Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Ohio State Buckeyes [Print without images]

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
OSU's season to bring recruiting success

By Brad Bournival

Billy Price
Billy Price, an OSU commit, believes more top recruits will pick the Buckeyes.
Billy Price (Youngstown, Ohio/Austintown Fitch) might have put it best when he said recruits will either jump on the Ohio State train or get run over by it.

The third commit in the 2013 class said yes to the Buckeyes back when they were coming off a 6-7 campaign. With the school headed into Michigan week this season at 11-0, the defensive tackle is obviously a little biased, but he is all smiles as he travels to the Horseshoe for “The Game.”

What Price sees is a formula in which winning breeds winners as he thinks Ohio State has an advantage by being unbeaten this late in the season when it pertains to recruiting his class and the next.

“Coach [Urban] Meyer has been around the block,” Price said. “It seems like he hasn’t lost a beat since when he was at Florida. As a recruit, you want to see results and it’s all right there for you. They’ve gone neck and neck with teams all season. They’re a fighting scrappy team and this is just the first year with Coach Meyer.

“Next year and the following year it’s going to be nasty. It makes it a lot easier for the guys to say, ‘Look, these are the results after the first year. We have many, many more years with this system. It’s only going to be better.’”

Some of the biggest recruits have taken notice as the visitors list for this weekend’s game reads like a who’s who among the ESPN 150, 300 and Watch List.

A lot of that has to do with winning. Meyer came to Columbus with basically a free season in his pocket. With the Buckeyes ineligible for the postseason, he had the ability to tinker with this team to find who he wanted and who was expendable.

With one more win, Meyer’s start will tie Carroll Widdoes, who went 9-0 in 1944 and eventually won his first 12 games, as the best beginning for an Ohio State coach. Meyer has already tied his mentor, Earle Bruce, who won his first 11 games as Ohio State coach in 1979.

While recruits might not know that, they know what being undefeated means. “Nowadays everything is so stat-based and numbers-based, it’s all about success,” Charlotte (N.C.) Christian tight end Jeb Blazevich said. “I feel like a bunch of kids -- even if they’re not emotionally tied to the team -- they’ll feel like, ‘Shoot, I’ve got to go play with the undefeated team.’

“That definitely will help Ohio State. Since it’s so stat driven, I think a bunch of kids will waft there automatically. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with those recruiting classes.”

Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) has offers from all over the country, but the offensive tackle is very aware of what’s happening in Columbus.

“I think they’re getting a lot more attention,” said Cole, who holds an Ohio State offer. “It just goes to show in the next few years they’ll be just as good and will be playing in postseason bowls and Big Ten championships.

“If they didn’t have that bowl ban, they’d be playing for the national championship this year. That’s my guess.”

Or as junior offensive tackle Jimmy Byrne (Cleveland/St. Ignatius) put it: “In general I think someone would be more attracted to a team that’s winning. If you have the opportunity, you’d rather go there instead of a team that is mediocre or losing. It’s kind of the same for me. The team that is 11-0 is the team I want to play for.” Both of Byrne's finalists -- Ohio State and Notre Dame -- are 11-0 this season.

Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike) is absolutely no stranger to the Buckeyes. When he watches Ohio State play this weekend, it will be the fifth time the wide receiver has seen the team this season.

Every game he’s seen -- Cal, Michigan State, Indiana and Wisconsin -- has been close, but every game has come out the same, with an Ohio State victory.

“Winning makes anybody an attractive team,” Booth said. “As a player, you want to be with a winning program. You don’t want to lose at all. When you have a chance to go anywhere you want and this team is the same as that team, the difference might be the winning and undefeated team. You can’t get better than that.”