Meyer's recruiting focus: Stay the course

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, especially when it comes to recruiting for Ohio State.

The thinking was that coach Urban Meyer would bring more of a national feel to his recruiting classes.

Through 1½ recruiting classes the numbers are actually quite similar to classes in the past under Jim Tressel.

We went back through the last 12 recruiting years for the Buckeyes and found something interesting. Dating to 2002, the Buckeyes have grabbed a Florida recruit in all but 2003. The rest of the numbers after that are also almost identical.

From 2002-10, the class size was roughly 20.4 students, with 12.5 coming from in state. Under Meyer so far, the class size is 20.5 with 11.5 coming from the Buckeye State. That’s 57 percent under Meyer to 61 percent under Tressel.

“I’m not totally surprised,” ESPN Midwest Recruiting writer Jared Shanker said. “I think there’s a reason for that. Ohio State has the most fans nationally. They were a national program before Tressel. They were a national program under him. They’ll be a national program under Meyer. I’m not completely surprised.

“They already did well with Florida under Tressel recruiting-wise. That will probably continue under Meyer. You might see him branch out a little further and pick up some recruits, but they’re pretty on par with the kids they’re recruiting every year.”

It’s a trend Shanker doesn’t see changing, either. The talent in Ohio is comparable with some of the bigger states like Florida, Texas and California, so the thinking becomes why spend thousands of dollars in airfare.

Plus, competing with Michigan for recruits is always a storyline – and most of those battles take place over Ohio players, especially in northern Ohio.

“Ohio is probably one of the top five or six states as far as churning out Division I talent every year,” Shanker said. “They don’t have a reason to leave their state too much. You want to make sure you’re not losing guys to other schools like Michigan. If you focus too much out of state, you’ll lose some of the proud high school coaches in the state and the kids that dream of growing up playing for Ohio State.”

A breakdown of the last 12 classes: