If 2012 was all about Urban Meyer putting pieces into place that would get Ohio State back into the swing of things following a down season, then 2013 will be when this program establishes itself as a consistent powerhouse in college football.
The foundation of any program, be it good or bad, is in recruiting. You can surmise what a team is going to do based on the kinds of players it is getting, even without seeing all the pieces fit together on the field.
As things stand right now, Meyer is building the kind of team that is not only capable of building on its success in 2012 but ready to exceed it.
According to 247Sports.com, the Buckeyes have the No. 2 recruiting class in the country right now. More important than that is the depth of talent being accrued and the kinds of athletes that are being brought in.
Right now they have 21 players who are least 3-star recruits, more than Alabama, USC and Florida State.
But that is not the whole story, as Ohio State always finishes near the top of the rankings.
What this program desperately needs is an infusion of impact talent, the kind that would be able to start in the SEC. While there is some depth in the Big Ten, the conference lacks the kinds of talent that it needs to compete with the top-level schools in the country.
Meyer has said (via BuckeyeGrove.com) that this year's recruiting class is vastly different from the one he had in his first season with the team, both in the players that are signing with Ohio State and his approach to evaluating talent.
I don't want to say we're selecting and not recruiting, because that's not correct either, but it's just a completely different approach. We know everybody we're recruiting.
Last year it was kind of give me the top 20 guys in positions and I was on the phone with them trying to get them. Here we know, we've been in the schools, we know who they are, we know what we're getting.
Even though Ohio State finished last season 12-0, not a lot of people felt like the team was one of the best in the country.
Some of the games the Buckeyes won en route to finishing their perfect season left a lot to be desired. They had to hold on against Central Florida, gave up 28 points at home to California and allowed 49 points to Indiana.
All of that is in the past. Now, Meyer has a handle on the players he can bring in. He might not have the rousing success in his second season with Ohio State that he did with Bowling Green, Utah or Florida, where he improved his win total, but you need to establish an identity.
Ohio State lacked an identity following Jim Tressel's resignation in 2011. The program made it through that season, though that is not the standard that this program wants to play at.
Meyer is cultivating a legacy that will bring Ohio State back up to the elite level of college football programs. Even though it may take a little more time before the team starts competing for national championships, especially because freshmen need time to get acclimated to the speed and physicality of the college game, the wait will be worth it.
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