Recruit Report: Can Urban renewal lift Ohio State?

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New Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is expected to have a big effect on the Buckeyes' recruiting, and he already has impacted one of Western Pennsylvania's players.

Jeannette defensive back Demetrious Cox is one of the top players in the WPIAL who still has not made a college decision. Ohio State has risen on his list, just because of Meyer. Cox has talked with Meyer by phone.

"I'm considering them more now than I was before," Cox said. "There is definitely an incentive to want to go there more now and play under a coach like him. It still doesn't change the depth at the position I'm being recruited [safety], but just having him there makes you look more."

Cox has scholarship offers from Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Wisconsin, among others, but said he has not narrowed his list yet.

"I'm getting ready to do that soon," Cox said.

Cox is playing basketball for Jeannette and is expected to be one of the top players in Class AA of the WPIAL. Jeannette's team has been bolstered by the addition of Orlando Morgan , who transferred from a school in Indiana. Morgan, who used to live in Jeannette before moving away, is Cox's cousin.

"It was a little hard getting into basketball after Heinz Field," said Cox, who lost in the WPIAL title game to Aliquippa at Heinz. "But I feel like I'm ready to get it going now in basketball."

While Ohio State has a chance to land Cox, Meyer and his staff unsuccessfully tried to make inroads with another WPIAL star who already has made a college decision. Hopewell running back Rushel Shell committed to Pitt in October. Shell said an Ohio State assistant coach had been trying to get in touch with him, but Shell never talked to the coach.

Shell said he let Hopewell coach Dave Vestal and athletic director Don Short relay a message to the Ohio State staff that Shell had no interest in the Buckeyes, even with Meyer.

Holtz visits Pitt

Shaler tight end-linebacker J.P. Holtz visited Pitt this past weekend. Holtz committed to Penn State this past summer, but decided to look elsewhere because of the child sexual abuse scandal at the school.

Holtz still might take a few more visits and Michigan State and Arkansas are two of the schools he is considering. It's not often you see Arkansas recruit Western Pennsylvania, but the Razorbacks were supposed to possibly meet with Holtz earlier this week.


Mike White: mwhite@post-gazette.com


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