Ohio State in Prime Position to End Alabama's Lengthy Recruiting Reign

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystMay 8, 2015

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Ohio State climbed to No. 2 in national composite recruiting rankings Thursday afternoon when the team landed its latest commitment from a coveted prospect.

Michael Jordan, a 6'6", 285-pound junior at Plymouth High School in Canton, Michigan, joined a 2016 Buckeyes class that continues to pack in premier players. The 4-star offensive tackle is the 15th member of a class that includes athletes from eight states.

"I feel like we have the best class so far, and since these guys are going to Ohio State, you know they're competitors," defensive end Terrell Hall told Bleacher Report in April. "Hopefully we can all help make this a legendary class."

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has already earned individual "legendary" status with national championships at two universities. The only other coach to accomplish this feat is Nick Saban, who is currently on a dynastic recruiting run.

Alabama claimed the top-rated recruiting class on each of the past five national signing days. It's an unprecedented stretch that replenishes the Crimson Tide roster for perennial postseason contention.

That streak seems to be in jeopardy as the 2016 recruiting cycle moves toward summer. Alabama's class currently sits at 15th nationally—a rather pedestrian placement considering past success.

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Yes, it's still early in the game. The ink won't dry on letters of intent for another nine months.

However, the Buckeyes' momentum suggests this may be the year someone else claims the recruiting crown in early February.

As Alabama well knows, it helps to have that shiny, new national championship ring to show off while pitching the program to prospects. Ahmir Mitchell, a 4-star New Jersey athlete and coveted Ohio State target, made that clear during his visit this spring:

Ohio State is a campus still reveling in the glory of a commanding victory over Oregon. It's an atmosphere that resonates with recruits.

"Columbus is buzzing right now," 4-star wide receiver Austin Mack, another potential Buckeyes pledge, told Bleacher Report.

Judging by the return of several high-profile players—namely 2014 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Joey Bosa and overnight quarterback/Twitter sensation Cardale Jones—many anticipate another playoff run for the Buckeyes next season.

Much like Saban at Alabama, Meyer has built a program equipped to reload rather than rebuild.

“It’s outstanding to see Ohio State recruiting guys who can replace the talent they have now," Mitchell said. "It shows the dedication they have to bringing in players who can compete for more national championships in the future.”

This 2016 haul is the latest example of that process. As currently assembled, the class includes a nation-best 12 pledges who warrant recruiting ratings of four stars or better.

Most remarkably, it's a group that features three of the country's top five running back recruitsKareem WalkerGeorge Hill and Demario McCall. Former Texas Tech quarterback commit Tristen Wallace gives Meyer yet another dangerous dual-threat talent to mentor.

Jordan, the newest addition to this class, is one of three impressive offensive linemen on board. Things also look promising in the trenches on defense, with a trio of 4-star linemen in the mix, and that's arguably the spot this class still stands to improve most.

Dominant Florida defensive end Nick Bosa, the younger brother of Buckeyes fan favorite Joey, is widely viewed as a lock to land in Columbus. Fellow 5-star defensive lineman Rashan Gary, rated the No. 1 overall prospect in this 2016 cycle, is also strongly considering an Ohio State career.

Florida State is presently the lone program presiding over Meyer's squad in national recruiting rankings. The Seminoles, who hold 14 total commitments, may ultimately end up tussling with Ohio State to see who finally dethrones Saban and Alabama on signing day.

Saban and Meyer have won seven combined national titles, building through strong recruiting classes.
Saban and Meyer have won seven combined national titles, building through strong recruiting classes.Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Ohio State has secured recruiting classes rated fifth, second, third and seventh since Meyer arrived. Saban sat on top each year.

The Buckeyes beat Alabama en route to a national title in January. Next winter, Meyer may be primed to celebrate a different kind of victory over his most decorated contemporary and end a half-decade of recruiting dominance in Tuscaloosa.

All quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue.

Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports.