Photo courtesy of Rivals.com
During Wednesday’s National Signing Day press conference, Urban Meyer said the defensive end and offensive tackle positions were areas of need for the Buckeyes.
Consider those needs taken care of.
Meyer’s haul of recruits for the 2012 class included decorated and sought-after defensive ends Adolphus Washington from Taft High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, Noah Spence from Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Pa., and Se’Von Pittman from McKinley High School in Canton, Ohio. Meyer also nabbed two of the top offensive lineman in the country, Kyle Dodson and Taylor Decker of Cleveland and Vandalia, Ohio, respectively.
Meyer said he could have spoken on the strength and quality of each member of his first recruiting class at OSU, but singled out Washington, Spence, Pittman, Dodson and Decker during his opening remarks.
Marc Givler, a recruiting analyst for BuckeyeGrove.com, said these five players were likely comparable to the best five recruits on any college team in the country.
“They stack up with anybody’s (top five recruits),” Givler said. “These are guys that had offers from everyone in the country, just about. They were coveted across the nation.”
Meyer said the Buckeyes, who have a traditionally strong defensive unit, have not tallied sacks in great numbers lately.
He said he thinks Washington and Spence, both five-star recruits according to Rivals.com, and Pittman, a consensus top-100 player in the country, could be the answer to OSU’s low sack numbers.
“They were three guys we identified that we had to have,” Meyer said of the three defensive ends.
Washington committed before Meyer’s hiring, but OSU’s $4 million-dollar-per-year coach was actively involved in the recruiting of Pittman and Spence, players he said were the “prize of the recruiting class.”
“(Pittman and Spence) are the guys you can take anywhere in the country with you at anytime,” Meyer said. “They’re high-character guys that play real hard. They have different body types.”
Meyer also said the three players made a hard decision in choosing OSU, as their interest in the Buckeyes was used against them by rival schools.
“A lot of the schools went after them saying, ‘How can you go to a place that has the No. 1 defensive end, the No. 2 defensive end in a lot of rankings?'” Meyer said. “That probably surprised the recruiting class.”
Givler said OSU’s three top-rated defensive ends would be weapons in seasons to come.
“(Meyer) got three guys that can rush the passer in one class,” Givler said. “Any time you can land three of the top defensive ends in the entire country, it’s going to be a huge thing. It’s going to take pressure off the rest of your defense.”
Givler said the speed of 6-foot-4, 245-pound Spence, and the power of 6-foot-4, 230-pound Washington and 6-foot-5, 245-pound Pittman will create problems against opposing offenses.
“Spence is, what I call, an open-end. Acceleration up the field is what you’re looking for, and he has that,” Meyer said. “Where you have (Washington) and Pittman who are more the wider-body guys and more power rushers.”
Then there’s Meyer’s prized offensive tackles, Decker and Dodson.
Meyer said he identified Decker and Dodson as the tackles he wanted the night he was hired at OSU.
“That night we were on the phone, and if you would have told me we would have got the top two guys we went after, that would have been a good day for us,” Meyer said. “There’s a lot of positives.”
Dodson’s paperwork arrived at OSU just minutes before Meyer’s press conference began — the player announced his commitment at Cleveland Heights High School at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to multiple reports.
Givler said Dodson, standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing in a 310-pounds is a tremendous physical talent.
“(Dodson) is able to get out on the edge and really get to that second level,” Givler said. “Definitely huge upside with Dodson.”
The 6-foot-8, 315-pound Decker from Butler High School was the No. 77-ranked player in the nation and the No. 7-ranked senior in the state of Ohio.
Decker’s prospects are mostly similar to those of Dodson, Givler said.
“Decker is a little more technically sound than Dodson at this point, and has come a long way physically,” Givler said. “He continues to get better and both (Dodson and Decker), four or five years from now could be playing on Sundays.”
All told, OSU’s 25-man class is currently ranked No. 3 by Scout.com, No. 4 by Rivals.com and No. 6 by ESPN.
Meyer said he did not want to call this the best class in OSU history, nor a “home run,” but rankings of national media outlets suggest Meyer has succeeded.
Kevin Noon, the managing editor of BuckeyeGrove.com, said Meyer’s first recruiting venture since leaving the University of Florida in early 2011 was a success.
“While (Meyer) may want to sit there and hold off and reserve judgement until he sees these guys, as an analyst … this is a dream class that he was able to put together,” Noon said. “What makes it even more amazing is just the brevity of time he had to work on putting this class together. It just shows what the Meyer brand means, and what the Ohio State brand means. When you put them together, it’s very dangerous for other programs when you’re going against him.”