Urban Meyer and Ohio State got off to an unusually slow recruiting start this year, but after a flurry of June commitments, the Buckeyes are primed to make a run at another top-five class in 2015.
Like any other year, momentum is key.
Just one month ago, the possibility of a top class seemed distant. The Buckeyes only had commitments from a pair of 4-star cornerbacks as May wound down. Their class ranking dipped to No. 57 as top targets such as Brandon Wimbush and Elijah Taylor committed elsewhere.
Then, the pledges started rolling in.
A commitment from 4-star quarterback Joe Burrow triggered an avalanche of activity. The Buckeyes gained eight commitments for their 2015 class (and two for 2016) in a 26-day span. Four-star prospects Nick Conner and Dre'Mont Jones, the seventh- and eighth-rated recruits in the state of Ohio, highlighted the group.
Truly, though, Meyer is just getting started.
Justin Hilliard, Ohio's No. 1 prospect and one of the Buckeyes' top targets, is close to making his decision.
Rated as a 5-star recruit and the nation's top outside linebacker, Hilliard has offers from programs such as Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Oklahoma and USC.
A desire to stay in the Midwest, however, has him deciding between Ohio State, Notre Dame, Iowa and Michigan, with Alabama rounding out his top five. He's set to make his decision from his high school on July 2.
Announcing my decision July 2nd at St. Xavier High School (Time has not been set) pic.twitter.com/ZPeIdT2MBI— Justin Hilliard (@JHilliard47) June 22, 2014
According to 247Sports' crystal ball predictions, Ohio State is the overwhelming favorite to land Hilliard. If those predictions hold, Ohio State's recruiting momentum would spike dramatically.
Hilliard isn't just one of the country's top prospects—he's also one of the most well-connected.
In an interview with Jeremy Birmingham of Eleven Warriors, Hilliard said he's ready to flip his role from recruit to recruiter: "I'm glad the process is ending because it's time for me to be a recruiter. I'm excited to go out and get a class together that will hopefully be a top-three class nationally. I've been thinking about that since I got my first offer. I want to win."
That could mean big things for Ohio State. Hilliard is close with Jashon Cornell, a 5-star defensive end who sees himself joining forces with Ohio's top player.
Great visit at Ohio State today can see myself playing there with my bro @JHilliard47 🙌⭕️🏈— Jashon Cornell (@Jay_Rock16) June 1, 2014
Hilliard is also very close with 5-star running back Damien Harris and 4-star offensive tackle Matthew Burrell. If Hilliard chooses Ohio State, a wave of 5-star talent could be making its way to Columbus.
"Where ever I end up I believe we'll have the number one class in the country," Hilliard said, via Birmingham.
Meyer has to like the sound of that.
All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @davidreg412.