered. TBDBITL

faux_maestro's picture

Did anyone else notice during channel 10's sports bit at 11pm the story about Urbz and the "headline" was URBAN PLANNING? Hmmm....

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.