COLUMBUS — During his signing day announcement in Georgia on Wednesday, all-American safety Vonn Bell made it really clear what his expectations are when he arrives at Ohio State to play football this fall.
“We're all on a mission. We want to do something special,” Bell said, after the five-star recruit selected to play at Ohio State over national champion Alabama. “We’re going to try to beat ‘Bama at national championships and try to get that crystal football.
"We’re going to complete that mission.”
Obviously, if you're trying to win national championships these days, going through Tuscaloosa seems to be the only route to the title. However, it's usually the University of Michigan who Buckeye recruits are targeting when signing on the dotted line. Not that school down south.
So, have the Tide become the Buckeyes' new rival?
"No, absolutely not," Meyer said Wednesday. "We have one rival, and that rival has been dictated many, many years ago. One rival, and that rival is clear. And they had a good recruiting class as well, by the way. Good for the Big Ten conference.
"I think anytime you're in SEC country recruiting, I think anytime teams start talking about who is the king of the hill right now, those words might come out of people's mouths, including mine once in a while. But, no, make it real clear there's one rival. There's one person we're going after, and that's our rival.
"That was dictated many, many years ago. So that's it."
Meyer is correct as well about Michigan having a good recruiting class this season. Although the buzz is on Ohio State's class ranking — No. 1 by Scout, No. 2 by Rivals and No. 3 by ESPN — the Wolverines have also put together a group which has garnered at least a top-six listing by each of the three major recruiting services, including a No. 2 spot on Scout.com.
Michigan also recruited nine players from the great state of Ohio.
"That school's always had great Ohio players on there team," Meyer said of Michigan. "A couple Heisman Trophy winners, too."
Make no mistake about it, Alabama is certainly the wall the Buckeyes must break down in order to "get that crystal football."
But in order to get to Pasadena, the Buckeyes will still have to travel through Ann Arbor to get there first.
And as Coach Meyer pointed out Wednesday, that's never going to change.
MEYER UPSET ABOUT THREE LOST SCHOLARSHIPS ... Many believe that the harshest penalty passed down by the NCAA for the Buckeyes benefits scandal was the one-year post-season ban.
But according to Meyer, the three scholarships lost — nine over the next three years — is just as painful.
On Wednesday, the Buckeyes coach discussed how difficult it is to recruit when he only has 82 scholarships, as opposed to the normal 85.
"That was awful. It was horrible. Can't take three more players. It's like a toothache," Meyer said. "I mean, every time you say, okay, let's ... well, we can't. Let's ... we can't, we can't. Then you start juggling the numbers.
"So, yeah, it's significant."
Oh, and don't tell Meyer to chill out because it's only three less players ...
"Someone said it's only three scholarships less," he said. "Wait a minute. That could be three Braxton Millers or John Simons. Three scholarships is a significant amount. It's not easy to deal with."
WILSON TO BE PERCY HARVIN OF BUCKEYES OFFENSE? ... One thing missing from Coach Meyer's offense this past season was a do-it-all player on the edges. He won national championships at Florida because he had athletes, not just receivers, e.g., Percy Harvin.
Meyer emphasized going after Harvin-types this recruiting class, and it appears he snagged one in Texas blue-chip athlete, Dontre Wilson.
"I see him being a potential dual threat. Hybrid, you might hear the term," Meyer said of Wilson. "That became kind of famous back when Percy (Harvin) started — the Percy name and all that."
Wilson, like Harvin, can beat a defense in a number of different ways ...
"(Wilson's) a guy that can run inside, outside, and also go (the distance)," Meyer said. "He had 35 receptions, 700 yards receiving and he had I think 1,800 yards rushing. So there's not many people in the country that can do that. That was most appealing to me when I saw that, along with the 20.8 in the 200 meters.
"That's a very unusual athlete."