Meyer Impacting In-State Recruits

By Kyle Rowland on July 9, 2014 at 1:00p
21 Comments

Steve Specht is no stranger to coaching highly rated recruits. When you’re title is “head coach” at one of the country’s foremost football factories, it becomes a yearly occurrence. Even at St. Xavier some guys fall through the cracks, such as Luke Kuechly. The under-recruited linebacker ended up at Boston College and is now one of the top defenders in the NFL.

Last week, Specht said he might have ended up at Ohio State if he received an offer from the Buckeyes. The disconnect between Ohio State and the city of Cincinnati is real, but Spect believes it’s still hard for a home state kid to turn down the Buckeyes. Proof of that was seen last week in Hilliard.

“Keep in mind that Ohio State is a national program, they recruit nationally,” Specht said. “I’ve never looked at it as Ohio State didn't have a Cincinnati connection, I always looked at it as Ohio State is recruiting the best of the best. If we had them, great, and if not, they looked elsewhere.”

It’s probably a good thing Ohio State looked to the southwest corner of the state for Hilliard. Meyer’s made it his mission to restock the linebacking corps, and Hilliard ranks among the best in the country. At his announcement, Hilliard was lauded time and again by media, coaches and teammates.

The superlatives came flowing from every direction. Hilliard’s play, character and ability to lead were all referenced in why he’s set up to succeed in college and beyond.

“He’s so explosive, and he’s still learning the game,” Specht said. “I think that is what makes Justin’s upside so high. He plays too fast, which is a great problem for us to have. We’re always trying to slow him down. When Justin can start to put it all together, he can be pretty special.”

When he’ll be needed at Ohio State remains a mystery – sort of. Meyer’s preference to not redshirt players combined with Hilliard’s impact potential points to immediate playing time. But it appears an entire depth chart could be filled.

Recruiting services rate Hilliard as the top outside linebacker in the Class of 2015. Whether he ends up outside or inside at Ohio State will be decided in the future, though Specht and Hilliard himself believe a change could be in the offing.

That would mean competition with Raekwon McMillan, someone Hilliard cited in choosing the Buckeyes over Notre Dame and Iowa, where Hilliard’s brother is a running back. Backing away from competition isn’t in Hilliard’s DNA. He’s built on helping his team and improving his own skills. Background noise remains muted. 

“Justin needs to worry about being the best Justin he can be,” Specht said. “If he prepares himself correctly, good things will happen for him. But players don’t control playing time, coaches control playing time.”

Specht is well versed on Ohio’s current King – LeBron will reclaim that title if he returns to Cleveland. He was coached by Meyer in high school, which acted as an introduction to the perfectionist’s attention to detail and intensity. Few coaches contain the killer instinct and will to win like Meyer. It’s proven to be an asset on Saturdays and during recruiting.

“He’s fiery,” Specht said. “When Coach Meyer wants somebody, Coach Meyer is going to get that somebody. Boy, he’s cut from a different cloth. He’s a pretty special individual. Coach Meyer is a very genuine person. He’s been through all of the battles. He can pull his rings out, he can play a lot of different roles because he’s been there and done that. Kids feed off that and kids love that stuff, and I think that had a huge impact on Justin.”

Meyer will get plenty more opportunities from now until February to have the same influence on a whole host of recruits, including out-of-staters. Matthew Burrell, Damien Harris, Malik Jefferson, Torrance Gibson and Josh Sweat are just a handful of the dozen or more targets in Ohio State and Meyer’s crosshairs.

The past two classes had more out-of-state players than in-state. So far, the Buckeyes have seven Ohioans among their 12 commitments for 2015.

Linebacker Jerome Baker (Cleveland Benedictine) will announce Friday.

“I’ve had a pretty good idea of where I’m going,” said Baker, who’s deciding between Ohio State, Florida and Tennessee. “I’m going to sit down with everyone on Thursday and have a family meeting and make sure everything is final. I’m going to call all of the coaches before Friday morning and let them know of my decision.”

Will it result in another homegrown talent staying in the state? 

21 Comments

Comments

WezBuck28's picture

Fingers crossed!!

+2 HS
Boxley's picture

Said it before, the only reason that makes sense for Baker to announce Friday, is if he is coming to the Buckeyes. Any other team on his list, he would be far better suited to wait unitl after their season is over to see who is still standing.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

+5 HS
My2Sons's picture

That doesn't make a  bit of sense, no matter how many times you say it.

-2 HS
Boxley's picture

Apparently, you are the only one that thinks that. Now does that make sense?

Either way we will both know on Friday.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

buckeyehub's picture

we can only hope, and wait for Baker's commitment to THE Ohio State University.

“Anyone can run the option. I can run the option.” - Urban Meyer
Let's beat the snot out of *ichigan.

+6 HS
buckeyehub's picture

accidental second post, sorry.. GO BUCKS

“Anyone can run the option. I can run the option.” - Urban Meyer
Let's beat the snot out of *ichigan.

+1 HS
KBonay's picture

I expect this Friday am

+5 HS
KBonay's picture

I suspect we are still having a Hilliard/Cornell hangover with the site?  Double post syndrome.

 
+1 HS
TheNorthernBuckeye's picture

I'm interested to see if he remains outside or moves inside at the college level.  I've read quite a bit about how it's more than likely he'll move inside but I personally would prefer him to stay outside.  I think his explosiveness is high quality and I like having that on the edge.  IMO the weakside is perfect for him.  

"You're an angry football team, and I'm proud to be your coach." - UFM

TheNorthernBuckeye's picture

Apologize for the double post, was getting an error message when posting.  We should probably fire Fickell. 

"You're an angry football team, and I'm proud to be your coach." - UFM

+9 HS
BSTP DeCon's picture

Baker is all THE Ohio State Universities! **knocks on wood**

s.pasadena fl's picture

Can't think of any reason he would be announcing this Friday if not for OSU. Plenty of time left for the others. We will see?

Ed Hopper

BierStube's picture

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

+14 HS
SilverBullet-98's picture

I'm worried about this one. Hope I'm wrong.

"The Past Builds the Future"

Buck Commander's picture

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Every time I set my DVR to record Biggest Loser......It always records Wolverine Football Games!

+2 HS
Balkestud's picture

Baker will be the walk out LB, McMillan in the middle and Hilliard on the weak side. On obvious passing situations Booker Jr will rotate in for McMillan then Book and Hilliard will bring the pain with an overload blitz off the weak side. Baker will fake the blitz but drop into the flat on the strong side picking off any attempts by the QB to dump off on a hot route. I think it's safe to say that our LB issues are a thing of the past. OH-

It gets kind of rough in the back of my limousine,

 

 

+1 HS
ronbizi's picture

Watch Nick Conner be the best of them.  I would love it if he becomes another Luke Kuechly.  That being said, I can't wait to see all of this talent on the field.  May the best man win.

NuttyBuckeye's picture

Yeah, don't know why but I see Conner as a Chris Borland type of player.  That could be a real good thing for us!

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

+1 HS
irishfury's picture

Yup.  With a JJ Watt attitude loves the game.  

ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

“He’s so explosive, and he’s still learning the game,” Specht said. “I think that is what makes Justin’s upside so high. He plays too fast, which is a great problem for us to have. We’re always trying to slow him down. When Justin can start to put it all together, he can be pretty special.”

This reminds me of one R.D.S... and I don't care that he didn't make it to the finals of the SPARQ contest, he still showed how he can be an effective recruiter [using his hat to photo- and video-bomb all our wishlist recruits, like Josh Sweat...]

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

Jabba1977's picture

I have a bad feeling on this one!!Hopefully I am wrong,I hate UF as much as SCUM!!

SECHATER77