Thursday, March 21, 2013
Meyer using hoops success in recruiting
By Brad Bournival
The success of Thad Matta and Urban Meyer go hand in hand at Ohio State.
Winning is good business, especially when it comes to Ohio State and recruiting.
While many of the top athletes in the Class of 2014 have pointed to the Buckeyes being the only undefeated football team in Division I as a reason to look at the university, it goes beyond the gridiron.
In fact, it can rest on the hardwood as well, as the Ohio State men’s basketball team won the Big Ten Tournament for the third time in four years. In doing so, the Buckeyes locked up a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.
And you'd better believe Urban Meyer will be right there cheering Ohio State on the rest of the way.
The two-time national champion football coach will do so partially because a good basketball team can lead to landing big recruits.
Meyer has used three basketball home games -- two of them huge Big Ten matchups -- around what turned out to be very prosperous visit weekends in the last four months.
On Dec. 8, the Buckeyes made a mockery of Long Beach State in an 89-55 win. That weekend, Ohio State welcomed ESPN 150 cornerback Gareon Conley (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) and defensive tackle Donovan Munger (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights) when both committed.
Both were on official visits at various times that week, although that Saturday win laid the groundwork for one of the biggest football commitments of the season as ESPN 150 linebacker Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/ Prestonwood Christian) saw what it meant to be a Buckeye as he was on his official visit, too.
On Jan. 13, Ohio State upset then No. 2 Michigan 56-53 to give the Wolverines their first loss of the season.
Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech), who could be the best cover corner in the Class of 2014, committed that day just 48 hours after 2013 linebacker Christopher Worley (Cleveland/Glenville), who was also on campus that weekend, did the same.
On Feb. 10, just days after national signing day, the Buckeyes hosted some big-name juniors. Then -No. 1 Indiana traveled to Value City Arena in front of a raucous packed house.
While the Hoosiers beat Ohio State 81-68 on that Sunday -- a loss the Buckeyes later avenged in Bloomington, Ind. -- 2014 standouts such as running back Parris Campbell Jr. (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary), offensive tackle Kyle Trout (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster) and defensive end Lawrence Marshall (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) took part in the excitement.
All three committed on that day, though Marshall has since rescinded his commitment.
The fact of the matter is success on the football field goes a long way in recruitment, but when winning spills over into the winter months, it can give places like Ohio State an added advantage.