Ohio State Football: Buckeyes' Top Priority on National Signing Day

Cory McCuneContributor IIIJanuary 29, 2013

The future is bright for Urban Meyer and Ohio State, but it could get brighter.
The future is bright for Urban Meyer and Ohio State, but it could get brighter.Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In the 2013 recruiting class Urban Meyer and his Ohio State coaching staff picked up right where they left off with the 2012 class.

When Meyer took over in late November 2011 the Buckeyes' recruiting class was in a state of limbo. But, three months later Meyer had signed one of the top classes in the country.

The 2012 class was topped off with two commitments on National Signing Day from Jamal Marcus and Kyle Dodson

Like last year, the Buckeyes only have a few spots left as the recruiting season comes to a close. Since Ohio State has limited scholarships because of NCAA sanctions, the Buckeyes have one or two spots left open. 

The Buckeyes are still in the hunt for safety Vonn Bell, running back/wide receiver Dontre Wilson, fellow receiver James Clark and offensive linemen Cameron Hunt.

It seems like Ohio State will take Bell, Hunt and Wilson or Clark if those players want in, but the Buckeyes may not be the favorite for any of them.

It is unlikely that they could fit all four into their limited roster space.  The commitment from Corey Smith, a receiver, means the Buckeyes may not have room for either Wilson or Clark.


Ohio State's Top Priority

 Bell, the 5-star safety from Georgia, has to be the Buckeye's top priority left on the recruiting board. Not only is he the top-rated prospect left on Ohio State's wish list, but he would fill a position of need.

Ohio State will return both of their starters at safety with C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant. However, both will be seniors in 2013. The third safety on the depth chart and the likely starter at the "star" or nickelback position, Corey Brown, is also a 2013 senior. 

In 2014 Ohio State will have to break in two new starters, possibly three if you count the "star" position as a starting spot. 

Behind those seniors Ohio State has several unproven players. De'van Bogard is probably next, having playing well on special teams before a knee injury ended his freshman year in 2012. 

If Bell joins this class he would solidify Ohio State's secondary class as one of the best in the country. The class already has three cornerbacks— Cameron Burrows, Eli Apple and Gareon Conley—who played in high school All-American games. 

Rangy safeties Jayme Thompson and Darron Lee round out the secondary class thus far.


Will Bell Even be a Buckeye?

Bell is from SEC territory and it won't be easy to pry him out of the south. Alabama and Tennessee are both more likely destinations for Bell than Ohio State, but it's not wise to bet against Meyer.

The reasons for Bell to go to Alabama are pretty obvious. Nick Saban has built one of the best programs in recent memory by winning three of the last four national titles.

Tennessee is the childhood favorite of Bell and has seemingly made a push since the school hired Butch Jones as the new coach.

All three schools still have a chance to get good news on ESPNU at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, February 6th when Bell will announce his decision.

 Whether or not Ohio State gets Bell, the class will still finish in the top-10 in the country. However, a lack of depth in the back-end of the secondary could come back to bite the Buckeyes without a commitment from Bell.