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Urban Meyer ‘feels deep down’ this National Signing Day class is ‘exceptional’

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The best is yet to come for Ohio State

National Signing Day got off to a hot start for Ohio State football, who received seven letters of intent before 8am, and 11 players by 10:15 a.m. — not including the nine early enrollees in this year’s class. There were few surprises during the early hours, but the Buckeyes did snag wide receiver Elijah Gardiner, finishing the flip from Mizzou.

Urban Meyer took the podium to speak to the media following a busy day of welcoming the 2017 class of Buckeyes.

  • Meyer echoed his sentiments from previous years, that the greatest recruiters they have are in the locker room and the parents of those in the locker room. He mentioned Ezekiel Elliott and Joshua Perry’s parents talking to kids when they’re allowed and helping with recruitment.
  • The head coach noted that there were no 11th hour signees this year, that the class had been set for quite awhile. Even Thayer Munford had committed a couple days ago, despite just signing today.
  • On what he and his staff look for from recruits, Meyer said it changes every year and that the most important thing is replacing the talent leaving with equal or better talent. In their war room they have a whole recruiting wall which better shows where they need to focus on the next class.
  • Specifically, Meyer mentioned it’s unprecedented for a program to lose 6 out of 8 secondary players to the NFL Draft. And while it’s unusual, they are replacing them with guys they are really excited about.
  • Meyer specifically wanted to point out one signee that he was impressed with was Shaun Wade. The receiver committed during the National Championship in 2015, and he’s from a high school that traditionally sees a lot of changes in commitment. Meyer said he couldn’t be more proud that Wade stuck with his decision.
  • It’s notably harder to keep out-of-state commitments for over a year, but they were able to do that with many of this year’s class. Meyer learned that Wyatt Davis actually lives in the same neighborhood as USC’s head coach, so it’s not always so easy to keep these kids. Meyer said in-state guys are a little easier to count on when they commit early, compared to the 30% chance he gives early commits from out of state.
  • On whether having 7 kids from Ohio out of 21 signees is good enough, Meyer quickly answered, “No, no it’s not.” He continued that Ohio is typically a late-developing state, which is why having an early signing period in June is a bad idea. Coaches need to see the senior season to see the full development of those players.
  • Meyer described how football players in Texas get a football class during the day and time throughout the day to focus on football, whereas players in Ohio don’t even think about football until after school hours. This kind of difference bleeds onto the field.
  • He also wanted to give credit to the high schools graduating the past couple of years, noting, “They are very good students, very good people and people who are so interested in life after football”. Meyer said that wasn’t always the case, with most players focusing on getting to the NFL. The players who are interested in the full college experience, including in the classroom, are the kind of people attracted to the Ohio State program.
  • Two from the 2017 class are expected to compete right away, as confirmed by Meyer: Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis. He said both guys are tough and disciplined, in addition to blessed. He said, “they’re big, not fat-big but big-big”.
  • Meyer was asked about the Kevin Wilson hire, with the head coach saying he’s known him since their Northwestern days and has been interested in him for awhile. He was asked specifically about the circumstances surrounding Wilson’s IU departure, Meyer said he spoke to AD Gene Smith and Dr. Michael Drake at great length. He said they all wanted to hear what the issue was, but it came back rather quickly and that it was due to a misunderstanding and philosophical difference.
  • On what Meyer is looking for from Kevin Wilson’s offense, “control the ball better”.
  • He also spoke about a lot of changes he intends on making this offseason including changing up how they practice and even the location of the coaching offices.

Land-Grant Holy Land has full coverage on all signings and what it means for the future of Ohio State football.

Full list of signees

  • Kendall Sheffield (CB - JUCO)
  • Pete Werner (LB)
  • Blake Haubeil (K)
  • Amir Riep (DB)
  • Trevon Grimes (WR)
  • Jaylen Harris (WE)
  • Chase Young (DE)
  • Jerron Cage (DL)
  • Elijah Gardiner (WR)
  • Wyatt Davis (OG)
  • Haskell Garrett (DL)
  • Thayer Munford (OT)

Early Enrollees

  • Baron Browning (OLB)
  • J.K. Dobbins (RB)
  • Tate Martell (QB)
  • Josh Myers (OL)
  • Jeffrey Okudah (CB)
  • Isaiah Pryor (S)
  • Shaun Wade (CB)
  • Brendon White (WR)
  • Marcus Williamson (CB)