With seven national championships, over 800 wins, seven Heisman Trophy winners and as loyal and devoted a fan base as any in the nation, Ohio State, is without a doubt, ranked among the elite of college football. A listing of illustrious Buckeye head coaches alone (Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, John Cooper, Jim Tressel), would be the envy of any university, with dozens of Coach of the Year and Hall of Fame awards among them. The Buckeye faithful have undoubtedly already added their latest mentor's name to that much-accomplished group, and eagerly await the Fall of 2012 when Urban Meyer takes the sidelines.
Meyer, a native of Toledo, Ohio and former coach at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida, accepted the Buckeye head coaching position in November, 2011 after one season away from the sidelines, having spent the 2011 season as a college football analyst for ESPN.
The 47-year old Meyer brings an impressive and gaudy resume to Columbus, compiling a 104-23 won-loss record in 11 seasons as a head coach, including a 7-1 mark in postseason bowl games. Meyer led his Florida Gators to two BCS National Championships (2006 and 2008), and led Utah to an undefeated season in 2004.
Meyer faces a daunting task with the Buckeyes, at least early on, as the program was placed on three year's probation, along with the loss of three scholarships per season through 2014 as the result of NCAA violations incurred under Tressel's tenure. Meyer's Buckeyes also were banned from any postseason bowl appearance after the 2012 season.
Despite the sanctions placed on the program by the NCAA, Meyer and Buckeye supporters are positive that he is the on-field leader the program needs to make a triumphant return to the top of the college football landscape. Besides his obvious skill with "X's and O's" and unmatched motivational abilities, Meyer has proven to be a tireless and effective recruiter, which is the lifeblood of collegiate athletic success.
Meyer's first recruiting class at Ohio State, although not a large group, should quickly begin to pay dividends. Meyer and his staff have focused on defense in their inaugural efforts, landing three four-star defensive backs, as well as two four-star defensive tackles and a similarly-ranked linebacker. True to Ohio State's national reputation, the staff has signed prospects from California, Florida, Texas and New Jersey, as well as making impressive hauls from the Buckeye's traditional "backyard" talent pool in the fertile recruiting grounds of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Additionally, Ohio State is still in the conversation with several unsigned prep standouts, including the nation's top-ranked offensive tackle, Laremy Tunsil, a five-star prospect from Meyer's old stomping grounds, Lake City, FL. The Buckeyes also remain in pursuit of a half-dozen other Florida high school future stars, and perhaps most importantly, have already established connections with many of the top underclassmen players nationwide, making the future in Columbus bright indeed.
Just as at Florida, Meyer will benefit from a solidly supportive alumni base, both locally and nationwide, as he attempts to lead the Buckeyes back to not only Big Ten success, but also a major player on the national stage, which is a place Ohio State not only aspires to, but have come to expect from its beloved Buckeyes.
This author is a contributor for Buckeyes Planet - your source for OSU apparel, and Buckeyes men's and women's clothing.