Urban Meyer Passed a Legacy of Recruiting Dominance to Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day

By David Regimbal on March 30, 2020 at 2:55 pm
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day with former coach Urban Meyer
© Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

College football recruiting was effectively put on hold when the NCAA instituted a blanket dead period for coaches that restricted in-person visits on campuses nationwide.

It was an unexpected turn that halted progress for a lot of programs around the country, but that hasn't been the case for Ohio State, which reeled in several bluechip prospects over the last two weeks.

To quickly recap, it started on March 15 when 4-star safety Jakailin Johnson (ranked the No. 59 prospect nationally) announced his commitment to the Buckeyes. Three-star cornerback Devonta Smith (No. 431) and 4-star running back Evan Pryor (No. 85) did the same the following day, and fewer than 24 hours later, 4-star cornerback Andre Turrentine (No. 136) joined the fold.

It was a solid run of commitments that shifted into overdrive last Friday when 5-star TreVeyon Henderson, the nation's No. 2 running back and 17th prospect overall, committed to the Buckeyes.

The surge strengthened Ohio State's position atop the 2021 recruiting rankings, as there's an enormous 60-point gap between the Buckeyes and No. 2 Clemson. 

Ohio State's recruiting success isn't an accident, because head coach Ryan Day is standing on the foundation Urban Meyer built.

When Meyer joined the Buckeye football program in November, 2011, he elevated Ohio State's recruiting to a different level.

It didn't need raised that far, because Jim Tressel was a solid recruiter in his own right. But from 2004-11, Ohio State's average class rank 12.1, with only two of those classes ranked inside the top five (2008, 2009), according to scout.com.

Meyer's recruiting reshaped Ohio State in a completely different way, however. His seven classes ranked No. 5, No. 2, No. 3, No. 7, No. 4, No. 2 and No. 2 nationally, all of which were the highest rated classes in the Big Ten.

Those classes boasted 14 5-star prospects collectively — a staggering number of top-flight recruits — and that talent infusion helped the Buckeyes secure an undefeated season in 2012, Big Ten titles in 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019 and the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship.

The Meyer era changed the expectations for Ohio State's football recruiting, and with his first full class signed and his second one well on its way, Day is proving he's well equipped to meet those expectations.

Ohio State's 2019 recruiting class took the brunt of the uncertainty surrounding Meyer's final season with the Buckeyes, but Day managed to close strong and sign the nation's No. 14 class. But with a full recruiting cycle to work with and a surprisingly dominant 2019 football team, he earned commitments from 10 of the top 165 rated players in the country to headline a class that ranked fifth nationally (and No. 1 in the Big Ten).

That brings us to current day, and Ohio State has a stranglehold on the No. 1 spot in this year's recruiting ranks. And if you factor in how Eleven Warriors' Zack Carpenter expects the rest of the class to fill out, Ohio State's 247Sports points total would climb to 319.45, making it the most talented recruiting class since at least the turn of the century.

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