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Big Ten teams feast on Ohio prep football for recruits

October 12, 2012
By SETH STASKEY - Buckeye Blitz (sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

There are more than 800 high schools in the state of Ohio.

There are also seven big cities. In football terms that means fertile ground.

The number of college players and coaches the Buckeye State produces each year is simply off the charts. That's what made it such a shock during the three-game stretch of Central Florida, California and UAB that none of those schools had a single player from the Buckeye State.

Big Ten rosters are simply littered with players from Ohio. Obviously, Ohio State has the most since it's the flagship university, but all of the other schools in the conference have made recruiting Ohio a priority.

"It seems like every week we play someone from Ohio," Meyer said. "That tells you how great the high school football is in this state."

Under Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes basically put up a fence around Ohio. Tressel always seemed to get the premier players in the state to attend OSU.

Since Brady Hoke was hired at Michigan, the job of keeping the blue-chip kids in Ohio has grown tougher. Hoke, himself, is an Ohio native.

However, Meyer has re-energized that goal to keep the best players in the state, but he also realizes that the ultimate goal is to win a national championship and you'd better be able to go out and recruit nationally.

He even talked about how many recruits were on hand for Saturday night's game against Nebraska when an Ohio Stadium record of 106,000-plus crammed into the stadium to see the first night game of the season.

Recruiting is sometimes an inexact science. So much of the process is dictated by speed and size. Very, very rarely do major college coaches pay one ounce of attention to stats or post-season honors. It's all about the intangibles. How fast do you run; how much do you lift and how tall are you?

The Buckeye State will always be the focus of the OSU coaching staff and rightfully so. You've got to remember that those are the kids - for the most part - who grow up wanting to play there. Obviously, that's not everyone, so that's where the recruiting and selling part comes into play.

There always have been and will continue to be players who fly under the radar that make huge names for themselves and, on the flipside, there will always be players who come out of high school with off-the-chart credentials that fail to live up to the hype.

The major issue for OSU is the scholarship reductions because of the NCAA punishment, which hurts depth. Currently, OSU's roster has just 76 players on scholarship.

"You definitely feel it," Meyer said. "Especially on special teams. Anytime there is a transition of a coaching staff, there's a transition of players and we're feeling that in a big way."

The thing about the college football coaching and recruiting business is it never ends.

BUCKEYE NOTES

"It was a very ignorant comment, but that's a 19-year old making an ignorant comment," Meyer said. "That makes him one of 460 million, so we're moving on. We had a good chat and he was very apologetic. He does go to class in case people want to check."

"Coach (Kerry) Coombs calls them piranhas because they're not big enough to be sharks," Meyer smiled. "I like the way he put that. Those guys did a really good job for us. That was impressive against a very good kick returner."

 
 

 

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