Ohio State Recruiting: How Urban Meyer continues to load his RB unit


Success breeds success and that’s why Urban Meyer is able to add more outstanding running backs in his Ohio State recruiting classes.

When Urban Meyer took over as head coach of the Ohio State football team the running back unit was thin to say the least. It stayed that way for four years but now it is as loaded as any other backfield in the nation.

Coach Meyer is building on that too as he added an elite back to his 2019 recruiting class last week. Sampson James, the No. 8 RB in the country, became the third commit in the class.

Why are highly ranked running backs like James, and Brian Snead last year, now committing to Ohio State recruiting classes so early in the cycle? That wasn’t always the case so what has changed?

It’s because of what Urban Meyer is fond of telling anybody who will listen. It’s not about what you tell a player but what you can prove. He and running backs coach Tony Alford now have plenty of proof that if a talented ball carrier comes to Ohio State there is a very good chance he will have success.

Urban Meyer has now had a 1,000 yard running back in each of the last five years beginning with Carlos Hyde during the 2013 season. Three players have now surpassed the milestone since then and Alford has coached all three.

The recruiting picked up at RB following Ezekiel Elliott’s second consecutive 1,800 yard season which vaulted him to the 4th pick in the NFL draft. After that, the No. 7 ranked RB Antonio Williams and the No. 2 APB Demario McCall joined the 2016 Ohio State recruiting class.

Zeke’s outstanding rookie season certainly didn’t hurt anything either. I’m certain it helped influence J.K. Dobbins’ decision to choose Ohio State over the many other schools who offered him a scholarship.

After Dobbins rushed for over 1,400 yards last season, Brian Snead and Master Teague joined this year’s class. And neither wasted very much time in doing so after receiving an offer from Urban Meyer.

Now Urban already has a Top 10 back in this year’s class and a chance at another. According to Bill Kurelic of 247Sports, running back Noah Cain is visiting Ohio State this weekend.

Evidently the No. 2 RB in the country is pretty high on the Buckeyes. Here are some things Cain had to say about the Ohio State staff and players as reported by Tyler Donohue of Landof10.com

"“Just talking to them on an everyday basis, either Coach [Urban] Meyer or [running backs coach Tony] Alford,” Cain said during media day for the Future 50 event at the Under Armour All-America Game. “They came down to IMG a lot of times and spoke with me. They’re just a good staff that I have a relationship with.”“I’ve developed an awesome bond with some of the players like J.K. Dobbins,” Cain said. “He’s like a big brother to me now. … I’ve bonded with him the most during my visits up there.”"

More from Ohio State Football Recruiting

Crystal Ball predictions only show 20 percent for Ohio State but that may change after his visit. It often does.

It’s hard to say if Urban will land another elite back in this year’s class but I wouldn’t bet against it. Whether or not he does, gone are the days when Urban Meyer has to scramble late in the recruiting cycle to get at least one to commit.

Lately he has been able to find one or two backs he thinks will best the best fit for his offense, and much earlier in the cycle. That’s because coach Meyer now has plenty of proof a young man can develop into a star in his system.

Also, there is a possibility of enjoying even more success in the NFL. Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott have proven that, and that carries even more weight with a recruit who dreams of playing on Sundays?

Next: With Tuf Borland sidelined, questions at middle LB

Success breeds success and that’s why Urban Meyer and Tony Alford now have one of the strongest running back units in the country. And other outstanding recruits who want to join it.