It's finally upon us. National Signing Day 2013 marks Urban Meyer's second in Columbus, and another opportunity to watch one of recruiting's master tacticians surgically execute his end game before our very eyes. In order to make sure you spend your day without missing a beat, we've got a blow-by-blow guide to all things Ohio State recruiting on this, college football's Super Bowl.
To get things started, here's a quick primer to some of the 30,000 feet level aspects of National Signing Day as a whole. First, a prospect may sign a national letter of intent (NLI) starting at 7 AM in the prospect's local time zone beginning today, the earliest initial signing date per NCAA regulations. So for all of you that aren't exactly morning people: sorry the recruits aren't sorry. Also, a prospect has exactly 14 days from the date of issuance of a national letter of intent to sign and submit the document. Contrary to popular myth, faxes aren't *required* in this day and age. Recruits are also able to print, fill out, sign, scan, and email the documents to the appropriate governing bodies (which include the school, the conference, and the NCAA).
Back down to the meat and potatoes of things, obviously Ohio State has some key targets they're still pursuing and trying to call it a recruit cycle with. Names at the top of that list include '13 WR James Clark, '13 S Vonn Bell, and current Ohio State commit, '13 RB/ATH Ezekiel Elliott. As you're probably aware of, the Buckeyes sured up some of their needs Monday evening when 4-star APB Dontre Wilson committed early to Ohio State. There are still some other names to watch, however, that may play a role in deciding which players wind up at what school.
'13 ATH Cornelius Elder is certainly one to keep an eye on, as the Buckeyes have been speaking back and forth with Elder for quite some time. Things have cooled down quite a bit with respect to his recruitment (as it's thought that Elder prefers the idea of playing college basketball over college football where Purdue and Memphis are two of several options), but anything's still possible at this juncture in time. Since Elder's not expected to announce until after Signing Day, if a few surprise decommitments befall Ohio State, it may not be all for loss if Meyer and co. can sway Elder to come into the fold.
James Clark (5-10/170) WR | New Smyma Beach H.S., FL - - 9 a.m. EST
Vonn Bell (5-11/180) S | Ridgeland H.S., GA - - 10:05 a.m. EST (ESPNU)
Ezekiel Elliott (6-0/212) RB | John Burroughs School, MO - 5 p.m. EST
LB Trey Johnson was the target of a number of 11th-hour rumors about him possibly defecting to Florida or Tennessee, but after speaking to Ohio State's coaches Tuesday, when he announces at 3:15 p.m. EST, there shouldn't be any surprises.
ESPNU (Time Warner Columbus/Delaware 1303 HD/303 SD, WOW! 240 HD/348 SD, DirecTV 208, DISH 141 - SD only) - ESPNU will begin its signing day special at 7:30 a.m. ET and bring you several announcements from recruits. The broadcast will last until 7 p.m. ET. ESPN (Time Warner Columbus/Delaware 1301 HD/31 SD, WOW! 211 HD/33 SD, DirecTV 206, DISH 140) will air the recruiting special from 3:30 to 4 p.m ET.
Big Ten Network (Time Warner Columbus/Delaware 1333 HD/58 SD, WOW! 219 HD/87 SD, DirecTV 610, DISH 439) - The Big Ten Network will air a 90-minute special beginning at 3 p.m. with host Mike Hall, and Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith as the analysts.
CBS Sports Network (Time Warner Columbus/Delaware 1322 HD/322 SD, WOW! Not Available, DirecTV 613, DISH 158) - CBS Sports Network will air a one-hour special at 12 p.m. EST followed by a three-hour program at 4 p.m., featuring host Adam Zucker, recruiting expert Tom Lemming, and analysts Ron Zook (!) and Houston Nutt (!!). That will lead into live coverage of the International Bowl in Austin, Texas, at 9 p.m., featuring Ohio State signee Donovan Munger, former OSU commit Lewis Neal, and Dontre Wilson's high school coach, Claude Mathis.
James Clark - Up until last night, I didn't think Ohio State would land Clark, especially after Dontre Wilson committed on Monday night. Now, given all the smoke, I have to think Clark winds up in Columbus after all. Pick:
Vonn Bell - As of yesterday, Bell named Tennessee his favorite. Along with that, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones tweeted out a picture last night that had the Internet message boards on fire. In spite of that, I'm going to go with my gut and pick Ohio State, but taper your expectations with this one. Pick:
Taivon Jacobs - Jacobs surprised everyone yesterday when word got out that he might end up signing with Maryland, instead of honoring his verbal commitment to Ohio State. Obviously, family comes first, and especially given the possibility of Wilson and also Clark both competing with him for playing time, it'd be impossible to fault him for changing his mind. Pick: