December 9, 2011

Weekend at Urban's

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This weekend marks the first major recruiting weekend for new Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer, and it is a big one. Since taking the job nearly two weeks ago, Meyer has been relentless on the recruiting trail, reaching out to some of the nation's top prospects and hoping to convince them to make a trip to Columbus. Meyer has been successful on that front in many cases and this weekend will host some big-time talents on both sides of the football.



Of the star-studded group, only one prospect currently falls in the 'uncommitted' category and that is four-star Chicago (Ill.) Simeon offensive tackle Jordan Diamond. The 6-foot-6, 289-pound prospect had always listed Ohio State throughout the process but Diamond's interest in the Buckeyes seems to have grown much more legitimate since Meyer was brought on board. With the serious need for offensive tackles on Ohio State's roster, Diamond is right near the top of the list of most important recruits still on the board for the Buckeyes.



Though Diamond is the only uncommitted prospect expected to be on campus, a slew of highly-ranked and committed prospects will make the trip. Three of those prospects are currently committed to other Big Ten programs in Canton (Ohio) McKinley defensive end Se'von Pittman, Cleveland Heights (Ohio) offensive tackle Kyle Dodson, and Glen Ellyn (Ill.) Glenbard West defensive tackle Tommy Schutt.



Pittman, the No. 81 ranked player in the nation by Rivals.com, has long been rumored as a prospect that could flip back Ohio State's way. Pittman is making the visit with his Mother and has not been doing interviews over the last week as he weighs his options between Ohio State and his commitment to Michigan State. Before the resignation of Jim Tressel, Pittman was thought to be a strong lean towards Ohio State but committed to the Spartans over the summer, in part due to the instability around the Ohio State program at the time.



Dodson, a four-star prospect, also hails from the Northeastern part of Ohio and his recruitment has taken a bit of a different path than Pittman's. A Wisconsin verbal, Dodson waited for an Ohio State offer throughout last winter but the Badgers beat the Buckeyes to the punch and locked up Dodson's commitment in June, approximately 24 hours after Ohio State made a last minute offer to try and sway the athletic tackle.



In recent months, Dodson's commitment to Wisconsin seemed more stable than that of Pittman's but when Meyer took over, the sparks were ignited again and the new regime has made Dodson a major priority.



For Schutt, the No. 52 player in the nation, Ohio State was in the picture throughout his recruitment but the turmoil that went during the spring and summer took the Buckeyes out of the race and Schutt ended up committing to Penn State in August. Schutt's commitment was firm until the recent scandal at Penn State broke and now the big run-stuffer is at least exploring his options and the Buckeyes have re-entered the race for one of the nation's premier defensive tackles.



Yet another committed prospect that is still looking around will be on campus, though this one is currently committed to Ohio State. That of course is Canton (Ohio) GlenOak running back Bri'onte Dunn. The four-star running back has shown very serious interest in Michigan throughout the last several months but was the first prospect that Meyer called after being announced as head coach last Monday.



Dunn still seems torn between the two rival programs, after an in-home visit with Michigan last night that by all accounts went very well. Meyer will have the tough task of keeping Dunn in the fold and this weekend will likely tell us a lot about whether or not that will happen.



While much of the burden will be on Meyer and the rest of the assistants to close the deal this weekend, the coaching staff will get a major assist from many of the current Ohio State commitments. In total, no fewer than 10 of the 16 Ohio State commits (not counting Dunn) will be on campus and will be doing their best to assist the coaching staff in convincing these prospects that Ohio State is the place for them.



The full list of Ohio State commits expected to attend is as follows:



RB Warren Ball - Columbus (Ohio) St. Francis De Sales

DB De'van Bogard - Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville

OL Jacoby Boren - Pickerington (Ohio) Central

OL Pat Elflein - Pickerington (Ohio) North

WR Frank Epitropoulos - Upper Arlington (Ohio)

DB Najee Murray - Steubenville (Ohio)

LB Josh Perry - Galena (Ohio) Olentangy

DB Tyvis Powell - Bedford (Ohio)

LB Luke Roberts - Lancaster (Ohio)

TE Blake Thomas - Westlake (Ohio) St. Ignatius


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