ANALYSIS: A look at Ohio State football recruiting during Urban Meyer era

With Urban Meyer retiring last month and another National Signing Day coming this week, we decided to break down the job he did attracting talent as Ohio State football coach for seven years.

Analyzing the seven classes Meyer signed during his time at Ohio State — including the 2012 class that was about half players who committed before Jim Tressel’s NCAA-investigation-induced exit in May 2011 — yielded an answer to the question of how he would adjust after a successful stint at Florida (that ended badly) as well as many more.

>>RELATED: New coach Ryan Day breaks down his first recruiting classWhere Ohio State’s 2019 recruits rank

In another piece, we will compare how Meyer and Tressel went about stocking Ohio State with talent.

For now, here are some trends from the Meyer era in Columbus:

1. Ohio still provided the most prospects, but it was only a plurality. 

A little more than 40 percent of the 170 recruits (69) Meyer signed from 2012-18 had hometowns in Ohio.

The most Ohio-heavy classes were the first (63 percent), second (46 percent) and fourth (44 percent).

Only 19 percent of the class that signed in February 2018 came from Ohio.

2. Cleveland produced the most Buckeyes under Meyer. 

This is true both in terms of city and metro area.

Eleven OSU signees called the birthplace of rock and roll home, a number that grows to 20 when we include the greater-Cleveland area.

Next is Cincinnati with eight Ohio State signees followed by Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with five.

The Columbus metro area (with four prospects from Pickerington) outpaced the Queen City, however, with 17 players compared to nine (including Middletown’s Jalin Marshall).

3. The Dayton area sent six scholarship players to Ohio State for Meyer. 

Taylor Decker got it started when the Butler offensive lineman flipped his commitment from Notre Dame to Ohio State in year one.

Evan Lisle (Centerville) and Cam Burrows (Trotwood-Madison) signed a year later with Robert Landers (Wayne) following in 2015, Josh Myers (Miamisburg) in ’17 and L’Christian “Blue” Smith (Wayne) last year.

4. Northeast Ohio also led the way as far as regions with 32 future Buckeyes. 

That should probably come as no surprise given the head-start granted by the presence of Cleveland in the region. (Another nine players came from the Akron/Canton/Massilon.)

Central Ohio produced 18 Meyer Buckeyes with 14 coming from Southwest Ohio, three from Northwest Ohio and two from Southeast Ohio.

5. Florida was still No. 1 for out-of-state prospects. 

Meyer signed 18 players from the Sunshine State followed by Texas with 10.

Seven players came from New Jersey with Georgia, New York, Virginia and Indiana supplying six apiece. Five came from Maryland while California, Illinois and Michigan produced four future Buckeyes apiece.

Twenty-seven states sent players to Ohio State during the Meyer era.

6. Forty percent have already become starters. 

With many of Meyer’s signees still having lots of eligibility left, 68 have already become starters.

On the flip side, more than half that number (37) have already transferred (for one reason or another) as of this writing.

Additionally, 12 signees have retired (11 for medical reasons), two never enrolled and only four have gone all the way through their careers to graduate without becoming a regular part of the rotation or transferring.

7. Meyer favored defense over offense. 

The best way to get an Ohio State offer during Urban Meyer’s time in Columbus? Play defense. He signed 33 defensive backs and 30 defensive linemen, more than any other position.

Next came offensive line (29), linebackers and receivers (21 each), running back and tight end (eight each) and quarterback (seven).

Six players were listed as “athletes” on signing day, and three were listed at running back/receiver.

8. Twice as many defensive players have been drafted so far. 

Meyer came to Ohio State with a reputation as an offensive guru, but only eight of his signees from that side of the ball have been taken in the NFL draft compared to 16 on defense.

Six defensive backs have been drafted followed by five defensive linemen, five linebackers and four offensive lineman (including Billy Price, who signed as defensive lineman).

9. Ohio still produced the most draft picks, but that could change. 

So far, 11 of the 24 Meyer signees to be drafted came from Ohio, a percentage that is slightly higher (47.8) than the overall rate of Ohio signees (40.6).

Only one Florida native (Joey Bosa) has been drafted, but only seven have been eligible prior to 2019.

Also of note: None of the 10 Texans from Ohio State have been drafted, though seven still could be.

About the Author