Friday, February 8, 2013

BUCKEYES RECRUITING: WE TEND TO THINK THE LATEST IS THE GREATEST

Jalin Marshall
COLUMBUS — We sometimes lose sight of the great things we already possess, because we're trying to grab on to the next great thing.

The same goes for college football recruiting. When signing day rolls around, we tend to flock to and hype up those who haven't committed yet, even though our teams have already hooked some serious prospects.

On Wednesday, for example, most Ohio State fans were tracking star recruits like Georgia five-star safety Vonn Bell, Texas blue-chip athlete Dontre Wilson and Florida speedster receiver James Clark. Many felt as if the success of the program depended solely on the ink pens in those three players' hands.

The truth is, though, the Buckeyes' class was already stacked. Sure, Bell, Clark and Wilson are some huge pulls for the program, but they are certainly not the only goodies in the cupboard.

"Jalin Marshall," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said, referring to his five-star wide receiver out of Middletown, who committed to the Buckeyes more than a year ago. "Can you imagine Ohio State University and the state of Ohio and Buckeye Nation if he would have waited and put on a hat? 

"That would have been a great day."

Coach Meyer said Marshall isn't the only one besides the aforementioned three who would've received incredible hype if he had waited to pull his OSU hat on signing day.

"I think we have two corners that if they didn't early commit would be (viewed) as good a corners as there are in America, and that's Eli Apple and Cam Burrows," Meyer said of the two five-star recruits who enrolled at OSU in January. "And they're doing a fine job for us right now ... 

"I think (quarterback) J.T. Barrett, when he did the Elite 11 and some of the feedback we got from him, if he didn't hurt his knee in some situation, if he didn't early commit, he would be another guy we'd be scratching and clawing and having a parade for him if he would have come on signing day," Meyer continued.

"(Defensive end) Joey Bosa, without question, one of the best players in the country, and a guy that committed early," Meyer said. "The other guy, (Defensive tackle/end) Billy Price. Billy Price is 6-foot-4, 305 (pounds) from Austintown, Fitch High School. He would have been one of those guys that put nine hats out there, that he would have thrown the Ohio State hat, there would have been a big celebration around here."

Ezekiel Elliott — who had committed to the Buckeyes last spring — decided to visit Missouri a couple weeks prior to signing day, and had Ohio State fans biting their nails down the stretch. Then, just a week later, the blue-chip running back from St. Louis received an offer from two-time defending national champion, Alabama, seriously sounding off the alarms in Columbus.

Elliott ended up signing with the Buckeyes on Wednesday during a 5 p.m. press conference at his school. 

Although he was already a critical piece to their incredible class, Elliott's stock had risen because he put his name back in play by waffling late in the recruiting season.

Sadly, this is the world we live in. 

We have an attitude that the latest is the greatest ... whether it's true or not.