National Recruiting Report | Maintaining the Meyer Standard at OSU

March 15, 2019

Urban Meyer is in the news again. This time it’s not because of something terrible. 

He’s been hired by Fox to be part of their College Gameday competitor. I think it’s pretty obvious he is getting hired to be part of that show because of what he did as a coach and not any potential he might have shown as a broadcaster during his first “retirement” after leaving Florida.

He’s the second most successful college coach in the last 20 years and one of the biggest reasons why he won three national championships was because he was a relentless recruiter.

Ohio State recruited well before he got there, but he took them to new heights. From his first full recruiting class in 2013 to his last one in 2018, their average finish in the team recruiting rankings was third. His staff won far more big time recruiting battles than they lost during those years and he set not only a new standard for Ohio State recruiting, but for Big Ten recruiting in general.

It’s going to be incredibly tough for new head coach Ryan Day to live up to. He’s off to a great start with this 2020 class, which can be at least traced back to Meyer. They already have commitments from offensive tackle Paris Johnson‍ (12 in the ISD Fab 50), center Luke Wypler‍ (33), and wide receiver Gee Scott‍ (42). As of right now they are the only program who have more than two commitments from my top-50 players in the country.

The latest commitment is a bit more of a head scratcher. Offensive tackle Trey Leroux is not considered as one of the top recruits in Ohio. His only other B1G offers at the moment are Indiana, Purdue, and Rutgers. He barely cracks the top-50 recruits in the state in what I would consider a down year in terms quantity of top level talent.

It’s one lower-ranked player and a 6’8” 320 pound one at that, but it did make me do a double take when I originally saw it. The Buckeyes have signed players in the same range as Leroux before, but usually those players are them filing a spot at the end of the class and not someone who commits in March when they already have three other O-line commits on board.

The lowest ranked player they signed from Ohio in their 2017 class was still a top-15 player in the state. The lowest ranked Ohioan they signed last year, linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, was ranked in the top-10.

Meyer was so good at signing the top players from elsewhere around the country that he could be very selective when it came to Ohio. Leroux’s commitment and a commitment from Elder (Cincinnati) offensive tackle Jakob James (30th in the state) might signal that Day is shifting the focus in recruiting.

Owning the state sounds great in theory as Ohio still has some blue-chip prospects that remain uncommitted like defensive tackle Darrion Henry‍ and running backs JuTahn McClain‍ and DeaMonte Trayanum‍. But are they going to be okay with securing the local talent rather than winning the race to land a 5-star back like Kendall Milton‍ from California? He’s visiting next month so I guess we’ll see.

He’s the kind of player who Meyer would make a priority and Ohio State would end up signing even though everyone on the country wants to sign him as well. We don’t know yet if Day and his staff are going to be able to reach the ridiculously high bar that Meyer set for them. Maybe this is a signal that he’s not going to try.

On to other stray thoughts on national recruiting…

- Clemson now has two Fab 50 commitments after offensive tackle Mitchell Mayes‍ committed to them earlier this week. They just had guard Bryn Tucker‍ commit to them yesterday as well.

If there was one area where they haven’t recruited as well under Dabo Swinney compared to other spots, it was on the offensive line. They could grab some big recruits like Mitch Hyatt and Jackson Carman, but they’ve had a lot of 3-stars starting for them over the years.

Tucker and Mayes make it five 4-star commits on the O-line for them this cycle.

- Stanford picked up a commitment from 4-star wide receiver John Humphreys‍. That’s their second 4-star wide receiver they have pledged for 2020 joining Bryce Farrell‍. Both had Notre Dame offers.

Let’s be honest, not many of these players who choose Stanford have football at the top of their list of reasons for making their selection, but they’ve played good enough football for a long enough period of time that they aren’t going anywhere as a recruiting threat for Notre Dame any time soon.

- The award for the recruit’s name that sounds like he’s a side character in a Marvel comic goes to...Iowa quarterback commit Deuce Hogan‍.

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