The greatest recruiting tool Ohio State University and Urban Meyer can use to lure high school players to Columbus is the fact the program has success in the first round of the NFL Draft.
The same can be said for Alabama and a handful of other college powerhouses. The Buckeyes are using it now as they send out recruiters across the country. As the program looks to break the record for the most first round picks in one draft class, we all know it will be the first thing high school athletes will notice within the next week.
Ohio State has become the feeder program for NFL franchises. It will start with Ezekiel Elliott on Thursday night and could end with Braxton Miller – with possibly six players being drafted in the first round. It’s impressive and most of all, it works to mold how spry young men think.
Ari Wasserman of Cleveland.com explains this in detail.
Ezekiel Elliott and his family invited Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford to next week’s NFL Draft, but he regretfully won’t be able to make it because he’ll be out recruiting.
But Alford will be there in spirit. Because while he’s on the road, the NFL Draft will be on the tip of Alford’s tongue.
“Will I use it?” he said. “I have been using it.”
Of course he has. It’s not a unique talking point, but it’s an efficient one.
When Bobby Bowden went on a recruiting trip as head coach of FSU, he preached the importance of an education, the need to mold young men into quality citizens and to get the best education possible. He would tell parents he would look after their young sons, as if they were his own, and bring in some of the best talent in the state of Florida and the southern part of the country.
Today, that conversation might be a bit different as coaches still emphasize the “scholar” part of the scholar athlete, but make no mistake, winning at Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson and FSU are just as important to the success of the school.
And when school students have big dreams and see Meyer or Nick Saban at the Heisman Trophy presentation or sitting in the green room with his potential draft picks, the picture is worth more than the words coming out of their mouths.
This has become the best recruiting tool a college program can use – one that only a select fraternity can lay claim to – and mean it.
Wasserman’s story also explains that Meyer said Wednesday that Ohio State is planning to send someone from their staff to Chicago next week to document the day for the five Buckeyes prospects attending: Joey Bosa, Elliott, Darron Lee, Eli Apple and Taylor Decker. All five are projected first-round selections.
“(Player personnel director) Mark (Pantoni) was telling me we’re going to have someone there who is going to track guys,” Meyer said. “Absolutely we’re going to use that for recruiting.”
And you know more than anything, ESPN and the NFL Network is loving this kind of tactic – all the way to the bank. Can’t you see Meyer or Saban or maybe Clemson’s Dabo Swinney being interviewed after the first day of the Draft, asking them their thoughts on their players, how they meant so much to the program and they the coaches want nothing more than the best for their athletes?
It’s the reason these three programs and the Florida’s, FSU’s and Oklahoma’s of the college world continue to pack them in year after year.
Next year after watching the NFL Draft unfold, should be no different.