Tonight marks the long awaited Cotton Bowl where the Buckeyes square off against Southern California at the home of the Dallas Cowboys, and all focus is locked in on the Trojans. With this being the finale of the 2017 season, a win would be the only way to send this group of seniors off.
As tonight’s game is the highlight of sports television for the week, all eyes—including many of the country’s top recruits—will be glued to Ohio State and USC. With those highly-touted prospects watching, the Buckeyes will look to impress and take care of business. The staff itself knows at the conclusion of this game means the last efforts to solidify the rest of their 2018 recruiting class.
Numbers are tight at the end
Yesterday, in a media day interview at the Cotton Bowl, Urban Meyer answered various questions, but one in particular had to do with this year’s current recruiting cycle. With the early signing period already in the fold, Ohio State was able to sign twenty-one prospects, which currently sets them as the second-ranked class in the country behind Georgia, but still atop the Big Ten as the conference’s number one class. Fortunately, the Buckeyes have two fewer players in their class than Georgia, so landing more would maybe give them the ability to “leap” the Bulldogs and regain the top class for 2018.
To be specific, Meyer was asked in his interview how many guys they will be able to sign and it’s looking more and more likely that two spots are all that remain in the Buckeyes’ 2018 class. Two may not seem like a lot, but with unanswered questions still on the present roster in terms of who may leave early for the NFL Draft, two roster slots is the latest news from the head man himself.
Urban Meyer on Ohio State's early signing period haul: "We did very well. I'm very pleased with who we got." Meyer said the Buckeyes probably have only two spots left in their 2018 recruiting class.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 28, 2017
Fortunately, Ohio State may hear some great news this coming January 4 at the Under Armour All-American game, when in-state defensive end Tyreke Smith of Cleveland Heights announces his final decision. Earlier this week, Smith announced his final schools, but in reality this one is down to an Ohio State and Penn State race, something the recruiting world has seen for a while now. If Smith does in fact choose to stay home and suit up for the Buckeyes, Ohio State will not only keep the top defensive end in the state home, but also fill a position of serious need.
In the other spot, well, the Buckeyes are hoping for another top defensive end in Jayson Oweh, who also will announce between Penn State and Ohio State at the Under Armour All-American game. Hopefully, Urban Meyer and Larry Johnson have a deja vu affect and see double the success. Rumors have progressed that Oweh may in fact be leaning toward the Buckeyes thanks to the confirmation that Larry Johnson is in fact not leaving Ohio State for retirement. If that is in fact the case, the defensive end position is once again reloaded with talent. Penn State, though, does have a serious lead in the 247sports crystal ball forecast, but the time is coming soon for a decision.
On the other hand, if Ohio State only lands one of the two in Oweh and or Smith, the other position of need is at offensive tackle. As the in-state Jackson Carman selected Clemson last week and spurned the Buckeyes, the coaching staff knows the importance of adding depth to a critical position on the field which will protect next year’s quarterback. Two names to keep eyes on now near the finish line are Rasheed Wallker and Nicholas Petit-Frere. Walker, a Maryland native, is thought to be a Penn State lean, but with Ohio State needing a tackle, they have made Walker a serious priority. On the other hand, Florida native Petit-Frere has also become a priority for Ohio State near the home stretch.
Petit-Frere is the third ranked offensive tackle in the country and Florida’s third best prospect overall in an always-loaded Sunshine State. Easily proving his 5-star ranking, the home team Florida Gators are thought to be the leader in this recruitment, but Urban Meyer has had success on more than one occasion in his old home. As it stands right now, it’s either a defensive end or an offensive tackle will be the positions of need and you can guarantee this coaching staff will get the job done rounding out another incredible haul of talent heading to Columbus.