It seems like we are writing those words every other week with Urban Meyer at the helm in Columbus, but overused or not, they once again ring true.
With exactly four weeks to go until NLOID on February 6, Coach Meyer and his staff will be looking to add the finishing touches on an already outstanding 2013 recruiting class.
They will start their final month of recruiting in style over the next several days by hosting almost all of the players remaining on the 2013 recruiting radar.
Pending reports from the upcoming visits, we will likely have a much better idea of what the class will ultimately look like come February 6.
Here is a look at the players who will be taking their official visits to Ohio State in the coming days.
Bell is the biggest target left right now and the Buckeyes will get the first crack at him on his official visit to Columbus this weekend. As befits a player of his caliber, this will be a battle to the finish with visits to Alabama and Tennessee scheduled later in the month.
Reports surrounding the all-star game festivities last week indicated that the Buckeyes may have a slight lead here, but all bets are off when Nick “3 of the last 4″ Saban is on the prowl.
Tennessee is a childhood favorite which is always a factor as well.
It is clear that Meyer views Alabama as the team to beat (for obvious reasons) on the field in the coming years. In order to do that, it is important to match them in talent. Landing Bell would be a very important step in that direction in a head-to-head battle.
I am personally feeling pessimistic about Ohio State’s chances but that very well might be hangover from the Tressel years.
I think it is important to hope for the best but prepare for the worst in recruitments such as this one.
Some might view Worley as the backup plan for Bell (and he still might be), but most observers have expected him to be a part of the class for many months regardless of who else happens to be in it. Grades may have been an issue, but with a recently reported score of 20 on the ACT, that issue might have been resolved opening the door for a commitment.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the staff was pushing for a commitment from Worley this weekend if his grades are in order. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see this recruitment stretch until signing day, especially if his spot in the class is contingent on what happens with Bell.
With James Quick announcing his decision to attend Louisville, Gibson moved up to the #1 target at wide receiver. While almost everyone thinks that Gibson is a heavy Buckeye lean, grades may once again be an issue that will need to be resolved before he can commit.
You have to hope for the best here as Gibson is the top target left at a major position of need. It is always important for the Buckeyes to lock up in-state talent, and it would be a shame if they were unable to do that in this case purely due to academic reasons.
If the staff is comfortable with Gibson’s off-field resume, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them pushing for a commitment this weekend.
Although I am listing Elder as a WR here, he plays primarily out of the backfield in high school and is in the mold of Jalin Marshall as a multifaceted offensive weapon. Like Marshall, Elder would likely be used primarily at receiver in Columbus but could get carries out of the backfield (amongst other things) as well.
He has been flying under the radar for most Ohio State fans, but his highlights are impressive and in my opinion he is clearly right with Gibson as the best options available at WR.
The only thing that sets Elder slightly back is that he would need to transition into his receiver role at the next level which could take some time.
If Gibson is off the table due to grades or anything else, it looks like Elder is clearly the best alternative despite not being a ‘pure’ receiver prospect.
The big question is if the staff would take Gibson and Elder with limited spots left in the class (and a need at offensive tackle still looming- more on that in the conclusion).
Timmons is basically a less hyped version of Elder in this class. Timmons put up tremendous rushing and receiving stats in high school but against questionable competition- which is the biggest knock against him.
He also performed well at FNL way back in the summer (winning the WR sprint) but he didn’t receive an offer. He has been patiently waiting for one ever since.
With all three receiver targets visiting at once this weekend, he may get a final answer on an offer from Ohio State. If he does receive one, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him commit on the spot.
If he doesn’t receive an offer, that would likely indicate that Gibson and/or Elder will be a part of the class.
The elephant in the room this weekend will be the 2013 offensive line recruits that will not be in attendance.
It seems clear that the staff is still looking to add one more offensive linemen and that would obviously impact how many spots are available for the players visiting this weekend.
In the 2014 class, OH OL/DL Marcelys Jones, his teammate at Glenville OH ATH Marshon Lattimore, OH LB/DE Kyle Berger and MI DB Damon Webb (from Cass Tech, Michigan’s Glenville) will all be visiting this weekend as well.
WR- Shelton Gibson/Cornelius Elder/Ryan Timmons
S- Vonn Bell/Chris Worley
OL- Cameron Hunt/Dan Skipper
with an extra spot for one of the alternates (if there is room to the class).