It is just two short weeks after National Signing Day for the 2012 recruiting class but Urban Meyer and Ohio State have come out on fire in the 2013 cycle. On Thursday afternoon, Meyer and company landed another outstanding prospect in Voorhees (N.J.) Eastern Regional cornerback Eli Woodard. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder made his announcement public on twitter, choosing the Buckeyes over Notre Dame and Rutgers as well as nearly 20 other programs that had offered the lockdown defender.
"I feel like Ohio State is just the best place for me," Woodard told BuckeyeGrove.com on Wednesday evening. "It's just an all-around great place and I feel like we're going to win a championship while I'm playing there. Just meeting guys (Bradley) Roby and Josh Perry, I feel like I fit well with them. I just wanted to go somewhere where I felt like I would be comfortable and I feel that way about Ohio State. Also, being able to play with guys like Cam (Burrows) and Jalin Marshall is really exciting, it's definitely going to be a great recruiting class."
Woodard had committed to the Ohio State coaching staff this past weekend during a three-day unofficial visit but wanted to get back to his home in New Jersey and sit down with his family and coaches before making a public announcement. Woodard's commitment to Meyer on the visit certainly drew a positive response.
"Oh man, coach Meyer went crazy," he laughed. "He started fist pumping and everything, he was going crazy, it was great. Then a couple of coaches came in and we took pictures and stuff so it was funny."
Woodard said he didn't come to Columbus with the intention to commit but after spending time with Meyer, he just knew it was time.
"To be completely honest, I always knew I was going to go to Ohio State," Woodard said. "I didn't know when I was going to make a decision but I didn't expect to do it during the visit. I was just going there to have fun and my parents never brought it up at all but when I was with coach Meyer we just kept talking and talking and listening to the stuff he had to say, it was just like, why wait?"
The visit to Columbus wasn't Woodard's first, the big-time corner had been to Columbus numerous times over the last year but with the coaching staff shake-up, the most recent visit gave Woodard a chance to get to know some of the new coaches.
"It was great, real great," Woodard said. "I got to spend some time with Urban Meyer which was real great. I loved all of the coaches that I met. I was looking forward to meeting coach (Mickey) Marotti, the strength coach, and I also met coach (Bill) Sheridan the cornerbacks coach and he's a real nice person."
Woodard and Sheridan toured the campus together and also spent some time going over some X's and O's.
"It was like his first week there so he hadn't really seen the campus yet either so I got to take the tour with him so that was great to spend some time with him and get to know him," he said. "I could tell that he's a real guy, he's a lot different than (former Ohio State assistant coach Taver Johnson) but you could tell he knows football. He showed me the diagrams from some of the schemes that he going to use and he seemed like a real great coach and a great leader and a great teacher."
"To be completely honest, I always knew I was going to go to Ohio State." - Eli Woodard
Woodard also was able to watch some of the winter workouts that the football team is going through and saw a side of Meyer he didn't quite expect to see.
"I expected coach Meyer to be kind of a finesse coach or whatever but I watched him during the winter workouts and he was real fiery," Woodard said. "He gets up in people's faces and I like that because he looks like a real great motivator and somebody that I can see myself playing for and going hard for. He's a real great person as well, I can tell just by the way he talks and I know we're going to form a great relationship and I'm excited about that."
A veteran of Ohio State youth camps since the seventh grade, Woodard has seen Ohio State go through a lot of changes over the last year and a half, but says he never second guessed his feelings on where he would be playing his college football.
"I felt like no matter what happened, Ohio State is always going to be Ohio State," he said. "Ohio State, to me, was always going to be the place that I felt like I needed to go. All of those coaching changes, I just felt like it wasn't that big but having coach Meyer come in was also a big thing."
Woodard is rated a four-star prospect by Rivals.com and the No. 28 overall player in the nation for the 2013 class. Woodard is also the second big-time cornerback prospect to join Ohio State's 2013 class, following five-star prospect Cameron Burrows who is ranked the No. 7 overall player in the nation by Rivals.com.