National Signing Day: Buckeyes finalize recruiting class

Mark Pantoni, Ohio State’s director of player personnel, sent the first of 18 updates to Twitter at 7:04 a.m., alerting everyone awake in Buckeye Nation that Jake Hausmann, a tight end from Cincinnati Moeller had signed and faxed his national letter of intent — yes, they still use fax machines on Signing Day. By 10:37 a.m., Pantonio had received the last signed letter from Binjimen Victor, a wide receiver from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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VIDEO: Urban Meyer talks Ohio State’s 2016 recruiting class

Seven members of Ohio State’s 2016 recruiting class completed their high school course work earlier and enrolled at Ohio State in January. The 25-man class, which includes nine players from Ohio, ranks third in the nation, according to Rivals.com and 247Sports.com. ESPN ranks it fifth.

Only four members of Ohio State’s 2015 recruiting class saw action last fall, but there will be more opportunity for the members of the 2016 class to earn playing time because 16 starters either exhausted their eligibility or left early for the NFL draft and Meyer hopes they all see the field.

Meyer called it a critical year for development and compared the upcoming spring practice period to the 2014 season when Ezekiel Elliott and others were still trying to prove themselves.

“Last year was so hard because we were very loaded or older team,” Meyer said, “and this year we’re pushing them out there. I’m going to make sure we’re pushing our guys out there. Let them go play.”

The highest-ranked recruit in the bench also has the most familiar name. Nick Bosa is a defensive end like his brother Joey Bosa, who’s expected to be one of the top picks in the NFL draft, if not the top pick, after three seasons at Ohio State. Nick ranked third on ESPN’s list of the top 300 recruits. Joey ranked 56th.

Nick tore his ACL during his senior year of high school at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale. Meyer said he’s well ahead of schedule in his recovery.

“He looks fantastic,” Meyer said. “He’s a little ahead of his brother at this time. … That’s a standing offer for the Bosa family. If they decide to have more children along their journey, they have a scholarship offer.”

Ohio State picked up two recruits on Signing Day. Malik Harrison, a three-star athlete from Walnut Ridge High School in Columbus, announced his decision Wednesday, as did offensive lineman Malcolm Pridgeon, who played the last two seasons at Nassau Community College in Garden City, N.Y.

Pridgeon is the third junior college recruit to sign with Ohio State in the last 10 years and the second in Meyer’s tenure. Wide receiver Corey Smith was the other in 2013.

“Nothing against junior college guys, but we try to build from the youth up,” Meyer said. “And they kept telling me about this player, this offensive tackle from Nassau, and I saw his size and watched the videotape. He’s very impressive guy. He has some work to do in the classroom yet. He came on his visit and stole everybody’s heart.”

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