Presser Bullets: Urban Meyer Discusses the Demand for Members of the 2017 Class to Compete Immediately, Coaching Changes and More

By Eric Seger on February 1, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Ohio State put to bed arguably its best recruiting class ever on Wednesday. With 21 commitments, the Buckeyes rank No. 2 behind Alabama according to 247Sports but its average commitment rating is the best in the country.

A relatively uneventful day for Urban Meyer and company, the 11 expected Letters of Intents not from the nine early enrollees strolled through the fax machine before 10:30 a.m. ET. Thayer Munford announced his plans to be a Buckeye shortly after 1 p.m.

Meyer met with the local media to dissect the class, provide updates on more about his program and everything in between.


  • Meyer: "I think you're going to see more and more uneventful signing days, based off of the discussions and other things with coaches about and early signing period."
  • There is a whole side of the wall in his staff's "War Room" at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center dedicated to recruiting: "When Malik Hooker walks out, you better be ready to put someone just as good back in."
  • Meyer does not recall ever having a situation where one of his teams lost three out of four players in the secondary in back-to-back years.
  • "A lot of those players replacing them are already here and that's such a good thing. We are excited about them."
  • Meyer didn't know Shaun Wade when the star corner committed to Ohio State the day the Buckeyes won the national championship on Jan. 12, 2015: "I can't be more proud that he stuck with his commitment."
  • On the notion that this class could be viewed as the best ever, Meyer said the credit goes to past players and their parents: "The greatest salesmen we have here are the people in that locker room and their families."
  • Meyer is "so impressed" in the young people coming out of high school the last few years: "That didn't used to be the case ... I think those kinds of people are naturally attracted to Ohio State and very attracted to our program."
  • On only seven of 21 players from the state of Ohio in the class: "That's not enough ... That bothers you because Ohio is traditionally a late-developing state." Ideally, Meyer said he wants 50 percent of the class to be from Ohio.
  • Meyer emphatically said there will be 21 players in the 2017 class.
  • Meyer noted the need to have to see players play in their senior seasons before offering them is why he is so vehemently against an early signing period: "It's an interesting development that we deal with."
  • "Ben Victor is going to be a dynamite player here."
  • "Everyone wants the next Julio Jones" at wide receiver, Meyer said, but Ohio State's focus is always on getting the best player at wide receiver.
  • On the hire of Kevin Wilson, Meyer said he's known him for a long time and has "a great respect" for him as a football coach.
  • More on holding on to Wade for so long, Meyer usually puts a 30 percent chance on keeping out of state kids in the class: "We gotta hang onto them ... but I'm glad he is here in January."
  • On Elijah Gardiner: "It's a project-type body but big and fast. So if you miss on a player, make sure he's fast and he's big, because they usually turn into something."
  • Meyer had Gene Smith meet with Thayer Munford before Ohio State offered him a scholarship to go through the issues of his eligibility and how he changed high schools. Munford came to "three or four" camps at Ohio State, Meyer said and Greg Studrawa would not let the fact he wanted him as part of the 2017 class die: "He checked off all the boxes and we went after him."
  • Meyer said "it was immediate" when he called a meeting with Smith about hiring Wilson after the Fiesta Bowl loss: "It was rather quick, we vetted everything ... I wanted to know what the issues were and we proceeded." Meyer said Wilson's departure from Indiana was due to "misunderstandings and philosophical differences."
  • What does Meyer expect Wilson to do with the passing offense? "Throwing the ball better ... but I'm going to make it clear it is going to be an Ohio State offense."
  • Meyer called the end of the 2016 season "unfortunate." He did not envision Ohio State making the College Football Playoff: "We were a year ahead."
  • Ohio State moved on from its loss to Clemson quickly but "the intent is to never let that happen again."
  • There will be changes at Ohio State, Meyer said: "I think we needed a bit of a refresh. Just changing up some things ... I'm going to change the coaches offices all around."
  • Asked about Baron Browning telling him he was going to go to Alabama, Meyer said he took his iPhone and "threw it against the damn wall": "Then I get a phone call and it's his dad saying, 'We got him, we got him.' I said, What the hell you talking about?'"
  • Meyer joked he was leaving to be the Los Angeles Rams job, Browning cried: "Don't let him tell you different. He cried."
  • Meyer never thought J.T. Barrett would leave Ohio State: "He's an Ohio State Buckeye and wants to be an Ohio State Buckeye."
  • Barrett wants to win a championship "so bad" but obviously he hasn't been able to do that yet: "He got us to the doorstep in 2014 but had to give way to Cardale (Jones)."
  • On the long line of quarterbacks behind Barrett, Meyer said Ohio State evaluates on how each player wins: "Tate [Martell] is a winner. J.T. Barrett is a winner. Braxton Miller is a winner."
  • More on Martell: "He's a winner. He's from a winning program. You see him, the way he walks around here, his personality — he's a winner."
  • Did Ohio State turn its attention to more ready-made, big-bodied wide receivers in recent years? "I don't know that. We look at the top-15 receivers in America and go after them ... It's not a philosophical shift. Not at all. Next year, we're going to try to find the biggest, fastest receivers we can."
  • Meyer did not elaborate on if there are any other players transferring out of the program other than Evan Lisle, Kyle Trout and Torrance Gibson.
  • "Josh Myers is competing for a spot already ... He's absolutely killing it in the weight room right now." Meyer said Myers is battling for the open offensive line spot.
  • This year's recruiting class will have the most immediate impact in the defensive backfield.
  • On all the national prospects committing to Ohio State, Meyer said he believes their success has helped that: "Ohio State is a national brand, it always will be and it always has been. But I think the success we've had has been beneficial."
  • "I think another thing these kids see is not only they go to the NFL, they start." Does Ohio State push that in recruiting? Meyer: "You think?"
  • Landing this class is credited to everyone on the staff, including the graphics and design team.
  • On so many players leaving school early for the NFL Draft: "I don't want to say it's awful, but it's tough. Imagine what that team would have looked like last year if those nine guys came back."
  • "Really deep down, I feel like this is going to be an exceptional class. Because they're showing it right now."
  • Ed Warinner and Tim Beck wanted to pursue other opportunities: "Nobody got fired ... there was no dismissal or anything like that." Call their departures amicable and denied anything was in place before the Buckeyes played Clemson.
  • Warinner "did an exceptional job at Ohio State."
  • Meyer: "Productivity in the passing game must be better ... we gave up 25 sacks this year. That's unnacceptable. We have to separate better. We have to have better quarterback play. It's everything."
  • A reporter asked Meyer as he walked away from the podium if Ohio State is done adding players to its 2017 class. Meyer: "Maybe."
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