Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer takes great pride in coaching the Buckeyes and keeping some of the state’s top high school talent in Columbus. Considering the depth of talent throughout the state, it is no wonder why he would want to do so. As Ohio State puts the finishing touches on its Class of 2017, Meyer will look back at a strong recruiting effort that will net one of the top classes in the country, but he cannot help but regret not getting more players from Ohio to be a part of the recruiting class.
Ohio State’s Class of 2017 includes seven players from the state, including four of the top 10 players from the state. Among those are the state’s top two recruits according to Rivals, offensive lineman Josh Myers and athlete Brendon White. Wide receiver Jaylen Harris and defensive back Amir Riep are the other top 10 Ohio recruits to commit to Ohio State. For the sake of comparison, Ohio State’s Class of 2016 included four of the state’s top 10 recruits as well. Ideally, Meyer admitted, he would like to see roughly half of his recruiting class made up of Ohio players.
The tradeoff, of course, is excelling with recruiting efforts in other states and regions that have helped Ohio State construct a roster that helps separate them from the rest of the Big Ten (and win a national championship). That’s a pretty solid tradeoff. Ohio State’s Class of 2017 is highlighted by a five-star defensive back from Florida (Shaun Wade), a five-star offensive lineman from California (Wyatt Davis), a five-star defensive end from Maryland (Chase Young) and a five-star defensive back from Texas (Jeffrey Okudah), just to name a few. None of the six five-star players to sign with Ohio State hail from Ohio. In fact, no recruit from the state was given a five-star ranking by Rivals, although there were plenty of four-star players to choose from.
More often than not, Ohio State is going to get the cream of the crop from the state of Ohio. Top players in the state will always go elsewhere, like athlete JaVonte Richardson heading to Kentucky, quarterback Sean Clifford going to Penn State and defensive end James Hudson going north to Michigan this year, but the Buckeyes will always have a strong recruiting base right in their backyard. Meyer knows keeping strong connections in the state are essential, but some years he will have to go out of state to put together the best possible class he can.
For the second time in a matter of weeks, Ohio State is losing an offensive coordinator to another program. Fortunately, they had a replacement ready to slide into the spot.
Ohio State made the hiring of offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, the former head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers, official on Tuesday. The addition of Wilson comes at a time when Ohio State has seen both co-offensive cooridnators move to new jobs and the Buckeyes fresh off the only shutout loss in postseason bowl play this past season. Wilson was fired amid concern over his treatment of players in Bloomington, which will have to be addressed by Ohio State once Wilson is officially introduced, but as far as his offensive coaching is concerned, the Buckeyes have a potentially solid upgrade at offensive coordinator.
Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated reports, via Twitter, Ohio State offensive coordinator Ed Warinner will leave the Buckeyes program to take on a role as offensive line coach at Minnesota under new head coach P.J. Fleck.
There had been some discussion in the rumor mill about Warinner leaving to join the Minnesota staff, but reports of him becoming the offensive coordinator for the Gophers were silenced. However, with the addition of Wilson to the staff, Warinner would have had to settle with being demoted to offensive line coach in Columbus. That’s not exactly a bad job at all, but at Minnesota he will be given a fresh start under new leadership and perhaps have a chance to grow as an assistant under Fleck. His impact on improving Minnesota’s offensive line should be closely monitored, as the Gophers will now be on their third offensive line coach in as many seasons.
Ohio State also saw Tim Beck leave Ohio State to join former Ohio State assistant Tom Herman in Texas.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said he was intrigued by the idea of using former players to mimic opposing players in practices after word got out Nick Saban was doing so down in Alabama. It seems Meyer did the research and tried to give it a shot himself by using former Ohio State wide receiver Brian Hartline on the scout team.
Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins took to Twitter to offer his compliments to the hard work ethic brought to the practice field by the former Buckeye and NFL wide receiver.
Hartline, who played with the Miami Dolphins from 2009 through 2014 and the Cleveland Browns in 2015, responded. The tweet, however, was deleted (but here’s a screen shot that was grabbed before the tweet vanished).
The tweet was likely deleted because it is an NCAA violation to promote the appearance beforehand of any former player participating in a practice. This may not be something the NCAA takes a hard look at from an investigative standpoint. If they did, it would result in nothing more than a slap on the wrist or a finger wag at best.
Clemson was using former quarterback Tajh Boyd to mimic Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett last week.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer are among 16 remaining candidates for the George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year Award presented by the Maxwell Football Club.
Saban is the only coach from the SEC listed as a semifinalist, and he has never won the award that was first presented in 1989 to Michigan’s Bo Schembechler. Gene Stallings is the only Alabama coach to win the award, doing so in 1992. Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen was the first SEC coach since 1998 (Tennessee’s Philip Fulmer) to win the award, in 2014.
Meyer and Mike Leach are the only semifinalists to previously win the award. Meyer won the award in 2004 at Utah and Leach took the award in 2008 with Texas Tech. Penn State’s James Franklin could become the third Penn State coach to win the award, joining Joe Paterno (1990, 2005) and Bill O’Brien (2012).
The remaining semifinalists for the award are Mike MacIntyre (Colorado), Bobby Petrino (Louisville), Neal Brown (Troy), Ken Niumatalolo (Navy), Scott Frost (UCF), Kyle Whittingham (Utah), Justin Fuente (Virginia Tech), Chris Petersen (Washington), Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia), P.J. Fleck (Western Michigan) and Paul Chryst (Wisconsin).
Finalists for the award will be announced on December 12 and a winner will be named on December 29. The winner will be presented with the award on March 10, 2017 in Atlantic City, New Jersey at the annual Maxwell Football Club Awards Banquet.
No. 2 Ohio State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) opened its Big Ten schedule without giving up a point. J.T. Barrett tossed four touchdowns to become the school’s all-time passing touchdown leader and Mike Weber rushed for 144 yards and a score in a 58-0 victory over Rutgers (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) on Saturday in Ohio Stadium.
First year Rutgers head coach Chris Ash, a former Ohio State assistant, had the benefit of having some inside perspective on how Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer prepares his team. But Meyer had the benefit of having a stacked roster that could probably have gotten by with a fairly easy win if they juts used second and third-stringers against Rutgers. Rutgers did hang with Ohio State early on in the first quarter, including an interception of Barrett on Ohio State’s first offensive possession, but there was no matchup battle that wasn’t won by Ohio State the rest of the way.
At one point in the fourth quarter, Ohio State had 502 more yards of total offense than Rutgers. That included over 350 rushing yards. Ohio State also had 20 more first downs than Rutgers. It’s hard to pull an upset, or even sniff an upset, with that kind of box score.
There was a bit of a scare on the field for Rutgers this afternoon when linebacker Greg Jones was taken off the field on a stretcher and on a cart after apparently banging his helmet while attempting to make a tackle. He was taken to the hospital for further evaluation. Early indications appear to suggest Jones should be OK, as he has been communicating and moving his extremities.
Did we really learn anything from this game? No, probably not much. Ohio State was a heavy favorite over Rutgers anyway, and there was never much expectation Rutgers would make a game of this one. For Ohio State, it was just another week to get in gear, and they are certainly in gear. There is no team in the Big Ten as good as Ohio State. This is Ohio State’s conference to lose.
Ohio State will continue Big Ten play at home next week against Indiana. The Hoosiers host Michigan State Saturday night and have a knack for giving Ohio State some trouble in recent years, at least on offense. Rutgers will return home to host Michigan in a primetime game next week. Ohio State one week and Michigan the next? That’s juts cruel.