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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Ohio State, Meyer build through defense

By Jonathan McDonald, ESPN Stats & Info


AP Photo/Jay LaPrete
Urban Meyer has built a top-10 recruiting class on the strength of defense.

In 2012, the Ohio State Buckeyes managed to have the Big Ten's second-worst pass defense, but also intercepted 14 passes, tied for the most in the conference. The Buckeyes secondary allowed 135.6 yards after the catch per game, most in the Big Ten. So head coach Urban Meyer has gone out and gotten a commitment from three of the top nine cornerbacks in the country.

With three seniors graduating and the early defection of Johnathan Hankins, the Buckeyes will have to replace all of the starters on their defensive line. Not to worry -- over the past two years, Ohio State has nine ESPN 300 recruits at either defensive end or defensive tackle, including last year's No. 2 defensive end, Noah Spence.

The Buckeyes' nine such players is four more than any other team in the country. Both Alabama and Florida State currently have five apiece.

This will be Meyer's seventh top-10 class, which could tie him with Texas' Mack Brown for the most by any coach since ESPN began ranking classes. Texas currently does not have a top-10 class for the first time.

Meyer has always recruited well, especially on the defensive side of the ball. In his last class at Florida he nabbed nine top-150 recruits on defense, and that doesn’t include ATH Ronald Powell, the No. 1 overall recruit in the country and current Gator linebacker.

In three of Meyer's last five years at Florida, the Gators brought home the most defensive recruits in the ESPN 150. Their 33 such players over that span were seven more than any other school.