03 April 2011
There is so much swirling around the football program that I bet the players were chomping at the bit more than usual to get back on the field. I have heard athletes who had complicated lives outside the field of play talk about the peace that came from being on the field, so I am not really concerned with what impact the controversy is having on the players.
I am concerned about recruiting. There is so much uncertainty around the program. Negative recruiting has always been a part of the process and unfortunately it is always going to be. Ohio State was always at a disadvantage in this ugly part of the recruiting process. I have told the story about the mother of an out of state target player for just about every major program telling me Jim Tressel was the only coach who did not negatively recruit her son, who eventually chose another school. Negative recruiting works. Telling a recruit that another school signed several players in the last class who play their position, or their skills will be wasted in a program that the player is known to favor are effective tools. One of the really big ones is the coach is in trouble.
Bet the farm that recruits are getting that one from every coach from other schools that they are speaking to. There is also the possibility of bans on postseason play and other possible sanctions that are going to be put in the ear of the recruits. I don't think we hear from the NCAA about the penalties for some time. I believe the next time they meet is in June. I doubt we can expect to hear anything until July at the earliest. That is a good deal of time for schools to embed the negative view of the program in recruits minds.
I would like to see a change in strategy. We see the Buckeye staff start out of state and work their way back home. It is the proper strategy. You have to get in on those out of state recruits as soon as possible because it is much harder to get recruits from out of state. There is less contact with out of state players. The big instate football powers in great high school football states have a huge advantage in the recruiting wars with high school coaches that tend to be very much pro instate schools. Players can get to those instate schools in a couple of hours in most cases so they can stop by anytime.
I would like for the Buckeyes to take advantage of that built in instate advantage. It just so happens to be a class for the ages in the state of Ohio. The offers are out there for the defensive linemen. We have our backs. I am still very high on the instate safeties. I understand the desire to go after the Florida safeties that are on the top of everyones want list. They are even better. It is going to be tough to get them out of there in the best of circumstances. Trying to get them with the cloud hanging over the program and no end in sight makes getting either a real pipe dream. Come back home. Get the great looking safeties we have here. Players that we can easily counter the negative news that they are hearing. Offensive linemen too. If we could add a Jordan Diamond or a Jonah Pirsig, great. Lets get an offer out there to Benny McGowan now. An instate class of Kalis, Dodson, Boren and McGowan is the second best offensive line haul in the Tressel era in my mind behind the Brew Crew. Tommy Schutt is a great looking prospect. I think Trae Clark is underrated. Get in on him now. He is right down the road, easy to get to and put up a shield around him to block the negative pub that is going to be coming his way about the Buckeyes.
In times of trouble it is best to come home and circle the wagons. As far as recruiting goes this year, home is nice place to be.