When it comes to recruiting in Ohio, Urban Meyer usually gets what he wants. The Buckeyes coach has built his program to the point that Ohio State can often offer in-state recruits in the final days or weeks of their recruitments and still land their commitments.
However, not every recruit is willing to wait for the home state school to make an offer.
Clayton (Ohio) Northmont defensive end Gabe Newburg, a 3-star recruit in the 2019 class, spent the start of his weekend on Ohio State’s campus. By time it was over, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound prospect was preparing to announce his commitment to the rival Michigan Wolverines.
“It went well,” Newburg said of his unofficial visit to Ohio State last Friday. “I watched their practice, went on a tour of the campus, and then talked to Coach Meyer for a little while. He talked to me a lot about how close they were to offering me. We talked for a little while. We’d talk and then he’d turn to one of his assistants and say, ‘I like this kid. We gotta get him.’ He said that a few times.
“He told me to be patient and asked if I could wait a month before committing somewhere else, but I can’t do that, man. I know what I want to do and I’m going to do it. I can’t wait around.”
That was the statement that Newburg gave to Land of 10 just hours before tweeting out his commitment to Michigan.
Newburg, who hails from the Dayton area, had been recruited by Ohio State for months but an offer never came. The Buckeyes have offered two 2019 defensive ends in Ohio — Mentor’s Noah Potter and Olentangy Orange’s Zach Harrison — and have also shown interest in players such as Westerville Central’s Dontay Hunter. All told, 14 defensive ends in the class earned offers from the Buckeyes and Newburg felt like they had prioritized other players.
“I have a feeling they’re waiting to see what someone else decides before they come after me,” he told Land of 10.
And though Ohio State asked for more time to watch Newburg — Meyer’s request for him to wait a month lines up with the start of the spring evaluation period, when coaches can see prospects work out in person — he says his commitment is the end of his recruitment.
When he pledged to Michigan, Newburg gave his word to Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines that there would be no more visits or flirtations with other programs.
“Yeah, man. A commitment is just that — a commitment,” Newburg said. “You see a lot of guys de-commit and that’s just not me. I give people my word.”
A commitment to Michigan has not stopped Ohio State from continuing to recruit at least one other 2019 Ohio standout and current Wolverines pledge, Akron Archbishop Hoban guard Nolan Rumler. But no two recruitments are the same.
The Buckeyes’ dominance on the football field and on the recruiting trail around the country creates huge talent advantages and fills out a deep roster full of future NFL prospects, but it comes with drawbacks, as well. As long as Ohio State is able to bring in top talent from states such as Georgia, Florida and Texas, relatively under-the-radar Ohio recruits such as Newburg will end up on rosters around the Big Ten, lining up against Ohio State on fall Saturdays.