Meyer, Ohio State dipping into Texas

By jeffsvoboda

One thing that must be said about Urban Meyer’s recruiting approach: The Buckeyes aren’t going to back down from breaking into difficult recruiting areas across the country.

From Mark Pantoni to Kerry Coombs to Zach Smith, Meyer has a fired-up, energetic staff at his disposal. Their posts on social media about planting the Buckeye flag across the country have excited fans across the country – and their actions have backed up that braggadocio.

But if fans are looking for just one example of the new way Ohio State is approaching recruiting, look no further than the Lone Star State.

Texas never has been a huge recruiting area for the Buckeyes, understandable given the distance and cultural differences between Ohio and the state.

There have been a few Buckeyes to hail from there. 1990s star wideout David Boston was a native of Humble, Texas, and Jim Tressel picked up a few important prospects from The Lone Star State.

Ashton Youboty was recruited out of Houston, having played at Klein Heigh School, and became a key member of the 2004 and ’05 teams before moving on to the NFL. J.B. Shugarts was a five-star prospect out of Klein, as well, who became a multiyear starter, and no one will ever question the Buckeyes’ recruitment of quarterback Kenneth Guiton out of Houston Eisenhower given the comeback vs. Purdue he engineered this year.

But as far as the Tressel years, that was it. Those were the only three players to come in under the former head coach as recruited true freshmen, though the Buckeyes did add a transfer in Anthony Schlegel of University Park Highland Park. Schlegel began his career at Air Force, started two years at OSU after transferring and is now on the strength and conditioning staff.

In other words, the Buckeyes have been able to get impact players out of Texas, but it hasn’t been a recruiting hotbed.

The quality is the same under Meyer, but the quantity is picking up. The Buckeyes have three players in the 2013 class from Texas, and all are in the top 25 of Scout’s state rankings.

The prize is five-star linebacker Mike Mitchell of Prestonwood Christian in Plano, who is the No. 5 player in the state. But Monday also brought a commitment from four-star running back Dontre Wilson of DeSoto, Texas’ No. 9 player, and quarterback J.T. Barrett of Wichita Falls Rider is already on campus. He checks in as the state’s No. 22 player.

Just how impressive is the haul? The only other two schools with two of the top 10 players in the state are Texas and Texas A&M, which is no doubt good company. The list of out-of-state programs with three of the top 25 Lone Star State prospects is only one school long – Ohio State.

It doesn’t hurt to have some coaches with Texas ties on staff. Tom Herman began his career on staff as a graduate assistant at Texas before stints at Sam Houston State, Texas State and Rice. Everett Withers once coached at UT as well, and Ed Warinner has experience recruiting the state given his extensive time in the Big 12 at Kansas.

The Buckeyes are getting into more and more locations with this aggressive staff. But the old saying goes everything is bigger in Texas – and that’s the case with this year’s OSU recruiting haul.

BSB’s Marcus Hartman contributed to this story.

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