Meyer Recruiting Streak

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Last updated: 01/30/2014 6:27 AM
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Football Recruiting
Is Urban Meyer's Perfect Streak About to Come to an End?
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Protocol (or superstition) stipulates that a baseball no-hitter shouldn't be talked about while it is going on. The fear is that any mention of what is happening will instantly enrage the fates and derail the history at hand.

That same superstition fluttered throughout the Ohio State football facilities this past season while the Buckeyes were in the middle of their 24-game winning streak. Yes, the streak was begrudgingly talked about, but always attached with the caveat that "we don't really talk about it".

That streak ended famously in the Big Ten Championship Game, giving Urban Meyer his first loss as Ohio State's head football coach in the process. That school-record 24-game winning streak has since been replaced by a two-game losing streak.

There is another perfect streak that Meyer possesses, and I can tell you that despite prevailing theory, I am putting that streak in almost no danger by talking about it now.

The streak in question? Successfully replacing a decommitment in a recruiting class with a player of equal repute six times in a row.

Currently there is no decommitment to replace, but Jamarco Jones, an offensive lineman out of Chicago who committed to Ohio State back in June, is scheduled to take an official visit to Michigan State this coming weekend.

The current thought is that if he takes his visit, the Buckeyes can go ahead and kiss him goodbye. The loss of the player would be bad enough, but with virtually no time to replace the loss (National Letter of Intent Day is next Wednesday), Meyer's streak of successfully bandaging the wounds of decommitment would come to a bruised and swollen end.

Meyer has been fantastically able to mitigate the damage caused by decommitments in the past, and in most cases even improve the situation, which I've written about before.

Case in point, Meyer had four decommitments in the 2013 class – receiver Taivon Jacobs, linebackers Lewis Neal and Alex Anzalone, and punter Johnny Townsend. He replaced those players with receiver James Clark, linebackers Trey Johnson and Mike Mitchell, and punter Cameron Johnston.

In each case the decommitments were replaced by recruits who were just as highly-ranked by the recruiting services, if not more so. 

Meyer was even able to overcome the loss of Townsend on Signing Day last year. Townsend was supposed to be the Buckeyes' starting punter in 2013, but he chose instead to sign with Florida. Ohio State – and Kerry Coombs specifically – then had to go out and find a new punter. 

They succeeded massively with the signing of Australian Cameron Johnston, who ended up leading the Big Ten with an average of 44.0 yards per punt.

The Buckeyes have also had a pair of decommitments in the 2014 class, and Meyer again worked his magic. Following the loss of Lawrence Marshall (the #22-ranked weakside defensive end per Rivals), the Buckeyes went out and landed Jalyn Holmes, who is Rivals' #4-ranked weakside defensive end.

In November, Indiana athlete Lonnie Johnson decommitted from the Buckeyes – ESPN ranks him the #52 receiver in the nation, and a month later the Buckeyes were getting a commitment from Johnnie Dixon, ESPN's #5 receiver in the 2014 class.

Urban Meyer and his coaching staff have their irons in a ton of fires, which is why they are able to fill in the holes that have appeared in past recruiting classes. However, up to this point, they've also had plenty of time to find replacements. Time, unfortunately for the Buckeyes, is something that they do not have in this instance.

Since there is no Australian kicker eligible for the 2014 class who can also play on the offensive line next season, Meyer's dance with perfection could be nearing its final few steps.

While Ohio State is obviously too big to be hurt by the loss of a single commitment, there is a reason why they recruited and offered every last one of the members of the 2014 class. To lose one at this point would alter the plans that had been laid out, and plans that the staff had assumed were going to be enacted.

The loss of Jamarco Jones – which has not happened at this point, and isn't guaranteed to – would certainly need to be addressed. For the Buckeyes, however, they probably wouldn't be able to address it until the 2015 class, which would end one of the more impressive, yet unsung streaks of Urban Meyer's time at Ohio State.

Every streak eventually comes to an end, and someday this one will as well. That "someday" could be coming pretty quickly, and when it does actually get here, I am sure that there will be plenty of people who will finally be more than willing to talk about it.

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