Only one-third of the 21 players in Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting class are Ohio natives, and coach Urban Meyer hopes that’s an aberration.

“Fifty percent is kind of the mark that I’ve been trying to (have),” Meyer said Wednesday.

Part of the reason for the low number of Ohioans is that OSU seeks the best prospects, regardless of location. The incoming class is composed of mostly five- and four-star prospects, and this was a relatively down year for Ohio talent.

But Meyer said that he likes to hold open some spots for Ohio players who show potential, even if they don’t have the resume of higher-ranked players. Darron Lee, a New Albany quarterback who became a first-round NFL linebacker, is an example. Former lacrosse player Sam Hubbard, now a star defensive end, is another.

That’s why Meyer adamantly opposes a June signing period. He wants to watch borderline players in their senior seasons before extending an offer. That’s particularly an issue for Ohio players, who unlike their counterparts in many Southern states don’t have spring football and as a result can be slower to develop.

Cleveland receiver Jaylen Harris proved his worth during his final season and got an offer. Massillon Washington tackle Thayer Munford became the final member of this recruiting class after making progress academically and shedding 50 pounds.

Meyer said that Buckeyes offensive line coach Greg Studrawa pushed hard for Munford.

“He would not let that die,” Meyer said. “He kept going, ‘I want this guy, I want this guy.’ ”

Next year, Ohio State shouldn’t have trouble increasing its percentage of homegrown talent. The state’s 2018 recruiting class is considered deep and talented.

Barrett’s decision

Meyer said he didn’t worry about quarterback J.T. Barrett leaving Ohio State early. After the Fiesta Bowl shutout loss, Barrett left open that possibility before later announcing he would return for his senior year.

“I think what happens is microphones get stuck in front of players’ faces in tough situations,” Meyer said. “You lose a game, you’re embarrassed on national TV, and things happen. I never thought he would leave. I don’t know how close that was. Only J.T. knows. But I think he’s an Ohio State Buckeye and will always be an Ohio State Buckeye.”

Never too sure

Five-star offensive lineman Wyatt Davis of Bellflower, California, is one of the crown jewels of Ohio State’s recruiting class, but Meyer knows that long-distance commitments aren’t always safe.

So when Meyer learned that Davis lived in the same neighborhood as Southern California coach Clay Helton, he got nervous and dispensed Studrawa out west.

“I already used up my visit out there,” Meyer said. “So I made Stud go out there on Friday and sit from sunup until sundown and make sure no one goes by that house.”

Despite rumors that Davis might renege on his Ohio State commitment, he didn’t.