Ohio State Football: What Urban Meyer Must Do to Top Michigan Recruiting

Justin OnslowContributor IIJanuary 4, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 13:  Urban Meyer the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes watches the action during the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Buckeyes and Wolverines are locked in a heated battle for the Big Ten, and this time, it’s off the gridiron.

Michigan currently has the best recruiting class in the conference this year, made possible by Brady Hoke’s determination to reshape the culture of Wolverines football. Second-year head coach Urban Meyer has positioned his Buckeyes right on Michigan’s tail.

Ohio State has received commitments from 19 total recruits, including one five-star and 12 four-star prospects. Michigan’s recruiting class ranks just ahead of the Buckeyes’, and the Wolverines have four more four-star recruits than do the Buckeyes.

There are still plenty of jewels yet to commit, though, including four-star linebacker Trey Johnson, who de-committed from Auburn. Johnson will play in the Under Armour All-American Game on Jan. 4, and is expected to make a decision on his future school, with Ohio State being a strong possibility.

Ohio State still has a shot at several recruits, and while many undecided recruits will choose a school at the Under Armour All-American Game, what Urban Meyer has already done with Buckeyes’ recruiting was exactly what he needed to do.

Meyer branched out beyond Ohio’s borders—something Jim Tressel did much less of while at the helm in Columbus.

Six of Meyer’s top nine recruits hail from outside the Buckeye state, including recruits from Florida, Texas, South Carolina and California.

As expected, Meyer’s presence has attracted high school players from all over the country, many of whom may have previously considered SEC schools instead.

The recruiting process for 2013 is winding down, though. Thirty-three of the top 50 recruits have already declared their commitment for next season, and the pool of talent left to grab is dwindling.

What Meyer has provided for Ohio State is the appeal of one of the most potent offensive systems in college football, and the promise of success with a major program poised to make huge strides in 2013. A 12-0 season in 2012 didn’t hurt his chances, either.

The Buckeyes are a team on the rise.

Now is the time for Meyer to make one final push at top recruits before most declare their commitment at the high school all-star games.

He has the foundation to do so.

With an already strong recruiting class and the promise of playing a system that yielded national championships at Florida, the draw is strong for high school players in search of a good situation in which to land.

Michigan may finish the recruiting season with a deeper class, but Ohio State isn’t far behind. The coming days will yield a clear-cut winner, though Meyer is sure to solidify Ohio State’s recruiting efforts far beyond the 2013 season.