When Ohio State inked Urban Meyer to become the new head football coach for the Buckeyes in November of 2011, one thing that was coming with him was a winning background. Meyer has gotten the job done plenty of times previously which included many conference championships, bowl victories, and two national championships at Florida. So, it was expected that when he coached for the Scarlet and Grey, the same would be done -- and Mark Helfrich and the Oregon Ducks got a pretty good view just a handful of months ago.
Another thing that Meyer has excelled at is bringing in extraordinary coaches to join him on his coaching staffs. When you constantly put a good product on the field and put student-athletes around great coaches and teachers, it makes things a lot less difficult -- like recruiting. It was one of his biggest strengths prior to arriving in Columbus and it's safe to say that it carried over as the Buckeyes are now stock piled with talent and surely more will be on the way. Let's take a look at the highest ranked players that have signed with Ohio State since the hiring of Meyer.
1. Noah Spence, DE, Bishop McDevitt (PA), Class of 2012
Unsurprisingly to anyone, Spence was a top five player in his class. Spencer was an immensely productive player at Ohio State, and one with the potential to be drafted early in the NFL Draft, but off the field issues lead to lengthy suspensions, and ultimately, a transfer to Eastern Kentucky.
2. Raekwon McMillan, LB, Liberty County (GA), Class of 2014
The Buckeyes won a tight recruiting battle to pry McMillan out of Georgia, and the expectations are high for the five star for the coming season. After a productive year as a reserve linebacker (an interception, 2.5 sacks), backing up Curtis Grant, McMillan is expected to start this season, and help anchor a defense that has the potential to be completely dominant.
3. Vonn Bell, S, Ridgeland (GA), Class of 2013
Bell rounds out the top three highest ranked players to sign since Meyer inked with the Buckeyes. Those three prospects all are alumni of the Under Armour All-American game. Bell was the cornerstone of perhaps the best recruiting class in Ohio State history, and he hasn't disappointed. He's expected to be another key contributor on defense for the defending national champs.
4. Justin Hilliard, LB, St. Xavier (OH), Class of 2015
Hilliard and the three prospects mentioned above are the only five-star prospects that have signed with Ohio State since the hiring of Meyer. It may be difficult for Hilliard to see a ton of time on the field so early, but with his pedigree, it's only a matter of time before he starts wrecking havoc for the Buckeyes.
5. Jalin Marshall, WR, Middletown (OH), Class of 2013
Marshall was ranked as the No. 1 player at the wide receiver position when he signed with the Buckeyes in February of 2013. The now vital playmaker for the Ohio State offense is just the fourth signee for Urban Meyer at Ohio State to be ranked as the best player at his position. Marshall can play multiple positions, but after seeing time at the H last year, he's projected to spend the majority of his time at WR.
6. Damon Webb, CB, Cass Tech (MI), Class of 2014
The Buckeyes beat out the Michigan schools and more for this highly talented corner who was ranked the second best player in Michigan for his class. Webb has a stacked depth chart ahead of him, but there's no reason to think he won't eventually be highly successful for Ohio State
7. Joey Bosa, DE, St. Thomas Aquinas (FL), Class of 2013
What more can you say about Bosa? He's been a dominant force for the Buckeyes, was a major reason they won a national championship, and his play will have a lot to say about their chances for a repeat. Plus, Bosa has a legitimate shot to be the number one pick in next year's NFL draft. What more could you want?
8. Eli Apple, CB, Eastern (NJ), Class of 2013
Apple and the seven others mentioned above are the only prospects to sign with Ohio State who were graded in the top 50 of their respective class. Apple has already picked off three passes, including one against Oregon in the national title game, and should continue to be great for this coming season.
9. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Glenville (OH), Class of 2014.
Lattimore is one of twelve signees during the Urban Meyer tenure to be graded as the best player in his respective state.
10. Mike Mitchell, LB, Prestonwood Christian (TX), Class of 2013
Mitchell shows that you can't win them all. After one year at Ohio State, Mitchell elected to transfer to get closer to home, and left the program for Texas Tech. This coming season will be the first one where he could see significant playing time, and hopefully he is able to reach his vast potential as a football player.
Who could possibly jump on this list in the future?
As things currently stand, '16 RB Kareem Walker from De Paul Catholic (NJ) would find himself on this list which is littered with elite level talent. The 6'1, 210-pounder would be slotted after '15 LB signee Justin Hilliard and tied with '13 WR signee Jalin Marshall for fifth. Walker currently grades out at .9830 on the 247Sports Composite scale. However, Walker will need to continue his outstanding play during his senior season as a Spartan to maintain his rating because as we all know, recruiting rankings change often.
Another member of the 2016 class that could make the leap on to this list is Demario McCall. If it was February 2016, and time for McCall to sign his letter of intent, he would also be one of Urban Meyer's highest rated pickups during his time in Columbus. The grade that McCall currently has is .9781 which would put him at No. 8 on this list. We have all seen the moves and speed that the North Ridgeville (OH) star has displayed during a recent camp in Columbus for "The Opening," so with a solid final year before making his way to Ohio State, he is another that could very well be included here.
Two other names that would hold a spot on the list at this time would be '17 CB Shaun Wade and '17 OT Josh Myers. Right now, it's not realistic to say that either or will definitely make this list come February 2017, but it is worth mentioning that at this very moment Josh Myers, who committed to the Buckeyes back in January, would be the highest ranked Ohio State commit ever under Urban Meyer. Even though Noah Spence had a crazy high grade coming out of high school in 2012, Myers currently has it beat by .18 points. Stay tuned as we will see in a few years if Myers can take over the No. 1 spot.
Of course, there are names on the board that haven't committed yet who could easily make this list. Top 2016 target Nick Bosa, Joey's "little" brother is an even more celebrated prospect, with a .9951 rating, which would be the second best on this list. Bosa is considered exceptionally likely to sign with Ohio State, and perhaps soon. Bosa could also end up as a top ten player in the national class of 2016.
No matter what, things are looking pretty good for Ohio State recruiting, and past history has been a pretty good indicator of future success.