03 February 2010
It is official. The class is in. Everyone has signed that had committed. This class is a C. It was never going to be more than a B but the offensive line recruiting debacle has made it a C.
We got skill players. I don't think anyone has a better back class. We get the #1 back in the country on my board in Rod Smith. Carlos Hyde would have played a good deal last year. He reminds me of Keith Byars. What makes a back his size a running back is the feet. Hyde has feet that a 200 lb back would love to have. Corey Brown is what makes this a skill position class that we can be excited about. Maybe he is a running back. Maybe he is a slot receiver. Either way he is a game changer. Tyrone Williams is the best receiver that nobody was talking about. He was from a school that does not have a history of putting out talent,
tore up his knee early and then had grade problems. He did not camp anywhere. He was always a Buckeye anyway. This was the worst quarterback class I have ever seen and it is not even close. We have to have five-stars on the top players in a class. I say there was not a single five-star quarterback in the class. Taylor Graham was as good as we could find. If he can overcome the loss of nearly two full years of missed time under center, he will be the steal of the class. That he camped with so many schools with quarterback gurus who then made offers cannot be overlooked. With what happened with offensive line recruiting it is going to be hard to look at the positives with the skill players.
The offensive line. What a mess. We are waiting for Henderson. Don't worry about it. All the signs say he is headed to USC. We get one offensive lineman in this class. This is not about the fact that Morgan Moses decided at the last moment to go to Virginia. This is not about the fact that Matt James decided on Notre Dame after so much late buzz said he was going to choose Ohio State. This is about the fact that once again the staff has made a mess with the small unit principle with offensive line recruiting.
Don't tell me that Andrew Donal was not Ohio State caliber. He is good enough for Iowa, a staff doing a lot better job of identifying and developing offensive linemen than we are. Don't tell me that Schofner is not Buckeye caliber. I heard the same argument with Zebrie Sanders, now the starter at Florida State. I heard the same argument from fans when we passed on Cadogan a few years back who went on the become an All-Big Ten tackle. I try not to think about what the line could have been with him at left tackle and Alex Boone at his more natural right tackle. That we make offensive line decisions with special teams in mind is something I have a hard time wrapping my mind around. We have thirteen scholarship offensive linemen going into next year, with four seniors. We will be going into the recruiting year looking at an in-state offensive line class that is not looking like it will help this program. I go back to the Alabama example. Outside of the option offenses we are seeing more and more of, the best running game in the nation is Alabama. I think I may have put these numbers up before but they need to be put up again. A friend put this together a couple of weeks ago. I don't know where Alabama stands today with offensive line recruits:
Alabama signed over the last five years, compared to us:
2006: Alabama 5; OSU 3
2007: Alabama 2; OSU 1
2008: Alabama 3; OSU 3
2009: Alabama 7; OSU 4
2010: Alabama 3; OSU 1
Totals: Alabama 20; OSU 12
Alabama is not recruiting better backs than us. Nobody is. They have a better running game because they have put enough recruits onto the field to make sure they have quality players. This is about offensive line recruiting and coaching. The above chart says it all. We have recruited more than three offensive linemen once in the last five years. Alabama has brought in less than three one time. Everyone is excited about the way the offensive line played this past year. Do you really think that is going to last when we do not have the numbers to fill out a two-deep on the depth chart? As it stands right now we go into 2011 with nine scholarship offensive lineman. Don't say we will get more players next year. The crop of OLs in state next year makes that suspect. There are only two Ohio State caliber linemen in the state, Michael Bennett and Donovan Clark, both may be better DTs. We are seeing how difficult it is to pull in out of state talent. We are in a mess and it goes back to decisions made by this staff. If the principles of small numbers and versatile linemen worked we would have been consistently good. This past year was the first time we have seen a good offensive line in the ten years of the Jim Tressel era.
Overall a solid class but we made a mess of needs. We get one quality safety when we needed two, and we only get one offensive lineman when we needed four just to break even. Once again a poorly planned class with the offensive line.
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