If it wasn’t immediately apparent by the way Urban Meyer finished Ohio State’s 2012 recruiting class, his recruiting philosophy and the tactics taken to follow through with his approach varies greatly from Jim Tressel’s former methods.
But Meyer while assembled a comprehensive recruiting strategy to implement in his new staff, he didn’t dismiss Tressel’s way, particularly because recruiting was a strength for Ohio State during the 10 years Tressel oversaw the program.
That meant keeping Cleveland Glenville close to home.
“It was about success,” said Tony Overton, who oversaw Glenville’s football program while head coach Ted Ginn Sr. was away during the past year while dealing with health problems. “Coach Meyer is a very intelligent guy.
“He looked at the things that happened before him, not just with Coach Tressel but with John Cooper and even Woody Hayes, and saw what made the Ohio State successful and then he repeated those things.”
A 1991 Glenville graduate and ?a member of the Tarblooders?coaching staff since 1999, Overton was around before his high school program became a pipeline to Ohio State.
In all, Overton saw Ohio State sign 18 Tarblooders in its last 11 recruiting classes, a group that included eight-full-time starters, three first-team All-Americans and a Heisman Trophy winner.
“We all have our own philosophies, but he saw that Glenville has produced some players that have been very successful,” Overton said of Meyer, “and of course he wants to do some of those same things that kept Ohio State successful before him.”
Having signed Devan Bogard to the 2012 recruiting class, Christopher Worley in 2013 and accepted a commitment from offensive tackle Marcelys Jones in 2014, Meyer has picked up right from where Tressel left off.
It would have been strange had Meyer not, considering Ohio State has become a target for youths in the Cleveland Glenville neighborhood to aim toward ever since Troy Smith signed with Tressel as part of the Buckeyes’ 2002 recruiting class.
Worley was the latest to sign his name on the dotted line, issuing his national letter of intent three days after watching Donte Whitner and Ted Ginn Jr. participate in Super Bowl XLVII. Whitner and Ginn Jr., both alumni of Glenville, went on to star at Ohio State after high school before being selected in the NFL Draft.
“It means everything,” Worley told BSB, describing his desire to be the next Tarblooder to shine on the field for the Buckeyes. “This is what I have been dreaming of since I was a little kid – to go to Ohio State and make my mom and dad proud.”
As Worley participated in the National Signing Day ceremony at Cleveland’s Barbara-Byrd Bennett Professional Development Center on Feb. 6, the safety prospect knew he was achieving a lifelong goal.
But Worley knew much more lies ahead.
“It is a lot of pressure, but you cant fold under pressure, you have to live up to it,” Worley said. “Watching the Super Bowl just reminded me that even though I am on my way to Ohio State, how much more work I need to put in to be great. I have a responsibility to myself, past Glenville players and future ones, to represent where I came from and be the next person to keep this alive.”
Bogard made similar statements when he committed to the Buckeyes, a pledge made in the midst of Tressel’s sudden resignation and NCAA scandal that made for perhaps the darkest time in the history of Ohio State’s football program.
Still, the connection Glenville players feel to the Buckeyes is bigger. Worley felt the same thing Bogard did, and the players before both of them.
“Ohio State was on my mind from the beginning,” Worley said. “This was where we all hope to end up. We have seen what players from our area have done there and it just makes us want to be next. It is about a legacy, and we all want to be the next one.”
Given that sense of pride Glenville players share – not to mention the immense talent most have possessed before joining Ohio State – Meyer understands the power of harnessing the powerful connection.
As he always has done alongside the elder Ginn and alone, Overton plans on embracing that relationship for years to come.
“Ohio State is a big deal for our kids,” Overton said. “We have a lot of talented players and will have special kids, but it has served as a goal and a platform for our players to be successful after high school. Having Coach Meyer build those relationships is big for his program, but it is big for us, too.”
Follow Ari Wasserman on Twitter and find us on Facebook.