There's no doubt that the biggest target left on Urban Meyer's recruiting board is safety Vonn Bell.
OSU has 23 verbal commits already for the class of 2013, but they've made it clear that they want to have some icing on the cake by landing Scout.com's No. 2 safety.
Right now, it's down to OSU, Alabama and Tennessee for Bell's services, and after meeting with coaches from all three schools on Thursday, Bell has shut things down until national signing day.
Bell visited Tennessee last weekend, and new coach Butch Jones needs a big name recruit to win the fans over and start building some hype for the future. Bell is that type of recruit.
Apparently, the visit to Tennessee has suddenly pushed the Vols ahead of Ohio State and Alabama, as the analysts from Rivals.com predicted on Thursday. Even though Mike Farrell's colleagues have Bell going to UT by a 4-3 margin over OSU (with one picking the Tide), Farrell wrote on Wednesday—though admittedly with little confidence—that he feels Meyer will land the coveted safety.
Ohio State has a good mix of recent success and a promise of early playing time to sell Bell on Columbus being an attractive destination. Co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers was the guy whom Meyer sent on Thursday as the "closer" to try and make the Buckeyes' last pitch.
Per Vonn Bell coach to Rivals, Bell & Family is very impressed with Everett Withers. He is being sent in today as the Closer.— jbook (@jbook37) January 31, 2013
OSU already has a pair of good safeties committed in Darron Lee and Jayme Thompson. But Bell is a special athlete with outstanding cover skills from the position.
Meyer also has a history of bringing in big-name defensive back recruits, recruiting great players like Joe Haden, Janoris Jenkins and Matt Elam, among others, during his time at Gainesville. This year, he already recruited some great corners in Cameron Burrows and Eli Apple.
The Buckeyes recruiting class of 2013 is already great. Signing Bell would make it elite. And OSU lacks that difference-making safety that Alabama has in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, after having studs in Mark Barron and Robert Lester line up in the back end.
OSU is still chasing several prospects, but there's no doubt Meyer would love to get Bell as much if not more than anyone else on his list.
Meyer is one of the best closers in the recruiting game and if the battle for Bell really is down to OSU and Tennessee, he may make a difference.
Will it be enough?
We will find out on Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Follow me on Twitter @bielik_tim for the latest college football news and updates.