What a year it has been. The class of 2012 has been the most fun to watch in all of years of watching high school football in Ohio. Some will still argue that the 2001 class was better. There is a strong argument for that as that class was more well rounded. This class is defensive line, running backs and more defensive line with a little safety thrown in for some flavor. I would argue that the overall talent level is just deeper. I have had the privilege to watch about half this top ten since then were freshmen. One of the nice things about this class is you have so few players that have been moved down because of grades or questions about their off the field behavior.
Now that we are down to the top ten I am going to reverse the order to build the anticipation. Now to the Duane Long Report class of 2012 top 10:
11. Dwayne Stanford, WR, 6-4, 190, Cincinnati Taft
I saw Dwayne Stanfords film last winter. I knew I was looking at a special player. He is a big receiver and plays a big receivers game. Get him one on one and throw it up for him. He will go up and get it. He has great hands. Catches the ball away from his body. He is fearless going over the middle. After the catch I love the attitude he runs with. He is not going down easy, fights for every year. Uses a nasty stiff-arm on tacklers. He ran a suspect time at a combine this year which shook up some evaluators. I like to see a player run a great 40 but I put more stock in game speed. Look at the film. Keep in mind that there was never a question about his speed from the film.
12. Tom Strobel, DE, 6-6, 235, Mentor
I remember the buzz after Strobel took a visit to Ohio State. I spoke to several people who saw him. the consensus was he looked like an NFL player right now. When I look at his film I shake my head that a player can be that much of a force and be so disruptive while barely being no comments
20. Taylor Decker, OL, 6-8, 255, Vandalia-Butler
An extremely athletic big lineman. Up until he outgrew the game, he was a better basketball prospect. There was much talk that with better offers on the table he would have chosen basketball. Great frame. He is going to get bigger but will still be just as athletic as he is right now. He has the length and the feet you want in a left tackle prospect. He has been a basketball player first athlete until now so he has more work in front of him than other linemen in the class, especially in the run game, but the raw materials are top drawer.
21. Tyvis Powell, Ath, 6-4, 180, Bedford
The more I watched Powell the more impressed I became. He is a very football smart player. He makes great decisions on the field. He is a fine athlete. He is one of the best tacklers in the class. He has a very long body and is long limbed. I know the Buckeyes are talking about playing him at corner. I need to see that happen to believe it. I think it more likely he ends up growing into a linebacker. It does not really matter. I think the staff made a great decision to offer this much underrated
30. Montanez Madaris, WR, 6-2, 180, Moeller
Long and lean with outstanding athleticism. Madaris is explosive and is so quick for a player as long as he is. He is outstanding at the long handoffs and the slip screens. Those are plays usually reserved for smaller quicker players. Madaris runs like a smaller quicker player. Very elusive after the catch. He is a very willing blocker. He was one of the best players at the Florida State camp and earned an offer from Florida State. I thought Madaris was going to be a Buckeye offer but the staff chose Roger Lewis. Madaris does have offers from a couple of other Big Five schools in the Nebraska and Michigan. Boston College is in with an offer too. I have not heard anything about who Madaris might favor of the schools on his list but Boston College does extremely well with the Cincinnati Catholic schools.
31. A.J. Williams, 6-5, 270, OL/TE, Cincinnati Sycamore
This is a player I think we will look back on and wonder why more Big Five schools did not get involved. He has been a high school tight end but it looks like he will be a tackle this year. Whether that happens or not Williams will be a tackle in college. I think he is going to be a good one. He has the frame, the length and the great feet. This is the kind of player Michigan needs to rebuild its offensive line.
I wanted to wait until camps and combines were over before putting out my Ohio top 50 for the class of 2012. It always takes longer than you think it will. I kept going back over some films. I am now satisfied with my top 50. I will work my way backward from 50 to 1. Without further ado, the Duane Long Report top 50 for the class of 2012:
40. Myles Hilliard, DL , 6-6, 250, Bedford
I liked Hilliard when I first saw him but what put me over the top with him was learning that he was playing defense for the
first time last year. Great body on this kid and with so little experience I think we are only seeing a player who is
scratching the surface of what he will be. He has mostly played offense and with his length he could still grow into an offensive tackle.
41. Jermaine Edmondson, CB, 6-0, 170, Canton McKinley
The best corner prospect most fans probably do not know about. He ended up with a Big Five offer in addition to Illinois and Michigan State, who he committed to. Just an all-around solid corner. He is solid in zone, a very willing tackler, can play man when asked to and has excellent ball skills. His film came out late. If Edmondson had been more patient he might have added to that one big Five offer from Nebraska. Michigan State may have stole one here.
I want to stay on the subject of 2013 players. Introduce you to a few more of the players we will be talking about a lot this time next year.
Jacob Matuska, Ath, 6-5, 240, Hartley. ( http://www.scoutingohio.com/index.php/view-profile.html?task=userProfile&user=7765&name=moose82 )
Elite football player. Most of the talk is about him as a tight end but when I see a 6-5 240 lb kid so athletic that the coach plays him in space on defense, he is a defensive end for me. Buckeye fans should not get excited about him. The early buzz is he is Notre Dames for the taking.
Jarrod Clements 6-3, 235, Dayton Dubar ( http://www.scoutingohio.com/index.php/view-profile.html?task=userProfile&user=7167&name=jclements1203 )
Jarrod Clements belongs in the conversation about who is best defensive end in the class of 2013. Yes, I said that. He is as good a football player as Taco Charlton. He is as good a football player as Jake Butt. He is not the better prospect. That is why you are not hearing that much about him. Clements is a test case for why measurables and the consideration for growth no comments
We are looking at the same names coming up for the Buckeyes in the class of 2012 now. We are in that in between period where the players who want to commit early have done so and it is too early for those that want to wait. We already have a good idea of who the Buckeyes are focused on. We may see a player or two added later but that will happen after a great senior year.
There is a great deal of talk about the 2013 class. I thought I would get out a few more names and I want to do it by position. I just happened to notice a couple of running backs so I decided to look at them first. Who is number one is pretty obvious. Dymonte Thomas is the number one back in the class. He is also the number one safety in the class. I have said this before and I will say it again, the most puzzling lack of an offer out there is Dymonte Thomas. Look at this film and tell me what I am missing that makes Thomas a player who does not have an early offer. http://scoutingohio.com/index.php/view-profile.html?task=userProfile&user=3179
The Buckeyes have added a few more players in recent months. Fans regularly ask, who is next?
I think we are alot more clear now about the number for the class. It is looking like the class will be about 20 strong. I highly doubt it is any bigger. Jim Tressel tried to keep the classes a nice balanced 20. I think that is a sound strategy. It fills the needs but keeps the option open for a great player or a need player later in the process. With 13 committed for next year, don't forget Cardale Jones, I will look forward at who I think are good shots to fill those 7 slots.
First, I want to address the class so far, and Luke Fickells job. This is going to be a very good class. It should not be. Luke Fickell is operating with an interim contract. Don't tell me the interim label is off. That is ridiculous. Any coach operating with a 2 year contract, especially a new coach, is an interim coach. Another thing about a first year coach. Nobody knows what no comments
We are obviously in another round of conference expansion. We are looking at important people like Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Texas A&M alum and yell leader, admitting that it is happening. By the time you read this A&M could be a member of the SEC. It is happening that quickly. In fact, ESPN is reporting that a high ranking A&M official to saying A&M to the SEC is pending approval of the SEC officials.
This all goes back the recently finalized deal to create the LHN, the Texas Longhorns football network. Actually it goes back further but the catalyst for the renewed conference realignment negotiations is the Texas Longhorns network.
Texas and Texas A&M seemed to be attached at the hip last time around. Texas is acting very independently this time. It appears A&M realizes it has to look out for itself. If A&M leaves, and it looks like it is going to happen, Texas will do what is expected and bolt the conference. Where, remains the only question. It seems there is more chatter that the Longhorns will end up in the Big Ten this time around than there was the last time. The fact is, Texas is far and away the most attractive potential "free agent" out there. Notre Dame might think they are but that is only in the minds of Notre Dame people. Notre Dame is 99-73 since Lou Holtz left in no comments
The Buckeyes just received commitment number 12, actually number 13 because Cardale Jones will be a part of this class. Pickerington Central wide receiver Roger Lewis (http://scoutingohio.com/index.php/view-profile.html?task=userProfile&user=6046) made his pledge to the Buckeyes. He was offered last week and made his verbal days later.
Another receiver has been offered. California prep star Michael Thomas (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2Y9PbOKiho )was offered about a month ago. He made an unofficial visit last weekend. He went in leaning strongly to the Buckeyes. I have heard that he committed but nobody seems to be able to find him to get a confirmation.
The big question that will come out of a confirmation is whether the Buckeyes are through offering receivers. I think that is one of the most complicated questions we will see this recruiting season.
The numbers at receiver are fine. Even with the decision of James Louis to transfer, the no comments