Two running back prospects who can sign for 2019 are expected to be at Ohio State this weekend on official visits. But the overarching question will be how might coach Urban Meyer’s statements about his health and future with the Buckeyes affect their decisions?
Meyer and his staff are trying to flip Marcus Crowley of Jacksonville, Florida, from his commitment to the University of Miami and stay in the running for Deondrick Glass of Katy, Texas.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
“My gut feeling right now is that eventually one of those two running backs will be in the 2019 Ohio State class,” Bucknuts analyst Bill Kurelic said. “I think they like Crowley a lot, and I think Glass is a really good runner, too.”
But what about the elephant in the room?
Meyer spoke this week about his health and demeanor. He cited a flare-up of an arachnoid cyst on his brain, first diagnosed in 1998, and not disenchantment with Ohio State after a three-game suspension to start the season coming off an investigation into his knowledge of domestic-abuse allegations against fired receivers coach Zach Smith.
While speaking about the headaches, sometimes severe, that he experiences because of the cyst, Meyer, 54, left open-ended whether this could be his last season at Ohio State.
Rivals analyst Marc Givler sees that as a problem.
“I think people overblew what the impact was with the Zach Smith situation in terms of its impact on recruits,” Givler said. “I think Urban survived that pretty well. I do think there are some concerns rising right now, however, about the health stuff, and the fact he hasn’t really shot it down (whether this could be his last season).”
“Urban left it a little open-ended, and I do think it still leaves the possibility of other schools negatively recruiting because of that,” he said.
Givler said one player the Buckeyes might focus on is Jordan Battle, a safety from Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and long-committed member of the 2019 class.
“Jordan is a guy they are going to have to sit down and have a discussion with as he continues to look around,” Givler said.
Steve Wiltfong, director of recruiting for 247Sports, said the impact of the Meyer situation could be minimal “if he carries himself on the trail like he always has — with a ton of energy and commitment to staying in touch with top targets.”
Through late in the week, the Buckeyes had lost no players from the 14 committed for 2019 and the six committed for 2020. But Givler said it is still early in this new cycle.
“When there is a legitimate question about a coach’s longevity, that can be a thing,” Givler said. “It’s one thing to get suspended like Urban was to start this season, but everyone knew he was coming back.
“It’s quite another thing to leave the question of your longevity kind of open-ended, with guys wondering whether he’s going to be there in three or four years. It’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out.”