While National Signing Day has changed a bit this year with so many players signed during the early period in December, at places like Ohio State, there’s still no shortage of news.
The Buckeyes reeled in a few more blue-chippers Wednesday, including No. 1 offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere. But they were also making news on the coaching front as Urban Meyer was given a two-year extension and Meyer confirmed defensive coordinator Greg Schiano would be back next season.
“He’s essential to our program right now, Coach Schiano,” Meyer said. “If he is not my best recruiter, he’s certainly right there near the top. He manages so much for me off the field as well as being one of the top defensive coordinators in America. And he’s a relationship person that —he’s not one of those coaches that knows his position or that side of the ball and that’s it, he knows every one. Because he’s been a head coach before.
“So, a very valuable member of our staff as many of the guys.”
Meyer said Schiano had multiple offers at both the NFL and college levels, including head-coaching offers in college football. Recent reports said Schiano was a candidate to become the defensive coordinator with the New England Patriots after Matt Patricia left to become head coach of the Lions.
He also was at the center of plenty of drama last November when he signed a memorandum of understanding with Tennessee to become the Volunteers’ head coach before backlash from Tennessee fans caused the school to pull back its offer.
There’s no doubt Meyer will be around. He said Wednesday he and Ohio State are working on an extension.
“I feel fantastic,” Meyer said. “The program’s healthy and we’re going, so I’m going to get some more years put on my contract.”
Athletic director Gene Smith confirmed to the Columbus Dispatch that the two sides are working on an extension. Meyer’s current contract runs through the 2020 season and pays him $6.5 million annually.
But the priority Wednesday was the class, which now stands at 26 and is ranked No. 2 overall in the nation behind Georgia.
The jewel of the class was Petit-Frere, who was heavily pursued by Michigan.
The Wolverines even held their Outback Bowl practices at Berkley Prep, Petit-Frere’s high school in Tampa, Fla.
Coach Scott Frost and his staff have been doing quick work, vaulting Nebraska up the team rankings to No. 25, one spot ahead of Maryland. And the Huskers got some work done in SEC country.
Four-star outside linebacker Caleb Tannor signed with the Huskers, choosing Nebraska over Florida, Auburn and Florida State, among others.
Nebraska also landed three-star defensive back Cam Taylor from Montgomery, Ala. Taylor also was considering Missouri and Auburn.
“All SEC football,” Taylor said. “I thought that was where I wanted to be, but Big Ten is where it’s at.”
Nebraska also landed three-star offensive tackle Willie Canty III of Belle Glade, Fla. He was being recruited by Central Florida until Frost and his staff took over at Nebraska.
The Huskers did miss out on Jean-Baptiste, one of their top targets who opted for Ohio State. Four-star cornerback KenMontgomery Jr. picked Maryland over Nebraska and defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia chose UCLA over Nebraska.
“We got in as a coaching staff late on this recruiting process,” Frost said, “but being able to get kids on campus and seeing their reaction to what we have to offer and get the kids that we’ve got committed in such a short time. I’m excited about these kids in this class, and I’m also excited about the potential to get kids to come to Nebraska.”
If the recruiting jump wasn’t evidence enough of the buzz around Lincoln, the Huskers’ spring game sold out in just more than 24 hours.
Penn State landed its class in the top five, checking in at No. 4 according to 247Sports.com.
The Nittany Lions didn’t do much to solidify that top-five spot, adding just one player. That player, though, was an important one as four-star offensive tackle Rasheed Walker of Waldorf (Md.) North Point. He is the No. 6 offensive tackle in the class, according to the 247Sports’ composite rankings,
“There’s something about State College,” Walker said in a video previewing his announcement. “The coaching staff is awesome, I’m really close with all the players, I’ve been down there seven or eight times, and their game atmosphere is ridiculous, 110,000 people jumping up and down.”
Penn State missed out on Phoenix four-star receiver Solomon Enis, a Nittany Lions legacy and son of former running back Curtis Enis. He chose Utah over Penn State. Also, receiver Shaquon Anderson-Butts, a long-time commit, signed with Iowa Western Community College.