A hallmark of coach Urban Meyer’s tenure at Ohio State has been standout recruiting classes.

But this year poses a challenge like no other. The Buckeyes’ brand has been tarnished by the saga that resulted in Meyer’s three-game suspension.

So far, though, the fallout has been minor. Only Tennessee linebacker Kane Patterson has decommitted. The other 14 commitments appear to remain solidly in the fold, at least for now.

“It’s tough to say how it’ll affect them down the road,” said Steve Wiltfong, director of recruiting for 247Sports “because we don’t really know. It didn’t really affect the guys committed because those guys believe in coach Meyer so much and the staff does such a great job building relationships with the kids that those kids are pulling for coach Meyer and pulling for the best possible scenario. They want to play for coach Meyer and this staff.”

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Acting head coach Ryan Day said those relationships are at the heart of the recruiting process.

“We have probably talked on a daily basis with all of the kids,” he said. “The communication has been, ‘Hey, listen, you can ask questions, but we may not have the answers to them, but ask the hard questions.’ So there's been open communication with all of them and because of that they have all stuck together. I know that they all communicate with each other and so that's been a positive.”

But Wiltfong said that the last month’s ordeal has stunted the momentum the Buckeyes may have had with some recruits and their families as they waited for a resolution.

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The effect on recruits themselves might be different than it is on those close to them.

“They have a very narrow-minded view of themselves, their recruitment, the schools that are recruiting them and what’s important to them,” said ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill, who will be the sideline reporter for ABC’s broadcast of the Ohio State-Oregon State game.

He said that for recruits whose families or other support systems are integrally involved in the decision-making process, the Ohio State saga may be more of an issue if those people are troubled by what’s happened in Columbus and ask pointed questions about it.

“Obviously, every situation is different and every kid is different,” Luginbill said. “It will be interesting to see when official visits start in the fall, how many Ohio State (commitments) take officials at other places. It will be interesting to track.”

Luginbill and Wiltfong said that Ohio State will have to deal with negative recruiting, which is always a part of the equation but will be heightened now.

Ohio State has a well-oiled recruiting machine. Its staff excels at identifying talented players and courting them. Recruiting is the top priority for all assistant coaches, and Meyer is more active than most head coaches in the process. He is banned from talking to recruits until his suspension ends on Sept. 17.

Ohio State’s recruiting class is ranked 12th nationally as of now, but with players like Olentangy Orange defensive end Zach Harrison on their wish list, that ranking could rise significantly. The Buckeyes under Meyer have never ranked lower than seventh in the final 247Sports composite recruiting rankings and have finished second three times, including the last two years.

“Zach Harrison, what’s he going to do?” Wiltfong said. “Some of these top targets that Ohio State has, if they don’t choose Ohio State, was this maybe one of the reasons?”

Then again, the Buckeyes could ride out the storm and finish with one of the top classes in the country again. But the last month’s news is an unwanted element that the Buckeyes must navigate.