Meyer Hopes to Finish Strong

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Last updated: 01/16/2012 2:46 PM
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Football Recruiting
Meyer Has Sights Set on Finishing Recruiting Class Strong
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sunday's commitment of Vandalia offensive lineman Taylor Decker raised the current Ohio State recruiting class to 20 commitments.

With time winding down, the class filling up, and with the NCAA mandated-reduction of three scholarships to deal with, the question now becomes how many more can this class hold.

On Thursday, Urban Meyer spoke with the media and one of the topics discussed was the current recruiting class, specifically how much room he felt they had left.

"Probably four or five more," was his answer.

The recent transfer of safety Jeremy Cash, as well as the release of cornerbacks DerJuan Gambrell and Dominic Clarke, doesn't necessarily give Ohio State much more room yet. Rather, it gives Ohio State room to fit the commits that they already have, and maybe a couple more.

It is part of the annual attrition that is always expected in college football. However, under a coaching transition, that attrition can sometimes exceed the norm, which for better or worse would give Meyer even more room in this recruiting class.

But you don't want to get to a point where the attrition becomes a detriment.

"Florida went through a lot of guys," Meyer explained.

"I'm hoping that that doesn't happen because you get short-handed. There's a normal attrition that happens when a coaching staff comes in because it is so different a lot of times, and I think this one is going to be quite a bit different.

"So I'm hoping there's not, but I think you always put about a three to four overage in there as you get ready for signing day. So we're planning on a three to four attrition rate.”

They are already at four with the transfer of quarterback Taylor Graham and the three mentioned above. It's unlikely that this is the last of it.

Meyer's prediction of four or five more commits was prior to the Decker commitment, though he was likely pretty confident about his chances there.

That prediction, however, still needs a bit more attrition to take place, though obviously he has a pretty good idea of who will or won't be around by next summer, and likely who is already on their way out.

Still, as it stands right now, Meyer and his staff have done a tremendous job of giving this recruiting class a miraculous resurgence. But don't think for a moment that he's satisfied with where things are right now.

“I feel good. I feel okay," he said.

"I've recruited long enough to know that it's not official until it's official. If we walk away right now, I'd feel good, not great. The next four or five are going to be key. But I feel good. We had that nice run in December, but this next couple of weeks are big."

If the next couple of weeks are big, then the past couple have been huge, because all of the work that Meyer accomplished in his short time could have been undone with the news that Ohio State wouldn't be eligible for the postseason next season.

Instead, the commits took the news well enough, and Meyer was encouraged by their loyalty.

"They stuck with us, absolutely," he said.

"I had to explain, and rightfully so. It was the first time I really knew. Other than that I was telling them what we expect, but now it's final. So we had a lot of phone calls."

Those phone calls continue, and continue to hit paydirt.

Right now there is room for two or three commitments before any more attrition is needed, but with Ohio State having a very good shot at filling this class out at 25 with quality recruits, room will still have to come from somewhere.

Meyer pegged this class at 23 or 24, which is always a conservative estimate coming from a coach, so a class of 25 would only be one more than he said he was anticipating.

It's doubtful that he'll have to look very hard for that last remaining slot, however, as college kids have a way of making these types of things easy to spot.

But expect him to toe the line as closely as possible with this recruiting class because there will continue to be attrition through the summer, and with the team playing without three scholarships next season, he won't want to play anymore undermanned than he already has to moving forward.

Recruiting the best possible players is the most effective way of dealing with scholarship reductions, so Meyer is going to try to bring in as many as he possibly can.

He just needs to make sure to avoid the misses, which is why any player that he is going after right now isn't likely to be a stretch—no matter how far he has to reach to get them.

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