Urban Meyer will be back at the helm for the Buckeyes.
After a twist-filled three week investigation, Meyer has been reinstated — though he’s been suspended for the Buckeyes first three games of the 2018 season — by Ohio State and will return to the sidelines with his football team immediately.
That is, of course, great news for the Buckeyes football program, its fans and its players, who have worked tirelessly through the circus forming around them over the last month as they’ve prepared to defend the Big Ten Championship.
It’s also great news for future Buckeyes. Ohio State has 21 current commitments in its 2019 and 2020 football recruiting classes, and those prospects — along with their families — have been as invested in the outcome of Meyer’s leave as much as anyone. The future for 21 young men, young men who’ve entrusted Meyer and Ohio State with their development on, and off, the field, was in the balance, and for some, it still may be. There will be questions for Meyer to answer, still. There will be doubts raised by coaches around the country, hoping to capitalize on what they perceive to be a rough road ahead for the Buckeyes, and Meyer’s, public image.
Still, if you listen close, you almost hear a sigh of relief that stretches from Arizona, to Florida, to Baltimore, back to Ohio.
Ohio State’s first commitment in the Class of 2019 is Doug Nester, he issued a verbal commitment to the Buckeyes in July of 2017. He told Lettermen Row that today’s decision is a “weight off his shoulders” and that he’s looking forward to a return to normalcy.
“It’s great to have him back,” Nester shared. “Now the pressure can get off the coaches and players in Columbus. They’ll be even more focused and ready to go.”
Mentor’s Noah Potter, one of just three Ohio-born prospects in the Buckeyes class, is relieved as well, though he says there was not much doubt in his mind that a reinstatement was coming.
“I have always expected him to be back,” Potter said. “It can only be good for our class.”
Whether or not Meyer returned may not have changed Potter’s decision, as an Ohioan, he may have opted to remain committed to the Buckeyes either way. That’s not as easy to say for players from around the country.
“It means a lot that he is back,” New Jersey 4-star athlete Ronnie Hickman said. “He played a big role in my decision. I’m glad he is back.”
5-star wide receiver Garrett Wilson has been one of the Buckeyes most vocal recruits since committing in April. He has taken on a leadership role for Ohio State, trying to add players to the mix and the last few weeks have thrown an unexpected wrinkle into those efforts. How do you try and convince players around the country to come to Columbus if you don’t know who the head coach will be?
“It just makes it a little easier to talk to people around the sport,” Wilson told Lettermen Row. “When you’re representing Ohio State, trying to recruit with everything going on has been hard.
“This will bring everything back to normal. Thank God.”
What are other future Buckeyes saying about Meyer’s return?
5-star prospect Harry Miller, 2019, Buford (Ga.)
“It’s a huge. My family and I love Coach Meyer, and we are very glad to have him back.”
5-star prospect Paris Johnson, 2020, Cincinnati (Ohio)
“I am excited Coach Meyer is back. The Buckeyes will continue their tradition of success.”
4-star linebacker Cade Stover, 2019, Lexington (Ohio)
“It’s really a blessing to have him back. Now we can all focus on getting back to normal.”
4-star offensive lineman Jake Wray, 2020, Marietta (Ga.)
“It is great to have our coach back. I’m excited to see what our Buckeyes do this year.”
4-star quarterback Jack Miller, 2020, Scottsdale (Ariz.)
“It is great to finally have our coach back. Now our recruiting class can pick right up where we left off.”
3-star defensive back Bryson Shaw, 2019, Baltimore (Md.)
“It is great coach Meyer is coming back. He is a very thoughtful person and cares about his players. He does so much for every single one and I can not wait to play for, and learn from, a man like him.”
4-star athlete Steele Chambers, 2019, Roswell (Ga.)
“I never had any doubt. I’m glad he’s back and I can focus on my senior season.”