Urban Meyer explains accepting commitments before a player visits campus

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday March 28, 2016


Ohio State has accepted verbal commitments from recruits who haven’t even visited campus yet, but Urban Meyer and Kerry Coombs says it’s how recruiting goes in today’s world.

The Buckeyes will have a small class this year, so players know they have to get on board early, and coaches know they want to.

"It's bizarre, isn't it?" Urban Meyer says. "I don't know the answer other than it's hard to say no to a great player. But we also understand that the chance of everybody sticking (is small)." 

Meyer added that when those visits do happen, it usually goes better than the player expected.

Coombs says it makes the relationships even more important when deciding to accept a commitment from a kid who hasn’t seen campus yet. You have to make sure they're not just committing to reserve a spot and make a final decision later.

“You’d better know a lot about them, right?” Coombs said. “ You’d better know about their coach, their school, their environment, where they come from. And they’ve got to learn a lot about us. Those guys could show up in June, July and say, ‘We don’t like you guys.’ We’re not going to change, right? The great news is, there are a lot of guys that want to be Buckeyes right now, and it’s a exciting thing.

“They understand this is going to be a small class, and they’re eager to get on board. I don’t think you’re ever as comfortable as if you’ve got a kid you’ve had in camp and had 1,000 times on campus, but that process has to take place in the future.”

Coombs says the decision to accept such a commitment is all up to Meyer. Coombs will “recruit the crap out of everybody,” but the decision comes down to the head coach.

At the same time, it’s a lot easier to know people without a physical visit with today's media. Players communicate with coaches over all sorts of platforms, and they can see campus or football facilities through more videos and photos.

The recruiting process is only speeding up, and when there’s high demand for limited spots, the coaches have to make a decision.

“The world is different. The world’s a lot smaller,” Coombs said. “There’s so much information you can give a kid right now through video. They see a panoramic view of campus. They can Facetime and see all kinds of stuff. They can literally be in a meeting when they’re not there. They know what you look like, what you sound like, they’ve seen us on training days, so they’ve got a pretty good feel of who we are.

“Obviously, between our head coach and the reputation of this program, kids know where we’re headed. That Pro Day was ridiculous. A lot of kids want to be a part of that. No kidding. When you (win a national championship), kids want to be a part of that. That’s an exciting thing. That’s why it’s like it is.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.