"We need these guys to come in and play."
That was Urban Meyer, talking on a Columbus, Ohio, radio show about Ohio State's 23-member 2014 recruiting class.
That group, which boasts one 5-star and 15 4-star prospects, ranks No. 3 nationally behind only Alabama and LSU. The Buckeyes used the 2014 recruiting cycle to fill huge roster holes, especially at linebacker, in the secondary and along the offensive line.
With the recruiting frenzy finally over, Meyer expects his freshmen to suit up and contribute immediately.
"We expect you to come play and we're going to push that as hard as we ever have," Meyer said on the same radio show.
The Buckeyes will push their freshmen because they failed to do so in 2013.
According to Tony Gerdeman of The-Ozone, Ohio State redshirted nearly half of its 25 freshmen last year, a number that doesn't include the five first-year players who will qualify for medical redshirts.
That's an incredible amount of talent that never saw the field, which certainly hurt the Buckeyes down the stretch. In back-to-back season-ending losses, Ohio State's injury-plagued defense could have used an influx of young talent, but it was too late.
Seven of Ohio State's 23 new freshmen enrolled early to get a head start on their collegiate careers. Meyer singled out two of those players on Wednesday.
Raekwon McMillan, a 5-star linebacker out of Hinesville, Ga., has already made a strong impression on Meyer, and he's primed to fuel a turnaround for Ohio State's defense. McMillan piled up monstrous numbers in high school, recording 159 total tackles, 35 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception during his senior season.
Another early enrollee Meyer raved about was 4-star athlete Curtis Samuel. With a reported 4.36 40-yard dash, the 6'0", 185-pound standout from Brooklyn, N.Y., is one of the fastest prospects in the country, and Meyer took notice, according to Mike Young of Eleven Warriors.
"This Curtis Samuel guy... he's electric fast," Meyer said.
Some of the Buckeyes' biggest needs are at offensive line and in the secondary, though, and help will come when the freshmen report this summer.
A pair of 4-star prospects, Jamarco Jones and Demetrius Knox, are the two highest-rated offensive linemen for Ohio State, and as the search for four new starters up front continues, they'll have a great chance to crack the rotation.
The Buckeyes also need help in the secondary after giving up an average of 268 passing yards per game last season, which ranked 110th out of 123 teams, according to NCAA.com. A trio of 4-star defensive backs in Damon Webb, Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith will get a long look from the coaching staff this fall.
Ohio State will return 12 starters in 2014, so while there's a lot of experience coming back, there's an equal amount of opportunity for these talented freshmen.
Meyer's plan is to give his first-year players the tools to seize that opportunity.
All recruit rankings, stats and information per 247Sports.
David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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