-by Braden Gall (follow him on twitter @AthlonBraden)
Urban Meyer is a proven commodity on the sidelines. His immaculate coaching record speaks for itself.
He is 104-23 overall and 7-1 in bowl games. He was MAC Coach of the Year his first season at Bowling Green (2001). He was Mountain West Coach of the Year in both of his two seasons at Utah – to go with two MWC championships and a BCS Bowl berth. And in six years in the SEC, Meyer's players won two BCS National Championships and one Heisman Trophy.
That’s a serious resume to be handing out at every checkpoint along the Ohio State recruiting trail. Sitting in living rooms all over the Midwest and Northeast, the new Buckeyes coach will bring with him as much clout as any head coach in the nation. More importantly, the Urban Meyer name rings across the fertile Southern recruiting grounds with volume and clarity.
“This is absolutely a home run hire for Ohio State,” 247Sports.com national recruiting analyst Barton Simmons told Athlon Sports. “I can’t imagine a better fit from a recruiting standpoint than Urban Meyer. He’s got name recognition nationally and a system that athletes love to play in.”
Simmons continued: “Ohio State has landed some great players out of the state of Florida, and that pipeline will only continue to grow under Meyer. He also has Ohio ties and understands the importance of building a wall around what is arguably the fourth-most talented state in the country.”
Meyer was a force on the recruiting trail with the budget and power of the mighty Florida Gators athletic department. His full classes at Florida (2006-2010) were the envy of nearly every program in the nation and included the 2007 and 2010 recruiting national championships — aka ranked as the No. 1 class in the nation by Athlon Sports. The Gators claimed the best class in the SEC three times in five years under Meyer.
Over the five-year span, Meyer signed 120 total players, 43 Athlon Consensus 100 prospects, 92 players from southern states and 70 from the state of Florida. To top it all off, he never lost his touch in the northeast, landing 13 players from the area including names like Joe Haden, Aaron Hernandez, Dominique Easley, Jordan Reed, Jelani Jenkins and Sharrif Floyd.
Here is a quick breakdown of his five full Florida classes:
2010: 28 total signees, 13 AC100
National Rank: No. 1, SEC Rank: No. 1
2009: 16 total signees, 5 AC100
National Rank: No. 9, SEC Rank: No. 4
2008: 22 total signees, 7 AC100
National Rank: No. 8, SEC Rank: No. 3
2007: 27 total signees, 12 AC100
National Rank: No. 1, SEC Rank: No. 1
2006: 27 total signees, 6 AC100
National Rank: No. 2, SEC Rank: No. 1
Ohio State has never had a problem attracting elite level talent, and the Buckeye brand has never been a tough sell for any coach who has worked on the banks of the Olentangy. But the brand image had taken a hit recently amidst tattoo-email cover-up scandals and booster payroll smudging. Anything and everything will become fodder for opposing coaches when it comes to recruiting, so a national title-winning head coach being forced to resign was easy pickings for rival Big Ten coaching staffs.
“Schools like Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Nebraska were able to come into the Buckeye State and pull players that Ohio State coveted,” BuckeyeGrove.com’s Kevin Noon told Athlon Sports. BuckeyeGrove.com is the officially licensed Rivals.com website covering Ohio State football recruiting.
“But when landing Urban Meyer seemed like more than a possibility, players began to show more interest,” Noon went on. “Before Meyer was hired it appeared that the Buckeyes were done with their 2012 recruiting effort with only a handful of kids left on the board. Now, with the new hire, all bets are off and Ohio State could clean up by flipping a few in-state kids and moving on some out-of-state talent.”
The impact of Meyer on OSU recruiting has already been felt. Athlon Consensus 100 defensive end Adolphus Washington even mentioned Meyer specifically in his announcement speech last Tuesday. Ohio State had 16 total commitments when it officially revealed that Urban Meyer would be the next head coach in the Horseshoe. With two hard months of recruiting left, Bucks fans can bet on The Ohio State University pulling a few upsets and luring a big name or two to Columbus en route to National Signing Day 2012.
Unfortunately for the rest of the Big Ten, it’s merely a warning shot across the bow as every recruiting coordinator in the league should be bracing for Meyer’s impact in 2013.
More Urban Meyer, Ohio State content:
Urban Meyer Will Win Big by Mitch Light