- Brad Bournival, RecruitingNation
When a coach like Urban Meyer comes into town with two national championships and a pedigree for landing the elite athletes in the country, it’s not hard for recruits to get excited.
When he’s got that program churning into the bye week undefeated, that interest heightens. But when said coach flips a commit on national signing day and then gives the go-ahead for ESPNU to go behind the scenes for a show called ESPN All-Access: Ohio State Training Days it’s even harder to ignore what’s happening in Columbus.
Offensive tackles such as Jimmy Byrne (Cleveland/St. Ignatius) always liked the Buckeyes, but now the ESPN Watch List junior has them in his top two.
“I mean, you always get to hear what the coaches have to say on the phone, but you never get that good of a chance to see them actually working,” Byrne said of the all-access show. “I think that’s a pretty interesting thing for a lot of guys. I know it was for me.”
What Meyer has done in his first full season as coach of the Buckeyes not only has the town on its ear, but recruits as well. Ohio State has never been a hard sell for its targets -- Jim Tressel landed the No. 1 quarterback in the nation and No. 4 athlete overall in Terrelle Pryor (Jeannette, Pa./Jeannette) in 2008.
That type of athlete has become commonplace for Meyer, who has won everywhere he’s coached.
Last year, Ohio State dropped four straight games to finish below .500 for the first time since 1988, and lost seven games for the first time since 1897 to finish at 6-7.
This weekend, the Buckeyes head into their bye week 10-0 and are atop the Leaders Division, a game and a half up on Penn State -- a team Ohio State beat 35-23.
David Dawson (Detroit/Cass Tech) certainly has taken notice.
No. 87 on the ESPN 150, the top-ranked guard in the nation was once a Michigan commit. Now, he’s got the Buckeyes in his final three along with Michigan State and Wisconsin.
“It feels great to know that they offered me,” said Dawson, who had an Ohio State assistant coach at his school on Thursday. “Down in Florida, [Meyer] won a couple of national championships. He’s a great coach.”
That’s what 10-0 does for a recruiting class as ESPN 150 players like linebacker Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian), offensive tackle Dorian Johnson (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon), safety Vonn Bell (Rossville, Ga./Ridgeland) and wide receiver James Quick (Louisville, Ky./Trinity) all have Ohio State in their top three.
While Meyer probably won’t land all of those seniors, there’s no doubt perfection brings about near-perfect athletes. It also has those seniors not just thinking about the Buckeyes, but cheering for them as well.
“I definitely think they’re going to be undefeated this year,” Johnson said. “Coach Meyer seems to be the kind of coach that if he’s got the talent, he’ll get them there.”
6dDan Murphy and Austin Ward