Urban Meyer spoke with the media on Wednesday, recapping a productive signing day for the Buckeyes. Director or recruiting Mark Pantoni also spent some time talking. What did they have to say? Here are the highlights.
Urban Meyer Updates
+ Going to see more and more uneventful signing days with the addition next year of an early signing day. “Our class has been in place for quite a while.”
+ This is a very good class. What does he look for? It changes every year. Their war room has a wall dedicated to recruiting. As one player leaves, a recruit gets slotted in.
+ Two years in a row they’ve lost three secondary guys early to the NFL Draft. He doesn’t recall ever seeing that before. But they are being replaced by guys they are very excited about, and they’re already here.
+ Cornerback Shaun Wade committed to Ohio State on the day they were winning the national title. Generally, those types of commitments don’t last, but Meyer is very proud that Wade hung in there.
+ USC’s head coach lives in Wyatt Davis’ neighborhood so Meyer said he sent Greg Studrawa out there recently to watch and make sure nobody stopped by.
+ Your best salesmen for a program are the ones who are in it and have been through it. The players in the locker room and their parents are the best salespeople. “We’re getting very good students, very good people, and people who are very interested in life after football.”
+ The seven Ohio kids in this class is not enough. They like to be at 50 percent. That number could have also taken a hit with an early signing period because players in Ohio develop so late because they don’t have spring football. They like to hold spots for Ohio players who develop late. Receiver Jaylen Harris was one of those players.
+ Targeting big receivers is not a change in philosophy, they just don’t come around very often. Right now they’re finding some.
+ Meyer has thought about Kevin Wilson being on his staff before he had an opportunity to hire him recently.
+ It’s hard to hang on to a commit for over a year from out of state. Meyer doesn’t usually count on it. “People just wear them out.”
+ Receiver Elijah Gardiner was a late developer. They studied his progression and met with him. He’s big and fast. “If you miss on a player, make sure you miss fast and miss big.”
+ Thayer Munford is an interesting story. He’s from Cincinnati but transferred to Massillon. He was ineligible to play for most of the season, so they saw him at camp. Greg Studrawa wouldn’t let it lie. Meyer said there wasn’t room, then they went and watched him play basketball a few times. He checked off all of the boxes.
+ Meyer talked to Kevin Wilson about his leaving Indiana. “I just needed to find out and so did my bosses.” There were some misunderstandings and philosophical differences, so they proceeded. He wants Wilson to get the Buckeyes to throw the ball better. They just want more balance and to be able to stretch the field. They also need to play with better tempo.
+ Meyer said that when Baron Browning jokingly texted that he was going to Alabama he threw his phone against the wall. Then his phone started buzzing again and it was Browning’s father to congratulate him on landing Baron’s commitment. Meyer paid him back a while later by pranking him at school and calling him to tell him that he was taking the Los Angeles Rams job. Meyer said Browning had tears running down his face.
+ Meyer never thought it was close that J.T. Barrett would leave.
+ Tate Martell is easy to evaluate because he wins. “Tate’s a winner.” Meyer hears about the shortcomings, but they evaluate them differently than others.
+ OSU looks at the Top 15 receivers in America and it doesn’t matter if they’re tall or not. They go from there every year. It just worked out that way this year.
+ Wyatt Davis and Josh Myers will compete for spots. Myers is already competing. He’s blessed and big and comes from a good program. “Josh Myers is absolutely killing it right now in the weight room.”
+ Defensive backfield is the area where he sees immediate help with this class. Elite track times and legitimate experience with Kendall Sheffield is coming into this class. Linebacker is another area where there will be help with Baron Browning and Pete Werner.
+ Meyer hopes he has another year like this in Texas. The success has helped that. The NFL Draft has helped that. Real Life Wednesdays has caught a lot of eyes. The exposure “for the right reasons” has been beneficial.
+ The recruiting staff is “ridiculous”. They are in contact constantly with so many players. They have the best staff in America and if they ever don’t, they make sure they do enough to get back on top.
+ “Really deep down I feel like this is going to be an exceptional class.”
+ Ed Warinner and Tim Beck wanted to pursue other opportunities. They weren’t fired. There were going to be changes made. There was conversation before the Clemson game. There was no dismissal. Ed Warinner “did a hell of a job here at Ohio State.”
Mark Pantoni Updates
+ “Today wasn’t a good day, it was a great day at Ohio State.” There was no drama today, which is always good. Pantoni thanked his right-hand man Eron Hodges, as well as Tim Hinton.
+ When he started in this business 10 years ago it was basically a one-man business. And even at OSU it was basically him and Greg Gillum. As social media expands there is a crew there specifically for that. Pantoni expects college football to continue moving to more of an NFL personnel-like situation in the recruiting realm.
+ “Any time the support staff can make the coaches’ lives easier, that’s a great thing.” Can it get too big? Maybe, but at big schools who can afford it, you’re going to do what you can to help recruiting work.
+ The class looks great on paper, but you don’t know for two or three years. Look at the 2013 class with guys like Ezekiel Elliott and Darron Lee who you don’t know would be as good as they are.
+ OSU recruiting sold their national title win and last year’s NFL Draft big time, and that opened up a lot of eyes around the nation.
+ Even when a kid commits, you still recruit him as if he hasn’t committted. Give Shaun Wade and his family tons of credit for sticking with Ohio State.
+ The class of 2018 has a bigger starting ground with more seniors leaving after 2017. Now the coaches get their focus going on the 2018 class. As they get their lists in order, you’ll see more commitments in the spring and summer.
+ The landscape will change with the December signing period that may come into place next year. He is interested to see how many kids actually sign early. It will affect the timing of official visits. You may try to get them in on the weekend before that early signing day so you’re the last school on their mind. This is also when bowl preparations would be taking place.
+ There is pressure to find recruits who can play right away, especially now with so many people leaving early. Every year there are departures which can catch you off guard, so they always have a list of high school players at the ready.
+ “Not enough Ohio” in this class. At the same time, they’re searching for the best players in the country. “Sometimes we probably over-evaluate (Ohio kids).”
+ Why now for arguably the best class ever at OSU? The NFL Draft last year, the national title in 2014, and Real Life Wednesdays. All three things have been huge for this class.
+ He’s not sure where they are with numbers right now in terms of scholarships, but they’ll be at 85 when they need to be.
+ Asked about recruit James Robinson who was cited for marijuana possession on his official visit, Pantoni said they try to do their research, but sometimes mistakes happen. They try to educate their players on these things.
+ Getting another receiver in this class was very important for depth and practice reps, even if he might be a little bit developmental.
+ He’s a little surprised at the impact that Real Life Wednesdays have had on players and recruits.