30 September 2011
My last blog was about the big time recruits who did not make it. That blog was actually the second part of a pair of blog posts that started with this one, a look at some of the players I never expected to see in scarlet and gray let alone be stars.
11 - RB Matt Keller, Cincinnati (Oh.) Moeller
A reach if there ever was one. Keller was a tweener who did not really fit in anywhere. He was not fast enough or elusive enough to be a running back but not big enough to be a fullback, or so we thought. By the time his career was over Matt Keller was one of the best fullbacks to wear scarlet and gray in the last 20-25 years.
10 - OL Kirk Barton, Massillon (Oh.) Perry
I remember when Barton committed. I received a couple of calls from other players who could not believe it. Both noted that Barton was not even the best lineman on his team, that title going to Zack Slates, a Pitt verbal. At the time he was offered and committed to the Buckeyes most had him tabbed for a MAC player. He was a three-star and some said a two-star recruit. The best offer at the time was from Ohio U. He turned into a solid right tackle for the Buckeyes and even had a cup of coffee in the NFL.
9 - CB Chimdi Chekwa, Clermont (Fla.) East Ridge
Chekwa had a decent offer list but he was a three-star corner from a school in Florida that nobody had heard of. He did not have the pedigree of an NFL caliber cornerback.
8 - QB Joe Germaine, Mesa (Ariz.) Mountain View
You wonder what would have been if Joe Germaine had not taken his Mormon mission or had not gone to community college and arrived at Ohio State a year or two earlier, before Stanley Jackson came to Ohio State. Jackson brought with him so much promise with his Braxton Miller-like physical tools. He looked like a next generation player with his athletic ability and strong arm. I doubt we would have ever seen Jackson if Germaine had been here to lock the position down before he got here. Jackson was never a really good quarterback. Joe Germaine was.
7 - Donald Washington, CB, Indianapolis (IN) Franklin Central
Washington was a legit two-star player. He had offers from Illinois and Indiana. If he even had any MAC offers I do not recall them. He left early for the NFL and was drafted. He is still a member of the Kansas City Chiefs to my knowledge.
6 - WR Dane Sanzenbacher, Toledo Central Catholic
I don't know if Sanzenbacher had his Iowa offer before the Buckeyes offered or not. I know it was easily the next best offer he had. He came to camp the summer before his senior year and lit the joint up. He was barely in the top 100 receivers in the country and was barely a three-star receiver. I think I had him mid-60's in the state of Ohio. Now he is a Chicago Bear.
5 - CB Malcolm Jenkins, Piscataway, NJ
Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Rutgers. Those are the schools the Buckeyes were "fighting" over for Jenkins commitment. Three-star recruit becomes first round draft choice and now one of the top five safeties in the NFL. Talk about a success story.
4 - WR Drew Carter, Solon
I don't know if Drew Carter had an offer list or if he had any stars at all. He did not play football until his senior year in high school. He was a basketball star but did not project to a high level for basketball. As good as he was you have to wonder what he would have been if he had played football growing up.
3 - WR Brian Robiskie, Chagrin Falls
I was shocked to see the Buckeyes wait so long to offer Robiskie. He was the son of a football coach, Terry Robiskie, who was on the staff of former Browns coach Butch Davis. Davis had recently been the very successful coach of the Miami Hurricanes. That was the argument for Robiskie getting an offer from Miami early. The fact is Butch Davis is an outstanding talent evaluator and let his former program know about Robiskie, who was a three-star rated player whose only other major offer was Ohio State.
2 - LB James Laurinaitis, Plymouth (Minn.) Wayzata
I think everyone knows this story. Laurinaitis was a commit to the homestate Minnesota Gophers when the Buckeyes came in and made an offer. Lauriniaitis later picked up an offer from Notre Dame but at the time the Buckeyes came calling Laurinaitis was a three-star recruit who was not going to do any better than Minnesota. He now looks like the best linebacker from a generation of good linebackers.
1 - Troy Smith, Cleveland Glenville
Smith was a transfer in from Lakewood St. Edward. The talk was he was an athlete, likely moving to receiver or safety. Even there he was considered a back burner recruit. At the time of his Buckeye offer Smiths next best offer was West Virginia. I got a heads-up that Smith visited Ohio State. I thought there was no way the Buckeyes were recruiting him. I decided to give him a call and ask. I asked him did he visit. He said yes. I asked him was he offered. He said yes. I asked him did he commit. He said yes. That is how I broke Troy Smiths commitment to the Buckeyes. Arguably the most important recruit in the Jim Tressel era was not a five-star must have player. He was a player so far off the recruiting radar that he answered his phone to someone he did not know a month before signing day.
The genesis of both of the last two blogs is seeing how much chatter there is out there about the lack of big name stars there are in the current recruiting class. I think the Buckeyes have landed a class full of players who might not push the class up the recruiting rankings but who are likely to end up on a list like this one five years from now.