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Sunday, February 6, 2011

The 2011 Ohio State Recruiting Class - Much To Like, But Questions Remain

My initial thoughts on the 2011 recruiting class...

1. I am excited about the emphasis on defense with this class. Coach Tressel stated that there were thirteen defensive players - with so many graduating seniors, it will be interesting to see how many contribute as freshmen, especially on special teams.

2. Not enough offensive linemen - yes, I know they signed four players (or will, once Chris Carter, Jr.'s legal saga is over), but Ohio State should be signing maybe five every year. The offensive line will lose Michael Brewster, Mike Adams, and J.B. Shugarts next season.

With the exception of Brian Bobek, the other three players are labeled as projects who will need tremendous development. Offensive line will be the key need area for the 2012 recruiting class, even with early commitment Kyle Kalis. The inability to sign more offensive linemen in the 2010 class may come back to haunt Ohio State.

3. Interesting strategy with signing two quarterbacks in Braxton Miller and Cardale Jones. I have never been a big fan of doing this - usually what will happen is the one quarterback will start, resulting in the other quarterback transferring from the program. Ohio State was immune to this back in 2002, when Justin Zwick and Troy Smith were signed, and Smith wound up winning the starting position for good in 2005. Zwick stayed throughout his career at Ohio State until 2006.

Ohio State has experience with the grayshirt practice they will use with Cardale Jones, using it with Todd Boeckman back in 2003. Boeckman was recruited in 2003, delayed enrollment until 2004, and then redshirted the 2004 season, giving him four years of eligibility from 2005-2008.
If Ohio State grayshirts Cardale Jones, and redshirts him, Jones' eligibility would range from 2013-2016. Braxton Miller will probably play some this coming season, meaning his eligibility range will go from 2011-2014. It will also bear watching to see what the other quarterbacks with eligibility beyond 2011 (Kenny Guiton, Jr., Taylor Graham) do in the coming months.

4. The class emphasis will always be in Ohio (see chart below). With Michigan hiring Brady Hoke, I am anxious to see how Coach Tressel does in keeping the top Ohio talent coming to Ohio State.

5. How does this class rank? Who truly knows - for all of the pontificating by "experts", what I found refreshing listening to the Ohio State coaching staff during their press conference was hearing them talk about having the players in Ohio State's summer camp, or watching them at various practice opportunities. Coach Tressel made a point on The Big Ten Network's recruiting special, when he stated that former Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne seemed to do fine winning national championships, despite having supposedly lower-ranked recruiting classes.

I have said before on recruiting, and I will say again - if the Ohio State coaching staff deems a young man worthy of a scholarship, then I am sold. The coaching staff has to win, or lose, with the players recruited. And if the staff loses enough, the staff will be replaced. It is absolutely incumbent upon the staff to do their homework.

Put it another way - we will have a better feel for this class in 2014 or 2015. I believe Ramzy Nasrallah of represents the concept of National Letter Of Intent Day best in the following article that I hope you all read and enjoy.

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