On Tuesday morning, it was announced that Ohio State coach Urban Meyer would retire after the Rose Bowl. Offensive coordinator Ryan Day will take over as head coach at that point. It’s impossible for a coach of Meyer’s stature to step down and there not to be a trickle-down effect on recruiting.
Here are a few names to watch moving forward after this news.
2019 defensive back Noa Pola-Gates: Pola-Gates has stated that Alabama is his leader. I’ve felt all along that Nick Saban is slow-playing him in case a better prospect wants to join the Tide. The main target Saban would like is 4-star Jordan Battle, who is currently committed to Ohio State. Most feel that if the Tide can flip him from the Buckeyes, they don’t have room for Pola-Gates. Alabama is in a position to turn away a top 150 recruit (Pola-Gates) for a top 50 recruit (Battle). Keep an eye on what Battle does because that will have a big impact on Nebraska’s position with Pola-Gates.
2019 wide receiver Jameson Williams: Nebraska was a finalist for the wide receiver from St. Louis and even got a chance to host him for an unofficial visit back in July. Nebraska was unable to secure an official visit before he made his announcement. The Huskers often keep in contact with prospects even after they are committed elsewhere just in case. If they did that with Williams, perhaps they could factor into his decision-making. Could the Urban news prompt him to take an official before the early signing period?
2020 offensive tackle Turner Corcoran: The biggest ripple effects from Meyer’s retirement may not be felt until the class of 2020. The Buckeyes were already on track to have a top 5 class in the country that cycle. Can they keep that momentum going without Meyer, who is viewed as one of the best head coach recruiters ever? I have Nebraska as the leader for the 4-star offensive tackle from Lawrence, Kansas. However, Ohio State is heavily in the mix and Meyer not being part of the equation makes things much better for the Huskers.
There are plenty of other prospects that Nebraska and Ohio State have crossed paths on previously, like linebacker Javontae Jean-Baptiste in the 2018 cycle. There are also players in future classes like 2020 5-star running back Kendall Milton or 2020 Ohio State 4-star wide receiver commit Jaxon Smith-Njigba that the teams have battled for.
Time will tell if Day can really keep the train rolling but Meyer’s departure definitely makes things interesting.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.