You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

live video

Sean Spicer giving daily White House briefing

Meyer puts together another top-flight recruiting class


Urban Meyer produced a perfect record in his first season as Ohio State coach, but he knows he had an imperfect team.

One of the deficiencies was a lack of field-stretching speed on offense, the kind he was accustomed to having at Florida when doing battle in the SEC. He hit the recruiting trail intent on addressing that issue, and he’s bringing in some blazers at the skill positions that could compete in any conference.

“Urban doesn’t miss a beat. He goes right after what he thinks is the thing that’s going to improve his team the most,” said Allen Wallace, publisher of SuperPrep Magazine and national recruiting editor for Scout.com.

“You’ve got to recruit. You’ve got to fix your problems. And Urban is a problem-solver.”

Going into signing day today, Meyer has a top-three class in the eyes of the leading recruiting Web sites, thanks largely to a bevy of swift play-makers.

He already had Middletown athlete Jalin Marshall, St. Louis running back Ezekiel Elliott and Mississippi junior-college wideout Corey Smith in the fold and then was able to convince Dontre Wilson, an all-purpose back from Texas, to come aboard Monday after having once made a verbal commitment to Oregon.

The Buckeyes’ class is ranked third by both Scout.com and ESPN.com and is tied for second with Florida in the Rivals.com ratings, one spot behind Alabama.

Last year, in barely two months on the job, Meyer turned a mediocre class for the Buckeyes into one of the nation’s best. It was ranked third by Scout, fourth by Rivals and sixth by ESPN.

“I think he’s kind of seen as a rock star by high school prospects,” said Bucknuts.com recruiting analyst Bill Kurelic. “Obviously, he had tremendous success at Florida — two national championships. Then after going 12-0 at Ohio State, he’s just seen as one of the top college football coaches in the country, no question.”

Meyer’s ability to flip committed prospects is becoming renowned. Gareon Conley of Massillon, who was once pledged to Michigan, is one of the 24 players currently in OSU’s 2013 class, as is linebacker Trey Johnson, a Georgia native who once was bound for Auburn.

Last year, Meyer snatched four recruits from Penn State, two from Notre Dame and one each from Michigan State and Wisconsin.

Wilson’s commitment gives the Buckeyes eight players in the Rivals top-100, including Marshall (35), Trotwood defensive back Cam Burrows (39) and Centerville offensive lineman Evan Lisle (90).

“They’ve done a great job on the defensive line for the second year in a row. They really brought in a spectacular group of defensive linemen,” Kurelic said. “Linebacker is a big need, and they’ve got two potential impact linebackers in the class. Secondary wise, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a much better group of cornerbacks headed to one school.

“They’ve pretty well filled their needs in a balanced way on offense. Another offensive lineman or two would have been nice, but they’ve got all the positions pretty much covered.”

The Buckeyes are still in the running for two top prospects making signing decisions, Georgia safety Vonn Bell and Florida receiver James Clark. But they’re not likely to fall far in the rankings even if they stay at 24.

Despite the clout of OSU, Meyer’s back-to-back top-five classes in the Rivals ratings aren’t the norm. The Buckeyes had only three in previous coach Jim Tressel’s 10 years and had an average class ranking of 13.4

Meyer also has shown an ability to recruit coast to coast, getting top cornerback Eli Apple from New Jersey and tight end Marcus Baugh from California. While Tressel relied heavily on Ohio talent, Meyer has 14 out-of-state players and 10 native Buckeyes.

“People have asked me questions about Urban Meyer recruiting well in places outside the Midwest and maybe that’s because of his coaching background — the fact that he was in Florida and succeessful for so long,” said Wallace, who is based in Laguna Beach, Calif. “My feeling is, I don’t care where Urban was from. If he thought the player that was going to help him was from Florida, he’d go down and get him. He didn’t have to be the Gator coach.

“Urban’s an exceptionally aggressive, confident guy. I don’t even know if they come more so than him. It’s hard to distinguish the true difference between (Alabama coach) Nick Saban and Urban. They both think they’re going to win all the time. They’ll both do whatever it takes to do it. And they’re not bashful about it.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Area schools wear orange to show support for West Liberty-Salem following shooting
Area schools wear orange to show support for West Liberty-Salem following shooting

Around the area, schools are looking to show their support for West Liberty-Salem following a shooting at the high school last week.  At Triad, kids wore orange to school Monday.  Players from Cedarville and Springfield Catholic Central wore orange wristbands when they played over the weekend.   The fifth-grade basketball team from...
Dayton men, women off to strong starts in A-10 play
Dayton men, women off to strong starts in A-10 play

The University of Dayton men's and women's basketball teams are 6-1 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Dayton is one of nine schools in the country with both its teams in first place. The Dayton men (15-4) have won three straight games and sit alone in first place after a 67-46 victory over Saint Louis on Sunday at UD Arena. The Dayton women (12-7) beat...
Smitherman leaves Stebbins for Xenia
Smitherman leaves Stebbins for Xenia

Trace Smitherman has resigned at Stebbins to accept the head football coaching position at Xenia High School. He succeeds Bob DeLong , who resigned after last season. In eight seasons Smitherman essentially revived the Stebbins program, which had languished in the bottom half of the Central Buckeye Conference since joining...
5 things to know about Super Bowl LI
5 things to know about Super Bowl LI

The matchup for our 51st Super Bowl is set: The Atlanta Falcons will take on the New England Patriots in Houston on the first Sunday in February. You’ll have an opportunity to read thousands of things about both teams between now and the opening kickoff, but here are some quick basics to get it all started. Atlanta has been to one Super Bowl...
Archie Miller: Cunningham intends to play this season
Archie Miller: Cunningham intends to play this season

Dayton Flyers sophomore forward Josh Cunningham continues to make progress in his rehabilitation. After a 67-46 victory over Saint Louis on Sunday at UD Arena, coach Archie Miller said Cunningham intends to play again this season. Cunningham hasn't played since tearing a ligament in his ankle in the second game of the season Nov. 15 at Alabama...
More Stories