In the lingering aftermath of Jim Tressel's resignation, Ohio State fans are left wondering a multitude of questions:
How severe will the NCAA sanctions be?
Will there be scholarship reductions?
Will Luke Fickell be the head coach in 2012 and beyond?
If Fickell is not the coach, who will be patrolling the sideline for Ohio State next season?
And how will this affect Ohio State's recruiting efforts for the 2012 class?
While many of these questions will have to remain unanswered, recruiting needs to continue moving forward with the 2012 class. Only days after Tressel's resignation, Luke Fickell was able to maintain the verbal commitment of OL Kyle Kalis, and secured a verbal commitment from DB Tyvis Powell. Ohio State has just secured a verbal commitment from DB Najee Murray as well, as of 06/12/2011.
If I had the opportunity to advise Coach Fickell on how to proceed with the remainder of his 2012 class, my advice would be the following ~
Offer cautiously - This reflects more upon how many scholarships Ohio State actually has to offer, versus what transpired with Coach Tressel. Ohio State is probably in the market to sign between 18 and 20 players in February.
Traditionally, Jim Tressel would offer players who attended the summer football camps, as the coaching staff was able to get a feel for how the prospect interacted with their staff. Considering Ohio State has a limited number of scholarships to offer, I would suggest maintaining the old method of using the camp as a barometer for interest.
As I stated up above, Ohio State fans are nervously awaiting what penalties, if any, will be levied against the football program. This only reinforces the need for the coaching staff to take their time in their evaluations and offers, as Ohio State may be suffering a loss of scholarships comparable to what USC received in their punishment from the NCAA.
All things equal, offer kids from Ohio ~ Again, Coach Tressel made a point of trying to keep the best players in the state of Ohio from leaving. With the possible penalties looming, I would advise Coach Fickell to focus upon Ohio kids, versus trying to land talent from other states.
My logic in this is that Ohio kids are more likely to have grown up, wanting to be Buckeyes. Prospects in Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, etc, may be interested in Ohio State, but these are traditionally the type of prospects who may wait until signing day to make their decision. Conversely, an Ohio prospect may seem more likely to make a commitment when offered, thus allowing Luke Fickell and the coaching staff to move onto other prospects to fill up their recruiting class.
Recruiting analysts have been stating the talent in Ohio's 2012 high school class is exceptional. Considering Brady Hoke of Michigan's strong efforts to regain a foothold with Ohio talent, it behooves the Ohio State coaching staff to emphasize the Ohio talent, allowing Hoke only to gain prospects that Ohio State is not interested in for their team.
What is the sales pitch for Luke Fickell? ~ Fickell is in a tough spot, trying to recruit prospects to Ohio State, without knowing if he, or the staff, will be there in 2012 to coach them. The advantage Luke Fickell has in this spot is he IS an Ohio State graduate, and he WAS a former Ohio State football player. Luke Fickell's passion and enthusiasm for Ohio State can easily come shining through.
Luke Fickell's standard stump speech should be something along the lines of…"You know, it is entirely possible that I may not be at Ohio State next season. But I would not be here in your living room if I did not so strongly believe in what an Ohio State education can provide you in your future, and I can tell you first-hand about what it is like to run out onto the field that first game at Ohio Stadium, wearing the scarlet and gray. I cannot offer everyone this opportunity, but I can offer it to you. You can be among the special young men who help Ohio State move back into national prominence, by doing things the right way both on and off the field.".
Make no mistake about it, Ohio State fans - Luke Fickell, and the Ohio State coaching staff are in a tough spot. I, for one, am happy Coach Fickell is at the helm of the 2012 Ohio State recruiting effort, hopefully landing Ohio State another talented crop of talent for upcoming seasons.
Originally published on Along The Olentangy