Buckeyes Brought In Winners In '14 Class

Ohio State's philosophy when it comes to recruiting high school players is that it wants the best -- not just the best players but the best programs represented in its recruiting classes. Finding players from winning programs, in the staff's eyes, helps the Buckeyes win at the college level.

When the Ohio State football team announced 23 football signees last week, nine of them hailed from the state of Ohio.

Those that did came from high schools that made up a veritable who's who of Ohio high school powers.

There were three players from Cleveland Glenville, the famed northeastern Ohio pipeline that made the Division II title game and has been in the running for numerous Division I titles under Ted Ginn Sr. Two Buckeyes hailed from Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, which capped off a second consecutive state-title-winning campaign this year with an undefeated season in 2013. Five-star prospect Sam Hubbard, meanwhile, prepped at Cincinnati Moeller, which won a second consecutive Division I crown this year.

That's not all, as three-star offensive line commit Brady Taylor prepped for a Columbus Bishop Ready team that won its region before falling to Kirtland in a state semifinal, and Scout 100 linebacker Kyle Berger preps for a Cleveland St. Ignatius squad that has won 11 state titles in the past 30 years.

And in the words of head coach Urban Meyer, that's no accident.

"I'm going to do a study – we just don't have much time – but the correlation between a young guy playing early and a guy that comes from a championship-level program, that means he understands weightlifting and fundamentals of football and winning and the price it takes to go win a game and win a championship

"Those guys usually play early. And you look at Kyle Berger, Ignatius, and Dante Booker and St. Vincent-St. Mary and Raekwon (McMillan) and Hubbard, those are the guys you look for."

In all, seven of the newest Buckeyes won state championships last year – Booker and Parris Campbell at St. V-M, Hubbard at Moeller, Johnnie Dixon at West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer, Demetrius Knox at Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints' Episcopal, Terry McLaurin at Indianapolis Cathedral and Darius Slade at Montclair, N.J.

In addition, Jalyn Holmes (Norfolk, Va., Lake Taylor), Dylan Thompson (Montini Catholic in Lombard, Ill.) and Damon Webb (Detroit Cass Tech) were on state title teams at some point in their college careers.

And as Meyer sees it, those players come in not just with a high level of playing ability, they tend to have a winning spirit that will fit in nicely with a program that is coming off a school-record 24-game winning streak and expects to compete for titles in the new College Football Playoff.

"It's really exciting, and it played a part in my decision because they've always had a success program," Hubbard said. "That's why Coach Meyer recruits the guys that he recruits. Most of us are state champions or from really competitive and prestigious programs and know how to win. You have to know how to win to continue winning in the future. That's why he recruited us, and I want to be around other people who want to win just as bad as I do."

That's music to the ears of Ohio State assistant Kerry Coombs.

"The point is we seek those kids because they know how to win," he said. "Winning is important to them. In fact, for some of them, you would say they refuse to lose, and kids that refuse to lose, you want on your side."

If there's anyone on staff who can relate to that message, it's likely the OSU cornerbacks and special teams coach. He spent 16 years coaching at his alma mater, Cincinnati power Colerain High School, and made the state semifinals five times. In 2004, his Cardinals went 15-0, won the Division I state championship and drubbed Canton McKinley in the title game by a 50-0 margin.

Having seen the jump from high school football to the big-time college ranks from both sides, Coombs sees how some of the bigger programs around the state and country have an advantage when it comes to preparing players for the next level.

"One of our jobs, I thought, at our school and our program was to develop our players for what they wanted to accomplish," he said of his time at Colerain. "If what they wanted to do was go play college football, we did everything we could to go win for our school but at the same time develop them at the highest level possible for their own future.

"Success breeds success. When kids look around and see that kid is working really hard and he ends up on singing day signing that scholarship, he's going to work hard."

The results often speak for themselves. Last year, defensive end Joey Bosa came in from one of the best programs in the nation at Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas and earned a starting spot and freshman All-America honors for OSU. Dontre Wilson was a key part of the Ohio State attack after prepping at Texas power DeSoto, while Vonn Bell (Ridgeland HS in Rossville, Ga.) and Burrows (Trotwood-Madison, Ohio) both earned spots in the secondary after playing for high school state titles the year prior.

"If they're winning, that means they're used to working hard in the offseason, which is what they're going to have to do here," Coombs said. "It all feeds off each other. The teams that have great offseason programs are the teams that win. They're typically playing at the highest level, those are obviously things that we're going to recruit."

Discuss Ohio State football and recruiting and get the inside scoop on our Ask the Insiders message board!

Follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories