Ohio State Football: The Good and the Bad of National Signing Day
Urban Meyer and Ohio State closed out the 2013 recruiting class with a bang on national signing day, gaining commitments from a pair of prospects who were deciding between the Buckeyes and a number of the premier programs around the country.
Both 5-star safety Vonn Bell and 4-star wide receiver James Clark committed to Ohio State on Wednesday. With 24 commits in all, Meyer and the Buckeyes secured a consensus top-five recruiting class and the top class in the Big Ten.
With the two new additions, Meyer was thrilled with how the day turned out:
Urban Meyer: "It was a great day. I thought it was going to be a very good day, but I'd put it in the great category."— Brandon Castel (@BCastOZone) February 6, 2013
It wasn't all good as the Buckeyes lost out on some prospects who had been previously committed to Ohio State for a while.
By and large, though, the good handily outweighed the bad for Ohio State on National Signing Day.
Signing Clark, the speedy receiver out of New Smyrna, Florida, was a great way to start the day.
Clark joined Jalin Marshall, Corey Smith and recent commit Dontre Wilson—all of whom are 4-star prospects—to create an elite group of receivers coming into Ohio State.
Meyer and the Buckeyes were desperately pursuing playmakers throughout the course of the recruiting season, but even the most plugged-in experts didn't foresee the kind of haul Meyer pulled off.
Meyer's day turned from good to great when Bell spurned his childhood-favorite Tennessee Volunteers and the early-leading Alabama Crimson Tide in favor of the Buckeyes.
Bell's commitment was monumental for many reasons. On top of filling a glaring hole in Ohio State's depth chart, Bell's commitment gave Meyer a win in the war against Saban on the recruiting front.
Bell's signing is also significant because Meyer has a number of targets from Georgia for his 2014 class. Meyer mentioned during his press conference how landing guys like Cameron Heyward and Bradley Roby in the past, both from the state of Georgia, helped the Buckeyes secure Bell's commitment. Ohio State will look to keep its momentum in the "Peach State" going in 2014.
On top of the new additions, Buckeyes coaches and fans breathed a sigh of relief when a trio of players—Ezekiel Elliott, Donovan Munger and Trey Johnson—faxed in their Letters of Intent. All three were being recruited hard by other schools going into the day, but all three stuck with their commitments to Ohio State.
While Ohio State cleaned up with two new commitments, Meyer lost out on a recruit who had long been committed to play his college football in Columbus, along with another commit wavering heavily on the Buckeyes.
Taivon Jacobs, a 3-star receiver out of District Heights, Maryland, flipped his commitment from the Buckeyes to the in-state Maryland Terrapins. Jacobs sited a need to stay close to his family and daughter as the main reasons for not signing with Ohio State.
One of the biggest surprises of the day came from arguably the least talked about prospect in punter Johnny Townsend.
Townsend was one of the earlier commits in Ohio State's '13 recruiting class, but rumors began to swirl about the punter when his Letter of Intent was never faxed to the coaches in Columbus.
Midway through the day, Buckeyes fans were scratching their heads when Townsend scheduled a late-day press conference. The Orlando Sentinel sited a personal "family matter" as the cause for his delay.
Punter Johnny Townsend, an #OSU commitment, has moved press conference to 4 p.m. Rumors that he'll flip to Alabama.— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) February 6, 2013
Four o'clock came and went with no decision from Townsend, and it remains unclear who he'll choose or when he'll commit.
In all, the day turned out to be a spectacular success for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes. That's typically what happens when you sign two of the top un-signed players in the country. Also, it doesn't hurt when the worst news of the day comes in the form of punter drama.
David is the lead Ohio State football writer for B/R. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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