When Ohio State announced it would play Saturday’s Big Ten faceoff at No. 2 Penn State wearing all gray uniforms, the decision was met with some derision among loyal Ohio State fans. Some questioned why Ohio State would make such a decision knowing that it risked upsetting some of the nation’s most tradition-focused fan bases.
Here’s the trick: What if the uniforms aren’t for the fans at all? What if they’re strictly for recruits?
That became an apposite question on Tuesday, when one of Ohio State’s primary recruiting targets reacted very, very favorably to the reveal of the Buckeyes’ uniforms for Saturday’s game.
This is Tyreke Smith, a four-star defensive end from Cleveland Heights in the Cleveland area. He’s considered the No. 4 weakside defensive end prospect in the nation and the number three overall prospect in the state of Ohio.
Both of those rankings make him one of the most highly-sought players still on Ohio State’s list of recruiting targets. Given his attention on Saturday’s game — Smith is also considering Penn State — his reaction to the Buckeyes’ uniforms was reassuring and perhaps even a justification for Ohio State’s new uniforms in itself.
At least that’s almost certainly part of the thinking from Buckeyes football coach Urban Meyer, a man who cares far more about recruiting rankings than sartorial respect.