Wisconsin Football: Recruiting in an "Urban" Environment
The champagne corks in Columbus are still popping.
Urban Meyer is the head coach of The Ohio State University.
The program gains a rock star as the rest of the Big Ten, especially the Leaders, gain a new nemesis. Meyer is a prolific coach by all means. He reinvented both Bowling Green and Utah, and injected life back into the University of Florida. His next project will be to rehabilitate the image of the Buckeyes.
For Wisconsin, the first challenge Meyer presents is not the game plan, it's the signing day.
Meyer knows it will take Friday night superstars to make Saturday night legends. So he needs to get back to recruiting, and that means going head-to-head with Wisconsin for talent.
The Ohio State scandal has benefited the Badgers, especially in talent-rich Ohio. While it's no Texas or California, Ohio does produce players that fit the Wisconsin system. Most recently, four-star offensive line recruit and Cleveland-native Kyle Dodson committed to Bielema and the Badgers. The moment Meyer was introduced, you can bet the Dodson house received a call to reiterate the Badgers' continuing interest.
For all intents and purposes, the Ohio pipeline may be experiencing a slowdown, and it's Meyer's hand on the wheel.
Beyond the Midwest, Meyer will re-establish his ties with the juggernaut of college football recruiting: Florida.
Both Ohio State and Wisconsin currently have strong bases in the Sunshine state. Both will be fighting to keep their spheres of influence alive, but Meyer has an edge. His legacy as a Florida-based, two-time national championship coach can get him more access to five-stars than a telescope. Meyer's last five recruiting classes at UF never slipped out of ESPN's Top Five class rankings thanks to the state's embarrassment of riches.
Wisconsin is not without its own advantages. Meyer left Florida for health reasons, abruptly resigning and taking leave in 2009, and then actually resigning in 2010. Recruits need stability because unlike their basketball peers, they need to be in a system for a few years before turning pro.
Secondly, the firing of Ron Zook creates new opportunities in the state as the former Illinois coach was a prodigious recruiter in the South.
Finally, Russell Wilson's success will certainly draw more attention from mobile quarterbacks who seemingly grow on trees in the SEC and ACC.
Come fall, Meyer will have the Buckeyes ready to do damage once again. But it starts this winter, and Wisconsin better be ready to rumble on the recruiting trail.
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