Jan. 18, 2016 started off like any other Monday for Urban Meyer.
How it ended was surely different.
That’s because Meyer, along with the rest of the Buckeyes’ coaching staff, had one of, if not the greatest days on the recruiting trail in recent history. Ohio State landed verbal commitments Jan. 18 from quarterback Dwayne Haskins, linebacker Keandre Jones and wide receiver Binjimen Victor — all four-star prospects rated as top-100 prospects nationally — within a four-hour timeframe.
Meyer couldn’t publicly discuss those three commitments back then as it is against NCAA rules to discuss prospects who have not yet signed National Letters of Intent. Meyer’s Twitter account released a tweet that day, though, that pretty much told the whole tale.
Wow! Big Day— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) January 18, 2016
On Wednesday, as Ohio State inked what is now the fourth-ranked class in the country according to 247Sports’ composite rankings, Meyer discussed what became known to many Buckeye fans as ‘12-Star Monday.’
“That was a good day,” Meyer said with a faint smile.
Understatement of the century.
This was the type of day on the recruiting trail the Buckeyes could look back on and say was crucial to hanging another championship banner.
In Haskins, Ohio State hopes it landed its quarterback of the future. The 6-foot-3, 198-pounder hailing from Potomac, Maryland is the seventh-ranked pro-style quarterback in the country. He was once committed to the in-state Terrapins.
“I know he was a big Ohio State fan growing up and the relationship instantly was right exactly where it was when we went our separate ways,” Meyer said of Haskins. “I anticipate after going — he went through a workout and watching him, watching his film and the way he’s been trained; he’s got an excellent quarterback coach — that he will compete for playing time as a true freshman.
“He is an impact recruit.”
With Jones, the Buckeyes got a four-star outside linebacker who, like Haskins, was also once committed to Maryland. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 198 pounds, Jones is from Olney, Maryland and is one of Haskins’ good friends. Their relationship was a key part in getting Jones to flip his commitment.
“We knew what we wanted and we were just fortunate enough that we had the good fortunes obviously to put a lot of things together to get maybe one of [Haskins’] good buddies and do a great job at landing a great football player,” Ohio State co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell said. “He was a guy that we targeted probably after his junior year that on film was a guy that was very dynamic and I guess, maybe you’d say at the Sam linebacker position, the prototype of what we’re looking for.”
Victor was actually the first of the three to announce his commitment on that Monday, picking Ohio State over Tennessee and West Virginia. Hailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Victor is the country’s 12th-ranked wide receiver. At 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds, he is a huge target on the outside and could be a big-time difference maker in the future for the Buckeyes.
“I wanted to make sure he fit because he’s in South Florida so how is he going to migrate up here?” Meyer said of Victor. “But I’m blown away at what kind of quality kid he is. He’s qualified. He’s ready to rock and roll and go play.
“Coach [Zach] Smith really did a great job recruiting him. That was a big get.”
Jan. 18, 2016 is day Ohio State fans will remember for a long time. Three highly-ranked players who could all potentially be future stars on Saturdays for the Buckeyes. Meyer gives Haskins a lot of credit for it all coming together.
“Dwayne was very involved in that,” he said. “Dwayne Haskins is an excellent recruiter.”
It surely wasn’t a coincidence all three of these highly-touted recruits committed on the same day within hours of each other; this was a process. But Ohio State fans don’t really care how it happened. All they care about is that it did.
“All of those things all kind of came together,” Fickell said. “Like we say: If you build it they will come.”