Urban Meyer is now sending personalized puzzles as recruiting tools

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally
Top senior TE Mike Gesicki got a very personal puzzle from Ohio State — Instagram
Top senior TE Mike Gesicki got a very personal puzzle from Ohio State — Instagram

Mike Gesicki is among the most highly rated recruits in the Class of 2014. The senior tight end extraordinaire for Manahawkin (N.J.) Southern Regional High is being recruited by just about every major college football program not in the SEC or Big 12, and holds scholarship offers form the likes of Ohio State, Miami, Penn State, Wisconsin and Florida State.

According to Gesicki, all those schools remain in the mix for his signature coming National Signing Day. That means anyone hoping to sign Gesicki will have to pull out all the stops. While most schools have rolled out an identical routine -- dress the kid up in full pads and uniform and have him take an Instagram photo -- Ohio State coach Urban Meyer made things a bit more personal … and puzzling.

On Monday, Gesicki posted an Instagram photo of the latest missive sent his way from Ohio State. It was a puzzle that was approximately 80 percent complete, missing only the heads of a football player who happened to be wearing Gesicki's jersey. The teen's head served as the remaining two pieces not in place.

The title of the puzzle? The Missing Piece. Urban Meyer may be original, but he sure isn't subtle.

Of course, the personalized puzzle is just the latest addition to the recruiting photoshop arms race. Shortly after taking the head coaching job at Arizona, Rich Rodriguez began sending out recruiting letters that depicted players on an Old West style Wanted poster.

And while the old tactic of plastering a prospect with dozens of letters on a single day is still en vogue at programs like Kentucky, coaches like Meyer are employing the full breadth of their school's graphic design departments.

Whether that will eventually prove enough to land Gesicki's commitment remains to be seen, though given the tight end's penchant for promoting himself and re-posting all the recruiting mail he receives (seriously, check out the Game of Thrones poster from Wisconsin), that puzzle can't hurt.

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