Ohio State's waiver and appeal to the NCAA to allow the Buckeyes to have extra coaches solely dedicated to recruiting is already beginning to pay dividends for new head coach Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes were able to steal 4-star prospects Tommy Schutt (Glen Ellyn, IL) and Se'von Pittman (Canton, OH) from Big Ten rivals Penn State and Michigan State.
"Yeah it's official," Schutt told Rivals.com on Monday night. "I decommitted from Penn State and gave my verbal commitment to Ohio State."
The de-commitment of Schutt, who is the No. 52 overall prospect and No. 5 ranked defensive tackle according to Rivals.com, is not a big surprise considering the recent scandal at Penn State involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, which led to the firing of legendary head coach Joe Paterno.
Schutt made no public comments about the scandal at Penn State, but no commitments were safe for the Nittany Lions given the nature of the situation and an official visit to Ohio State over the weekend convinced Schutt Columbus was the best place for him.
"I had a great visit this weekend to Ohio State and I got to know the coaches and the players better," Schutt said. "I spent a lot of time talking to Urban Meyer."
Pittman's de-commitment is much more shocking considering that he told Marc Giver of Rivals.com at the end of November he was still committed to Michigan State despite Ohio State's hiring of Meyer.
"My reaction is the same," Pittman said roughly three weeks ago. "I'm still committed to Michigan State. Urban Meyer at Ohio State does not change that I am committed to Michigan State."
Whose de-commitment surprised you more?
The No. 81 overall prospect and No. 8 ranked defensive end in the nation was not even sure whether or not he would make an official visit to Ohio State, but he decided to take one this past weekend and an in-home visit from Meyer on Monday night sealed the deal for Pittman.
"My official visit was great," Pittman said. "I got to sit down with the guys and talk to coach Meyer. (The in-home visit) went great. We sat down and talked and we laughed it up a bit and at the end of the day, I'm a Buckeye."
Pittman, who committed to Michigan State back in June, ultimately decided the opportunity to play for Meyer was too great to pass up.
"Honestly I probably would have (stuck with Michigan State)," the McKinley High School standout said. "Coach Dantonio is a great coach and he's a great person, period. For me to leave a coach like that, (Meyer) had to be a great coach and a great person too and everything he told me was what I wanted to hear to be comfortable enough to leave."
Competition along the defensive line is not a concern for Pittman, who is excited to compete alongside Schutt and fellow Ohio-native 4-star defensive end Adolphus Washington (Cincinnati, OH).
"It's going to be good because at the same time, I'm going to get pushed," Pittman said. "There's going to be competition and that way whoever is starting is just the best player. I'm going to push them and they're going to push me, we're all going to push each other."
Ohio State's 2012 recruiting class moved up to No. 15 in the Rivals.com team rankings and has a chance to add even more star-studded prospects in the coming weeks.
The No. 1 rated defensive end and No. 9 overall prospect, Noah Spence (Harrisburg, PA), will take an official visit to Ohio State this weekend. The Buckeyes are believed to be leaders in the sweepstakes for the 5-star defensive end.
Another Penn State commit, 4-star linebacker Carmen Williams (West Roxbury, MA), in addition to 4-star offensive tackle and current Wisconsin commit Kyle Dodson (Cleveland, OH) may be the next steals for Meyer and the Buckeyes.
Dodson, who committed to Wisconsin back in June because the Buckeyes had yet to offer him a scholarship, made an official visit to Columbus last Friday. Williams arrived for an official visit at Ohio State on Sunday and will depart Tuesday morning.