By Design, Urban Meyer is Leaving the Door Open to Some of Ohio's Riches

By Michael Citro on February 13, 2014 at 2:15p

Jim Tressel’s goal in recruiting was to lock down the state of Ohio and look outside for some complimentary pieces for each class. If he nailed down the odd blue chipper from Georgia or Texas or California, well…that was just icing on the cake.

As we’ve seen thus far, Urban Meyer does things a little differently.
Meyer rolls up his sleeves and dukes it out nationally with other top programs year after year, while simultaneously cherry picking the top Ohio talent that best fits his system.

Only nine members of Ohio State’s 23-man recruiting class of 2014 hail from Ohio. It’s hard to imagine a Tressel squad with less than half its players from within the friendly borders of the Buckeye state.

Meyer’s methodology could be a boon to the rest of the Big Ten, if they can take advantage of it. By taking only nine players from talent-rich Ohio, Meyer left a lot of talent and potential out there for other schools to scoop up. Under Tressel, the Buckeyes would likely have grabbed up an additional six or seven Ohio players.

But, while Meyer is giving his conference rivals the opportunity to sweep up some of Ohio’s rich football talent pool, it’s up to the other B1G schools to take advantage.

Vico recently talked about Kentucky’s incursion into our home recruiting base. The Wildcats nabbed 11 players from the state of Ohio in their 2014 class. This was a smart ploy by Mark Stoops. It gave him a better recruiting class than all of the Big Ten’s schools except Ohio State and Michigan.

The Wolverines managed to do pretty well, despite signing only two Ohio players (not to be confused with The Ohio Players) in 2014. This came a year after nabbing nine Ohioans, including tight end Jake Butt, linebacker Mike McCray, and defensive end Taco Charlton.

1st in the B1G nets you the nation's 25th best recruiting class.Won the B1G with 26 rostered Ohioans.

Michigan State missed out on Ohio’s riches in 2014, though. The Spartans grabbed four Ohio boys in their 2014 class, including two from the Columbus area.  Mark Dantonio typically digs a little deeper into Ohio for talent, including 12 guys in the previous two classes combined.

This year, Dantonio got beat for a few guys by Stoops, and thus a reigning B1G and Rose Bowl champion managed only the nation’s 25th best class.

Even Penn State had a better class than Sparty, despite landing only one Ohio prospect — offensive lineman Chance Sorrell, a three-star recruit out of Middletown. It will be interesting to see if James Franklin can invade Ohio’s fertile recruiting grounds as he becomes more acclimated to the B1G.

Border state Indiana grabbed up six Ohioans, but typically aren’t competing for the same kids that Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State are able to lure away. Nevertheless, Kevin Wilson knows what’s up and is trying to grab up some of the best talent in the Midwest.

With Meyer’s eyes searching for talent in the far-off reaches of Texas, Florida, Georgia and New Jersey, Ohio is vulnerable to outside forces. Big Ten schools have a real chance to make inroads. They could potentially turn our own against us.

But they can’t do that if they allow bottom dwellers from other conferences (hi, Kentucky!) to sneak in and abscond with talent in the heart of the B1G footprint.

Urban is leaving the pie on the windowsill. It’s up to the Dantonios, Franklins, Andersens, Wilsons and Hokes of the world to eat it. [Leaves that right out there for all of your Hoke jokes.]



Comments Show All Comments

buckeyestu's picture

Coach Meyer has two Division One national championships and he did it his way,and i hope his way gets a couple of more. I dont care if he recruits space aliens, i want national titles. GO BUCKEYES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!                                                                                               And scum still sucks.


+6 HS
gwalther's picture

The Galgamex females are fierce I hear. 

Class of 2008

+1 HS
JYBUCKEYE's picture

I don't mind Coach Meyer leaving the pie on the windowsill.  As long as it's Rhubarb.  

+4 HS
smith5568's picture

I would say as long as its blueberry. I thoroughly enjoy a good rhubarb pie a la mode. 

+2 HS
Cavluv23's picture

You got to be joking right ??? ....right ???? 

World travel is my passion spreading the word and grace of Ohio in every corner of the world . 

+1 HS
Phoenix824's picture

That's like picking hamburger over bacon  

Crimson's picture

Did someone say bacon?

Everyone loves bacon.


FitzBuck's picture

How the rest of the big ten coaches react to Meyer leaving the pie for the taking


Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+8 HS
JYBUCKEYE's picture

That is hilarious. Well done. 

+1 HS
MarkC's picture

We'll just tell your mother we ate it all. 

andyb's picture

Rhubarb pie is quite possibly the best damn thing ever!! 

+3 HS
BuckeyeNation_330's picture

I love keeping Ohio talent in Ohio it was one of the things that I loved about Tressel. But the pipelines that appear to be opening with Urban and his staff are very nice getting into FL & TX is huge if we could get a pipeline into CA we'd be pretty set. 

"Bleed Scarlet, Die Gray"

+4 HS
hit_the_couch's picture

It wasn't uncommon for Tress to take fewer Ohio guys. '08 he took 10, '10 11, I tried to look even further back, but the site data didn't list everyone.

It seems to, for as long as I can remember, always be that 50-60% of the class is from Ohio, then the other 40% or so from the MW and NE and ACC/ SEC area.

I don't care what states the kids come from, but as long as they develop into good players.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

+3 HS
otrain2416's picture

The Big Ten teams will never figure out that they can build a competitive team from Ohio talent and its sad. Kentucky, West Va, Louisville, Tenn , V tech, Boston College, & Pitt will continue to raid Ohio and Beat MSU, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and Purdue for Ohio talent. 

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

Gusman's picture

This is John Cooper's old recruiting playbook albeit with a couple major enhancements: 

1) Ole Coop let some major Ohio blue chips slip away while Urban is taking the cream of the crop and letting the 2nd tier schools scramble for the crumbs.

2) Unlike Coop, Urban has a bonafide track record of winning big games. (Ok Ok we lost the last 2 - but we went 24-0 before that - and he won 2 Natty's in 5 years at Florida)

Let's not knock the results of national recruiting strategies - Jim Tressell won a Natty with mostly Coop's recruits. And Coop had some incredible teams in the 90s and put tons of players in the NFL during his reign - Where he obviously failed was beating Michigan (2-9-1 record would not cut it, but to Coop's defense the Big 10 was infinitely much tougher in the 90s than it is in the 21st century! and back then OSU had much tougher schedules). 

I truly believe that if we mostly recruit Ohio we will win lots of B1G championships but if our goal is to win National Championships and compete with the elite teams of the SEC, Pac12 and ACC we will surely need to cast a wider net and snatch top talents from their patch.





+1 HS
Michael Citro's picture

Let's not knock the results of national recruiting strategies


Certainly wasn't my intent. Just pointing out that what Meyer does gives the B1G an opportunity to get better. Whether the other schools take advantage is up to them.

BucksfanXC's picture

I appreciate you not choosing Love Rollercoaster as the Ohio Players song to link and Fire is a great track. Personally, I would have gone with Funky Worm, but that's just me.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

+2 HS
Kwanblaze's picture

I'm feeling that, but I'd have gone with O-H-I-O; my personal favorite.

+1 HS
michbornbuckeye's picture

Skin tight is my personal favorite but you can't go wrong either of those choices.

I have two favorite college teams
1. The Ohio State
2. And anyone that's playing Michigan

+1 HS
Hovenaut's picture

I'd rather see other B1G schools take advantage instead of Kentucky.

Or M...igan. But they've been doing so for years, why change now I guess.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

I think there is more than one way to skin a cat...

For me, as long as Urban and staff are keeping great relationships with the schools in state, I am cool with skimming the cream from the top and allowing the door to remain slightly ajar.  I know we are helping the cause of TTUN and Sparty, as they seem to have done the most with Ohio guys...but if the B1G is utilizing Ohio, great!  I get a little more salty when Ohio guys get lured away to schools out of the REALM.

I still think, we take first choice, either recruiting style...and let the pleebs fight it out for the rest.

deddy214's picture

I don't mind Urban going out of state to get some of the best prospects nationwide. He still has managed to get some of the best out of Ohio.

Mortc15's picture

That's an excellent point made about the rest of the Big Ten benefiting from Meyer's plan of how to recruit. They let Meyer duke it out with all the elite teams nationwide and the rest of the conference just scoops up guys that Meyer didn't want that are a lot closer to home as a result.

So, in the end, not is Meyer going and getting players he wants from wherever they're at AND stealing them from the local teams, he's also leaving solid talent closer to home for everyone else around. Sounds like a win-win for the conference, and especially Ohio State.



vitaminB's picture

I always root a little harder for a kid who is from Ohio, plus it seems like 3* in staters we pass on always seem to make us pay.

+3 HS
NW Buckeye's picture

One has to take both the good and the bad of Urban's recruiting policy.  First off, it is probably necessary to recruit nationally in this day and age.  Gone are the days when you could concentrate only within a region to end up with a 'national power'.  All of the major programs are taking kids from all over the country, as well as attracting some quality recruits from other countries.  This is what it takes to make a NC contender. 

However, with that come some problems.  First, as was pointed out above, some of the 3 and 4 (even 5) star talent that leaves the state all of a sudden has some major incentive to show OSU they were wrong in not recruiting them.  But, that has been going on for some time now, even when we concentrated on Ohio kids.  Another problem that crops up is the distance factor for some athletes.  As much as we like attracting 5 star recruits from other areas, there will be instances of home proximity problems - like MM having to transfer to be closer to his family, or like Baugh misbehaving because he does not have to answer to proximate family.  And, with those instances, everyone and their brother is going to look for some deeper problem within the system as to why these kids either choose to leave or misbehave. 

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with Urban's approach.  It's just that it drives me crazy when an instance like MM arises, and there are multiple posts looking for some hidden meaning in his transfer.  These things happen, and the further a recruit is from home, the more likely something crazy is going to happen.  Let's face it, they are 18 year olds.  Going off to college can be hard enough, but being a half a nation away just adds a little more uncertainty to the mix. 

+2 HS
Nutinpa's picture

Kudos for a good, level-headed post, NW. 

Yes, with Meyer's approach comes good....nationally highly ranked players.....and potentially, not so good.

Not to pee in the punch-bowl, but this approach brings some caution.  More out of state players creates more eventually, homesick players who simply don't work out in Columbus and leave. Have we seen some of this already?  More out of state, 4 and 5 star players are coming here for one reason: to make it to the NFL. They don't give a shit about Woody Hayes or Archie Griffin or maybe even heard of them. That means Meyer is making a lot of promises, although he'll never admit that. It means 4 and 5 star players from Florida, Texas and Georgia better see playing time or someone will be tweeting ugly until their fingers bleed. Sound familiar yet?  "We don't redshirt"? Really?  A lot of OOS players...and what does that say to Ohio high school coaches? Where will their allegiances go?

Like I said...not trying float a mysterious tootsy roll in the swimming pool of everyone's glee. careful what you are celebrating now....when you look back down the road....that's all.


+3 HS
tOSUswaggernut's picture

While there is certainly validity in you point, you went at far length to dramatize it for strength.  I haven't followed one recruit that didn't pan out because of homesickness, not liking columbus.  Further I don't think urban Meyer is promising playing time to anyone. The competition is what makes some kids better, and others not.  Lastly, players do come because of woody and Archie. They are ohio state tradition. Many players list tOSU tradition as one of or the one reason why they are signing. Ohio State offers world class facilities, the best research opportunities in the country, great education, social connections, life experience etc so on and so on. Don't be so naive as to think every 4/5 star player chose OSU because of NFL possibilities.  Ohh add NFL possibilities to the aforementioned list. 

-1 HS
Nutinpa's picture

Fair points and I appreciate your rebuttal, swagger.

That said, while I may be guilty of generalizing to make my points, I was not trying to be dramatic for "strength of argument".

During Urban Meyer's career, he has proven to be an incredible turn-around artist everywhere he has been, including Ohio State. We will see if his methods, notably on the recruiting front, create a sustainable future, positive locker room and relationship with Ohio high school coaches.  I contend the verdict is still out on all of those things.  So while Buckeye Nation is understandably giddy about the recruiting fortunes we have enjoyed so far, let's wait and see how it translates on the field and the aforementioned sustainability that I am concerned about.  

At the end of the day, you and I agree on some points; and on others, time will tell which one of us is being naive. 

+2 HS
moopdawg's picture

I hear you, Nutinpa.  I guess I'm an old school Buckeye that pulls for Ohio kids to represent our state university on the field/court.  Meyer talks a lot about tradition and Ohio pride, and so I hope our university remains strong in these areas under his leadership.  So far, I can't complain about the results.  We'll see what the future holds -- I remain cautiously optimistic.

+1 HS
bucknut8's picture

You would think that schools like Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State would love to come take all the Ohio talent they can that dont go to Ohio State or scUM


Tomc383's picture

....ain't nothin like a piece of <pie>......except maybe the Indy 500...


RedsBuckeyeBoy's picture

I know that pie you talked about is figurative because if Hoke is ever invited to a table with literal pie, there will be none leftover for anyone else! Zing!

Ebvine96's picture

Feeling like 2015 could be the super class pull by Urban

Seattle Linga's picture

It sure is starting off nicely that's for sure. Every class he brings in seems to be better than the last, We are soooooo spoiled to have him as our coach and leader.

buckeyedude's picture

Toledo, BGSU, Kent State and Akron sometimes do pretty good with 2*and 3* from Ohio that OSU doesn't want. The first name that pops into my head is Ben Rothlisberger from Findlay and Miami Redskins.



ScarletGray43157's picture

OSU was recruiting Ben as a wide-out (which is what he played in all but his senior year in HS).  Ben wanted to play QB.  The rest is history.

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

buckeye70's picture

Don't tell Brady there is pie in Ohio, he will never leave the State


The atmosphere in College Park will be crazy because at lease 40 % on the stadium will be Buckeye fans. Go Bucks

+1 HS