December’s FBS Early Signing Period definitely changed the landscape for college football recruiting, but the new calendar has not impacted Urban Meyer and his staff, as the OSU class will certainly end the day in the Top-5 in terms of recruiting rankings, and still have a chance to take home the top spot.
On Wednesday morning, with a handful of big commits still left to announce their decisions, Meyer addressed the media to discuss the class, changes on his coaching staff, recent transfers, and his 2018 team.
Early Signing Period
- The head coach said that the timing of the early signing period was difficult on the staff, but that it made the January recruiting period much easier to manage.
- He added that the only thing that matters is if the change benefits the student-athlete. If it does, then it is something that should be kept. Specifically whether the student-athlete was able to visit all the programs they were interested in and were able to evaluate all their options.
- Meyer said that he hasn’t had time to evaluate the implementation of the early signing period, but that it shouldn’t be up to the coaches to make the decision.
- “Its been tough,” Meyer said of how you handle situations when recruits come to campus early, and their position coach leaves for another opportunity.
- Meyer said that Schiano has picked up the slack with the defensive backs now that Kerry Coombs has headed to the NFL.
- Meyer said that what he’s found out is that having early enrollees has proven to help players get on the field early. He said it’s a tough situation, but it’s worth it.
National Signing Day
- Meyer noted that they have signed 26 players, and that it is a class that fits with Ohio State in terms of academics, character, and talent.
- During his round of appreciation, Meyer thanked his players. He specifically pointed out 5-star Nicholas Petit-Frere is “a relationship person” and J.K Dobbins having talked about his relationship with strength coach Mickey Mariotti, helped solidify Nick’s decision.
- Meyer also thanked athletic director Gene Smith, who Meyer said has never said “No” to anything in terms of protecting players. “He allows me and my staff to fully invest in our players,” Meyer added.
- Because of the lighter load in January, Meyer said that they were able to be laser-focused on a handful of big recruits, including Nicholas Petit-Frere. “It’s a much different process now.”
- Meyer said that the coaching staff will celebrate a little bit tonight, and then move on to the next year’s class. He said that they don’t recruit to have the No. 1 recruiting class, but it’s something that they keep an eye on. “Successful teams have great players,” Meyer admitted.
- The head coach said that because of the shrunken pool of recruits following the early signing period, instead of worrying about positional needs, you somewhat have to just start looking at the best players available.
- Meyer said that with official visit periods happening in the spring and summer, Meyer is concerned that more recruits will commit in June, long before their senior season starts.
- He said that he gets paranoid about maintaining the level of recruiting. How do you ensure that next year’s class is as good as this one, he said?
- Meyer praised and thanked his staff, and said that you can’t coach at a school like Ohio State if you can’t recruit, and all of the OSU coaches can do that.
- It was reported just before Meyer’s press conference began that defensive coordinator Greg Schiano will be staying in Columbus, instead of jumping to the New England Patriots.
- The head coach was able to confirm that Schiano will be staying at Ohio State, despite having “dozens” of offers.
- Meyer said that Schiano is “essential to our program.” He added that he is one of, if not the best, recruiter on the staff.
- “That took my breath away a little bit,” Meyer said of Kerry Coombs heading to the NFL. Meyer said that he was shocked by the move, by that Coombs will be a life-long friend, and wishes him the best.
- Meyer added that they should be able to announce a replacement on the coaching staff within the next week or so.
- Meyer said that he started studying Alex Grinch last summer, and when it became official that they would be able to add an 11th coach, it made sense. Meyer said that Grinch is a high-energy guy, which is very important to be a part of the Ohio State program.
- He added that the fact that Grinch and his wife are Ohio natives was a big deal in bringing him to OSU.
- Meyer said that he tries to create an environment at OSU that takes care of its coaches. He said that they don’t get in bidding wars to keep coaches, but they do try to include some enticements when it comes to keeping people on the staff.
- The head coach added that the dynamic between Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson won’t change much now that Day also has the offensive coordinator title.
- He said that there are no dictators on the staff. All coaches have an ownership of the units that they work with.
- “I dont know where that’s coming from,” Meyer said of the rumors of his retirement. He said that he is prepping to sign an extension with OSU soon. He knows that it is something that other schools bring up during recruiting, but he said that it’s not coming from him or anyone in the program.
- During the early-enrollee press conferences before Meyer stepped to the podium, we got some news on a JuCo transfer.
Junior-college defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson had crutches by his side. He said he had surgery yesterday on his foot, which he fractured late in season (and still played through). Expects to participate in spring practice.— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) February 7, 2018
- Meyer said that Jackson’s attitude has been great, and they anticipate him being ready for spring practice.
- He also added that every day will be an evaluation day in terms of determining who will be the No. 1 QB in the spring.
- He also said that when it came to Mike Weber staying in school, he mostly listened to what Weber wanted, and agreed that he needed another year in school.