Thursday, February 7, 2013
Meyer closes out a winner of a class
By Brad Bournival
During Urban Meyer’s news conference detailing the 2013 Ohio State recruiting class on Wednesday, the two-time national champion talked about delivering hits.
Meyer should have been talking about shutting things down, because the way he closed out the class is the very reason he has the reputation as a recruiting closer.
Consider the plight of the class at the beginning of the year, when the Buckeyes were searching for wide receivers and linebackers.
The linebackers -- there were none before Jan. 4 -- came first in ESPN 150 selections Trey Johnson and Mike Mitchell. That brought attention to the wideouts and offensive line.
No linemen came, and Meyer didn't reach. But wide receivers showed up, and they showed up with aplomb.
With just Taivon Jacobs and Jalin Marshall in the fold, the Buckeyes headed into the final week of the recruiting season with holes to fill.
Vonn Bell's signing was the cherry on top of a stellar Ohio State recruiting class.
Enter junior college standout Corey Smith, ESPN 150 athlete and former Oregon commit Dontre Wilson and four-star wideout James Clark. With those three in the mix, Ohio State absorbed the loss of Jacobs, who went to play with his brother Levern at Maryland, and came out even stronger.
Marshall, Wilson and Ezekiel Elliott gave the Buckeyes three skill players in the top 150, with tight end Marcus Baugh a fourth and offensive tackle Evan Lisle also garnering ESPN 150 honors.
But the haymaker came just after 10 a.m. on Wednesday when an already strong defensive backfield got even stronger. ESPN 150 representatives Eli Apple, Gareon Conley and Cam Burrows were already signed, as was ESPN 300 safety Jayme Thompson.
That was before Meyer beat out two-time defending national champion Alabama and Tennessee for safety Vonn Bell.
To better put that in perspective, Ohio State had the Nos. 3, 7 and 9 cornerbacks in the nation and the No. 12 safety before Bell.
Bell, the fourth-ranked safety according to ESPN, made the 2013 class arguably one of the best recruiting classes in the secondary in recent years.
With five defensive players ranked in the top 62 nationally in scarlet and gray come August, one of the biggest concerns for Ohio State was addressed in this class.
The third-ranked overall class in the nation -- behind Alabama and Florida -- the Buckeyes have 24 signees. Twelve of those commits are in the ESPN 150, another five in the ESPN 300.
Apple is a five-star recruit, with another 18 ranked as four-star seniors.
Ohio State’s third-place finish is the highest since ESPN began its rankings in 2006 -- the Buckeyes were sixth in 2012 and 2008 -- and it's the sixth top-10 finish in the last seven years.
It also might be the class fans talk about for a long time.