Recruiting, recruiting and recruiting.
That's been my answer for the last month when people have asked me what Ohio State has been doing since the football Buckeyes are not playing in a bowl game this season as a result of NCAA sanctions issued last December,
So despite going 12-0 in Urban Meyer's first year at the OSU helm, the focus of the Buckeye coaches has been on recruiting.
And if Meyer and his staff can come close to duplicating last year's effort that raked in a top-5 recruiting class, one can only wonder what he's going to be able to do next fall and for more to come after managing to turn a 6-7 season in 2011 into only the sixth perfect season in OSU football history.
So far, the Buckeyes have 19 verbal commitments for 2013, and, of course, are always looking for a few more good players, especially on the defensive side, where most of the holes in the lineup are going to be next fall.
While there are no 5-star, or the very top-level, recruits among them, all but one of the commitments are either ranked as 4-star or 3-star players on the national map by Rivals.com, with a dozen No. 4's and a half-dozen No. 3's.
The list includes 10 defensive players - four backs, but also three ends and three tackles -with the Buckeyes losing All-Big Ten linemen John Simon to graduation and Johnathan Hankins as an early NFL entry.
Key in that group are a couple of DB's rated by Rivals.com as the fourth and fifth-best players available at the cornerback position in the country, Eli Apple (6-0, 185) from Voorhees, N.J., and Cameron Burrows (6-0, 203) from Trotwood-Madison in Ohio, along with the No. 18 safety nationally in Jayme Thompson (6-2, 183) from Toledo Central Catholic.
Plus, two of the DE recruits and three of the DT commitments are viewed as possible impact players for the Buckeyes.
Joey Bosa (6-5, 270) from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is seen by Rivals.com as the fourth-best strongside DE nationally while Tyquan Lewis (6-3, 225) from Tarboro, N.C., is classified as the 11th-best weakside DE available in the 2013 class.
Defensive tackle recruits feature Michael Hill (6-3, 315) from Pendleton, S.C., rated by Rivals.com as 10th-best DT in the country; Billy Price (6-4, 280) from Austintown-Fitch in Ohio, ranked 14th in the national DT ratings; and Shaker Heights (Ohio) two-way lineman Donovan Munger (6-4, 290), slotted at No. 38 in the 2013 prospective DT listings.
One defensive position missing among the recruits is linebacker, where only Ryan Shazier returns as a starter next year, with Zach Boren and Etienne Sabino both graduating.
But there are several linebacking prospects OSU still is pursuing, plus Meyer has made it clear that he is always on the lookout for good players to help fill voids.
Shazier was OSU's leading tackler last season with 115, but if you noticed, there's a lot of younger defensive players who were shuffled in and out of the lineup in the fall, getting valuable playing time, or PT as Dick Vitale would say, as well as invaluable college experience. So it looks like some of these former recruits themselves will get an opportunity to show what they can do for real next fall.
Contact Steve Hemmelgarn at firstname.lastname@example.org