Homegrown vs. Imports: Breaking Down the Production of Meyer's Recruits

By Michael Citro on June 5, 2014 at 1:00p
Adolphus Washington of Ohio, helps Florida native Joey Bosa to his feet.

Urban Meyer is from Toledo, Ohio, and grew up in Ashtabula, as we all know. He went to college in Cincinnati. He is the head coach of the Buckeye state’s signature college football team.

If anyone knows anything about football in Ohio, it’s Meyer.

So how have the Ohioans in his first two recruiting classes fared against those not blessed enough to be from the nation’s greatest state?

To review, here are the two subsets we’re discussing. Which team would you take between these groups?

Ohio: Warren Ball, De’van Bogard, Jacoby Boren, Taylor Decker, Kyle Dodson, Bri’onte Dunn, Pat Elflein, Frank Epitropoulos, Cardale Jones, Najee Murray, Se’von Pittman, Tyvis Powell, Luke Roberts, Blake Thomas, Adolphus Washington, Cameron Burrows, Gareon Conley, Darron Lee, Evan Lisle, Jalin Marshall, Donovan Munger, Josh Perry, Billy Price, Corey Smith, Tracy Sprinkle, Jayme Thompson, Christopher Worley.

Not Ohio: Jamal Marcus, Joey O’Connor, David Perkins, Armani Reeves, Tommy Schutt, Ricquan Southward, Noah Spence, Michael Thomas, Camren Williams, Eli Apple, J.T. Barrett, Marcus Baugh, Vonn Bell, Joey Bosa, James Clark, Ezekiel Elliott, Tim Gardner, Michael Hill, Trey Johnson, Cameron Johnston, Tyquan Lewis, Mike Mitchell, Dontre Wilson.

It’s kind of a trick question, because first we have to toss out all the guys who left the program.

From the Ohio team, that means Murray, who shuffled off to Kent State; Pittman, who left for Akron); Roberts, who got all academic and transferred to Harvard; and Thompson, who left for JUCO ball at Iowa Western Community College. That leaves 23 Ohioans from Urban’s first two classes.

The non-Ohioans lose the recently departed Marcus, O’Connor (Colorado State), Perkins, who tackled Brutus then got in trouble in Bowling Green and is now at Illinois State, Southward (the moon? Seriously, where is that guy? After a year at Arizona Western the last news I found was an unofficial visit to Arizona in April.), Tim Gardner (Indiana), and Mike Mitchell (Texas Tech). It only leaves 17, but we can bump that up to 19 with the transfers of Jeff Greene and Chad Lindsay into the program.

Then again, Team Ohio gets a boost from Rashad Frazier.

Numbers are one thing, but you’re probably more interested in performance, so let’s take a look at that.

The Ohioans have easily been paced by the play of Washington, Decker, Powell and Perry thus far. Decker overcame a rough opener against Buffalo last season to play solidly at right tackle on one of Ohio State’s best offensive lines ever. Washington posted 45 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and five sacks in two seasons, with one forced fumble (against Michigan) and a blocked kick. Perry became a starter in 2013 after spot duty (and five tackles) in 2012. He finished fourth in tackles (64) with two TFLs and a sack a year ago.

Ball, Dunn and Elflein have been a solid second tier of contributors who figure to become more important in 2014. The rest haven’t done much so far, although Lee is on the verge of becoming an important cog in the OSU defense. Dodson, Price and Lisle should make the two-deep on offensive line. Worley, Conley and Burrows could make an impact on defense.

I would not want this to be my view across the line of scrimmage.
Is Spence Meyer's most productive OSU recruit?

Despite a higher transfer rate, which is always riskier with out-of-state kids, Meyer has shown that plucking recruits from outside the Buckeye state can pay big dividends. His non-Ohioans have out-shone their Buckeye in-state counterparts overall, even if you don’t consider Johnston’s punting heroics of last season.

Spence, Bosa and Schutt have been beasts on the defensive line—an area where Meyer’s two recruiting classes really shows its strength. Spence has 64 tackles, 15.5 TFLs, nine sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in two seasons. He’s become an all-conference talent and could become one of the nation’s best at his position.

Schutt became a starter early but has battled injuries. He’s been effective when healthy, posting seven tackles and half a sack while eating up blockers in the trenches. Bosa took the B1G by storm last season as a freshman, with 44 stops, 13.5 TFLs, 7.5 sacks, six quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Reeves also started on defense in 2013, turning in 26 tackles, an interception, seven pass breakups and a forced fumble. He also became a lightning rod for fan criticism, which is unfortunate because the way the secondary (dis)functioned the last couple of years, it may not have been his fault.

Ezekiel Elliott and Dontre Wilson flashed on offense last season. Elliott is the favorite to replace Carlos Hyde as the starting tailback after his 262 yards on the ground last year. He averaged an impressive 8.7 yards per carry and scored a pair of touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 23 yards and another trip to the end zone.

Wilson was electrifying as a kick returner, always on the verge of breaking one. He didn’t fare too badly out of the hybrid position either. He caught 22 passes for 210 yards and two scores and rushed for 250 yards and another touchdown.

Many other non-Ohioans are threatening to have a big season in 2014—Bell and Lewis especially, but also potentially Apple, Thomas, Clark and maybe Baugh.

It appears that Meyer’s imports have produced more uniformly than his native sons so far. But that only proves the value of his out-of-state selections and why national recruiting is important. His Ohio boys haven’t done too badly either, though, and figure to only get better.

Ohio-born or import, all are Meyer’s Buckeyes, and all are making their mark on the Buckeye football program.



Comments Show All Comments

40eastbuckeye's picture

Perkins is from Indiana

+4 HS
40eastbuckeye's picture

I think you have him mixed with Pittman who is from Ohio

+3 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

Isn't David Perkins from South Bend, Indiana? Or near there? Could've sworn that he wasn't from Ohio.

Edit: Also, Pittman is from Canton. Easy mistake, I think you just flipped Perkins and Pittman. Still a really good article.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+1 HS
buckeyedude's picture

Either SB or Fort Wayne.



tussey's picture

For some reason I thought Pittman was from Ohio

edit:  Good article Michael, I don't mean to be nit-picky.

-1 HS
Jeremypreemo81's picture

I think Pittman is from Canton Mck

+1 HS
hit_the_couch's picture

To review, here are the two subsets we’re discussing. Which team would you take between these groups?

Is it really possible to decide at this point? A number of those guys haven't even seen the field; some of those that have, have seen limited production.


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

jbcuky's picture

I've heard somewhere that Pittman is from Ohio.



+2 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

Going forward, I can see the buckeye in-state players gaining some ground on the out-of-staters. With Decker, Elflein basically being the offensive line leaders, Powell, Burrows and Conley factoring in on the defensive backfield and Lee, Washington, Worley possibly getting some starts. The depth might not be as strong as the non-ohioans, but the contributions might be just as much if not more. Throw in the future of Cardale Jones and Ball or Dunn as key starters, the state isn't lacking future production. I also think it gets stronger with the influx from Berger, Booker, Lattimore and Smith. I also like Campbell and Hubbard!

then again, if we also factor in the 2014 commits, maybe the imports still stay ahead. Webb, Samuel, Raekwon and Knox take this team over with Spence, Bosa, Johnston, Eze, Wilson and Schutt. If JT Barrett wins the battle with Cardale, that would be an import at pretty much each key position (save for LT, and I wouldn't put it past Jamarco to win that spot either). Throw in Mikey T, Apple, Baugh and Bell....Dixon, Neurnberger and Holmes too, the out of staters can pretty much field a whole team!

so for now, I will say the imports are the team and the domestics are cherry on the top, but frankly I DON'T GIVE A DAMN! THEY ARE ALL BUCKEYES AND DAMN ITS GOOD TO BE ONE!


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

+2 HS

I've read complaints about Meyer's Ohio recruiting approach and how he's (paraphrasing) "angering Ohio HS players and coaches by not signing Ohio's players and signing too many out-of-state players." It seems to me that the argument is unfounded. Meyer only takes the best of the best and if you are not on that level you won't get an offer, Ohio-bred player or not. Stories like this are a great reminder to those doubters that Coach Meyer, in fact, knows what he's doing. It's also a reminder that Ohio has great talent but there are sometimes better players elsewhere, too.


"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

+5 HS
allinosu's picture

You are right but boy that's a tricky one. Don't want risk losing the advantage here either.

+1 HS
allinosu's picture

I always thought a little more of our Ohio kids until I realized what courage it takes to go far from home, especially when trying to adapt to college life at the same time.

+1 HS
Groveport Heisman's picture

Sometimes the kids that go further from home get away from negative influences and have a higher chance at success. Plus we really dont offer kids outside the state unless they are blue chip.

Mark my words..I don't need acceptance. I'm catching interceptions on you innocent pedestrians.

+4 HS
Mortc15's picture

23 Ohioans. 19 elsewhere. I would say he's still hitting Ohio pretty hard if over half his recruits so far are from in state. Even with the departed, it's 27-25 in state. I understand Ohio is a hotbed, but 50% is still a solid # of Ohio guys. 


+1 HS
m4's picture

This is an outstanding thread, however several of those players mentioned above committed to OSU before Coach Meyer became the head coach.

Pat Elflein, Warren Ball, Luke Roberts, De'van Bogard, and Frank Epitropoulos to name a few all committed before Coach Meyer was hired.

+1 HS
Michael Citro's picture

This is true. I count them as being in "Meyer's recruiting class" because they didn't flip their commits, which often happens when a coaching staff changes (although in this case it probably helped more than hurt).

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I don't know...can I just say I like them all?  Well, the ones that are still here anyway.

Class of 2010.

+1 HS
Michael Citro's picture

Perkins is Pittman. Finkel is Einhorn.

cinserious's picture

If Perkins is Pittman, then who was in that Brutus costume that Perkins brutally accosted?

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

+2 HS
chirobuck's picture

good read....a handful of Meyer recruits have made an impact but this is the year where we will really start to see his players coming through and I don't think I'm alone in my excitement to see how it comes together


^ best post ever ^

+1 HS
SilverBullet-98's picture

Well I hope Meyer hits Ohio hard in 2016, this State is loaded next year!!!

"The Past Builds the Future"

+1 HS
buckeyedude's picture

I really like Meyer's approach to recruiting. Pluck what you can from Ohio, but don't be afraid to go outside the borders. I wish we could get a couple Hawaiian dudes just for the hell of it and the fun it would be trying to pronounce their names. Especially after a few beerz.



buckskin's picture

I think most people get upset when Meyer doesn't offer ohio guys like Conner. We have heard him talk about the importance of hitting Ohio hard we then think he should offer everyone, but he's in a tough spot. We're in the hunt for many top lbs and we will likely land some (including Hilliard). I love seeing OH guys on the team, but when our goal is the NC every year, we have to go national. It also hurts when we see many OH guys play well at other schools (Bullough and Borland among MANY). We can't get them all.

Shangheyed's picture

At some level the added focus on out of state players is making MSU, Kentucky, ND, Louisville, Indiana and TTUN better as a result of getting Urban's dregs.... Also wonder if the lack of attention (sometimes Urban wants who Urban wants) makes OHIO players less heralded.... if they had offers from OSU would they then have higher rankings?  

I do like the players we have recruited under Meyers so can't complain, there is always one or two that get away but then there are always one or two that come in from out of State that make an impact.  Keys is to find the players who fit the systems, coachable, have team mindset, and not afraid of hard work and competition.... I think we can all say back to back top 5 classes and a pretty nice hall and flips on his first half class are what is expected and indeed has delievered. 

This is the year we see what Urban Recruiting looks like on Saturdays.... can't wait.

BuckInNashville's picture

I'm from Canton. Se'Von Pittman is definitely from canton Mckinley where he and Steve Miller were bookend DEs. 

+1 HS
jaxbuckeye's picture

I think the out of state players are always going to be better because Meyer is only going to go for the ones that he feels are the better players. If they are equal to an Ohio player, I think he just stays in state. 

CC's picture

Your logic is flawed.  They out of state players are better than the ones from Ohio he doesn't recruit, not necessarily the ones he does recruit from Ohio.,

For example if he were recruiting 2 lbs in a class and the #1 and #3 in the country were from Ohio but #2 was from New York and he took #1 and #2 that doesn't mean the ones from out of state are better as you suggested.

seafus26's picture

The impact they leave while at OSU may be felt in their eventual NFL drafts.  I think it's too early to judge, right now.  However, the odds are not in their favor, as they don't play football year round while growing up.  This year Ohio high schools produced produced zero NFL first round draft choces.  The kids that went to  warm weather state high schools produced 28 of the 32 first round draft picks with only 1 from PA, 1 from IN, 1 from NY and 1 from MD representing the north.  Although in my personal opinion I think Ebron from UNC who also went to high school in NC should bump that number up to 5, as it snows, has a winter and the kids there don't play ball year round. Here were the leading states: FLA 8, TX: 4, CA: 4, GA: 4, LA: 3, AL: 2, AZ: 1, SC: 1.  Year round of playing your sport in an organized fashion (school sponsored, city leagues, etc) is huge and has been in other sports (golf and baseball) prior to recent years of football beginning it.  Just look at the regions the kids were from in last night's MLB draft, again.




Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!