COLUMBUS: To Urban Meyer, recruiting always comes first.
It’s the lifeblood of any program, and he and his coaches proved with their impressive haul Wednesday that they can do it well. But Meyer’s understanding of the importance of recruiting isn’t limited to his willingness to court players and their families across the country.
If it means changing the starting times of games, then Meyer is willing to push for that. So Wednesday, during an appearance on WBNS-FM (97.1), Meyer said he has lobbied the Big Ten to allow more primetime games.
“The night atmosphere is much better,” Meyer said. “[The] Nebraska [game] was a magical feeling. We want more energy in the stadium because you’re competing with [other conferences]. Some people say, ‘That’s not the way we’ve done it.’ That’s fine. [But] maybe we should consider that because we have to have better recruiting classes in this conference and get going. That’s just one man’s opinion.”
In a text message, Athletic Director Gene Smith said it’s Ohio State’s goal to play “at least two” night games.
Elliott stays in fold
In the end, Ezekiel Elliott decided to make Ohio State his new home, even though the Buckeyes’ competition for his services has always felt like home.
Elliott, whose parents were athletes at Missouri, picked Ohio State over the Tigers, becoming the last of 24 players to sign. Elliott lives in Alton, Ill., and attends a St. Louis high school. He committed to Ohio State on April 1 but caused concern among Buckeyes fans when he took an official visit recently to Missouri.
“It’s hard to say no to a school that you’ve been around for so long,” Elliott said. “I’ve always been a Tiger, and I’ll always be a Tiger.”
Meyer said he was never concerned that he would lose Elliott and that he will be a good addition.
“He’s a body type we don’t have. He’s a second-level guy. I’m really interested to get a guy who can get to the second level and make a guy miss and go downtown. He’s shown on film he can do that.”
Scholarship limit hurts
Meyer said the scholarship limit of 82, reduced from 85 because of NCAA sanctions, did hurt the Buckeyes this recruiting season, despite the excellent class of additions.
“It was horrible,” Meyer said. “It’s like a toothache. Every time you say, ‘OK, let’s …’ — well, we can’t. ‘Let’s …,’ we can’t. Then you start juggling the numbers. Someone says you only have three scholarships less. That could be three Braxton Millers or John Simons.”