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Ohio State football recruiting: Now the emphasis shifts to player development

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National signing day has become a holiday for many college football fans. This past Wednesday Christmas came early at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center as Urban Meyer received 25 letters of intent, many from some of the top high school prospects in the country.

It goes to show what a difference Meyer can make.

In two months time, Urban transformed Ohio State’s recruiting class from average to a top five class. After accepting the job, he immediately addressed the most important needs on the team including offensive tackle, linebacker and defensive line. The result was one of the best recruiting classes the Buckeyes ever had led by highly touted players like defensive ends Noah Spence and Se’Von Pittman and offensive tackles Taylor Decker and Kyle Dodson.

They are also still in the running for five star receiver Stefon Diggs, who has yet to make his decision. If he were to sign, it would be the icing on the cake.

Now that the class is mostly in place, it’s time to see how Urban and his staff can develop these young players. If the past is any indication, there are several stars in this group.

Urban and his past staffs have a history of developing NFL ready players. The list includes Tim Tebow, Aaron Hernandez, Alex Smith, Mike Pouncey, Percy Harvin and David Nelson just to name a few. If he is able to do the same at Ohio State, the Buckeyes will see significant growth quickly.

This is necessary especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Buckeyes finished 115th in the country in passing, averaging just 127 yards a game. Some of that was due to starting a freshman quarterback; however, much of it has to do with not having solid playmakers. The coaching staff needs to find and develop playmakers on this side of the ball to help Braxton Miller out.

On the other side, the defense will undergo significant changes. The defensive line received the most attention, garnering three top national recruits. The linebackers, who were the weakest part of the unit this past season, will have to improve. Urban brought in David Perkins and Camren Williams who are both four star recruits to compete for playing time. Overall, Meyer’s emphasis will be on speed. This should lead to a quicker unit and possible playing time for many freshmen in the fall.

Signing day was another example of how good Meyer is at recruiting. Now that he’s starting to get the pieces in place, it should be fun to see how these players develop over the next two to three seasons. He has a history of developing great players on the collegiate level that went on to have good NFL careers. If he does the same at Ohio State, the Buckeyes will be back on top of the Big Ten in no time and many more future recruits will look at Columbus as their ticket to the NFL.

Contact Sean with any questions or comments.

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