Ohio State Football Recruiting: Why 2013 Class Is Coming Together Very Slowly
It seems like Ohio State has been sitting on just five recruits while Michigan's class fills out very rapidly.
OSU's last commit came from OT Evan Lisle way back on Feb. 28th, nearly a month ago.
The Buckeyes have since seen several of their targets (including Kettering (OH) product QB Malik Zaire) commit elsewhere.
OSU fans might be a little uneasy about why the recruiting momentum that Urban Meyer's arrival generated has finally slowed down to a stop, but there's plenty of explanation for the slow start.
Probably the biggest reason is the obvious lack of scholarships.
The Tattoogate scandal rendered OSU to a scholarship limit of 82 for each of the next two recruiting classes, meaning a recruiting class that could've been as large as 20 will likely be only about 16-18 depending on remaining transfers and early departures for the NFL Draft.
OSU is at 81 right now after the departure of S/LB Chad Hagan.
Right now, Ohio State will need four more transfers or early departures just to allow 20 slots in this year's recruiting class.
After two large classes in the last two years for Ohio State, the Buckeyes will need to be very selective unless a lot of younger players decide to transfer over the next few weeks.
So far, the attrition rate is pretty low, but that can all change during spring practice.
Another reason for the slow start is something very similar to last year—fear of the unknown.
Last year's unknown was much more of a frightening circumstance than this year's. Recruits had no idea who Ohio State's coach was going to be after Jim Tressel was forced out of his job and how much the school would be penalized for his transgressions.
This year, it's more of a logistical issue—no one knows what the OSU offense looks like.
The Buckeyes will finally kick off spring practice on Wednesday, one of the last programs in the country to do so.
Part of the big reason most of the offensive skill players probably have not committed since his hire have been due to the fact that the new OSU offense remains a mystery.
There is no film on this offense.
The kids and fans only know what the offense could be based on the resumes of Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman.
After 15 practices in the spring and a televised spring game, kids will have a much better idea of what to expect from the new Buckeye offense.
They will get an even better idea as the season gets going and OSU gets a few games under their belt.
It all comes back to a staff that hasn't really worked together as a whole and hasn't seen any of their players together in camps.
The biggest thing that should help the recruiting pick back up is the return of Friday Night Lights.
Friday Night Lights was something Meyer and new director of player personnel Mark Pantoni brought to the University of Florida which was a chance for prospects to work out with the coaches under the lights of the Swamp in Gainesville.
And yes, it is coming to Columbus this summer—even though the Horseshoe doesn't have permanent lighting...yet.
This event had mass appeal during Meyer's time in Florida, and should do the same at Ohio State starting this July. The following comes from an Eleven Warriors article on FNL.
"Though the first edition of FNL was an unqualified success (future Gator legend Tim Tebow would bond with Jarred Fayson at FNL '05), the event would go on to grow to the point where hundreds of recruits, many of them elite, would pay their own way to Gainesville to show off their skills under the lights, with hip-hop rocking the stadium and team highlights rolling on the scoreboard video screen (with the occasional troll technique, like flashing the Florida-Florida State score from the previous season, which would not work so well lately).
"In 2007, Friday Night Lights saw 42 rivals.com four-star or better players attend and two years later, an astounding six of Rivals' 17 five-star recruits -- and 20 of the services top 100 players -- would make the trip to Gainesville to compete.
"The electric atmosphere often leads to recruits deciding to stick around an extra day or two to get to know the staff and school a little better. And as we're quickly finding out, if you give Urban Meyer some quality one-on-one time with a recruit, good things tend to happen."
Those elements together along with the eventual sustained success of Ohio State on the field should relieve any anxieties about the lack of movement on the recruiting trail.
Anyway, it's still almost 10 months from National Signing Day 2013. And while it is surprising to see Michigan already with 16 verbal commits, the fact remains that it's early and OSU is after some high-level prospects.
If last year taught us anything, it's that one verbal can start an avalanche of verbals, especially if players that see that space is limited and they need to either jump on the train or not be able to get on.
Ohio State's recruiting is not flawed, it's just held up with a lack of space and logistical questions that will all be answered shortly. Spring is about to start.
Follow me on Twitter @bielik_tim for the latest college football news and updates.
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