Otherwise known as one of the nation’s best recruiters, former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel had one perceived flaw – the reputation of being unable to close on the nation’s top uncommitted recruits in the time leading into National Signing Day.
Urban Meyer certainly won’t have that same stigma, as Ohio State’s new head coach landed two signatures on signing day, most recently from four-star offensive tackle Kyle Dodson out of Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
Dodson, a 6-6, 310-pound prospect rated by Scout.com as the No. 24 offensive tackle in the class, was previously committed to Wisconsin. Once Meyer got hired, Ohio State immediately jumped back in the game before eventually securing his commitment.
“I knew I wanted to go to Ohio State when Coach Meyer looked me in the eye and told me he really cared about me, even if I went somewhere else,” Dodson told BSB. “Ohio State is the in-state school, but once Meyer came in I just knew it would be the right place for me to go.”
Though Dodson suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder in the middle of his senior season, the offensive tackle played through the final four games of the season with the ailment. With his right arm in a sling, Dodson called up all of his teammates in front of the stage to help him charismatically announce his decision.
Despite the injury, Dodson feels prepared to come into Ohio State in the fall and compete.
“I don't anticipate having to redshirt,” he said. “They’ll have to see how I recover from the surgery, but they say its really common for offensive linemen to go through this. I am hoping I’ll recovery quickly and be ready to go when I get there.”
Though Dodson offered his first verbal commitment to Wisconsin, it was at a time where the Ohio State program was going through turmoil. Not only did the Buckeyes have a recent scandal that eventually led to Tressel’s dismissal, a large portion of his recruiting process went on while Luke Fickell was the interim head coach.
Without the security that Fickell would be retained for the long-haul, Dodson admitted the instability within the program made it tough for him to go with his gut instinct at first. When Meyer was hired – and Fickell was kept on the staff – Ohio State became the clear choice for his college destination.
“It got them back in the game, that’s for sure,” Cleveland Heights coach Jeff Rotsky told BSB. “Once they were an option again, Meyer was able to recruit Kyle with a fresh start. From there, they built a relationship that turned into this. Not once did he ever pressure him to do something he didn’t want to do.”
With the newfound stability at Ohio State, Dodson said he wasn’t too concerned about what 1-year bowl ban the Buckeyes will face in his senior year. Seeing top talent flock toward the 2012 class now ranked No. 3 by Scout was more than enough for him to feel like he was making the right decision.
“Look at the defensive linemen coming into the class,” Dodson said. “I love that they did that because now I am going to get to practice against all of the best players in the nation and that will only make me a better player. I have a lot of faith that Ohio State is going to do big things and I am happy I can be a part of it.”
Dodson selected Ohio State over Michigan State, USC, and Wisconsin. Though the Badgers earned his commitment early in the process, Dodson said things just felt right at Ohio State.
Dodson was in Columbus on Jan. 29 for an unofficial visit to watch the Buckeyes’ men’s basketball team take on Michigan in Value City Arena, a game in which fourth-ranked Ohio State topped the Wolverines by 15 points.
“It was tough to tell the other coaches the bad news,” said Dodson, who came to his decision two days ago. “But I have to do what is right for me and that’s all about Ohio State. All the other schools were even and gave opportunities, but I am happy to be a Buckeye.”
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