Western Michigan, Texas-San Antonio and Tulane.
What do they have in common? They all have better recruiting classes than Ohio State right now according to 247Sports ratings. As we advance further into 2014 the question needs to continue to be raised, why are the Buckeyes struggling to land commitments and should fans be concerned about the class?
I think there are a few possible explanations for why the Buckeyes do not have more commitments at this stage. At this point last year, Ohio State had eight commits for the 2014 class: Damon Webb, Kyle Trout, Dylan Thompson, Sam Hubbard, Parris Campbell, Kyle Berger, Marcelys Jones and Dante Booker (who committed on 5/23 but we'll include him here for argument's sake). Of the eight, six of them were from Ohio - which leads into my first explanation.
It's a two-fold issue in my mind, Ohio's class is not nearly as strong as it was last year and the Buckeyes have not recruited Ohio as well this year. Last year, Ohio State had already secured four of the top seven players in Ohio by this point. This year they only have one (Eric Glover-Williams). It could be a matter of time before Jerome Baker pulls the trigger, but none of the top eight players in Ohio are sure things to be Buckeyes.
So why hasn't Ohio State had as much success recruiting Ohio? Well, for one thing, they haven't recruited Ohio as hard because it isn't a particularly strong Ohio class. That, combined with Crawford and Froholdt committing elsewhere early, has left Ohio State with fewer than usual Ohio targets. This is contributing to the Buckeyes' low number of commits, because many of the early commitments are local prospects committing to a local school and national targets tend to have longer recruitments.
The other main explanation for why Ohio State hasn't landed as many commits comes down to the fact that there isn't much pressure to commit to Ohio State right now. We have talked about this toward the end of recruiting periods, but as the class fills up there is more pressure to jump on board and secure a spot in the class. Right now, the opposite effect is taking place. Because Ohio State doesn't have many commits there isn't any pressure to secure a spot in the class, so kids are taking more time to explore their options because they can. Picking a college is a tough choice, and everyone wants to make sure they are making the right decision. With no real pressure to make a decision sooner rather than later, prospects can take their time and make sure they are making the right choice.
Going right along with this, the Buckeyes need to create some positive momentum and a leader needs to step up in the class. If the Buckeyes can string together a couple of commitments and start to form the same kind of bond and class leadership that we saw in last year's class, commitments will start pouring in again.
So should Buckeye fans be concerned about where the class ends? In short, not at all.
There are several prospects that will almost certainly be Buckeyes in the near future, and the staff has positioned themselves well with countless elite players. If you're still in "panic-mode" about this class, check out Birm's most recent offense and defense class predictions, they should be rather comforting.
news and notes
- Luke Fickell stopped by to see Nick Conner yesterday.
- Ohio State offered Solomon Thomas' former teammate Connor Williams.
- Buckeye coaches are in Canada today to see recently offered DL Neville Gallimore.
- Ohio State stopped in to see Ricky DeBerry again today.
- Rivals released updated rankings today.
- Dante Booker is pretty good at baseball too.