Now that Urban Meyer is the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, the recruiting success has hit new heights for this program. According to 247Sports, only the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators have a better 2013 recruiting class than the Buckeyes at the moment.
With national signing day only a week away, Ohio State will be given every opportunity to take the No. 1 spot and finish with the top recruiting class in the country. But in order to do this, Meyer and his coaching staff will have to give the best possible sales pitch to convince some of the undecided recruits why this is the right school for them.
So what makes Ohio State better than any other program in the country?
Let's see what this program has to offer and why elite players are deciding to become Buckeyes at such a rapid rate.
The Urban Meyer Effect
What easier way for Meyer to sell the program to elite recruits than to sell himself?
He can walk into any recruit's home and lay both of his national championship rings on the table, show him a couple of his numerous Coach of the Year awards and discuss a few of the 116 victories he was able to rack up in 11 short seasons. He can then look straight into the kid’s eye and ask how many active coaches are more accomplished than he is. When you are that great, you are able to get away with showboating.
Meyer has never had a losing season in his head-coaching career and is 7-1 in the bowl games he has reached. He already has two undefeated seasons under his belt, and one of those came last year in his first season on the job with Ohio State. He recruits extremely well everywhere he goes, knows how to put his players in position to succeed and he has the track record to show he can turn just about anything into gold.
So to answer the question, Nick Saban at Alabama would probably be the only logical guy you could put ahead of Meyer at the moment. But if you want to go to a team that is nearly three-deep at every position, be Meyer's guest. Good luck finding the field your first season on campus, though, unless you are incredibly gifted.
Meyer knows what it takes to win and he has earned at least eight victories every year he has been on the sidelines as a head coach. There aren't many active coaches who have been able to put together a résumé quite like he has, and that is a good enough reason to become a Buckeye.
Tradition Is Elite Status
If playing for a top-notch head coach isn't enough for some of these recruits out there, Ohio State has a tradition like none other. Yes, the same reason a lot of guys decide to commit to Notre Dame gives Ohio State an edge as well.
Late last year, co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers told Tim May of Buckeyextra that this does factor in when trying to seal the deal with top prospects.
Obviously this is one of the top two, three, four schools in America, I believe. Withers said. With the tradition here, there’s a lot of people that know Ohio State football. Whether they know the entire background and tradition or not, they know Ohio State football, with the players they’ve put out and the championships they’ve won.
So I don’t think at any time I’ve had any issue with somebody calling me back or taking my call, because people know what Ohio State football means.
Where to start when it comes to tradition?
The O-H-I-O chant before every game is worth mentioning. The victory bell being rang after every win is pretty neat, and with Meyer coaching the team, you will hear it quite often in the future. Ohio State also has arguably the best marching band performance before each game when the "Script Ohio" is performed and the "I" is dotted.
And while we are on the subject of tradition, it is only right to mention the program's accomplishments on the field as well. Whether you want to address the seven national championships or seven Heisman winners, this school has had more than its fair share of success. There have been six perfect seasons, 36 conference titles and there are 30 Ohio State players or coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Oh, and if you are looking at a future at the next level, only Notre Dame and USC have produced more professional players than the Buckeyes.
Are you convinced yet?
The Rest of the Conference Isn't so Hot
It has been said before that you should never use negative tactics to recruit. In other words, you shouldn't put down other schools to try and persuade a player into picking your program. But the recruiting process is brutal, and if you aren't doing anything and everything in order to land that elite football player, you aren't doing enough.
Besides, if throwing a couple of jabs at a rival is enough to get him to join your team, why would you hold punches?
This brings us to the Big Ten as a whole. You can quickly realize that there is Ohio State and then everybody else. Penn State is banned from the bowl season for another three years, Michigan State just barely qualified for a bowl game with one of the most talented teams it's had in years and watching Nebraska defensively was painful.
Wisconsin is going through a transition with a new head coach, and nobody can guarantee success in that type of situation. Northwestern appears to be on the rise, but the school is still known for its journalism program more than the football side of things. I think it is safe to say that Indiana, Purdue and Iowa are out of the running at this point, as well.
So I guess that leaves us with Ohio State and Michigan as the top two schools to choose from in the Big Ten. Well, not only are the Buckeyes recruiting better than the Wolverines at the moment, but they have also won eight of the last nine meetings against their hated rival. The choice is a rather easy one.
Most recruits have a hard time picking between top schools in the SEC, but if you are a recruit that wants to play in the Big Ten, Ohio State is the obvious pick.
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It is difficult for college football stars to make an impact in their first year out of high school. However, there are some rare talents in this draft class that could do just that.
Players are starting to contribute to college teams faster than ever. This past season, Johnny Manziel became the first freshman ever to win the Heisman Trophy.
While the Texas A&M quarterback had a redshirt season, his ability to be that good this early was quite impressive.
This recruiting class has a few players who can do even better by helping their team in 2013.
Note: All photos courtesy of 247Sports.
Robert Nkemdiche, DE
The top overall recruit in almost every publication got to that point for good reason. He is an incredible athlete that has the size and speed to match up with any collegiate offensive lineman in the country.
However, it is not just the athleticism that sets Robert Nkemdiche apart from his peers. He has incredible technique that is very advanced for his age and he uses it to get past opponents in a hurry.
Next season, he will not only put up great individual numbers, but he has the ability to transform an entire defense. He will completely disrupt opposing gameplans while allowing teammates to make plays on the other side of the field.
Similar to South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney, he will cause NFL scouts to salivate as they must wait for him to be eligible for the draft.
Derrick Green, RB
There are plenty of talented running backs in the 2013 class, but Derrick Green has the perfect mix of talent and opportunity to come up big next season.
The Michigan commit likely saw the lack of production from the Wolverines' backfield last season as a reason to join the team. Fitzgerald Toussaint only rushed for 514 yards as the second-leading rusher behind senior quarterback Denard Robinson.
Green should get plenty of chances to see the field, and he has the ability to really take advantage of it. He has the perfect combination of size and speed that will allow him to succeed right away.
All he needs is some good blocking next year and he could end up being a starter as a freshman.
Laquon Treadwell, WR
Ole Miss has a good young receiver in Donte Moncrief, but the Rebels could certainly use some additional help at that position.
This is where Laquon Treadwell will be able to help out.
The Illinois native has very good speed that will allow him to stretch defenses as they try to prevent him from catching deep passes. In addition, he has the size to allow him to survive a full season at this level.
Many receivers struggle out of the gate due to the lack of strength coming out of high school. This is not a problem for Treadwell, as he can already catch passes in traffic and make things happen down the field.
He has a chance to be a special talent with Ole Miss.
Montravius Adams, DT
His ability to start right away will depend on what school he decides to attend, but there is little doubt that Montravius Adams has the ability to contribute as early as next season.
Unlike most players his age, he has the ideal size to compete on the college football field. This is before he even enters a legitimate weight-training program that will start at the next level.
However, his agility is what is truly amazing to watch. The 300-pound defensive tackle has great explosiveness off the ball and can get into opposing backfields in a hurry.
He also knows how to take on blockers and clog the middle of the field to stop the run.
Regardless of where he lands, Adams knows what he is doing on the defensive line and should see the field early in his career.
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Good teams send players to the NFL. The Badgers' recent success—the team has three-peated as Big Ten champions—has made them keenly aware of this phenomenon.
For the 2013 season, the Badgers will need to figure out how to replace offensive stalwart Montee Ball and offensive line anchor Travis Fredrick. The defense will also be left with some glaring holes, as much of the secondary is graduating along with ferocious linebacker Mike Taylor.
Good teams also find suitable replacements when key pieces depart. If Wisconsin wants to keep up its winning ways, it is imperative previously unsung players step up. With that in mind, here are four players that will impress in 2013.