15 February 2011
A friend of my Dads was a huge Reds fan. He used to get very irritated when the Reds won by large margins. I can still hear his voice, "Why couldn't we save a few of those runs for another time???!!!" I used to get as irritated at him for that ridiculous thinking as he was that the Reds could not manage to spread out their run production.
As I look at the offensive line class for 2012 I catch myself asking why some of them could not have been born a year earlier, which is even more ridiculous than the old family friends frustration with the Reds.
It is not just the fact that there are four elite tackles in this class. There are some fine guards. I am no fan of guards but the guards in this class are much better than the ones the Buckeyes took in the class of 2011. I want to start with the tackles.
1 - Kyle Kalis, 6-5, 300, Lakewood St. Edward.
One of the finest tackle prospects I have seen in my time covering players in Ohio. I have yet to see Orlando Pace's equal but other than him I see Kalis in the same argument as Korey Stringer, Alex Boone, Marcus Hall and Andrew Norwell. He is very mobile, doing a great job of getting downfield and blocking on the second level. At the point of attack he is a dominating run blocker. We have not seen him pass block alot but what little I have seen shows a player who will get a look at left tackle. He is surely a great right tackle prospect. Has the mean streak that is so common with outstanding lineman.
2 - Kyle Dodson, 6-6, 300, Cleveland Heights.
Dodson may be the reason we don't see Kalis at left tackle. Dodson plays left tackle in high school. He is another level in athleticism. Even more athletic that Kalis. He has the feet and the length to play left tackle. He moves even better than Kalis. I see the same nasty in his game that I see with Kalis. A qualifying test score is all that stands between Dodson and an offer from Ohio State. He was scheduled to take the test last Saturday. Some say he will take his time with a commitment. The smart money says it will not be long after an offer that Dodson will commit to the Buckeyes.
3 - Benny McGowan, 6-4, 290, Centerville
This is the offensive lineman I cannot stop watching. I have said that McGowan is the first guard I have given a five-star rating to in five years. Recently on Bucknuts I hinted that I no longer had a five-star rating on a guard. I have been talking to a couple of current high school coaches that were D-1 college offensive linemen. Those conversations, and one with Mark Porter, are why I no longer rate McGowan a five-star guard. I think he can be a great right tackle. He is a guard for Centerville because that is where he is needed in their offensive scheme. He is a long kid and long arms and a great looking body. Watch some of the plays on his film where he gets out in the open field. He runs so well. On the fourth play of this film look how gets out to the third level and lays out a safety:
4 - Taylor Decker, 6-8, 280, Butler
Decker is the fourth five-star tackle in this class. The sooner he becomes a football player first, the sooner he will become the football player that he can be. I have him as a five-star but that has everything to do with his physical tools. He still has some work to do to catch up with Kalis, Dodson and McGowan as football players.
5 - Jacoby Boren, 6-1, 260, Pickerington Central
I thought more of Boren as a sophmore as a defensive tackle but his junior film shows a fine looking center prospect. He is an explosive powerful kid. Nobody on the field is moving faster on their first five steps than Boren. There is a chance he could still be a defensive player. He has a build and a game very much like John Simon but I see an ideal center. Look around the NFL. The top centers in the Show are in the 6-2, 280-300 lb range. It seems tackles and guards are getting larger every year. Centers seem to be about the same size as they were ten years ago. I have always spoke my mind. My mailbox had a number of e-mails when Boren committed about whether his was a legacy offer. I always speak my mind so when I say that Boren's is no legacy offer you can believe I am not telling you what you want to hear.
6 - Caleb Stacey, 6-4, 275, Cincinnati Oak Hills
The fastest rising offensive line prospect on my board. He is a natural wide body with great feet. He is technically very sound for a high school player. You don't see Stacey reaching. He moves his feet. He plays with intensity. Comes off the ball with some pop. Outstanding balance. He plays tackle in high school which will serve him well when he reaches college. Stacey has a nice offer list with Boston College, Illinois and North Carolina State, along with several MAC schools already coming in on him.
7 - Zach Higgins, 6-5, 300, Marlington
I have to say I am surprised that we have not heard more about Higgins. All Chris Carter does is catch touchdowns. All Zach Higgins does is knock people down. He is another high school tackle who will slide down to guard in college. We are hearing about all these Marlington backs. The reason there are so many highlights of them is because of Zach Higgins. He dominates the line of scrimmage. Coach Miley does a great job of getting film and info out on his players. That this kid's only offer is Ball State is one of the early mysteries for the class of 2012. Mark Porter is even higher on him that I am.
8 - Ryan Anderson, 6-4, 310, Kent Roosevelt
One of the kids who was at the top of everyones list when we first starting seeing film of the class of 2012. Other players have jumped ahead of him but this is still one fine guard prospect. He is one of the more athletic guards you will see. Does a good job of pulling. I like his tenacity. Offers from Pitt, Boston College, Indiana and Miami of Ohio. Anderson is one of those players who started me thinking I wish some of these 2012 lineman had been born a year earlier.
9 - Joseph Spencer, 6-4, 265, Mason
I like this kids agility and his length. He shows some fire and intensity out there. Runs very well. Plays with good balance. I think he can be a fine left tackle. Spencer is starting to see the MAC schools coming in with offers. That is always a sign with Ohio players that their stock is about to take off. I think once he gets out to camps and combines and the big schools get to see his frame and decide whether he can handle the weight it will take to play at the Big Ten level we will see some offers come his way.
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