Ohio State Football Recruiting: Strong Class Means Buckeyes Remain Elite in 2013

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2013

EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 29:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts on the sideline while playing the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on September 29, 2012 in East Lansing, Michigan. Ohio State won the game 17-16. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Ohio State Buckeyes aren't giving up their spot near the top of the college football polls in 2013.

Last year was among the best in school history, despite the postseason ban. It was the Buckeyes' 10th undefeated season in their history, and the first since the national title season of 2002. It was a surprise to even the most die-hard Ohio State fans.

Ohio State is a growing football team. Last season, the Buckeyes were a bit lucky to finish unbeaten, but they no doubt had plenty of quality.

With that said, there were quite a few stupid mistakes being made. Players were committing needless personal foul penalties and trying to make the highlight reel with huge hits, only to have the ball-carrier bounce right off.

While improvement can only come with experience, a great recruiting class can help to put Ohio State over the top, too. At the very least, it can enable them to maintain their place among the elite of college football.

Luckily for Buckeyes fans, Urban Meyer has wasted no time whatsoever on the recruiting trail.

In 2012, despite having a limited window, he was able to bring in the seventh-best class in the country, according to 247Sports.com. Now firmly in place as the head coach, Meyer has the Buckeyes at No. 2 in the country for 2013.

It's a great sign for Ohio State. Many of the school's detractors will point to the fact that, since the Buckeyes play in the Big Ten, they could never match up to the elite of the SEC. To a certain extent, those critics have a point.

However, there's no doubt that with a recruiting class like the one Meyer has helped build, Ohio State can compete with the likes of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida Gators and LSU Tigers.

The Buckeyes have always done a great job by signing most of the top recruits in the state. The way the school dominated Ohio recruiting was often underrated when looking at the success of Jim Tressel.

That's not enough anymore. Meyer knows he must canvass the country in order to get the best possible athletes, which is exactly what he's doing.

Eli Apple, Corey Smith, Joey Bosa, Marcus Baugh and Mike Mitchell are all impact players who came from out of state. These are the kind of athletes necessary to catch up with Alabama.

The biggest key for the Buckeyes will be the continued development of Braxton Miller. He needs to become a better passer so he doesn't have to expose himself as much running the football.

With Smith and Jalin Marshall, Ohio State is getting two guys who can be immediate impact receivers and add major weapons for Miller and the passing attack.

Meyer is not the kind of coach who will allow his team to rest on its laurels. That has been exhibited by Ohio State's recruiting class.