You can't talk about college football recruiting and not mention Urban Meyer. Not only is he successful at developing the talent he picks up, but he makes his job much easier by consistently putting together top of the line recruiting classes year in and year out.
He has done it everywhere he has coached, and that reputation has remained strong in his first two years with the Ohio State Buckeyes.
But which recruiting class is better, and how does the first year in Columbus compare to the second?
Let's take a look at Meyer and the job he has done in his first two years on the recruiting trail for Ohio State.
How the 2012 Class Looked
ESPN Ranking: No. 6
Scout Ranking: No. 3
Rivals Ranking: No. 4
247Sports Ranking: No. 7
The Buckeyes' recruiting class got off to a rocky start before Meyer showed up. Despite getting a late start and building relationships as quickly as possible, he instantly imposed his will in the recruiting process and helped put together one of the best classes of the year.
One of the top signings of the class was 5-star defensive end Noah Spence, who was nearly a sure lock to end up at Penn State before Meyer entered the conversation. He was then able to convince 5-star player Adolphus Washington, another top defensive guy to come to Columbus. And Meyer certainly didn't stop there as Se'Von Pittman decommitted from Michigan State and Tommy Schutt left Happy Valley to put on an Ohio State uniform.
Meyer pulled multiple rabbits out of the hat to make this recruiting class work. It went from nobody talking about Ohio State recruiting to everybody not being able to get enough of all the talent that was going to appear on one team.
How the 2013 Class Looks
ESPN Ranking: No. 6
Scout Ranking: No. 1
Rivals Ranking: No. 2
247Sports Ranking: No. 2
Meyer stuck to the theme on the defensive side of the ball, because he knows it is going to take a ridiculously loaded defense to challenge those teams in the SEC. So with that said, he picked up two of the better cornerbacks in the class in Eli Apple and Cameron Burrows. He also reeled in a big pickup on national signing day in safety Vonn Bell, who was seriously considering Tennessee and Alabama.
But while the defense remained a strong focus, Meyer was also able to snag a few offensive playmakers. Guys like wide receiver Jalin Marshall, Corey Smith and running back Ezekiel Elliott have the talent to contribute right away for the Buckeyes. Meyer also landed his first quarterback since being in Columbus in JT Barrett, who will provide much needed depth behind Braxton Miller, who is already entering his junior year.
Once again, Meyer did what Meyer does, and he walked away with another Top 5 recruiting class for the second year in a row.
How Does Year 2 Compare to Year 1?
Deciding which class was better between the two is like asking if you prefer the Lamborghini or the Ferrari. It doesn't matter. They are both fabulous, and I certainly wouldn't mind having either one in my driveway. The same thing goes for these recruiting classes. Pick one of them, and I'll be able to win many games and have enough elite players to be able to sell to future recruits.
However, the 2013 recruiting class is more complete and will help the Buckeyes take that next step. Both classes had terrific defensive recruits, but the thing that separates this year is the amount of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. As we saw last season, Ohio State desperately needed to add difference makers on offense and guys who are a threat with the ball in their hands.
Marshall, Smith and Elliott are those speed guys that will bode well in the spread offense and help take a lot of the pressure off of Miller and future Buckeye quarterbacks. While the 2012 class was focused more on building depth in the trenches, the 2013 class touched in a variety of areas and filled in needs particularly on offense.
Meyer had a whole season to put together this year’s class, which we can't say for his first, so it only makes sense to think the second year would be better than the first one.
You can't complain about either group of players, and both will contribute at a high level for years to come, but Meyer topped his first year on campus with the most recent.