Michael’s Final Thoughts on National Signing Day 2013
By Michael Chung
The 2013 recruiting season started off with a bang when Cameron Burrows and Jalin Marshall, two of the top players in Ohio, committed to play for the Buckeyes; 12 months and 22 players later, the 2013 class is finished. Here are some final thoughts for 2013:
*Vonn Bell was the biggest name to sign on National Signing Day (NSD) for OSU. Urban Meyer is/will getting/get a lot of praise as the closer but a lot of credit should also go to Everett Withers who is a master of the DB position. He comes across well with parents, and is a great recruiter. Withers was key in the signing of Armani Reeves last year and should be given significant credit for this year’s signing of Vonn Bell. Urban Meyer did well by clearly stating on the radio today that Withers was indispensible in Bell’s recruitment and in his presser, called Wither’s recruitment: “from start to finish, as good as I've ever seen.”
*Who would have thought that the biggest drama today would involve punter Johnny Townsend? After James Clark, Vonn Bell committed and Ezekiel Elliott re-affirmed, no one would have expected any further drama. But reports surfaced that Townsend was wavering and Alabama was the player. Just goes to show you that in the world of recruiting, anything can happen from anywhere.
*Meyer said Ohio State has one rival but with Saban making an 11th hour run at Townsend, it shows me he may not view things the same way. Saban knows he is the current “king of the hill” and wants to stay on top. The fact that he went after Townsend shows me Saban will try to weaken Meyer however way he can because Meyer is the one most likely to knock Saban off the throne. Look for future Buckeye lore to also mention the Saban-Meyer wars along with the traditional battles with Michigan, despite what Urban says.
*Every class has a leader and this year’s leader was clearly Cam Burrows. He was at every home game trying to recruit players on official visits and was calling and texting commits throughout the year.
*Billy Price committed soon after Burrows and Marshall. He mentioned that the recruiting process is stressful and time consuming and was happy to get it over with. He said that coaches are always calling, texting, Facebooking, tweeting, and pulling players out of class when they visit a recruits school. The process is very time consuming and he was happy to get it over with quickly.
*Mike Mitchell and Trey Johnson were important pieces to get. With Zach Boren graduating, OSU obviously needed some depth at the position. Both can play middle linebacker. Look for Cam Williams and Luke Roberts to provide stability at Mike LB and for Johnson and Mitchell to be contributors.
*Urban Meyer is not lying when he believes that the key to a championship team is the defensive line. Six recruits in 2013 – Billy Price, Tracy Sprinkle, Joey Bosa, Tyquan Lewis, Michael Hill, and Donovan Munger – are on the defensive line while 2012 saw four – Noah Spence, Se’von Pittman, Tommy Schutt, and Adolphus Washington (five if we’re including Jamaal Marcus).
*For the second straight year, OSU loses a speedster to Maryland but this year, it was the right thing. Taivon Jacobs de-committed on signing day. Some say it was because of signing Dontre Wilson and James Clark but in reality, Jacobs has a one-year-old daughter named Bailey and chose fatherhood over the Scarlet and Gray. Jacobs made the right decision in staying close to home and I hope Buckeye Nation wishes him and Bailey the best.
*Though every OSU head coach has Michigan at their forefront, it is clear to me that Urban Meyer is still competing against the SEC and specifically Nick Saban. Teams possessing elite athletes from the fertile grounds of the SEC, which will be delineated as: Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, and South Carolina, and the west, which is basically California, are the teams that have the best chance at winning the BCS title.
*Ohio State has 19 of their 24 signees possessing offers from the top schools of Alabama, LSU, Florida, Texas, Auburn, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Georgia and USC. Though Michigan finished in the top 10 in recruiting services, they only have about 8 of their 27 commitments that hold offers from the afore mentioned schools
*Meyer said in his press conference, “We have one rival and that rival was dictated many, many years ago.” But is clear that he wants to beat the SEC and other top teams in recruiting before he tries to smash them on the field. Meyer is not thinking B1G championships like previous B1G coaches; he is focused completely on the crystal and believes he can win it every year.
*Almost every signee mentions winning BCS Championships is one of the reasons they chose Ohio State. Meyer clearly is focused on winning the BCS crystal and is able to communicate this vision. This is one area Meyer deviates from B1G coaching greats like Woody Hayes and Bo. Past B1G greats wanted to focus on winning B1G championships but Meyer is thinking and believing he will win it all every year.
*Why is the SEC so dominant? Six teams finished in the top 10 in the Rivals recruiting rankings – Alabama, Florida, LSU, Texas A&M, Auburn, and Ole Miss – and 10 SEC teams were in the top 20. ESPN had six SEC teams in their top 10. Outside of Ohio State and Michigan, only Nebraska was able to crack the top 25 of Rivals at No. 17. Michigan State finished No. 39 and Penn State No. 43. No wonder the B1G is lagging so far behind the SEC.
*Urban Meyer was not happy last year with his “playmakers” but with Dontre Wilson, Jalin Marshall, James Clark, and Corey Smith, Meyer will relive his Gator days when he had players like Jeff Demps and Percy Harvin. In the future, Meyer will not be using Percy Harvin’s name in recruiting but probably someone(s) in this class.
*One would think that Urban Meyer would take a little time off before the 2014 recruiting season gets into full swing but already, there are 11 recruiting targets for 2014 that will visit Ohio State this weekend. This guy just does not stop.
*2014 will have a few less players, approximately 18-22, but it should be another top 5 class for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes. In short, Urban Meyer has laid the foundation for years of Ohio State challenging for championships. Winning in recruiting is the first step to winning titles and Meyer has won.