Urban Meyer and his coaching staff have landed a couple of players from that state of Florida during their first couple of years leading the Ohio State football program. Despite being relatively successful in the Sunshine State in the past, it look like they want to dominate it in 2015.
Ohio State has already landed one commitment from the state of Florida, in the form of Cocoa (FL) cornerback Jamel Dean, and they have handed out a ton of offers to players from the talent-rich football state over the last month of so.
The good news: A lot of these players are very interested in the Buckeyes early in the process. The better news might be that the staff has had just as much time as other teams to develop relationships with the recruits and will have all 85 scholarships to play with next year as the NCAA mandated scholarship limitations are about to expire. That coupled with a big senior class set to graduate, and Ohio State has all the makings of a huge 2015 recruiting class.
According to 247Sports, the Buckeyes have offered scholarships to 34 players from the state of Florida. The next most offers they've extended is to 13 players in the state of Texas, followed by 10 in Georgia, and only 6 in the state of Ohio.
Not only is Ohio State offering more players from the state of Florida (only offered 31 last year), a lot of these recruits receiving the offers are reciprocating the interest, particularly offensive players, who all relish the thought of playing in Urban Meyer's spread offense.
A couple of guys Ohio State is in very good position to land right now (and are probably considered the favorites as things currently stand) include the likes of St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Devante Peete, Hallandale linebacker Sh'mar Kilby-Lane, and most importantly, Heritage athlete/quarterback Torrance Gibson, who many people (including myself) view as the Buckeyes' top overall target in the 2015 class as a whole.
While they might only lead for a few of these elite prospects as things currently stand, they are also firmly in the mix for a lot of other top prospects from Florida. Many of these recruits haven't even been on Ohio State's campus yet, but have visited many of the in-state schools, which in part has them being pegged as the favorites early on.
Prospects who fall into this group include include running back RayRay McCloud, defensive end Scott Patchan, linebacker Tevon Coney, who was recently offered, and a pair of athletes in Deon Cain and Shawn Burgess-Becker, both of whom were offered in the last two months.
Some recruits committed to high profile schools are also interested in visiting Ohio State before ending their recruitment. The three main recruits in this group include LSU cornerback commit and the number one player in the class Kevin Toliver II, West Virginia safety commit Kendrell McFadden, and Florida State safety commit Derwin James. It's likely that two of these players (Toliver and James) stick with their commitments, but you never know what can happen in recruiting. It would be huge to just get these guys on campus, because often all Urban Meyer and his staff need is that one spark.
Finally, there's a group of prospects who have already been on campus, enjoyed their time, and would like to make a return trip before making a decision on which college they would like to attend. This group includes players like running back Jacques Patrick, linebacker Jeffery Holland, and safety Ben Edwards. Then of course there will be increased interest from some of the other Sunshine State prospects the Buckeyes have offered. It's a safe bet that the coaching staff will hand out plenty more offers to the best players in Florida in the months to come.
Ohio State has had some success in Florida over the past couple of years, landing two players from Urban Meyer's old stomping grounds in the 2013 class and one in the 2014 class. But we could see any many as five, perhaps even more, join Ohio State's 2015 class.
It's clear that head coach Urban Meyer, running backs coach Stan Drayton, and wide receivers coach Zach Smith have done a great job of developing relationships with these kids, in big part to getting in early in the recruiting process.
- Ohio State recruiting: State Secrets, 2/7 - 2014 class grades by position
- Ohio State recruiting: Top 15 targets for 2015
- Report: Max Wittek considering Ohio State, Texas, Louisville
- Ohio State recruiting: Top players in Ohio for 2015
- Ohio State recruiting: State Secrets, 2/6 - Darius Slade talks commitment