COLUMBUS – The reminders of Ohio State’s football success and the great players who built that legacy are a constant presence around its campus.
The numbers of its Heisman Trophy winners hang on the front of C Deck in Ohio Stadium.
Drive past the Woody Hayes practice facility and you’ll see a statue of the man the building is named after that is tall enough he could be a post player for the Buckeyes’ basketball team if he could come to life.
Walk into either lobby of that building and you will see memories of past great OSU teams and players. It’s more of the same when you step onto the indoor practice field.
All of these places are included on the tours recruits get when they and their parents visit Ohio State.
But it’s possible none of those tour stops, except maybe the first time a recruit stands on the floor of Ohio Stadium and realizes how massive it is, will be a better recruiting tool for Urban Meyer than what went on at the NFL draft in Chicago the last three days.
Five Buckeyes were selected in the first round. Ten of the first 94 players chosen were from Ohio State and 12 OSU players had been chosen when the final name was called in the draft on Saturday.
After the first round, Meyer said on the NFL Network, “It was like a three-hour infomercial for our program.”
Actually, it was much better than an infomercial because who really pays attention to them and most people are skeptical of the quality of the products being promoted by the constantly cheery spokespersons in them.
Meyer often says that everyone who comes to Ohio State thinks they’re going to play in the NFL.
So what better way to sell Ohio State to the four-star and five-star recruits Meyer and his coaches are recruiting than to have an entire weekend’s worth of nationally televised affirmation that the best path to the NFL goes through OSU?
Even Ohio State’s most recent Heisman winner, Troy Smith, is ancient history to recruits who were six or seven years old when he won it in 2006. Woody Hayes is someone out of the history books. He might as well be Theodore Roosevelt to some recruits.
But three days of ESPN showing Ohio State players going to the NFL? Priceless.
Ohio State was aware of the value contained in the draft going into it.
“Absolutely we’re going to use that for recruiting,” Meyer said two weeks ago. And it is not just the live shots of the drafted players and Meyer’s many appearances on television to discuss those players that will be put to good use.
All of that will go to video and end up in the in boxes of recruits as a reminder of what Ohio State can do for them. And there probably be other ways OSU will use it.
“We’re pretty creative around here,” Meyer said.
Ohio State’s recruiting classes of 2012 and 2013 produced some of the biggest moments in its football history.
The 12 draft selections from that group in the last three days could help produce some of OSU’s best recruiting classes ever in the future.