OSU recruiting off to strong start in-state for 2016
With the 2015 recruiting class signed, sealed and delivered, it's time to look ahead at 2016.
It will probably come as little surprise to learn Ohio State has already sowed the seeds for another stellar class, and head coach Urban Meyer is starting close to home.
There are 12 Ohioans in the current Scout 300, and almost half of those seniors-to-be have already given a verbal commitment to play at Ohio State.
Hubbard running back George Hill headlines that group as the state's No. 4 overall prospect, and he is joined by Cincinnati Moeller tight end Jake Hausmann (6th in the state), Gahanna Lincoln linebacker Jonathon Cooper (8th), Sciotoville offensive lineman Tyler Gerald (11th) and Maple Heights tight end Kierre Hawkins (12th).
The state's No. 1 prospect, Cincinnati Elder offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer, has already verbally committed to Notre Dame. Last month he told Scout he remained strong to the Fighting Irish despite continued overtures from Meyer, who paid a visit to his school a couple of days after the Buckeyes beat Oregon for the 2014 national championship.
In Urban Meyer's three full-year recruiting classes, Ohio State has signed an average of just over 24 players with a little more than 10 coming from within the borders of his home state.
The fast start in Ohio marks a contrast from last year when several of Ohio's top prospects made early commitments to other schools, forcing Meyer and his staff to make up ground as the recruiting cycle wore on. They ended up with six of the state's top 10 prospects for 2015, including flips of Cleveland Benedictine linebacker Jerome Baker and Lakewood St. Edward wide receiver Alex Stump, who originally committed to Florida and Kentucky, respectively.
Hubbard running back L.J. Scott stuck with an early Michigan State commitment (despite reported overtures from Meyer continuing until Signing Day) and Huber Heights Wayne defensive back Tyree Kinnel stayed with Michigan despite the firing of Brady Hoke. Lakewood St. Edward cornerback Shaun Crawford did not honor an early pledge to Michigan, but Ohio State did not get the state's No. 3 prospect either -- he ended up at Notre Dame. Scott and Kinnel were ranked No. 2 and 6, respectively, in Ohio for 2015.
Meyer has lamented the early forays of other schools into the state to establish relationships with some of the best prospects before Ohio State is ready to offer.
Getting a healthy portion of the in-state class wrapped up early is viewed as important to the overall recruiting effort, too, as it allows for more resources to be committed to elite national prospects that are generally considered harder to nail down.