Much has been said about Ohio State's lack of homegrown talent since head coach Urban Meyer and director of player personnel Mark Pantoni stated their desire to recruit better within the state's borders.
“Fifty percent is kind of the mark that I've been trying to — I keep it right in front of me, and I stare at it to make sure that we're doing right," Meyer said on National Signing Day in early February.
With each passing year, however, the Buckeyes' recruiting classes continue have less local and more national flavor. The number of Ohioans in each class has dipped from 16 in 2012 to 7 earlier this year, and even that number doesn't look attainable for 2018.
“[That's] not enough Ohio,” Pantoni said. “That's something we want our percentage to be much higher on. There's too much talent in this state. But at the same time, we're also searching for the best players in the country.”
Let's take a look at that last line one more time.
“We're also searching for the best players in the country.”
Ohio State currently holds commitments from 14 prospects — two from Ohio and 12 from either California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland*, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia. Ten of them are ranked within the Top 100 of the 247Sports Composite Rankings, and the Buckeyes sit just two points behind Miami for the nation's top-rated class.
While it's easy to complain about the lack of in-state prospects among them, it's even harder to argue with the staff's national recruiting approach given the results. Especially after the Class of 2017 finished with the highest per-player average in the eight-year history of 247Sports' recruiting rankings.
As you'll see below, though, Ohio State isn't the only top program that looks past lower-rated in-state talent in search of top prospects nationwide. The staff will try to lock down the five or so best players in the state and chase four- and five-star prospects across the country — something that has to be done to compete for a national championship year-in and year-out.
So how do other top programs compare with their in-state recruiting approach? Let's take a look.
NOTES: *Originally from Baltimore, Maryland; **Plays at IMG Academy in Florida
|JUSTYN ROSS||PHENIX CITY||★★★★||WR||UNCOMMITTED|
The Crimson Tide — winners of seven-consecutive recruiting titles — are a bit behind in terms of the 2018 recruiting class, holding commitments from only six prospects. Only one is from Alabama, but the rest are from either Florida, Georgia, South Carolina or Tennessee. Head coach Nick Saban's recruiting approach is very similar to that of Meyer's, so I wouldn't expect very many of the aforementioned names to join the class in the coming months.
|JALEN HALL||LONG BEACH||★★★★★||WR||UNCOMMITTED|
|AMON-RA ST. BROWN||ANAHEIM||★★★★★||WR||UNCOMMITTED|
|MATT CORRAL||LONG BEACH||★★★★★||QB||UNCOMMITTED|
|JAIDEN WOODBEY||BELLFLOWER||★★★★||S||OHIO STATE|
|ISAAC TAYLOR-STUART||SAN DIEGO||★★★★||CB||UNCOMMITTED|
|OLAIJAH GRIFFIN||MISSION VIEJO||★★★★||CB||UNCOMMITTED|
|T.J. PLEDGER||CANOGA PARK**||★★★★||RB||OKLAHOMA|
|SOLOMON TULIAUPUPU||SANTA ANA||★★★★||LB||UNCOMMITTED|
California is a bit different, however, given the Power 5 presence of Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC. The Trojans are among the favorites to eventually land Hall, St. Brown, Taylor-Stuart and Tuliapupu, which could shift this list considerably. More than 10 percent of the Top 100 prospects nationally reside in the Golden State, so USC is less likely to recruit anywhere else.
|PATRICK SURTAIN II||FORT LAUDERDALE||★★★★★||CB||UNCOMMITTED|
|TYSON CAMPBELL||FORT LAUDERDALE||★★★★★||CB||UNCOMMITTED|
|LORENZO LINGARD||ORANGE CITY||★★★★★||RB||MIAMI|
Similarly, nearly 15 percent of the nation's Top 100 players reside in Florida. Miami, as mentioned, has shot to the top of the recruiting rankings with quantity over quality. Fifteen of their 19 commits are from the Sunshine State, but six of them are considered either three- or two-star prospects. Florida State, meanwhile, has focused much of its recruiting efforts this cycle on prospects in Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.
|BRENTON COX||STOCKBRIDGE||★★★★★||DE||OHIO STATE|
|TREY HILL||WARNER ROBINS||★★★★||OG||UNCOMMITTED|
|EMORY JONES||FRANKLIN||★★★★||QB||OHIO STATE|
|DERRIK ALLEN||MARIETTA||★★★★||S||NOTRE DAME|
|ROBERT COOPER||SNELLVILLE||★★★★||DT||FLORIDA STATE|
Though Georgia made a push in the recruiting rankings thanks to a commitment from North Carolina five-star running back Zamir White, the Bulldogs have also seen their own state raided by the country's top programs. Ohio State, in particular, has nabbed Cox and Jones and remains among the biggest threats to Georgia for Salyer and Hill. The Bulldogs may eventually land Fields, but keeping the rest of the top talent home has been a problem.
|MARQUAN MCCALL||OAK PARK||★★★★||OG||KENTUCKY|
|RYAN HAYES||TRAVERSE CITY||★★★★||OT||MICHIGAN|
|TYRONE SAMPSON JR.||DETROIT||★★★★||C||SYRACUSE|
|THEO DAY||DEARBORN||★★★★||QB||MICHIGAN STATE|
|JALEN MAYFIELD||GRAND RAPIDS||★★★★||OT||MICHIGAN|
|OVIE OGHOUFO||FARMINGTON||★★★||OLB||NOTRE DAME|
The state of Michigan is not nearly as talented as it was a year ago, when the Wolverines locked down five-star receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones and six of the other Top 8 in-state prospects. Head coach Jim Harbaugh has landed prospects from Florida, Georgia, Indiana and Texas instead, wile Kentucky — much like it has done in Ohio — has been there to take the leftovers.
|JAELEN GILL||WESTERVILLE||★★★★||RB||OHIO STATE|
|TYREKE SMITH||CLEVELAND HEIGHTS||★★★★||DE||UNCOMMITTED|
|L'CHRISTIAN "BLUE" SMITH||HUBER HEIGHTS||★★★★||WR||UNCOMMITTED|
|DALLAS GANT||TOLEDO||★★★★||LB||OHIO STATE|
|JOSEPH "JOJO" SCATES||DAYTON||★★★★||WR||UNCOMMITTED|
|TRENTON GILLISON||PICKERINGTON||★★★★||TE||MICHIGAN STATE|
|XAVIER PETERS||WEST CHESTER||★★★★||OLB||KENTUCKY|
Ohio State already holds commitments from Gill and Gant, and have long been the favorites for Carman and the Smiths. Tyreke and L'Christian are expected to make their decisions by the end of summer, meaning Ohio State could have locked down four of the state's Top 5 prospects by the time the season rolls around. Given their focus nationally, those five may be it for in-state recruiting in 2018.
|PHIL JURKOVEC||GIBSONIA||★★★★||QB||NOTRE DAME|
|ZACH KUNTZ||CAMP HILL||★★★★||TE||PENN STATE|
|FREDRICK "JUICE" SCRUGGS||ERIE||★★★★||C||UNCOMMITTED|
|MATTHEW BAUER||ERIE||★★★★||ILB||NOTRE DAME|
|NICK TARBURTON||PERKASIE||★★★★||ILB||PENN STATE|
Penn State will always have to battle Pitt for in-state supremacey, but it looks like the Nittany Lions should win every recruiting battle between the two programs. Head coach James Franklin has focused most of his efforts on New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and Penn State would still be fighting for the top spot in the recruiting rankings had Parsons not decided to reopen his recruitment in late April. The Buckeyes have been a thorn in the Nittany Lions' side, though, and are the favorites to land Parsons and Scruggs in the coming months.
|DERION KENDRICK||ROCK HILL||★★★★||WR||CLEMSON|
|DAKEREON JOYNER||NORTH CHARLESTON||★★★★||QB||SOUTH CAROLINA|
|DEMARCUS GREGORY||DUNCAN||★★★||WR||OLE MISS|
|KHALID JONES II||GREENVILLE||★★★||ILB||NORTHWESTERN|
Clemson, the defending national champion, will take a smaller class next year. However, the Tigers sit among the Top 10 programs nationally with commitments from Thomas and the above-mentioned Georgia quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Unlike Ohio's Jackson Carman, Thomas — who actually attends IMG Academy in Florida, but is originally from Florence — decided early on in the process he wanted to return home for college.
|MAX WRAY||FRANKLIN||★★★★||OT||OHIO STATE|
Though Tennessee finished 9-4 last season, good for second in the SEC East, the Volunteers have made a surprising push to third in the 247Sports Team Rankings — it must be their title of Champions at Life. Anyway, Tennessee has done this thanks to a renewed focus on local prospects, as the Volunteers hold commitments from six of the Top 10 prospects in the state. Ohio State, as you know, as locked down Wray and Murfreesboro's Master Teague III — considered the 11th-best prospect in the state.
|LEON O'NEAL JR.||CYPRESS||★★★★||S||TEXAS A&M|
One year after Ohio State went to Texas and landed three of the state's Top 6 prospects, head coach Tom Herman has made it a point to not let that happen again. Though the Buckeyes and Longhorns will battle through the fall for Cook, it looks as if Foster, Eagles, Green, Overshown and Woodard are all set to land in Austin. Texa doesn't have to recruit nationally given the amount of talent in the Lone Star State, but that would be quite the haul nonetheless.