The reaction to my 22, my picks for each position on the field which I posted last Tuesday and Thursday put more mail in my mailbox than anything I have done in some time. I got quite a few slaps on the back. Thank you all. What really got my attention was the fans who were curious about some players who did not make it.
Top of the list was Troy safety Marcus Foster. I have not changed my opinion about him as a player. His film leaps out at me. He is a perfect example of what speed and measurables mean to this process. Foster is going to have to answer questions this summer about his speed. I knew Mark Porter was going to be good at this when I learned he was watching films of players over and over again. First blush you always see what is right about a player. Watching it over and over again you notice more things. I know when I first watched him that he was not going to have corner or wide receiver speed. What I noticed about Foster later was he gets caught from behind.
The other name that came up the most was receiver Dwayne Stanford. I have been a big fan. I still am. I still believe he is odds on to be a Buckeye. His film is very impressive. He is one of those players who I believe has game speed. His football speed. He is going to play faster in helmet and pads than other players who run faster on the track. Still, I was not expecting the time he ran when he went to the Massillon Nike combine. He was coming off a basketball game and a long drive. That has to be taken into account. I think he should go to another combine. This time well rested. It will restore him atop the wide receiver list.
Vangelo Bentley is a corner prospect from Glenville. I was talking about him earlier. He is going to be in the mix but I need to see him play corner. Almost all the film I saw of him was a a running back. You can see things in a player while he is playing another position that will allow you to project him to other positions but I think there is a specific skill set to being a corner. I want to see a corner play corner. He is likely to going to show college coaches that he can play corner this summer and could have an offer before I get to see him at corner next fall.
I would say the same thing about Najee Murray from Steubenville. First, I want to acknowledge Mark Porter as being the first on this kid who along with Nana Kyeremeh who I already had on my 22 as a backup, are the hottest DB properties in the state. I am glad to see some of you are paying attention. You are learning something from this blog as you contacted me to ask me why such an impressive player and one who is getting so much buzz wasn't on the list. I want to see him as a corner. That is why he was not on the list.
I was asked about Pharaoh Brown who I was very high on when I first saw his film. I can tell you I did not consider him. He says he wants to play tight end. He is willing to play defense but he wants to play tight end. That is not good enough. We talk about defensive players mindset. He has all the skills to be a great defensive end but I can't put a player on defense who does not want to play defense. I did not consider him at tight end either. He is going to have to show that he can play the position. He is a quarterback on offense in high school. We don't even know if he can catch the ball let alone run patterns or block.
I thought I was done with the issue of Tattoogate. Then again I thought we were done hearing any new revelations. The momentum from those who thought what coach Tressel did was worthy of termination stalled. Then we heard more.
Coach Tressel said in his press conference that because of confidentiality he had not shared the information passed on to him by attorney and former Buckeye linebacker Chris Cicero that players were involved with someone under investigation for drug trafficking. We have learned that is not true. Terrelle Pryors mentor, a wealthy businessman in his hometown named Ted Sarniak, had been informed. It seems a minor technicality. I believe under different circumstances it would be. Then again under ordinary circumstances that piece of information would already be out there. That is where this thing continues to go sideways.
From the time this thing started we have seen an attempt to squash it. Jim Tressel is an old school coach. He is set in his ways. One of those ways is to do everything short of putting up an electrified fence up to keep everyone, especially the press, away from the program. That means any new information is treated as a revelation. It becomes SportsCenter headlines. Jim Tressel himself increases the magnification level of the microscope that is focused on the program. This minor piece of information has chipped another piece from the foundation of the support of the coach.
Jim Tressel set himself up for this. After John Cooper left we found a program in more disarray off the field than on it. Some of the revelations about grades left Buckeye nation embarrassed. Jim Tressel came in here as an agent of change. He would restore the student part to the student-athlete credo. He would make this once again about getting a diploma first and winning alot of football games along the way, and we will do it the right way. If players made it to the NFL good for them. He came in here on a foundation of character and integrity first.
Fans believed it that. How many times have you stood up and proclaimed that we do it the right way here. The SEC wins more national championships but they cheat. Jim Tressel would rather lose than win the way they win in the SEC. I find it ironic that the biggest Tressel supporters I know are the ones who are shouting the loudest for his head.
Those people have never gone away. They have just been drowned out by those who have chosen to rally around coach Tressel. This latest piece of news has increased the ranks of those saying we should put an end to the Jim Tressel era. My question to them has been, this little tidbit of information is enough to turn you against the coach? The answer I am getting back is, it isn't the piece of information. It is the fact that it is more information. We thought we had it all. What is next? I just don't trust him to tell the truth anymore.
A perfect storm is rising to make it more likely that Jim Tressel is indeed no longer the Ohio State head coach. I no longer have any faith that this is over. I think we will learn more and lets keep in mind that the NCAA has not yet ruled. We know coach Tressel is going to be out for five games. What if the NCAA says more? WBNS is reporting that the NCAA could look at the problems under basketball coach Jim O'Brien, put them together with this, and come up with a ruling of lack on institutional control with penalties that could be severe. All indications are Luke Fickell is going to be interim coach. I am not surprised at that. He is the assistant head coach. His dynamic style could be very impressive, especially to those that think we need the playbook updated. He is the bluest of blue blood Buckeyes with his holy trinity pedigree, Ohio born, played at Ohio State and coached at Ohio State. The last thing coach Tressel needs is for a very attractive alternative to arise while he is taking on water. With what is going on right now, Luke Fickell going 5-0 and looking good in the process could be the tipping point in this.
I think there is something coach Tressel can do. He could come clean. Put together a real press conference, not anything like that thrown together farce that we saw when this thing first broke. Lets have it all. Maybe we will learn too much and the coach will not be able to withstand it. I am confident he cannot withstand any further leaks of information or greater penalties. Trying to get out in front of it is his only chance to turn the tide that is going against him with every new piece of information that surfaces no matter how minor. It is not about the information. It is a matter of trust and faith. That is the best way for this saga end, and it very much needs to end one way or the other. We have an instate recruiting crop that is so good the Buckeyes can have at least a top ten national class with not a single player from out of state. The uncertainty surrounding the program needs to be handled and it needs to be handled right now before we lost this opportunity to stock the shelves with low hanging elite quality fruit.
Jim Tressel created a situation where he could lose his job not because people lost faith in the football coach. It is because they lost faith in him. He is the only one who can fix it.
Let's take a look at the defense. This is going to be much harder than the offense as the depth on the defensive line and at safety is something I am still amazed at. It is also going to be the most fun.
Strong Side Defensive End - Chris Wormley, 6-4, 250, Toledo Whitmer. Wormley is the one kid in this defensive line class who brings me quickly to that most important word in recruiting, upside. Seeing him in shorts and t-shirt is when this kid really impresses the most. He is 250 and looks 225. Where his body can go and still be as athletic and fast as he is right now at 250 is what has everyone so excited about him. We see what he is capable of at times on the field. Once he fills out and finds the consistency that comes from every down fire, he will be a very special player. Back-up - S'evon Pittman, 6-4, 235, Canton McKinley. This was the hardest decision I had to make. I think that highly of Pittman that I nearly started him over Wormley. Pittman is longer and a little quicker. He plays with an intensity that few can match. I suspect that if you had every game that both played last year Pittman would have made more plays. He has only been playing football for a few years so his upside is tremendous too.
Three-technique Tackle - I am first going to define what the term "three-technique" tackle means. It is a more athletic defensive tackle who is more an attack player. He is going to attack a gap and try to make a play. This is the position the guys who make the big bucks play. He usually lines up on the outside shoulder of the guard, most often on the strong side.
Greg McMullen, 6-5, 255, Akron Hoban. He is a strong side end in high school but will grow into a three-technique tackle by the time he steps on a college football field. I think Adolphus Washington and Chris Wormley are both capable of more spectacular play but McMullens consistent high level of play, high motor and the heart of a warrior put him at the top of my list for 2012. McMullen makes plays and even when he is not he is still a disruptive force with his non-stop motor, forcing the offense to account for him on every play. Run at him and he will stand up the blocker and make the tackle. Run away from him, he will defeat the blocker and run down the ball carrier. He is just as adept as a pass rusher. He played with both hands in casts for several games. That kind of heart is the mark of a champion. Back-up - Tom Strobel, 6-5, 240, Mentor. This is one I struggled with. I think there are a handful of players who could be three-technique tackles but I have already put them at positions they are better suited for. Strobel is one I am having trouble with. I have no doubt about his talent. He was at one time a top ten kid on my list. What I am having trouble with is Strobel being a three-technique tackle. I have not seen him up close so I will defer to those who have, including the Buckeye staff which has offered him as a tackle.
Nose Tackle - Trae Clark, 6-4, 330, Colerain. Build a nose tackle and this is what he will look like. I am not going to say he is a better prospect than Jon Hankins because there was not as much film out there on Hankins as there is on Clark. I am going to say he reminds me of Hankins. Both are natural wide bodies. I think Clark carries his weight even better than Hankins. In short areas they both show excellent burst and quickness. They both do a great job of finding the ball. Someone is going to secure an excellent nose tackle in Clark. Back-up - Greg Kuhar, 6-3, 265, Lakewood St. Edward. Make no mistake. If not for the depth at Ohio State and the depth of this class, Greg Kuhar would be a strong candidate for an offer. The staff did bring him down for a visit. He reminds me so much of Dex Larimore except he is bigger framed than Larimore. He shows great instincts and he plays low. He has great balance. This is the kind of player that will help Michigan get back into competition with the Buckeyes. Coach Hoke has recognized that and come in with an offer.
Weak Side Defensive End - Adolphus Washington, 6-4, 245, Taft. I am sure there are those who would say Chris Wormley is the most spectacular of the defensive linemen in this class. For me it is Adolphus Washington. I have seen plays he made in his full length film that remind me of Jadeveon Clowney. I remember one play where the quarterback knows he is going to get hit but thinks he has time to get the ball off. Any other lineman, he does have time. Washington nearly breaks him in half with a Clowney-like burst and the pass flutters to the ground a couple of yards away. In another he picks up a fumble and looks like Eddie George taking it back for a touchdown. No player in the state can put together the package Washington does. He plays as a freshman wherever he goes as when he finds the every down intensity that is the hallmark of the great defensive linemen he will be on to the NFL. He could grow into a strong side end, maybe even a three-technique tackle but right now I see an elite weak side end with the explosion and speed I see with Washington. Back-up - Arlington McClinton, 6-6, 220, Midview. I am caught between strong side end and weak side end with McClinton. He has more of a strong side ends game at the point of attack but has such a long body and the reach you are looking for in a weak side end, and his speed once he disposes of the blocker is that of a weak side end. I take him as a weak side end and move him if necessary. This is a kid who is likely to blow up this summer when he gets out to camps and combines.
Strong Side Linebacker - Josh Perry, 6-3, 220, Olentangy. If Perry is not the best all-around athlete in the class, he is certainly on the short list. He excels at everything he does. He is outstanding rushing the passer, dropping into coverage, catching the ball as a tight end and he could be a running back if it is called for. Weak side linebackers get the headlines. Strong side linebackers are the better all-around players. They must be strong against the run but still be able to play zone or even cover a back or tight end one on one. Back-up - LaKeith Walls, 6-4, 200, Cleveland Rhodes. The best player nobody is talking about. Like Perry he is a good running back but he is a very good linebacker. He is strong at the line of scrimmage but is very good in coverage. He has the height and the frame to grow into a full blown 4-3 defensive end but right now he is a fine looking and underrated linebacker prospect.
I want to add another name here. The more I look at Glen Oak safety DeShawn Hall the more I see a linebacker. I love taking these big high school safeties and turning them into strong side linebackers because they are already well versed in coverage. He is in the 6-3 or 6-4 range and over 200 lbs. I give Walls the edge because he is already playing linebacker.
Middle Linebacker - Joe Bolden, 6-3, 220, Colerain. When you think about linebackers you think about middle linebackers. It is the glamor position, Butkus, Lewis, Singletary. Meet the future. The Buckeyes played with a 212 lb middle linebacker in Brian Rolle. The game has become so much about coverage that the Buckeyes, amongst others, have made the transition to a smaller player who is excellent against the pass and adequate versus the run. With Bolden you get a good coverage linebacker but one who is big enough to be a good run stuffer. Back-up - Kaleb Ringer, 6-2, 230, Northmont. There is still a place for the big run stuffer at middle linebacker. For many schools Ringer will top their list. He is a big physical kid who moves well and reads the game well.
Weak Side linebacker - Ifeadi Odenigbo, 6-4, 210, Centerville. I think he could grow into a full blown defensive end but right now he is an edge guy. He is at his best rushing off the edge but if he does not get that big I think this kid with high character and excellent academics will have no problem transitioning to a weakside linebacker. I think he will be plenty good enough in coverage for him to be a three-down player. Back-up - Mike Svetina, 6-2, 220, Si. Ignatius. I liked Svetina the first time I saw him. Looking at him again I like him even more. He is a great fit as a classic 4-3 weakside linebacker. He is a sturdy kid so he can stand up against the run. He shows speed running down plays from behind. He is an excellent blitzer. In addition Svetina puts up a strong argument for the best pass defense linebacker in the class.
Bench Corner - Cameron Burrows, 6-2, 190, Trotwood (2013). The best defensive back in Ohio. Yes, I said that. I have been singing the praises of the class of 2012 safeties but this 2013 corner is the best defensive back in the state. I will go so far as to say i think if he continues to grow as a player we could be looking at the best defensive back to come out of this state since Eugene Clifford. Burrows is a big corner right now. Even if he outgrows the position he is going to make a great free safety. Back-up - Jermaine Edmondson, 6-0, 170, Canton McKinley. A player who I just saw recently. Edmondson is a solid corner with good size and plenty of football smarts. He is a willing tackler. A good summer where he shows speed should produce a nice offer list.
Field Corner - You don't have bench and field corners in the pro game because of the hash marks putting the ball almost in the middle of the field on every play. In college you have a bench corner who is a bigger more physical player and a field corner who is faster and more athletic to cover the wide side of the field that is created by the wider hash marks.
Cody Quinn, 5-10, 170, Middletown. I don't know about that 5-10 but the 170 looks right. Quinn is probably too small too play football. Apparently he did not get the memo. If you could measure toughness Quinn is Andre the Giant. You just don't see kids this size being called physical. Quinn brings it. He is so football smart that his speed is extra. He always seems to be in the right place because he reads the game so well. If Quinn were a bigger kid he would have Big Five offers.
Back-up - Nana Kyeremeh, 5-10, 170, Thomas Worthington. This is a new name to you. He was to me too. We talk about makeup speed with corners. Kyeremeh has makeup speed like no player in the class. Like Quinn, he is not ideal sized but is a fearless tackler.
Strong Safety - Bam Bradley, 6-2, 200, Trotwood. The only knock on Bradley is that he might grow into a linebacker. This is a big physical safety who has a read-react-run that any linebacker would be happy to have. Great tackler and a big hitter. His junior film does not include but a few plays of Bradley in coverage and on the ball. Look back on his sophmore film to see a player who has the ball skills of a free safety.
Back-up - Devon Bogard, 5-10, 205, Glenville. Whether it be at strong safety or at the Star position Bogard is a tackling machine. If he were just a little bigger I would put him at linebacker. He has speed and is very aggressive. A good tackler and a great hitter.
Free Safety - Jarrod Wilson, 6-3, 190, Akron Buchtel. This kid gets his hands on the ball so much on his film that it looks like he is playing wide receiver instead of safety. He reads the game so well. That is where I give him the edge over Frank Epitropolous. He has size and range. He is going to have to become a better tackler if he wants to be the player he can be.
Back-up - Frank Epitropulous, 6-2, 180, Upper Arlington. Really these two are 1a and 1b. Frank E is the better athlete. He is faster. Buckeye fans wondered why I did not talk about him as a receiver, he has an offer from the Buckeyes as a receiver or as a safety. It is really simple. I have not been happy with the recruitment of safeties recently. I see a kid who can sit back there as a deep safety in the later third of the field by himself and make plays from one sideline to the other. He is going to win battles in the air against the biggest receivers with his height, athleticism and 40.5" vertical, and I want that player at safety.
We talk about top tens and top twenty-fives and top one hundreds. We talk about the best at a position. When we get right down to it this all comes down to who can play one the twenty-two positions on a football field. I am going to pick my twenty-two for the state of Ohio. I am not going to go by class. I am going to pick from every class but the class of 2011. As far as I'm concerned they are now college players.
Here are the rules. I am going with a base 4-3 defense and a pro-set offense. On offense that means two receivers, one tight end and a fullback. Yes, I said a fullback. Players can only be on the team at a position that they project to. For example, Taylor Decker cannot be on the team at guard. You know I am a firm believer that tackles can play guard but guards can't play tackle. I would recruit tackles and move them to guard. I just don't see Decker as a guard so I am not going to put him there.
Quarterback - Kyle Kempt, 6-4, 190, Massillon Washington (2013) - This was a tough call. I have been a Kyle Stahl fan since the first time I saw him. Kempt is the same kind of quarterback. Both are big kids with big arms. The difference is Kempt has a quicker release. He is a little more athletic and his level of competition is better. Back-up - Kyle Stahl, St. Henry. Player to watch - Nathan Strock, Tri-Valley Dresden
Running back - Warren Ball, 6-1 200, DeSales. A back who jumped out at me from the first time I saw him. He became my number one back and has done nothing to change my mind. My back-up is Brionte Dunn. He is the most important back-up on this twenty-two as backs take a beating and Ball has been dinged more than most while Dunn has been a workhorse.
Fullback - Jeremy Campbell, 6-0, 230, Clayton Northmont. When I look at Campbell I see Zack Boren. Both were outstanding defensive players but were tweeners. Both win high speed collisions consistently. Campbell is a weight room warrior. Teams don't make room for fullbacks but one that does have room should get to Northmont and come in on a kid that would relish the opportunity to be a lead fullback.
Wide Receivers - Jalin Marshall, 6-0, 190, Middletown (2013) and Kevin Gladney, 6-4, 175, Akron Firestone (2013). I am still a big fan of Dwayne Stanford but these two from the class of 2013 are special. There is still a question about Stanford's speed. He still has time to change that thinking and I think it has only the slightest impact on his recruitment but for now I see Marshall and Gladney as the ones who are special. Back-ups - Dwayne Stanford, Taft and Frank Epitropulous, Upper Arlington.
Tight End - Mike Roberts, 6-5, 235, Benedictine. Roberts video was not available when I did my tight end review. Blake Tomas is a better receiver. Sam Grant is a better blocker. Roberts is the most complete tight end in the class. He is almost as good a blocker as Grant. That is saying something. He plays hard all the time. Back-up - Sam Grant, Lakewood St. Edward. If I was going to run a tight end featured offense I would choose Blake Thomas who is such a great receiver and a solid blocker, but I would have an offense where the tight end plays the same role as it does in Jim Tressels offense. That is why Grant is my back-up. If Thomas is bigger than I have been told he is he could replace Roberts.
Left Tackle - Kyle Dodson, 6-6, 310, Cleveland Heights. Dodson is a little more athletic, a little quicker and a little longer than Kyle Kalis so he would be my left tackle. I think an offer from the Buckeyes is just a qualifying score away and a verbal soon after would not surprise me. Back-up - Taylor Decker, Butler.
Left Guard - Benny McGowan, 6-4, 290, Centerville. I believe we could see McGowan get a look at tackle. We see him play guard and play it extremely well so we see a guard. Watch him in space. Watch him throw the shot and discus. I think he is athletic enough to play tackle. Back-up - Tyler Orlosky, Lakewood St. Edward
Center - Lovell Peterson, 6-3, 270, Wayne (2013). Quite simply the best center prospect from this state since Nick Mangold. He is going to be a great one. Look at the state championship game and try to see where he made mistakes. Remarkable game by a very young football player at a very demanding position. Back-up - Jacoby Boren, Pickerington
Right Guard - Caleb Stacey, 6-4, 280, Cincinnati Oak Hills. Along with St. Eds Tyler Orlosky, Stacey is the most underrated lineman in the state. Both are natural wide bodies who move well and bring it every play. Stacey has quietly gone about locking up an impressive offer list with Michigan and Boston College leading the way. Back-up - Bill Price, Austintown-Fitch (2013). This is the one player on this list who I am taking somewhat of a liberty with. I say somewhat because I don't know where Price ends up. He could play defensive tackle, left tackle or either guard. It is too early to say. All I am sure of is this is a bigtime kid.
Right Tackle - Kyle Kalis, 6-5, 305, Lakewood St. Edward. One of the best offensive line prospects it has been my pleasure to evaluate in my time scouting players in Ohio. One thing that I believe has helped the Ohio State offensive line become better is bringing in players who like to play football. When I am talking about offensive linemen liking to play football I mean they like beating people up. Kalis is going to fit right in. Back-up - A.J. Williams, Cincinnati Sycamore. Could be top five in the state after a year of playing tackle rather than tight end, something he will do this year.
Defense up next.
The class of 2012 is one we might end up hating. There is so much talent in the state that other programs will come in here and improve their basic talent level with kids out of our own backyard. There are even more big time kids emerging as more tape comes out.
Mason Schreck is 6-5 and about 210 from Medina. I think he can throw his hat in the ring legitimately for the crown of best quarterback in the class. Here is his ScoutingOhio.com preview: http://scoutingohio.com/index.php/view-profile.html?task=userProfile&user=5513&srid=7366 Mark Porter could not have done a better job picking the plays for this preview. That first play is really all you need to want him to come to your camp if you are a coach. That is the quintessential measure of a big arm, the deep out. It is a long throw and must get there quickly. You can see he throws a frozen rope and the receiver has plenty of time to come out of his cut and make the catch. The next play shows his athleticism. He is a big kid that runs very well. He is a good athlete. Another thing I see as a big positive for Schreck is his coach has him taking snaps from center rather than in the shotgun. He will come in a little further along as this is something college quarterbacks need to be able to do. He has not thrown the ball as much as most have being in a run based offense but when the athlete season swings into full bloom we could see this kid fly up some recruiting boards as coaches get a look at him.
Yes, there are more defensive linemen in the state. I am talking about elite defensive linemen.
Midview defensive end Arlington McClinton just blew me away when I saw his film. He reminds me a great deal of Melvin Fellows in high school who was an elite defenisve end prospect as a high school player. McClinton is long, he looks every bit of his listed 6-6, and while only 220 right now he looks like a kid that is going to get alot bigger. He has the power/speed game of a strong side end but has the straight ahead speed of a weakside end. That is something any coach would love to have. A strong kid who can stack against the run but once he has beaten the blocker he has the speed to catch whoever has the ball. Great motor. A good combine showing and I could see him blow up like Ifeadi Odenigbo just did.
The one thing missing from this unbelievable defensive line class is a nose tackle. We have some players who will project to the three-technique but no elite nose tackle. Now we do. I have heard about Colerain's Trae Clark for so long that I forgot about him since I was not seeing any film. He is worth the wait. I was one of the first to say I felt like Jon Hankins was a Buckeye caliber player. When I see Trae Clark I see the same kind of player. He is a mobile 6-4 330. He actually carries his 330 better than Hankins carried 335. Look at the picture in his ScoutingOhio.com profile: http://www.scoutingohio.com/index.php/view-profile.html?task=userProfile&user=7194&name=traeclark63 Recently benched 440. This is a player for Buckeye fans to watch. Nose tackles are a rare breed. A good camp showing, especiallly if his size is confirmed, and every Big Ten school will be knocking on his door.
With the monster in-state class it is easy to get focused on Ohio talent. The Buckeyes have made a strong push out of state for talent.
I have touched on the out of state offensive linemen in this class. A question has come up on Bucknuts and I have received the same question privately from fans of this blog and that is, who do I like better between Jordan Diamond and Jonah Pirsig? I don't think you can go wrong naming either but with a gun to my head I would say Diamond. I think he has just as much upside but is more ready to play early. He is definitely the more polished and is more explosive. I am confident Pirsig could become as good or better as a pass blocker but Diamond, both have NFL left tackle potential, but I think Diamond will always be a better run blocker. It is way early so anything can happen but it looks like a classic Ohio State - Michigan battle for Diamond with Michigan holding the early lead.
Pirsig is focused on Ohio State, Minnesota and Wisconsin. He says he was told he is the Buckeyes number one offensive line prospect. Of the two the Buckeyes have the better shot at Pirsig.
I will offer film of Georgia's Vadal Alexander. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHNyJzlILH8 I think there is no chance that he leaves the south but that is a wait until signing day talent. That is what right tackles are supposed to look like.
You have heard the name Richard Webb. The Buckeyes are being very aggressive these days in Maryland. Here is some film of Webb:
He is not what you would expect in an early offer but there is something very important to note. He is 15 years old in this film. This is an offer that boils down to that most important word in recruiting, upside. At his age who knows what he could develop into.
D.J. Humphries is in the same situation as Benny McGowan. He is a tackle playing guard because of team need. I don't see him leaving the south either but I like the staff being this aggressive.
I want to touch on quarterbacks a bit here. Some fans have questioned the offers to California's Shane Dillon and Alabama's Jameis Winston. Take a look at Winston here on the new 247 Network, http://247sports.com/Recruit/Jameis-Winston-7406
He looks like Braxton Miller but he is 6-4. Super athlete with a great arm who is mechanically sound. I doubt he gets out of the state of Alabama let alone the south. Shane Dillon is supposedly high on Ohio State. Here is some film of Dillon
The Buckeyes have a great looking depth chart at quarterback. The best in recent memory. We are also looking at a 2013 class that is loaded at quarterback. Quarterback and defensive line are the most important positions on the field. If you can get players like these two at quarterback you take them. One or the other could be the top ranked quarterback in the class and both will surely be top 100 players nationally.
I talk about the athlete season alot. For newcomers I will tell you what the athlete season is. It is the period that runs from spring to early summer. It includes track and field, combines and finally camps at the various schools.
What happens at those camps can change players futures. Sometimes players look great on film but need to show speed. Some need to show they are as big as listed. Sometimes coaches want to get a good look at their bodies up close. See if they have the kind of body that can add the weight and still keep their speed and athleticism. Others put themselves on the radar with surprising athlete season performances. I know that is always a puzzle to fans. You have to keep in mind how much this is about development. Development is what leaves the great high school players taking a back seat to a teammate that does not get anyones attention on the field but has the superior scholarship offers. The best of the best high school players are great players and great athletes. Make no mistake who is next in the pecking order. It is the superior athlete. College coaches are going to look at a player with great measurables and think about what he can do with him in the next three years. The better high school player with the full grown body and the average measurables is done as far as coaches at big time schools are concerned. That player is limited but the believes he can teach that superior athlete how to play football as well if not better than the superior high school player. There are exceptions to the rule all the time but there is no doubt about the superior athlete theory. It is sound and and time tested.
Some players do not have the offers you would expect based on their films. Others have no offers. Sometimes it is a matter of grades. Other times it is a matter of needing to show well in the athlete season. Here is a list of players who will change their lives with superior performances in the athlete season.
Right at the top of my list is Troys Marcus Foster. He jumps out at you on tape both on the ball and as a tackler. After seeing his film it is a surprise to see his offer list only includes one school outside of the MAC. His grades are strong even though I have not heard about him taking the test. He plays both ways and is impressive with the ball in his hands but does not show the kind of speed a big time receiver needs. His ferocious hitting had me penciling him in at safety anyway but the lack of speed is what kept me from listing as an athlete who could play corner or receiver. I went back and looked at his film again. That is when I noticed he got run down from behind. Not pulling away is one thing. Getting caught from behind is another. He will get more offers. He is too good a player not to. Who those offers will come from will be determined by what he does on stop watches starting in the very near future.
Cameron Wilson is a receiver from Dublin Jerome. He has a nice offer list with Boston College, West Virginia and Iowa coming in with offers but this is a Big Five talent. The question has always been the same. Does he have the speed. He is such a big strong athletic kid that he does not need to run 4.4, but he does need to get out and run 4.5. If he does that offer list becomes that much more impressive.
One of my favorite players in this class is Middletown athlete Zach Edwards. He is a player on both sides of the ball. If he shows speed I think he could blow up as much as any player on this list.
Matthew Bingaya is a receiver prospect that you probably have not heard of. That is because he plays quarterback mostly and at Delaware Hayes which is off the beaten path of recruiting. He is 6-4 and about 200 lbs. He is very athletic. If those measurables get confirmed and he can run 4.6 or better he will see some offers start coming his way. For one thing he just needs to get out and be seen. Mark Porter found this kid. He was not on my radar. I know nothing about his grades.
Allen Gant is another of this outstanding defensive back class that has questions as far as what kind of athlete he is. It is actually more than that. It is where he fits. He has the talent to play receiver but I have never believed he had the speed. The big question will be if he is fast enough to play safety and if not does he have the frame to grow into an outside linebacker?
I think Glen Oak's DeShawn Hall gets a complete do over. I heard last summer that he was no longer a safety. The kid was that big. I saw his junior film and confirmed it. If you did not know who he was and saw his junior film you would ask why they are playing that linebacker at safety. He is listed at 6-2 205 but he looks more like 6-3 215-220. He resembles Ifeadi Odenigbo quite a bit. We know I.O. is being recruited as a linebacker who might grow into a defensive end.
Speaking of off the beaten path, North Royalton is another school that does not get regular visits from college coaches. There is a DE up there named Azarie Battle who would be getting alot more pub if he was at a school that can expect college coaches to stop by every year just because. He is a big kid with a great frame and a non-stop motor. The athlete season will do wonders for him if he shows well.
Houston Boone from Euclid is a new player to me. He is a tall corner at 6-1 with long arms, and he shows good instincts. He is listed as having a 4.51 forty. If he can run that sometime in the athlete season he is going to make a name for himself. Tall corners are highly sought as receivers are getting so much bigger.
The athlete season is huge. Time to get ready. Start by looking for football players names in track and field results.
I want to get away from this latest installment of Tattoogate but my mailbox is full of questions from fans about the fallout from this. I will address the various issues related to what comes next.
Recruiting. This is a minor blip on the recruiting radar. Some parents may be concerned but the kids are not. When this thing first broke last December we saw where the battle lines were drawn. Those that were the most outraged were older. Younger people were more understanding of the players wanting tattoos rather than the trophies and that the trophies were theirs to do with as they pleased. I will never change my thinking on selling Gold Pants and Championship rings but I understand the argument that the items in question were theirs and they should be able to sell them. That is what I find with most younger people that I speak with. They do not get why anyone is in trouble over this and will not hold it against coach Tressel.
As far as other programs using it to negatively recruit against Ohio State, that was going to happen anyway. From more than ten years of doing this I can tell you that there are kids that it is going to work on but just as many that it is going to backfire with.
On the field and in the locker room, this thing could be a positive. There were plenty of tweets on Twitter from players strongly in support of the coach. Make no mistake. Jim Tressel is beloved. This is something that could pull a team closer in the long run. This nation has come together like a family, forgotten about our differences, in times of great distress. The last time we saw it was on September 11th, 2001. The reaction I saw from the players says this family is going to rally around the coach and make this an us against the world thing that could make a run we will not forget.
I saw the fire Tressel crowd gain some steam going into the weekend. I thought that it would be a problem if it was still going if it made it through the weekend. It didn't. By Sunday morning that talk had all but disappeared. By game time Sunday afternoon for the basketball team it was non-existent. There are some fans who think what Jim Tressel did is over the top and unacceptable for the Ohio State program. Some saw any talk of firing the coach as ridiculous. I don't think either side was the majority. I think most of Buckeye Nation are Ohio people. That is, grounded, common sense, salt of the earth folk. They accepted the reality of the situation. Coach is not a saint. He is a good man, an honorable man, doing the best he can with the hand he has been dealt. I think they also accepted that there were no better options. A friend asks this question when confronted with fans who want a change. Who would you want to come here that would come here?
Some great candidates like Gary Peterson at TCU and Boise State coach Chris Peterson would not even be considered because they lack Buckeye credentials. Until that obstacle can be overcome the talent pool is always going to be very limited. Coach Tressel's insular ways have not been conducive to planting seeds on the coaching tree. We can't look at a number of Tressel trained up and coming coaches out there who have proven themselves as potential head coaches at this level. Don't say Urban Meyer. He has quit two years in a row. It is health related. Whether that changes in the future he is surely not ready to come back now. Bo Pellini? A good number of Buckeye Nation are troubled by his sideline demeanor.
The basketball team is looking good, going into March Madness as the #1 overall seed. Spring practice is just around the corner and it is going to be the most exciting in years. Coach is not going away. I think the team is rallying around the coach. Time for us to rally around the team, warts and all.
Last evening I thought we had put Tattoogate to bed.....again. I was hoping it was the last time I would ever hear about it, well, at least until game five next year. Buckeye nation seemed to rally around the coach. Some didn't think it was a big deal. Others were ready to accept it. On toward bedtime I found myself reading more and more negative opinions. Some thought coach Tressel should resign and if he would not resign he should be fired.
I wake up this morning to discover that those who think he should be fired/resign has just been keeping their powder dry. The momentum is building. It is a slow steady building but for anyone that wants to keep Jim Tressel around it is a disturbing change.
The Big Ten, and Ohio State specifically, have always claimed to be a cut above. The bad behavior from other schools and other programs was pointed to by Big Ten supporters as something that this conference and this football coach would never stoop to. We know Jim Tressel has been called The Senator. He has also been referred to as Mr. Rogers because he is so squeaky clean.
That all changed a couple of days ago when it was learned he did indeed know about the tattoos and how they were paid for. The inept press conference that followed did not help the situation. It was poorly handled and whoever made the decision to allow questions should have their head examined. "Amateur hour" is how a friend aptly described it.
I think this is overblown. To compare it to the Cam Newton situation is like comparing apples to oranges. That was going out deliberately, and with premeditation, choosing to cheat. Jim Tressel tried to cover up the bad behavior of some key players on a number one ranked football team. Yes, he was wrong. I still say that I don't know what he could do and now that the attorney involved has been identified, I can see where coach would have just ignored such a character with his baggage, but in the end he made the wrong decision. It would have been a hard one for anyone in the same situation. Take the chance of losing your difference maker quarterback, playmaking receiver and elite left tackle on a potential national championship team by opening some kind of toothless investigation? That would be a hard thing to do. The reality is an intense competitor. You don't get to be the head coach of a school like Ohio State without being an intense competitor. Lose it all over this? Jim Tressel has been put on a pedestal. He showed he was human with this decision. Last night I was talking with a guy on Bucknuts about this. He said Jim Tressel would have a hard time climbing back up on that pedestal. My response was, how about we not put him back up there.
I don't like this any more than those that want him fired. I am just more accepting that coach Tressel is doing the best he can in an insane situation. We want coaches to be character builders and stand up as examples. The truth is that is extra. The football coach in this day and age is in a massive money job like Ohio State to win football games. If he is keeping graduation rates high, which he is, and influencing the next generation of leaders, which he is, that is extra. Despite that off the field success he would not keep his job if he was piling up four loss seasons.
The Dispatch has published a story that includes an ominous number. Ten of the other eleven coaches who have been called on the same violation that Jim Tressel has been called on were fired or resigned. Colin Cowerd is reporting that he is hearing Jim Tressels job is in jeopardy. Considering the standards the Big Ten has set I am not going to dispute that.
What I am going to say is be careful what you wish for. I think Jim Tressel is running as clean a program as can be run in the current environment. I am absolutely sure that he is an honorable and decent man. We are at a terrible time of year for a coaching change. All the good ones have been picked over at this point and the interim label will kill recruiting so appointing a Jim Heacock or an Jim Bollman would set the program back as I suspect neither is interested in being a head coach at this late date. I believe both would retire if Jim Tressel would resign or be fired.
I don't know what those other ten coaches did. I do not know what they had done in the past. I do not know their standing with their schools. I do not even know their names. What I do know is this is not a firing offense and I do not think you will find a coach who can run it any cleaner than Jim Tressel has and will still win games.
I am sure a good number of you have seen the latest installment of Tattoogate. For those of you who have not seen it you can find it on Yahoo. No, I will not provide a link to that piece of garbage.
In a nutshell what it says is coach Tressel "was informed" about the players selling their memorabilia back in April, "A source" tells the writer of this accusatory piece. Supposedly "a concerned party reached out" last April.
Who? "A source" says "a concerned party reached out" and Jim Tressel is supposed to take their word for it? He is supposed to go down and confront his players because somebody said they were doing something wrong? Let me ask you something. If some anonymous somebody just walked up to you and told you your wife had a boyfriend or your oldest friend and business partner was cheating you out of money, would you believe them? Take it for gospel? It is the nature of relationships to give that person the benefit of the doubt. Jim Tressel knew these players for quite some time. I think he gave them the benefit of the doubt.
The "concerned party" says Jim Tressel was troubled by the information and would investigate. How could he go about gathering evidence? Despite what some may think, there is some limits to Jim Tressels power. He could ask some questions of the players. If you think they were going to tell the truth then you have neither been a 21-year old who has been in a jam or been around 21-year olds in a jam. My Dad was the first Director of the J. Ashburn Jr. Youth Center on the Hilltop. When there was a dispute, and there were going to be disputes when you are talking about youths from the Hilltop area, my Dad said he knew one thing before he went into the office to deal with it. One of them was going to lie to him.
Recall Terrelle Pryors tweet when this first went down. I don't remember the exact wording but it came down to him saying he paid for all his tattoos. We know how he paid for them now. If Jim Tressel bothered to confront the players when this "concerned party reached out", what do you think these players response was?
The article goes on to say that Federal investigators informed coach Tressel of what their investigation turned uo on December 7th. On December 8th the athletic department launched an investigation. Are you serious? The athletic department had the audacity to wait until they had some evidence before acting on it?
Jim Tressel has no enforcement powers. He cannot order search warrants. He cannot subpoena anyone. He cannot order transcripts of phone records or tax returns. He is the football coach. Until there is more evidence that the "concerned party" is someone who had the gravitas to be believed, this has no substance. Even then with only the limited powers bestow upon a football coach, all Jim Tressel could do was ask the players in question about the issue and hope they tell him the truth. We know that they didn't. When he had the evidence he did something about it. If that does not end this for you, if it does not make sense to you, then you have an axe to grind.