27 September 2011
Can't miss recruits. That is what everyone wants. That is what all this fuss is about. They are the rarest of the rare. The players that you don't even think about not panning out. Orlando Pace, Korey Stringer, Ted Ginn jr, Andy Katzenmoyer, Chris Wells, Terrelle Pryor, the list goes on and on at a school like Ohio State.
The fact is, some can't miss players do just that. They miss. I was looking at the 2007 top 25 of one of the national sites. That class is now through with their eligibility. 10 of the players on that top 25 were never heard from again. What got me thinking about this was the recent verbal by can't miss prospect Chris Wormley to Michigan. I looked at the stacked list of elite defensive linemen in Ohio for 2012 and it took my back to can't miss Buckeye recruits in the past.
My list does not include players whose lack of development had everything to do with the fact that injury kept them out of the weightroom and off the practice field like with Mike Dandrea, Robert Rose and a handful of others. It does not include the lengthy list of players like Brandon Maupin, Che Bryant, Roedell Dupree, Curtis Crosby and Alphonso Townsend who did not make it academically. It does not include players like Marco Cooper and Ira Guilford who were kicked off the team and out of school for bad behavior. It is a list of great high school prospects that for some reason never found their game at the college level.
8 - Jason Ott, LB, Class of 1997
Remember all the fuss about Andy Katzenmoyer? There was almost as fuss about Jason Ott. He was a Buckeye all the way so the hype was not so much as with Katzenmoyer but the expectations were just short of what we saw with Katzenmoyer. Ott was a classic tweener. He was not fast enough to play his most natural position which was middle linebacker but never grew into a defensive end.
7 - Jamario O'Neal, S, Class of 2005
One of the most hyped defensive backs in years. Jim Tressel offered him a scholarship as a sophmore, an unheard of point in a players development at that time. O'Neal possessed a size to speed ratio that had everyone believing he was sure to be a star. Depth charts were popping up with O'Neal as a true freshman starter. That he was only a starter for a handful of games in his career and never had any impact at Ohio State despite not having much of an injury history is one of the all-time puzzlers.
6 - Marcus Freeman, LB, Class of 2004
I know this is one many are going to disagree with as Freeman was a starter and a contributor for his entire career. He is also one of the really good guys that came through the program. Great kid. The fact is Freemans production never equaled his hype. He was a player who everyone thought was going to step into the lineup and only leave when the NFL came calling, which seemed likely to come early based on what we saw of him coming out of high school. He was a national top 5 linebacker and was on anybodys top 50 players in the country. Good solid football player but not the star he was expected to be.
5 - Kyle Mitchum, OL, Class of 2004
It is often forgotten that Mitchum was a national top ten offensive lineman, ranked ahead of players like Alan Branch and Kraig Urbik, both drafted NFL talents. He was a star of the 2004 class. It shows just how little impact he had here that fans forget what a massively great get he was at the time. That he could not even get a sniff of the starting lineup in five years here despite the lack of talent and depth on the offensive line shows just how short Mitchum came up.
4 - Jefferson Kelly, OL, Class of 1996
Back when John Cooper was here there was a group of retired guys who could get into practice regularly. Coop ran a much looser ship than Jim Tressel. I knew one of those old retired guys. He went to an early practice. One before the pads came on. This was before film was readily available. I was not yet a professional talent evaluator. I had not seen Kelly. This old gentleman contacted me after returning from practice. He was shocked at what he saw. Kelly, ranked by one service as the nations best lineman at the time, could not even execute basic agility drills.
3 Dareus Hiley, Ath, Class of 2003
Before there was Jalin Marshall, before there was Ted Ginn jr, there was Dareus Hiley. Hiley put Glenville on the map. Pierre Woods was the first big time recruit out of Glenville but it was Hiley as a true freshman who first brought attention to the program. Hiley was a spectacular athlete. He was a game changer with the ball in his hands. He played a good bit at quarterback in high school but most projected him as a receiver or corner in college. There is some debate about whether it was grades or that Hiley just left school. That is why he is on this list.
2 - Connor Smith, OL, Class of 2006
He grew up at the same time that video became readily available. The Ohio state championship games were being broadcast live. Everyone got to see Connor Smith destroy opponents, cave in the entire side of the line for an outstanding Colerain program. Everyone also got to see the futility when he tried to pass block in the national all-star game against superior talents. We all assumed it was just a matter of Smith learning how to pass block as he never did any while at Colerain. That ended up not being the case.
1 - Ken-Yon Rambo, WR, Class of 1997
Like with Marcus Freeman, you may say that Rambo was a solid contributor but he never lived up to the hype of being the nations number one player, a position he held by consensus preseason. We talk about the national attention on Terrelle Pryor being unprecedented, the closest thing we experienced to it here before Pryor was with Mike Dandrea. I would say the hype for Rambo was more than for Dandrea, second only to Pryor. There was no talk about Rambo coming this way until very late in the process. He was a California kid. He was from legendary Long Beach Poly. He was going to go to USC. If not USC then some other west coast program. It was huge news at the time that the nations best receiver and maybe the nations best player was going to leave the west coast and come to Ohio State. Prospects of this caliber are supposed to earn better than honorable mention All-Big Ten.
|< Prev||Next >|