Don't Fret Ohio State's Slow Start to the 2015 Recruiting Class

By Vico on April 25, 2014 at 1:00p
Cropped from a recruiting mailer made by Sammy Silverman (@SammySilv)
74 Comments

By April 25 of 2012, eleven members of the eventual recruiting class of 2013 had pledged their commitment to Ohio State. Of these eleven, guys like Ezekiel Elliott and Joey Bosa had an immediate effect in their true freshman season. Other players like Eli Apple, Cameron Burrows, Evan Lisle, and Billy Price are either in prime position to start at their respective positions in 2014 or will appear in the two-deep.

By this same date last year, seven of the eventual 23 members of Ohio State's 2014 recruiting class had pledged to Ohio State. Guys like Marcelys Jones and Kyle Trout even enrolled early.

Today, as of writing, Ohio State has just two verbal commitments for its 2015 recruiting class. It just lost a verbal commitment to Auburn. One of the two remaining commitments is in the news for the wrong reasons. The other recruit, God love him, is taking to Twitter to provide reassurances of his commitment to Ohio State.

I doubt the timing of Jamel Dean's tweets were coincidental. There is a palpable angst about why Ohio State's recruiting class is sagging relative to what it was at this point in the last two years. Beyond relative statements, two is a low number for a recruiting class by this point.

Is angst warranted? Yes and no. Ohio State fans can understandably be displeased with the haul to this point but any alarm would be unwarranted.

Rather than bemoan the low numbers, the real dissatisfaction should be the missed opportunity. By having guys like Kyle Berger, Sam Hubbard, Kyle Trout, and Damon Webb pledged so early, Urban Meyer had cheerleaders and unpaid recruiters at his disposal to promote Ohio State while appearing in various combines like Nike's The Opening. In fact, it was Damon Webb and his parents that coined Dream 2014 and used that as a rallying cry for what became a consensus top-5 recruiting class nationally.

With only two guys currently committed, Ohio State will not have that for the time being. Eric Glover-Williams has other things on his mind. No one could fault Jamel Dean if the most he could do is take to Twitter to reaffirm his pledge and go about his private affairs while Ohio State's coaching staff works overtime to give him company.

Concern would be warranted if the only systematic difference among recruits were their ordinal "star" rankings. Recruits systematically vary more than that. Those who commit to Ohio State by this time fit one of a few molds. They are lifelong Ohio State fans who got the only offer they wanted and ended their recruitment shortly thereafter. They are diamonds in the rough who flew under the radar but were fortunately discovered by a marquee program like Ohio State early and committed to one of the best programs in the country by the spring of their junior year. Or, they are recruits who commit early after an unofficial visit (including the spring game) but could be exit risks shortly thereafter.

The first mold of recruit would be a Cameron Burrows or Kyle Trout. The second mold would be an Ezekiel Elliott or Sam Hubbard. The final type of recruit is one whose commitment is malleable as we saw in the case of Lawrence Marshall (Michigan) or Ben Edwards (Auburn) more recently.

Do notice the distinction. These recruits differ systematically from recruits who commit later in the process. Those who commit early tend to be local. They can make repeated visits to Ohio State and other local programs to make a more informed decision sooner than someone who Ohio State is targeting from Florida, Georgia, or Virginia. Those who do not make ex post informed decisions are ones who decommit in favor of something else. Those yet to commit are those who would not commit to anyone without going through the official visit process. Ohio State fans should not bemoan those who have not committed by now because they were never going to be done by April. There is something of a selection effect here and one that arguably works to Ohio State's benefit as one of the country's most prominent programs.

Put another way, I would be alarmed if we were Illinois. Illinois, coincidentally, is also sitting at just two verbal commitments as we approach May. The difference between Illinois and Ohio State is that Ohio State becomes more attractive to a high four-star or five-star prospect who was always going to parlay his status toward a televised announcement at a high school exhibition game or National Signing Day. These are the recruits Urban Meyer covets and does well recruiting.

Illinois, as charitably the fourth most important college football program in its own state, does not have this luxury. Ohio State's star appeal becomes more appealing to an Under Armour All-American in January if the numbers in its recruiting class are still somewhat low. Meanwhile, a JUCO prospect becomes more appealing to Illinois (and not necessarily the other way around) in the same position in January.

As an Ohio State fan, I'm a bit more invested thinking about all the future Buckeyes we'll be getting in the fall and early winter than I am invested in lamenting just having two players right now for 2015.

74 Comments

Comments

route4buckeye's picture

IIRC, Lonnie Johnson coined Dream 14.

+8 HS
703Buckeye's picture

In Urban we trust.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

+1 HS
OSU_1992_UFM's picture

We just need that one guy (Gibson, Kirk, etc.) that will really jump start this class. Besides getting recruits early is not necessary, these guys are still looking elsewhere thru the entire process.

The walrus up North can get early commits, but then losses them...so as far as freaking out, I am not

UFM_Renewal

+3 HS
703Buckeye's picture

To which walrus up north do you refer, Bollman or Hoke?

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

+3 HS
OSU_1992_UFM's picture

You know, the wing eating walrus...Hoke

UFM_Renewal

+1 HS
GABuckeye's picture

"Today, as of writing".......  Is that a.... I kid, I kid.

ab1993's picture

I'm honestly getting tired of these same articles every week trying to reassure the people freaking out about our class. 

Class of '16

-2 HS
teddyballgame's picture

We're kind of in a slow-news period of the year now

+5 HS
ab1993's picture

We are but does that mean 11W has to put out pointless articles?

Class of '16

-10 HS
OSU_1992_UFM's picture

They need something to do! Want to have another uniform thread or a Fire Fickell?

UFM_Renewal

+8 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

I assume you read the "pointless article", so it was something that you took the time to read. It does have a point as many of the others do.

and if you didn't read, then you just commented to be snarky which is just as unnecessary.
 

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+19 HS
Soggy_McMuffin's picture

Word squirrel master !

Gooz-fra-bah...

+2 HS
buckeyeEddie27's picture

You need to slow your roll here bud. This is a free website with fantastic content. Just because the content isn't always exactly what you want doesn't mean you should insult the writer. Show a little class here man.

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

+13 HS
Vinginia_Buckeye's picture

damn skippy Eddie

" I'm a Buckeye "

+1 HS
jonping67's picture

Double damn skippy Eddie!

+1 HS
Borrowed Time's picture

I'm honestly tired of people freaking out about our recruiting class this early in the cycle

+7 HS
bucknasty13's picture

I'm with you.  I'm tired of people freaking out about the class or reassuring everyone that they are not freaking out.  The class is what it is right now.  It's going to be a good one.  Patience.

+2 HS
B1G 10 Buckeye Stuck in SEC Country's picture

Honestly, you said something I think a lot of people want to say; however, haven't said it.  I was talking to a buddy this AM about an article VERY similar to this one.  He sent me a text a few hours later and said 11 Warriors now has a very similar article.  This has been a running joke among a few of us 11 Warrior followers.  Yes, I get this is a free site and I do appreciate what the guys here at 11 Warriors are providing; however, like Ab mentioned it's the same repetitive stuff, maybe a few things added or changed here and there but basically nothing new.  11 Warriors needs another Alex.  Alex was the man, was always spot on, and always had insightful and new information.  

For everyone saying it's free and not to criticize the writers....just because it's free doesn't mean that criticism can't be taken constructively. I assume the writers of 11 Warriors love this site as much as everyone else and want to know what their readers think and feel and ways to help improve 11 Warriors.  

" Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid." - John Wayne 

+2 HS
Johnny_Buck71's picture

We had some really good classes the last few years. Could it be that is working to our disadvantage with the early recruits worried about playing time this year? That said, I just think these coaches have a a track record of success and know what they are doing. There is still a long, long way to go. 

A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore. - Yogi Berra

+1 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

We had some really good classes the last few years. Could it be that is working to our disadvantage with the early recruits worried about playing time this year?

Hasn't hurt Florida State, Alabama, USC, LSU, etc...

But I guarantee that it is part of PSU's recruiting success right now - "Young man, you can come in and make an impact on day one. You'll be starter as a true freshman and run out on the field to the cheers of over 100,000 people." It's alluring to a 17 year old.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+4 HS
jonping67's picture

Let's see how many PSU commits stay committed when OSU blows them out at home by 30 and they end up 5-7.

OSU 45 - PSU 13

irishfury's picture

Yeah I posted the same thing farther down.  We need leaders in this class. Build that family like enviroment.  

BierStube's picture

No Fear .. Urban is just wating for the right moment to do his thing!

 

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

+12 HS
buckeyedude's picture

Don't tell me Urban is trying to steal Arkansas' recruits?

 

 

OSU_1992_UFM's picture

Seriously guys, has Urban ever steered a program wrong. We hated him at UF for being so good, what reason do we have to think he won't do great? Is it the top 5 classes he pulls in while sleeping? Urban knows exactly what he needs to do. Urban 3:16

UFM_Renewal

+1 HS
Ball-Z-Buck's picture

Lack of commits is tough to take!

BiElEmAsDoUbLeChIn's picture

Only for fans who are delusional and think like 8 yr olds!! Ridiculous to be upset in late April about a recruiting class that is not finalized for almost another 10 months!! 

+1 HS
AlwayzABuckeye614's picture

Yea there may be another 10 months left, but the more people who commit elsewhere means that's less people who commit to us. There are Buckeye targets committing elsewhere, so is OK to worry, YES a little, but to get all down and out and starting crying over it no. 

Ill start to worry when our MAIN targets start committing elsewhere.

+1 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

I'll say this - if Gibson commits somewhere else, you 'll see a lot of this from OSU's fanbase -

 Everybody, stay calm and start freaking out!

But, seriously, I agree that it is a perfect storm right now. More people are following recruiting than ever, so we weren't really privy to all this info before. It is a VERY down year in Ohio for elite D1 recruits. OSU is in on several big fish who are from states that require significant travel time, and therefore cost.

OSU will be just fine. High school kids are unpredictable. From an optimistic point of view - how about this: What if Burrell, Gibson, Jefferson, Baker, and some others saw the splash that Bama made, and want to do the same thing. Maybe they want to take officials together, and make OSU the epicenter of college football recruiting news by all committing at the same time? Is that likely? Maybe not. But from what I've seen of Urban Meyer and OSU in the past, it's just as likely as not having a top 10-15 class.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

-1 HS
Chief B1G Dump's picture

I would argue that Dame Webb is the IS the mold of recruit you want.  He was awesome as a recruit and got in everybody worth a hoots ear about getting on the Buckeye train.  I really liked all he did and said...

Just my $0.02

+4 HS
buckeyedude's picture

Agree completely Chief. He even made it a family affair and got his momma involved in helping recruit for OSU; in TSUN, of all places!

 

 

BierStube's picture

 

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

+6 HS
AlwayzABuckeye614's picture

I hate this picture lol. 

I'm sure those here on 11W's would make fun of that gif if it was another coach.

 

irishfury's picture

I post on another forum and there is a few Scum fans there and they actually love the picture and they hate everything OSU related.

buckguyfan1's picture

As soon as Kentucky's class gets filled, then it will be our turn assuming there are any quality prospects left. 

+12 HS
osubuck57's picture

In a perfect world, we'd all love a "Damon Webb" for every recruiting cycle. That said, I'm completely confident in Urban and staff when it comes to recruiting.  I think Ash and especially Johnson, will pay dividends in the long run. More so Johnson, with the relationships he's already had with former recruits while at PSU and kids he's recruiting now. Don't think we would have gotten Slade last cycle without him.

SCOTTC.

Jugdish's picture

I am worried. I can't believe that it is almost May and we have little to show for it. There is only one thing to do...And that is...

 

Remember to get your wolverine spade or neutered. TBDBITL

+4 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Let's all come back next February and laugh it all away.

 

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

+8 HS
buckeyedude's picture

I'd rather not think about next February. It gives me the chills.

 

 

FROMTHE18's picture

bit of momentum into summer would be nice with a Kilby-Lane type commitment. I am alright with the wait, just as long as it appears warranted, which IMO seems shaky right now. We have had a handful of the top guys on our board visit and leave impressed. That's all fine and dandy but seeing us go from leader for a prospect to having him commit to another school is disheartening. To add to the despair, a flip (albeit one that many of us thought was likely: Edwards, even with his bs "Im 100% OSU" tweet, was a coin toss on whether he'd be a Buckeye at the end of the day) doesn't help matters. It can wear down a fan when you hear about how high a recruit is on OSU and then nothing happen several times over, you (the fan) will inevitably feel lead on. Maybe its part of some master strategy to get the best of the best and Meyer is being incredibly picky, but also, you can't help but wonder that that is not the case and we are just a nice place to visit but not a nice play to live type of situation. No one, certainly including myself, knows exactly what is really being done behind the scenes, but a glimmer of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow would be nice right now. Also of note: EGW needs to get his act together, because having 50% of the current 2015 class be in question sucks too. 

+2 HS
Ahh Saturday's picture

Whenever a thread like this comes up, it is a certainty that there will be a number of "well, it's only __________ right now, and we're a long way from signing day."  While this is true, it also is beside the point as it misses something fundamental about recruiting which is that it's a zero sum game.  You get your first choice, or you don't.  So what matters for the Buckeyes is not how much time is left until signing day, but rather how many of our top targets are left out there.  The answer to the second question is almost all of them.  That's the good news, along with the fact that our head coach is one of the best recruiters in CFB.  However, there is reason to be somewhat concerned (and no, that is not the same thing as "freaking out").  The cause for concern is that momentum is a real thing in recruiting, and our last couple of classes reaped the benefit of it.  High school prospects can get caught up in the enthusiasm surrounding a program, and with the camp season coming up, there just aren't any guys out there now beating the drum for the Buckeyes.  We need a couple, and that's a fact.  I have a feeling Urban Meyer knows this, and that makes me think that this class is going to be growing soon.

+3 HS
Timmah's picture

I believe the reason we are seeing lower numbers this year than the past is that we are in on more National level kids.

If we only have two at the end of them summer I'll be concerned but before then?  Not so much.

-Tim
Go Bucks!

AirAssaultBuckeye's picture

Good grief folks!!!

How many times did we hear whining/complaining during the Tressel era that he went after too many Ohio kids, had large numbers early and couldn't "close the deal" on LOI day???  Now we have one of the masters of that and the whining/complaining in April is that we only have 2 commits thus far.

I guess some people always need something to gripe about.

Rendezvous With Destiny

+3 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

Don't any of you play NCAA Football on Playstation? we all know it's difficult to get more than like 8-10 kids to commit until the offseason anyway!

 

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+6 HS
buckeyestu's picture

Nice article Vico. Hopefully this calms down some of the nervous folks trending toward the ledge. I have complete faith in Urban to recruit the players he needs.

Fuzzbuck's picture

LOI day nine months away yet. Urban is a stud recruiter along with the other staff. They will fill the class with quality kids at the positions of need at minimum. Begin to get concerned about October if we have less than 10 commits.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Just giving it a little time.  Something is bound to happen soon.  I'm not worried yet.

DenBuck's picture

We could sign ZERO this year and still beat most of the BIG 10. 

Buckeye For Life

PoKeY21's picture

Jamel Dean will probably end up being one of my favorites in the scarlet and gray for years to come. Not quite Powell level but a favorite none the less.

Also I'm so torn with OSU in recruiting ATM. Obviously I want them going after the best in the country no matter where they are at. It is just painful to have to do that at the expense of our local homegrown talent. Is it so glaringly obvious this year because the lack if recruits or has Meyer been withholding the local guys offer for the better out of state offers since he showed up? If it has been happening the last 3 years you can't knock him for it. Bottom line either way, UFM gets results.

When my time on earth is gone, and my activities here are passed, I want they bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass

+2 HS
allinosu's picture

When we start kickin sum ass on the field, we will turn some heads our direction again and MAYBE a little less red shirting. Seriously, we will pick up steam and it will snowball as the season progresses and recruits see we are serious about playing both sides of the ball.

unga's picture

Maybe this might help.  I read that Gibson has been speaking w/ Kirk & saying how great it would be to have him as a receiver at OSU.  Similar talking with Harris.  Hope its true and they're arranging a mass commitment.

unga's picture

Maybe this might help.  I read that Gibson has been speaking w/ Kirk & saying how great it would be to have him as a receiver at OSU.  Similar talking with Harris.  Hope its true and they're arranging a mass commitment.

+1 HS
Braxton2Devin's picture

The "It's April" excuse is bullshit. It might fucking be April, but that doesn't mean that we are not losing out on more and more targets as the days go by. It's not like our class is going to consist of 15 flips.
 

-6 HS
buckeyeEddie27's picture

Well why don't you just march right down to The WHAC and give Urban a piece of your mind. Hell with your obvious insight and knowledge he might offer you a job. Pipe down.

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

WhySoSerious's picture

B2D it's April bro. As a matter of fact let's round up its May. Let urban do his thing man, let him fail us as a fan base   with recruiting before we start complaining. Well your in case continue. 

Rare&Uncommon

Like the ball in the stands, we balls out

-1 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

In another thread someone stated that only having 2 players committed right now was unusual for Urban Meyer. A few days ago someone over on BP took the time to look at his recruiting classes at Florida...

Today is 4/21, if we were in these following years, we would have these amount of commits (date of first commitment in ().):

2006 - 1 - (4/7)
2007 - 0 - (4/22) [Aaron Hernandez was the first commit. Class ended with 10 5 stars, per scout.]
2008 - 1 (4/19)
2009 - 2* - (2/5 & 3/4)
2010 - 9 - every single one, except Joe Haden, were in state recruits at this time.

* - Dee Finley committed to UF in 2008, didn't qualify and committed again after prep school.

I remember last year around this time when people were complaining bitterly because the 2014 class in their opinion wasn't matching up to 2013. Interestingly while there were 7 verbals at this point a year ago, if you go back a month earlier, there were only 4...and of those seven, five of them were Ohio recruits.

Earlier in this thread someone claimed recruiting was a zero sum game; if that were true we would still be lamenting the losses of Alex Anzalone, Lawrence Marshall & Lonnie Johnson.

No I won't be clambering up on the ledge with the cliff jumpers.

+2 HS
BroJim's picture

Not a good read

I season my simple food with hunger

skid21's picture

I'm not worried at all. I am just bored. I love seeing gray boxes and talking about new commits. I love watching the commits recruits other great players. That is all. I have no doubt Urban will bring in a great class. In the words of Tom Petty the waiting IS the hardest part. Last year's class was fun to watch develop. Not worried, just want to have some football fun this summer. I admit it.

+3 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

100% on point. At this point, most of the angst is caused by the boredom we all feel. We could be talking about the NFL Draft, but the League moved it to like August or something, so what can fill the void? Normally, talking about future Buckeyes. Perhaps we should do that, and just talk about how psyched we are about Glover-Willams and Dean.

I still stand by my statement that OSU stands a very good chance of Gibson, Kilby-Lane, DeBerry, Burrell, Wilkins, Hentges, Peete, Jefferson, and Jones all join the fold between now and early in the season, probably the end of September. This doesn't include some other players that may be lower priority that OSU is in on right now. Scott and McCullough could commit in that time too, assuming the offers are "committable."  There's still a long way to go, and things can change quickly in the minds of 17 year olds. 

This time next month, we could be talking about the 6 kids OSU accepted commits from in May. Or not, who knows? Either way, the Buckeyes will be just fine.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+1 HS
BCKIIS's picture

Signing day is the only key date.  Not 10 months prior.  Would everyone feel better if we had 15 recruits that weren't OSU worthy?  One weekend could change everyone of these articles and still wouldn't mean anything this early.  Agree that the one disadvantage is not having "commits" recruit others.  But the "commits" have to be the right ones to recruit the ones that OSU desires.

+1 HS
ScarletNGrey01's picture

Far too soon for this, Urban and his staff will do just fine as always:

 

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

jamesrbrown322's picture

I hope we get a commitment soon, just so the fans will stop worrying. That way, the 11W staff can write about something besides trying to put out the fires of desperation that posters keep putting in comments!

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

Bamabucknut's picture

What does Nick Saban,with his extraordinary recruiting, know that Urban, and his coaches, don't ?

jamesrbrown322's picture

There is an easy response, just answer these questions -

How many championships has Alabama won since OSU's last title in 2002 (when these rising Seniors were 4, let that sink in)? How much praise, deservedly so based upon their success, do Saban and Alabama receive, nonstop, from the national media? What has the national conversation about Ohio State been for the last 3 years? How many NFL players has Alabama, and the SEC as a while produced compared to the rest of the country?

Alabama recruits itself more than Ohio State does right now. That sucks, I hate it. But, it's true.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

Eph97's picture

An elite qb signing to lead the class would get the ball rolling. I hope they don't get shut out like last year and are forced to settle on a 3 star.

pdan46's picture

That 3 star looks pretty good though!

pdan46's picture

I am not concerned about the low number of commitments, nor about the one defection.  What I am concerned about is withholding offers or slow recruiting really top notch players like Wimbush, Conner and Stevens because we are hoping for commitments from 5 star guys (e.g., Gibson, Hilliard) or four star guys (Clark, Hentges) who may never commit to OSU (e.g., Watson last year).  Yes, I know the best guys take longer to commit because they have more options.  But by making really good players wait or not even offering them a scholarship, we could be hurting ourselves and we may end up with far less attractive alternatives.

+2 HS
Shangheyed's picture

Its just been a dry spell... confidence still h'eye!

irishfury's picture

I know people our saying we're going after elite recruits and they commit later but Alabama and other having know problem getting these 4-5 star recruits early.  I trust in Urban but he should have offered some of the Ohio guys first like Cj etc.  

I really was hopping Burrell would commit he seems to be in contact with a lot of recruits and looks like he would be an awesome leader to this class.

+2 HS
Shangheyed's picture

Agree I-FURY!  This class needs a recuiting leader! 

Eph97's picture

Why did OSU suddenly stop recruiting Settle? I was shocked when I saw that as I thought he really liked OSU and LJ.