"But for the ones arriving on Sunday, it will be the start of college, of playing football with men, some of whom are four or more years older than them. And it's about being away from home, going to classes on a huge campus of 50,000-plus students come fall, and managing one's business."
Today, 22 members of the 2015 Ohio State football recruiting class are scheduled to begin practice for the upcoming season with returning players from last year's national championship team. The group will face some high expectations, coming into Urban Meyer's fourth season as head coach and a 38-3 overall record under his reign.
"It's part of my life I've been waiting on for a while now," said incoming linebacker Justin Hilliard. "Since my senior season ended, I've been working really hard to prepare for it. And now I'm excited to get up there and compete with so much talent around. I think that's going to make me better overall, so I can't wait."
Meyer has already told Hilliard, a five-star recruit from St. Xavier in Cincinnati, that he can wear Chic Harley's retired No. 47 jersey.
Four members of the incoming class have been on campus since January, having enrolled a semester early. The original recruiting class had 27 members from 11 states, including a dozen from Ohio, and the Buckeye's first-ever scholarship player from South Dakota. Two members of the class have since left the program, including early enrollee Jamel Dean, a defensive back from Florida, who was not medically cleared to play due to a knee condition, and offensive lineman Mirko Jurkovic, Jr., who was ruled out due to an academic issue.
"We will forever be recruiting up here."
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is committed to recruiting in the state of Michigan. He attended the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp in Detroit last week, bringing most of his coaching staff along with him as he wooed some of Michigan's top prospects.
Meyer first attended the camp in 2012 in his first year as head coach of the Buckeyes. His efforts at the camp have since expanded and reaped enormous rewards.
Cass Tech, a Michigan powerhouse and pipeline to the University of Michigan, has turned into a strong Ohio State recruiting school over the past few years. In 2014, Meyer snagged four-star receiver Damon Webb, who is now entering his sophomore season in Ohio State's secondary. Cass Tech running back Mike Weber committed to the 2015 Buckeye class after previously committing to Michigan. Both Weber and Webb were the state's No. 2 ranked players in their respective classes.
Weber stayed with Ohio State, despite potential drama with the departure of former Ohio State running backs coach Stan Drayton for the Chicago Bears the day after National Signing Day. Weber had publicly expressed his disdain with the situation, but came back on board with Meyer and new running backs coach Tony Alford, who knew Weber from recruiting efforts with Notre Dame. Weber's high school coach, Thomas Wilcher, was also unhappy with the situation, but the issues seem to have worked themselves out as Meyer is still able to visit the school.
Meyer has already earned a commit from the 2016 class in Michael Jordan, a four-star defensive tackle from Canton. They are also eyeing Donovan Peoples-Jones, a five-star receiver in the 2017 class and the top player from Michigan in his class.
"Our goal is to challenge our team early and often and I think we put together one of the most difficult non-conference schedules in the country."
The Ohio State women's basketball team is facing one of the toughest schedules in the NCAA next year, going against all four of last year's Final Four teams. The Buckeyes will open against South Carolina, which spent the majority of last season ranked No. 2 nationally, then face two-time defending champion UConn. Ohio State hasn't played South Carolina since 1981, though they have played UConn three times since 2010.
A match against Notre Dame, another Final Four team, is scheduled for the Big Ten/ACC challenge in December. Notre Dame has played in four of the last five NCAA Championship games. The Buckeyes will also face off against Maryland, the last Final Four team, in a home-and-home series during Big Ten play. The Buckeyes will face a total of 12 NCAA tournament teams from last season, including six teams from the Big Ten.
Ohio State finished last season ranked 23rd nationally, having lost in the round of 32 to North Carolina. The team is returning all five of last year’s starters, including National Freshman of the Year and Big Ten Co-Player of the Year Kelsey Mitchell. Mitchell was the first-ever freshman to lead the NCAA in scoring. Mitchell is joined by Ameryst Alston, a two-time first team All-Big Ten honoree, and Alexa Hart, an honorable mention All-Big Ten center.
"I've learned a lot from my experience at Worlds. I decided to drop back down a weight and it felt real good out there. I'm ready for another opportunity at the Worlds."
Two Buckeye wrestlers have advanced to the World Championships in Las Vegas in September after qualifying at the U.S. World Team Trials in Madison, Wisc. Former Buckeye All-American Reece Humphrey, who graduated in 2010, swept former Iowa All-American Daniel Dennis in the 134 lb. weight class in the finals.
Freshman Kyle Snyder, who placed second in the NCAA championships last year, defeated the 2012 Olympic champion Jake Varner in the 213 lb. weight class. This match was the third time Snyder beat Varner in the past six weeks. In high school, Snyder was a Junior World Champion with a 179-0 record.
Graduating senior and four-time NCAA champion Logan Stieber also competed in the trials in Madison, advancing to the finals in the 143 lb. weight class before falling to former Oklahoma State wrestler Jordan Oliver.
Buckeye alum J.D. Bergman also competed in the trials, losing in the finals of the challenge tournament in the 213 lb. weight class to Jake Varner. Bergman had previously won the trials for his class in 2010 and 2013, and was a three-time All-American at Ohio State.
The four Buckeyes qualified for the trials at the ASICS/Las Vegas Senior U.S. Open championships in the spring. The group also trains together at the Ohio Regional Training Center, which has produced 15 World Team members since 1997.
This year’s Ohio State wrestling team, including Stieber and Snyder, won the school’s first wrestling championship in program history.
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