It's safe to say Urban Meyer has already made a big impact at Ohio State.
Though Meyer won't do any actual coaching until the new year, he has already started to reel in some top-flight recruits. On Sunday, defensive end Noah Spence, a five-star prospect that ESPN.com ranks as the No. 4 recruit in the nation, committed to the Buckeyes. And Spence said he wasn't even seriously considering Ohio State as recently as three weeks ago, before Meyer was hired.
"I wasn't really into them a lot," Spence told ESPN. "As I got to learn about the staff and what they're trying to do and how close it is to my home, it felt like a fit."
Spence is the third ESPNU 150 prospect in a week to give his verbal pledge to the Buckeyes. Defensive linemen Se'Von Pittman and Tommy Schutt did so last week. It's interesting that the three top recruits so far under Meyer come from the defensive side of the ball even though he is known as an offensive innovator. As we saw this year, you have to have a great defensive line to win in the Big Ten.
We'll point out here that Meyer signed some of the highest-rated recruits in the country during his final days at Florida, but many of those players didn't pan out as expected. Recruiting is a crap shoot. But this is a signal that it's becoming cool to be a Buckeye again after a controversial year in Columbus.
Spence's commitment is also another blow for Penn State, which lost Schutt as he decommitted last week. Spence is from nearby Harrisburg, Pa., and Penn State had seemed like the favorite to snare his services. But the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal and the uncertainty around a program that still does not have a permanent head coach has taken its toll on this year's recruiting class.
Life won't be easy for Penn State in the near future. Especially if Leaders Division rival Ohio State keeps bringing in top-notch talent under Meyer.