Posted by Bryan Fischer
In such an unstable business, it sometimes is still stunning to see how quickly the recruiting landscape can change.
As news circulated Wednesday morning that Ohio State would (finally) hire former Florida and Utah head coach Urban Meyer, it's clear that the though the toughest recruiting battles lie in SEC country, the Midwest is about to become a battleground for some of the top players in the region and elsewhere.
Meyer's recruiting prowess is unmatched, unless your name is Pete Carroll or Nick Saban and want to make an argument. He won two national championships at Florida, took Utah to a 10-2 season in his first year and an undefeated season and BCS bowl in 2003. He knows the Midwest and Ohio State in particular after serving as a graduate assistant under Earle Bruce and head coach at Bowling Green. An Ohio native, he knows how to go into powerhouses such as Glenville High and get some of the best the region has to offer. Connections to the state of Florida and the rest of the Northeast will prove fruitful as well as he transitions the Buckeyes to his spread offense. Meyer recruited NFL players by the dozen to Gainesville and should have no problem doing so to Columbus.
Even rumors of the hire has had an impact on the Buckeyes current recruiting class.
“I believe Urban Meyer,” defensive end Adolphus Washington told the Columbus Dispatch after committing to Ohio State. “I hope so.”
Meyer's hire is the latest move that has quickly turned the Midwest into an SEC-esque recruiting area. Brian Kelly has gone after defensive linemen and some of the nation's best to help put together a top 10 class last year for Notre Dame. The Irish are the favorite to land the top quarterback in 2012 and appear likely to grab another highly regarded class in 2012. Rival Michigan hired Brady Hoke and he has put together the country's best class that will sign this February. His defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison, coached with Meyer at Florida and knows him well - an interesting subplot. All three head coaches should also find plenty of success getting recruits from across the country.
Ohio State has always recruited well. Despite likely NCAA sanctions coming, Meyer should be able to do even better than Jim Tressel did given his legendary relentlessness on the recruiting trail. With three big names in the Midwest, numerous issues at Penn State and the NCAA easing up on rules regarding communication with recruits, Meyer should be a big splash that causes little drop off for the Buckeyes when the team rankings are announced after Signing Day.