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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Meyer showing proficiency as closer

By Brad Bournival

Mariano Rivera, save the split-finger fastball. The same goes for you Rollie Fingers, with your almost unhittable slider. The best closer in the recruiting business might indeed be Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.

On the job 13 1/2 months with the Buckeyes, the two-time national champion’s early returns show just how strong he is at slamming the door shut on a class.

Aside from his proficiency to flip commits to new schools -- last year he did it seven times, this year he’s done it three -- what Meyer has done to finish out recruiting classes in Columbus, Ohio, is impressive.

Will ESPN 150 safety Vonn Bell be the latest blue-chip recruit that Urban Meyer nabs?
After taking the job at Ohio State in late November 2011, the litany of commitments he picked up spoke volumes.

Meyer made a splash with his first two commitments in Se'Von Pittman and Tommy Schutt and followed it up a week later by nabbing five-star standout Noah Spence -- all ESPN 150 defensive linemen.

He nabbed another ESPN 150 athlete in the trenches a month later when offensive guard Joey O'Connor gave his pledge.

Add Taylor Decker, David Perkins, Camren Williams, Armani Reeves, Jamal Marcus and Kyle Dodson as late commitments, and 2012 finished strong.

So far, 2013 is keeping pace. From a numbers standpoint Meyer can’t finish the way he did a year ago. Right now, the Buckeyes are at the NCAA sanctions-mandated limit of 82 scholarships, though expect transfers to open up a few more.

That said, Meyer has started the last two months before signing day with some big names.

He kicked things off with a big get in ESPN 150 cornerback Gareon Conley, who was a Michigan commit until November. Meyer also nabbed ESPN 300 defensive tackle Donovan Munger two days later.

Last weekend, however, showed just how strong he was at finishing when he filled a major need at linebacker by grabbing ESPN 150 seniors Trey Johnson and Mike Mitchell.

Meyer shows no signs of slowing up, as Friday brings yet another big official-visit weekend.

As he did in December, Meyer is bringing current pledges to help him along in Marcus Baugh, Joey Bosa, Johnny Townsend and Jalin Marshall.

On tap are official visits from ESPN 150 safety Vonn Bell as well as ESPN 300 wide receiver Shelton Gibson, ESPN 300 running back Cornelius Elder and ESPN 300 athlete Ryan Simmons.

Add a visit from three-star outside linebacker Christopher Worley, and this weekend becomes even bigger.

Meyer already has 10 ESPN 150 seniors in the fold, with another five as ESPN 300 representatives. If he can grab a couple more this weekend, Meyer’s reputation as a closer will grow even bigger.