COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer met with reporters on Wednesday to talk about Ohio State’s 2018 signing class on the first day of the early signing period. What did he have to say? Here are the highlights.
+ Meyer started by thanking his staff because of the early signing period and everything was sped up with the finish of the season and then you go right to signing day. And he thanked the families of the staff and the parents of the recruits because of two weeks of intense travel.
+ In regards to the early signing day and how other head coaches feel about it. “I’m anxious to see how this all plays out.”
+ The one person that really counts in this early signing period, it’s the player. They are making a life-changing decision. He didn’t imagine having this many signed early. What Meyer found was that it’s difficult to manage this with the NFL entries and the time is squeezed, so he doesn’t know how this is all going to work out. “You’re playing the percentages” on oversigning and NFL departures. The intent was to have the players sign who always wanted to be Buckeyes, like Jaelen Gill who is from Columbus. Players around the country are being told that if they don’t sign on December 20, then their offers were going to be removed, and Meyer doesn’t believe that this was the intent of the rule and he is against it. That’s too much pressure to put on the kids.
+ It is going to be difficult to replace the fifth-year seniors that Ohio State is losing. They have been the nuts and bolts of this program. Meyer cannot ask anymore of them.
+ Pros of early signing day — you’re not babysitting players. Cons? There were only two weeks to recruit from the end of the season. Football is a developmental sport. You need to see as much as you can from as many players as you can to find the best people for your team. Ohio has late bloomers and the early signing period will keep some of those players from becoming Buckeyes because they’ll sign elsewhere in order to not lose a scholarship offer in December.
+ Matthew Baldwin was a dominant player as a senior and he allowed the Ohio State coaches to go with just one quarterback in this class. They would love to have taken two, but they just couldn’t with the numbers this year.
+ His visit to Idaho went very well.
+ “It is a problem” when there are only four Ohioans in a class like there are right now. They’re not done in Ohio and they are waiting on at least one more player. There were some academic risks in the state this year, so they couldn’t go after them.
+ There could be the possibility of another quarterback being signed in February. Meyer didn’t shoot down the idea, at least. It won’t be today, however.
+ The NFL is doing a much better job of relaying to underclassmen where they project in the draft. It takes two weeks to get that paperwork back and they don’t have that paperwork back yet, but they just had a signing day.
+ On whether anybody will skip the bowl game, “I think we’ll have everybody.”
+ Alex Williams could start out at tight end for Ohio State. He is a late developer, but he plays extremely hard and is a big athlete. Where does he project right now? “Big athlete.” When you meet him, he was an easy take.
+ This freshman class didn’t play simply to play them. J.K. Dobbins and Jeff Okudah would have played regardless of need. “If you don’t play here it’s because you’re not good enough.” They don’t save players for down the road. “Those days are gone.” This was a very good freshman group.
+ Larry Johnson has made some very strong comments about the defensive tackles in this class. “I anticipate they’ll all play.” Meyer is used to the negative recruiting that goes on. They don’t do that at Ohio State.
+ Max Wray fills a need at offensive tackle.
+ Master Teague is big and fast and one of the greatest kids you’ll ever meet.
+ Meyer gets upset when he sees OSU do something incorrectly in recruiting in terms of the NCAA. Everybody in the program should know the rules.
+ There are not many spots left. He won’t know the roster number until January because of the NFL Draft.
+ How do you prepare for the bowl? You rely on the coaching staff. “This is the best group of young coaches we’ve had in the last six years here at Ohio State.” That means the grad assistants and the QC staff and all of that. They are working while the assistants are out recruiting.
+ Meyer won’t comment on the possibility of Jackson Carman going to Clemson because he can’t say anything until the player signs.
+ The strength of the class is the interior defensive line. He was also relentless in his pursuit of Josh Proctor, the safety out of Oklahoma. “I think Jeremy Ruckert might be the best tight end prospect that I’ve ever seen or recruited.”
+ Meyer went and watched Matthew Baldwin practice and liked him a lot. That was also a lot of Ryan Day doing scouting, who had the opportunity to go be a head coach in the SEC and he passed on that. Baldwin checks all of the boxes at quarterback.