My last blog on 2013 players started a conversation on Bucknuts which morphed into a discussion about where the talent was. Long time Bucknuts staffer, Kirk, found a great link, a definitive link, on which states were producing the most talent.
The United States is going through some major changes. The one that impacts college football fans the most is the population shift. The numbers in this SI.com story, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/football/ncaa/01/21/bcsrecruits.state/index.html, bring home the inherent advantages the SEC has.
A friend has long maintained that the lone Big Ten national championship of the BCS era is all that can be expected with the population shift we are seeing in this country. There just aren't enough elite prospects in this part of the country to compete. He points to my often made point that recruiting is local as further proof that Ohio States championship under Jim Tressel was really against the odds.
Something I think it crucial in the numbers in that report is that five of the nine Big Ten states are producing less than 86 players each, while seven of the nine SEC states are producing at least 149 players. Four Big Ten states are producing less than 66 players each in that 2004-2008 time period. Only two SEC states produced less than 100 players in the same time period. Notice the per capita numbers in the report. Those are even more telling as the SEC can claim six of the top eight spots, including the top four spots. I have always maintained that despite the overall population numbers of California and Texas over Florida, that Florida would be the one state I would focus my recruiting on. Florida is both number one in BCS recruits over that 2004-2008 time period, and number one overall per capita.
Another advantage for the SEC is the state of North Carolina smack dab in the middle of SEC country. North Carolina is number nine for the number of players sent to BCS schools in that 2004-2008 time period. The instate football programs are laughable, in the case of Duke, and almost laughable with North Carolina. North Carolina State is no football power by any means. North Carolina is a basketball state, period. The top football players are going to go elsewhere. Recruiting is local. The closest football first schools around those North Carolina players are SEC schools.
Ten states produced more than 200 BCS players in that 2004-2008 time period. Three were SEC states. North Carolina is in there too. For all intents and purposes you can put it in the SEC column. There are two Big Ten states in the top ten, Ohio State and Pennsylvania. There are two other states in that top ten that are a surprise, and are hugely important to the Big Ten.
I was not very surprised at New Jersey in that top ten. I have been talking about New Jersey and how the Buckeyes have pushed into that state, one that could be called a recruiting hot bed, and snatched some nice players out of there going back to the Cooper era. Malcolm Jenkins, Jason Winrow and David Patterson are the names most fans will be familiar with but they are certainly not the only New jersey players who have sported the colors. There is no home state big time football school in New Jersey. Top players are used to leaving the state to play big time football. Anthony Davis is the only big time national player out of the state recently who has decided to stay home to play his college football. Ohio State and Penn State are the closet football powers to those fertile New Jersey recruiting grounds.
I was very surprised, pleasantly surprised under the currently circumstances, at another top ten state.
I knew that a player or two came out of Virginia but I was not ready to see Virginia in the top ten. The Buckeyes recent success there could be a gold mine. The same can be said of Virginia when it comes to closest football powers. Virginia is a basketball school. Virginia Tech is definitely in the fight for players in the state of Virginia, and so is Tennessee, but both Columbus, Ohio and State College, PA are just as close as Knoxville and with even greater prestige.
Ohio State has always been in Florida and has done well in that most important state. Pennsylvania is number six on the list and the Buckeyes are pulling top talent out of there consistently these days. I would like to see more focus on the state of Texas. The commitment of time must be considered and recruiting is very much a local thing. Look at the rosters of the Florida schools, the Texas schools, the California schools, any football program where the state has a great high school football tradition. You will find the colleges rosters overwhelmingly from the state and the region. The state of Ohio shows signs that it will always produce plenty of talent but the region is lacking. Being able to go into a state producing as many big school football players as New Jersey and Virginia could be important to the Buckeyes chances of putting another crystal football in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center trophy case.
The class of 2012 is winding down quickly. At least the early stage is winding down. So many players have committed early. It seems to be that we see more every year. I remember a time, it was not that long ago, when recruiting did not even start until after the senior year of the class being recruited. Now it is almost like two separate seasons. The early commits are winding out. Later we will see some of the elite players and the fallback players start to commit. We will see official visits but very few commitments.
One of the things that has evolved with this process is the attention on younger players. The seniors to be are committed or they are waiting. The growth of the internet and the ease with which film is uploaded has allowed us to see juniors to be and even sophmores to be at an early stage.
I am looking at 2013 film more than 2012 film right now. Ohio football is in good shape. The 2012 defensive line class will never be seen again. Look at where these players have ended up. Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska, Michigan State. If things go well we see a couple more at Ohio State. If it goes badly we see defensive linemen at Alabama, Notre Dame or no comments
Chew86 has raising the alarm about linebacker depth since before Ejuan Price chose to go elsewhere. Now in short order the Buckeyes lose Dorian Bell, not official yet but the odds are heavily in favor of him never wearing a Buckeye uniform again, and Jonathan Newsome. He tweeted that he was transferring out to Ball State after reportedly getting in the doghouse and be asked to redshirt this year. He chose to transfer.
First, on Newsome. I wish him well. This ended up not being a good fit for him or the Buckeyes. He looked like he could be a great edge player. He is a big framed kid. I thought he would end up 245, maybe more. He is a kid who never got any bigger. He does not fit at linebacker. Not mentally or physically. He was a go-go-go player. All you need to do is watch the Wisconsin game when he was forced into action. All he did was stare into the backfield. It no comments
I was very impressed at the response to my last post. A significant number of fans were surprised at who got left off and wanted to know why.
Obviously the name mentioned most was offensive lineman Tony Matteo, a player I have been very high on. That has not changed. I still see him as a top five lineman in the state. The list I posted was Ohio State specific. The Buckeyes have Brian Bobek waiting in the wings ready to fill the large shoes of Michael Brewster. We will see if Jacoby Boren is next in line. He has the skills. The question is going to be is he center sized or fullback sized? Lovell Peterson is waiting in the wings. He will be a target player. Matteo is a high school center who wants to be a center in college. I think that has everything to do with why he has not been offered.
Nana Kyeremeh is a corner I was high on. Again, I have not changed my mind about him. I don't know if camped anywhere. I think that was crucial for him. He was listed at 165. I would guess he was 155-165. He needed to get out to camps just to show his body. Let the schools see his frame to decide if he was going to be a kid who could add the kind of weight to play at no comments
Chris Gamble, Troy Smith, Kirk Barton, Donald Washington, Austin Spitler, Brian Robiskie, James Laurinaitis, Chimdi Chekwa. What do they all have in common? They were players offered late in the recruiting process. None had an impressive offer list. Stuff happens in recruiting. Sometimes players fall in love with another school or family gets the best of a player and he decides to stay close to home. Maybe the academic office says no. For any number of reasons every school in the country ends up scrambling in December and January after a player they were counting on ends up elsewhere. I think the above list shows the Buckeye staff has been better at it than most.
I think the 2001-2002 Ohio class is the only one that compares to this one. There are still so many talented players available who just do not have the kind of attention they rate. If they are no comments
My great disappointment with the Tressel era was offensive line recruiting. That is not a secret. The staff Jim Tressel assembled was as good as any in the country with recruiting. Look at the number of elite players at most every position on the field that Ohio State produced over the last ten years. Offensive line was an exception but so was safety.
We don't talk about it as much. I think it is a matter of looking at safeties under the umbrella of defensive backs. Corner has been a position that Ohio State does not have to take a backseat to any school in the country as far as producing talent is concerned. Not so much at safety.
So much of the problem with recruiting recently has been decisions to pass on more highly rated prospects to go off the board after kids that so often did not even play the position in high school. In particular recruiting high school quarterbacks to play safety. I am a firm believer in moving down. Moving over is another matter. Moving down is asking a player to move closer to the line of scrimmage. A corner moving to safety is not a big deal. We have seen the Buckeyes have great success moving corners to safety. What good safeties we no comments
Add me to those who believe that the Kyle Kalis saga is not over. I think he could very easily change his mind again. He has committed to two different schools and a total of three different times and conditioning for high schools is just getting underway. There is some buzz out there that he has burned bridges and if he changes his mind again that it will not be to come back to Ohio State. I need to see that to believe it. You take a national top ten offensive lineman anytime you can get him. With only two tackles on the 2012 roster as it stands right now, that is cutting off your nose to spite your face.
I looked at the top receivers the Buckeyes are looking at recently. Those were just Ohio receivers. Michael Thomas, the JUCO player from California, is definitely a player I would love no comments
Yesterday on the Bucknuts message board a fan asked who were the must get players for the class of 2013. I started to answer right there but the response became so long I realized I had created a blog.
Lets define "must get." A must get player is one that you offer no matter what. He is so good that no matter how deep and how talented that the depth chart looks at his best position or positions that you still offer because he is so good that he is a talent upgrade.
It is still early. We are talking about players who have not even stepped on the field for their junior year. I believe there will be more players coming into the must get category but at this early stage I see three players.
As soon as I saw his film the first time I understood why Mark Porter was so giddy. Jalin Marshall is one of those players that takes you back to your childhood because the one word that comes to your mind is "wow". This is Ohio. Great players come out of this state. Ohio is consistently in the top five most recruited states in the country. Jalin Marshall is just now coming off his sophmore year in high school. By the time his senior year is in the books I expect to be calling him the best skill player to come out of Ohio in my time evaluating talent in the state of Ohio. I surely expect to call him no comments
There is a good deal of talk right now about receivers in Ohio. It seems the Buckeyes may be looking to add a player or two to the position.
There have been some changes. There is a new name out there that has ratcheted up the debate. I want to revisit my rankings as the athlete season draws to a close.
First, let me remind everyone of what I mean by my term the "athlete season". It the time of year which encompasses the high school track season and the college camps as well as the combines around the country. It has become very important as being a great athlete has as much to do with recruiting as being a great player. The best of the best are great players and great athletes. Next best on the list are great athletes. Make no mistake about that. Most college programs, if no comments
The Buckeyes received two new verbals for the class of 2012, taking the number of future Buckeyes to 11. Lineman Patrick Elflein from Pickerington North committed soon after receiving his offer. Lancaster linebacker Luke Roberts committed to the Buckeyes after taking a few days to consider an offer from his Dads alma mater Arizona.
That leaves about 8 spots available for this class. I want to take a look at who I like for those last 8 spots.
1 - Jordan Diamond, LT, Illinois. The Buckeyes may reap the benefits of Kyle Kalis decision to change his mind and go to Michigan. I have Jordan a higher rated player over but the big thing is he is a sure left tackle.The Buckeyes only have two scholarship tackles on the roster for 2012, Andrew Norwell and Marcus Hall, both right tackles. Kalis is a right tackle who might be able to play left tackle. Diamond has been thought to be a Michigan lean but has no interest in committing soon. He is talking about January at the earliest. Michigan already has 5 committed offensive linemen and are in good shape with another offensive tackle who is as highly rated as Diamond should they decided to take 6. The way I understand it Michigan is down to 7 or scholarships left and have other needs. They may not be able to wait on Diamond. He is talking Ohio State a good bit recently. As much as I like Kalis, I like Diamond better.
2 - Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE, Centerville. Pass rushers change games. That is why they go at the top of the NFL draft. If you ask me to put together a list of the best pass rushers I have seen in my time evaluating players in Ohio the first two names out of my mouth would be Jamel Turner and Ifeadi Odenigbo. For awhile I thought he might get it over with and commit before the season. I have come to believe he is in no hurry. That bodes well for the Buckeyes as I suspect Odenigbo is going to like the way the Buckeyes will play defense this fall. With all the off the