Ohio State already had an excellent recruiting class heading into the home stretch before today's national signing day. The Buckeyes needed a strong close to ensure a top-ranked one. That's exactly what they got. Recruiting-ratings websites have Ohio State and Florida battling for the top spot nationally.
Ohio State already had an excellent recruiting class heading into the home stretch before today's national signing day. The Buckeyes needed a strong close to ensure a top-ranked one. That's exactly what they got.
>> Elliott keeps commitment to Buckeyes
>> Meyer praises coaching staff for recruiting efforts
>> Stellar signing day includes two bonuses
>> Safety Bell picks Buckeyes
>> Ohio State gets pleasant surprise from Florida receiver
On Monday, the Buckeyes got the momentum rolling by signing hybrid running back/wide receiver Dontre Wilson.
Today, they finished the job by signing the two remaining marquee players on their wanted list: wide receiver James Clark of Florida and Georgia safety Vonn Bell.
"I thought if we hit one out of three, it would be all right," Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer said this afternoon. "Two out of three would be a good day. Three out of three was going to be knock it out of the park. When Vonn Bell called me two minutes before he (announced), he said, 'You know I'm in, right?'
"So we hit three out of three. We're very pleased."
Recruiting-ratings websites have Ohio State and Florida battling for the top spot nationally.
The last remaining questions involved running back Ezekiel Elliott and, of all people, punter Johnny Townsend of Florida.
Elliott announced at 5 p.m. that he will uphold his commitment to Ohio State after a late push by Missouri. An hour earlier, Ohio State running backs coach Stan Drayton said he was "very confident" that Elliott -- because of NCAA rules he couldn't mention him by name until he signs -- would join the fold.
Townsend's status is less certain. He canceled a noon press conference and later one scheduled for 4 p.m.
The Buckeyes' 2013 recruiting class consists of 24 players pending Townsend's decision. The other prior commitments came in routinely, though Meyer said attempts by other schools to pry linebacker Trey Johnson resulted in a "feeding frenzy" at the end.
Clark picked Ohio State over Clemson and Florida. Various reports had Bell headed to Tennessee until he made the announcement.
The Buckeyes thought Bell would tell their coaches last night whether he was going to come to Ohio State. But they didn't hear. Meyer said it was at the behest of ESPN, which wanted Bell to wait until his announcement was on national television.
Co-defensive coordinator-safeties coach Everett Withers was in charge of Bell's recruitment. He told Bell's parents to call him if he was picking Tennessee and to call Meyer if he was going to become a Buckeye. When nobody heard, anxiety increased.
Meyer said he couldn't take it anymore and was on the treadmill when he got the phone call.
"Vonn Bell was a street fight," Meyer said.
But as was the case today and through most of the recruiting process, Meyer and Ohio State won the battle.
"It was a great day," Meyer said. "I thought it would it be a very good day."