COLUMBUS, Ohio – Two ESPNU 150 defensive linemen and the No. 4 player in the country in a one-week span apparently is not enough for Urban Meyer. The new Ohio State coach, regarded as one of the two or three best recruiters in the country, wants more.
“I feel Ok,” Meyer said Thursday about his feelings on the Buckeyes’ 2012 class with 20 days until signing day Feb. 1. “I’ve recruited long enough to know it’s not official until it’s official. If we walk away right now I’d feel good but not great. The next four or five are going to be key.
“We had that nice run in December, but these couple weeks are big.”
Since landing Noah Spence, ranked fourth in the ESPNU 150, on Dec. 18 and fellow ESPNU 150 linemen Se’Von Pittman and Tommy Schutt a few days earlier, Ohio State has failed to pick up a commitment. The hype surrounding Ohio State and Meyer was running at full speed the first three weeks of his tenure, which began Nov. 28. The brakes were tapped Dec. 20 when the NCAA hit the Buckeyes with a total of nine scholarships lost and a bowl ban.
The penalties were more severe than what Meyer anticipated and was telling recruits to expect.
“They stuck with us. Absolutely I had to explain and rightfully so,” Meyer said. “It was the first time I really knew. I was telling what we expect but now it’s final. A lot a lot of phone calls.”
Without knowing how many scholarship players will leave the program over the next few weeks or months, Meyer said he expects to sign a class of 23 or 24, which leaves four or five spots left.
Meyer hopes to be closer to that number after this weekend when ESPNU 150 prospects Davonte Neal (ranked No. 29 overall) and Joey O’Connor (No. 105) officially visit along with four-star athlete David Perkins. Other possibilities include top-ranked quarterback Jameis Winston (Florida State commit), Jordan Diamond, Stefon Diggs, Kyle Dodson (Wisconsin commit), Camren Williams and Bam Bradley.
By now, most have heard the story of how Meyer knew he was beginning exert himself as coach too much when he found himself texting recruits in church. Meyer may no longer be dialing prospects during Sunday mass anymore, but he said he has not changed much as a recruiter in his first month and a half.
“Not much different, very hands on,” he said. “The CEO approach where other guys go get him and try to close.”