The car buying thing is making me crazy. This was cleared a couple of years ago with Thaddeus Gibson. Now we are going to go back and review every deal? How many deals have been consummated since compliance signed off on the matter? Why would Jim Tressel not think it was okay at that point and direct other players to go to this person who knows how to do these deals in a way that the compliance office has signed off on? This is a no win situation for the program. Either this was wrong and the potential sanctions go up or it is okay. Either way, in the meantime, recruiting suffers.
I don't know what is going on with Dorian Bell. Dave Biddle has multiple sources that he is transferring to Pitt. I have my own source that says he is transferring to Pitt. Bell and his Dad both say he is not. A couple of nights ago on channel 10 news Dom Tiberi said he texted Jim Tressel who says he knows nothing about Bell transferring. There is some buzz on the other side of this that the new Pitt coach in not going to welcome a transfer who is currently suspended at another school. A friend pointed out that this makes no sense. Either way he has to sit out a year. If I knew Dorian I would tell him that he messed up. Man up. You did this to yourself. Accept responsibility for the actions that have put you in this situation. Transferring shows the immaturity that has kept you off the field and in the doghouse continues.
Looking forward to 2013, I see the defensive back class shaping up as a potentially promising position. Trotwood Madison's Cameron Burrows is the star of the group. I can't help but compare him to Eugene Clifford who was a big kid who could play corner. If Burrows outgrows corner he will be just as good as a safety. Dymonte Thomas has real star power. He could be a running back but he is just as impressive as a safety. Jalyn Powell is looking like a defensive back who could be highly recruited. Copley's Aregeros Turner and Avon's Ross Douglass have the kind of hips, feet and make-up speed that top corners are made from. Turner lit up a combine about a month ago to the point that Illinois felt compiled to offer him. Both are long for being in the 5-9 to 5-10 range. Everyone wants big corners but they don't come around very often. The recent NFL draft showed the average corner is in the 5-10 range. Mooney has a pair of future potential Big Ten safeties in Marcus McWilson and Courtney Love. Both need to work on their tackling but that is the only thing that is missing. I have to mention a kid from Kings named Justin Crull. He is not the biggest, he is not the fastest, but he is big enough and fast enough. This kid has that uncanny ability to find the football. He gets his hands on the ball more than any offensive coordinator would be comfortable with, whether it be an interception or a pass defensed. He is also quite adept at knocking the stuffing out of anyone who tries to come between him and the ball. He may not light up a combine but some coaches are going to like the football player in this kid, and I want to point out again that he is not small or slow.
I have a change in my rankings that impacts the linebacker class for 2012. Several people whose opinions I respect have seen elite prospect Ifeadi Odenigbo up close recently. They say he is not his listed 205-210. He is more like 190. I thought he could be a defensive end, and he still could be, but I am moving him back to linebacker now. That strengthens a weak linebacker class, with only two elite kids, Odenigbo and Bolden, but does not really change the defensive end class because it is so deep. My 2012 linebacker class now looks like this:
1 - Ifeadi Odenigbo, Centerville
2 - Joe Bolden, Colerain
3 - LaKeith Walls, Rhodes
4 - Kaleb Ringer, Northmont
5 - Mike Svetina, St. Ignatius
On ESPN’s Big Ten Blog, Adam Rittenberg (whom I’m actually a fan of) answers emails from the fans on his “Mailblog”. It’s always entertaining stuff. Anyway this morning Lance from Bedford, PA poses the hypothetical of: what if Jim Tressel actually did do everything correct? What if Jim Tressel sent everything to compliance back in April? What if he undoubtedly did everything the NCAA and America could ever expect of him? This isn’t new. This is something we have all pondered.
Rittenberg answers that our players would have only gotten 4 games suspended like AJ Green and that Tressel, as well as OSU, wouldn’t be in the current predicament they are in which is realistic to presume.
But as I’m reading this from Adam, I’m thinking “But that’s not all”. Rittenberg is completely forgetting the media onslaught that would be reigning down upon Tressel, the players and the OSU program. It’s probably hard to imagine for writers at this stage. In their heads they’re probably thinking “If only Tressel would have done this we wouldn’t have to pile on him”. But when you go back in time, you wouldn’t have known an alternative future. So back in April 2010 when Jim Tressel hypothetically comes clean and the OSU Athletic Department self-reports, the headlines are still going to be damning of the OSU program. There are still going to be penalties. There is still going to be negative recruiting. And there will certainly still be more media scrutiny, investigations and exposes.
This bothers me. Because if that was the case, shouldn’t the headlines be “Jim Tressel honorably throws in the towel on the season by self-reporting a trivial violation”? But that’s not what would happen. The media gains nothing by celebrating morality. And Tressel has discovered this the hard way. We kicked Clarrett off the team and gained no positive press. We self-reported Troy Smith and were taken to the wood-shed. We suspended our starting QB (Bellisari) before the Michigan game. This OSU staff has self-reported more minor violations than any other NCAA University. And instead of being praised for it, Tressel’s program was heavily criticized. The media had every opportunity to credit that these minor violations were an example of the transparency of the program. But instead they used the opportunity to characterize OSU as one of the dirtiest programs in America.
Riddle me this NCAA and sports writers. With the current landscape of college athletics, that you have enabled, what motivation does any University or any coaches have to self-report? What do they have to possibly gain? Maybe not even gain anything, but just be left alone?
Lets look at the alternative. Auburn right now is enjoying their National Championship and Heisman trophy winner, off of an athlete that was kicked out of Florida for an academic impropriety and laptop theft as well as having his father auction this kid to the highest bidder. Cam Newton and Auburn get away with it under the veil of plausible deniability, which is highly in question. All the while the NCAA has egg on their face over being punked by Cam’s dad.
What is to stop every kid, coach and program to follow Auburn’s lead at this point? And when you self-report, keep in mind that every single penalty OSU is facing originated from self-reporting, you get destroyed by the media.
Today’s sports media kick people when they are down. And celebrate the people who get away with crimes. Look in the mirror Rittenberg and ESPN. This is who you are. This is the environment that you, your peers and the NCAA have manifested.
Tressel deserves his punishment. We’re not feeling sorry for him. But soon enough you, the sports media, are going to have to be held accountable for your irresponsibility.no comments
Some players I would have liked to see still on the board when the staff learned the Buckeyes would not be getting some offered players are no longer on the board. I had hoped the staff would have realized the national offensive linemen that have been offered were tough wins in any year but with the NCAA sniffing around like a pig looking for truffles that those players were longshots and come back to offer Benny McGowan.That did not happen. Now another kid that was on the back-up wish list, Evan Jones, the versatile big from Ridgewood has joined McGowan at Michigan State.
That does not mean the Buckeyes are running out of options, that this is an all or nothing class.We have talked about how deep the class is. I mentioned some players a few days ago who could be target players. There are some other potential gems out there who could pop up on the list with good summers.
I hope to see Cardale Jones wear scarlet and gray but I have reservations about his ability to qualify. I think with two senior quarterbacks and the odds too high that one of the underclassmen might transfer that a quarterback is very important to this class. One quarterback has emerged above them all with an outstanding junior film. He is not a known name to most fans. Eric Williams is a transfer into St. Ignatius from the northwest, Washington or Oregon. I can see Austin Appleby, Tyler O'Connor, Tyler Eden and Mason Schroeck could all end up with Big Five offers with good summers. Eric Williams, 6-3, 195, is a Bi Five kid right now. He will get nothing but better in the St. Ignatius system, playing against the competition St. Ignatius plays against. The only offer I am aware of is Toledo.
Arlington McClinton is a 6-6 220 lb defensive end from Midview. I just shake my head when I look at his film then look at his offer sheet. If he were at a bigger program he would have Big Ten offers.
Myles Hilliard is a player I have not talked about but he caught my eye several months ago. He is a big framed long-limbed kid who has serious growth potential. He is strong at the point of attack. He fits best as a five-technique end in a 3-4. His offer list is starting to blow up. His offer list is a bit stronger than the other players on this list but he could blow up to a possible Big Five kid with a great summer.
Here is another name I have not brought up but there is alot to like. He is another Brush kid. His name is Carlutorbantu Zaramo. 6-4 290 rarely looks this good. You hope 6-4 280 moves this well. Has a reported laser timed 5.0 Of all the players I have been talking about Arlington McClinton and this kid are the ones I am most baffled by the lack of offers. Akron is the only offer I am aware of for Zaramo. He could be a defensive tackle. I would try him there first but I think he likely ends up being a great find as an offensive tackle. He has the length you are looking for in a pass blocker and very good feet.
This is a Mark Porter special. He has been encouraging me to take a look at Western Hills receiver Josh Smith for months. There is not a great deal of film out there on Smith but what is out there shows a player second only to Dwayne Stanford. He is that spectacular. He is 6-2 and has a reported 4.43 forty. His only offers are Toledo and Kent so far. If he proves those numbers at upcoming camps an combines he could move into Big Five offer status. He looks like he could be a fine safety too.
So, yet again, this weekend saw another blatant attack on the OSU football team and their players. What is it? Well evidently our players are buying cars. It hardly sounds awful does it? So what’s the problem? The problem is how they are getting them.
There are two dealerships in question but I guess the real link is one salesman. The potential crime is that these players may have received an improper benefit when acquiring these vehicles. So Buckeye nation can slightly exhale knowing that we’re not talking about players being “given” cars. Thank God for that. You only get away with that in Los Angeles where the NCAA can drag their feet until after you declare for the NFL draft. Exhibit B, Cam Newton’s father pimped out his son to the highest bidder and the minute someone came sniffing Cam gets to conveniently declare for the draft while the NCAA thumbs around in their cracks for a few months. No, outside of Big Ten country, these things are par for the course. But here up north, surrounded by the majestic Great Lakes, we are held to a higher standard. If our players so much as sneeze on a little boy’s ice cream money they get investigated.
But this truly isn’t an “OSU is a victim” post that is so popular on the message boards. I really don’t want to come off as “the media hates us”. Buckeye nation is brimming with whiners. I’ll comment on the double standard, but then I’ll agree, because Buckeye nation should be held to a higher standard. Why? Because WE ARE A HIGHER STANDARD. We’re just not walking the walk lately. And that is disappointing. No matter how you slice it, we are screwing up royally.
It’s not as if this is anything new. It’s not as if all of a sudden, unbeknownst to us, we just found out that these players are driving around in nice cars. This has been going on for quite some time. When Clarrett filed that false police report inflating the value of the items stolen from the Chevy Impala that he was driving, did any of you stop and think “how did Clarrett get a Chevy Impala” let alone all the crap he said was inside it? We’re talking about video monitors, stereo equipment and some cash to boot. All on scholarship money? So we later find out the car was a loaner. Ok, on loan for a day or two while his pinto is in the shop? Nope, he had this car for over a month.
What about Pryor? I mean, every dealership owner is totally cool with letting me test drive their personal automobile for days on end across state lines. Especially when I was in college. Apparently that’s when I was most trustworthy. That story is believable right?
Now we find out it’s not just star players, it’s a bunch of players AND their families. Good Lord.
Don’t fret Buckeyes because this stuff was already cleared by OSU compliance. Whew!!! I knew they were on top of this. Sure they missed years of players cashing in on items that we would cherish our entire lives but are trivial to the players in exchange for tattoos and cash. But buying cars, they were all over it. Color me relieved, except for one thing. I saw a post asking one simple question, If all of this was cleared already then why the INTERNAL investigation? Hasn’t there already been one? Hasn’t it already been cleared? So what if the Dispatch thinks it’s a big deal. The answer to the Dispatch article is “It’s already been cleared”. Case closed. Story over. But that’s not what’s happening. Instead we muttered under our breath like Latoya Jackson’s mousy voice “we cleared this” and then contradicted the value of that entire “clearing” by announcing our internal investigation. That is ridiculous. Doing this internal investigation is a big announcement to the world “Yeah we didn’t really clear anything and we would hope you guys wouldn’t notice”. For goodness sakes, stick to your guns. What is the NCAA supposed to think now? Obviously the merit of our “clearing” by OSU compliance isn’t very notable. Or else Gene Smith and Gordon Gee would be giving the dispatch the finger right now. Instead we are pandering. That doesn’t look like we’re wimps as much as it looks like there isn’t much credibility in our own compliance department.
A poster on Bucknuts (tippydye) pulled out some sources of his suggesting that these kids were getting deals on the principle value of the car, but their financing sucks. Sounds good right? I’m not so sure. I mean it has the element of honesty if the dealer is at least making money on the financing. But when there is title filed with the county that says it was transferred for a principle value of $0, I’m not so sure how you can explain that. Surely it doesn’t match the note because if it did there would be no financing. There is no balance to collect interest on. So the Thad Gibson thing has me perplexed. But let’s pretend for a second that this is true and these values were slightly lowered below blue book and the income was made up on the back end through interest. That still doesn’t answer one more question. How are these kids paying for this? I can understand kids with jobs, but our athletes are full time athletes. And their jobs won’t cover a regular monthly note. I can understand kids who bought cars in high school. But that doesn’t apply here. I can understand rich kids whose parent help or have some kind of trust fund. But I think we can all agree that’s not the case here.
So the biggest question remains, how are these players paying for these cars?
Why aren’t we, as Buckeye Nation, asking these questions? Why are we dismissing these issues? Why are we enabling this element around our players?
Maybe this will turn out to be nothing. And I hope it does. But I still see cause for concern. And if anything, this story keeps OSU in a negative light to the nation, the media and most importantly, the NCAA. When do we quit getting angry about the media bringing up the issues, and start getting angry at ourselves for these issues even existing?no comments
A few years ago there was a movie called the Perfect Storm. The movie centered on the fate of the crew of the Andrea Gail. A combination of three weather events came together to create a storm that caused $208 million dollars in damage. There are three events coming together right now for Ohio State that could make Buckeye fans see $208 million in damage as getting off light.
Here are the three factors that are coming together to create the Perfect Storm for The Rivalry:
- Back in January I did a blog about the rivalry being back. That the hiring of a true Michigan man, and a fine coach, in Brady Hoke would reignite the greatest rivalry in American sport. As usual, Buckeye fans dismissed it. That happens alot when fans don't want to hear something.
- Tattoogate happened. It created a situation where recruiting is in an all-out stall. At the end of last week there was more fallout as news that the purchase of approximately fifty cars by Buckeye players was being investigated. I know this came up before with Thaddeus Gibson a couple of years ago. I think this will end up with JT being cleared of any wrongdoing but it is impacting the national perception and hurting recruiting as other staffs will keep hammering away with negative recruiting tactics that will be hard to counter. It will at least put the staff in a situation where Ohio State is facing an uphill battle. It is hard to state your case when you first have to defend yourself. It is tough to play offense while you are playing defense. Several recruits admitted to Bucknuts off the record last week that the dark cloud surrounding the program is impacting their recruitment. Running back Brionte Dunn was offered and committed early. He has now opened up his recruitment. When a player is offered and commits early that is a sign that things have changed. Early commits are the players who are true believers in a program.
- This is a class for the ages in the state of Ohio. The dirty little secret of The Rivalry is the fact that Michigan has been at its best when it has recruited Ohio well. That has not happened for some time. The Buckeyes have limited scholarships. There has never been a year when that has been a greater hindrance.
What this adds up to is Hoke is already having a major impact. I don't care if you reincarnate Vince Lombardi. You are not going to win without top players. Hoke is now getting the kinds of players who can make a difference in The Rivalry. Fans want to dismiss some Michigan verbals because the Buckeyes did not offer them. That is a mistake. In the past it has been true. This year it is not. We have talked about the great class and the lack of scholarships for 2012. That is the difference. Colerains Joe Bolden recently committed to Michigan. He is a player who I believe would be odds on to be a Buckeye offer if there was room. Lyndhurst Brush athlete Pharaoh Brown is the most recent to commit to Michigan. There is no doubt he is a Buckeye caliber athlete. I would have been fine with a Buckeye offer to tight end, but soon to be offensive tackle A.J. Williams from Sycamore. I don't think the Buckeyes need guards but if we did I would be touting Cincinnati Oak Hills guard Caleb Stacey for an offer. He is a Michigan commit. There is a player out there that had a Buckeye offer but accepted a Michigan offer. Linebacker James Ross accepted a Michigan offer out of the blue. He is from Michigan but the buzz was that Ohio State had a really great shot at landing him and may in fact be the team to beat. Hoke convinced him to stay home. Some other players who the Buckeyes have offered are leaning Michigans way with elite offensive line prospect Jordan Diamond and elite defensive lineman Chris Wormley from right here in Ohio being the most coveted.
The NCAA needs to come forth with their decision. Recruiting is the heart of any sports program. I say that the delay in announcing the sanctions is a penalty in its own right because of the impact on recruiting. If there is no announcement soon the kind of players who can change The Rivalry quickly will be wearing maize and blue.
I recently posted a blog about coming back home and circling the wagons with recruiting. The Buckeye staff is apparently not ready to do that. There is more evidence out there that the recruiting effort is foundering a bit. The delay by that ridiculous antiquated organization, the NCAA, is showing some impact on recruiting. Some Buckeye targets are now admitting they are paying attention to what is going on.
I am thinking the staff will have to come back home to find players to fill out the 2012. With the talent instate that is not a bad thing. There are going to be some elite players off the board. There was never an attempt to recruit Taylor Decker, now committed to Notre Dame, and Benny McGowan committed to Michigan State. There are some others off the board but that does not mean the staff would have to come back late in the process to a picked over state of Ohio. I see some real gems out there that might still be open to listening to the Buckeyes late if contact is made soon. That is another advantage of such a great class. More good players are flying under the radar.
I talked about Tony Matteo on Tuesday. He tops the list. I think once he gets to camps he is a Big Five offer player. I learned something about Matteo since Tuesday. In that impressive film he is only 16. If those games were early in the season he is just barely 16. He won't turn 17 until early in the season next year.
Tyvis Powell 6-4, 180, Athlete, Bedford. The more I watch him the more impressed I am. His offer list is nothing in comparison to his talent. I think staffs may be trying to project him and that is holding up offers. Is he a ball hawking free safety? Is he an in the box strong safety? Is he going to grow into a linebacker? He is 6-4, long and lean. Is he going to grow into a defensive end? The kid is a great looking athlete. Stop worrying about it. Let his body go where it is going to go. He is going to be a great player no matter what position he ends up at.
Nana Kyeremah, CB, 5-11 170, Thomas Worthington. This could be the fastest football player in Ohio. He is a willing tackler. His paltry number of offers leaves me slack-jawed. He has not taken the test yet to my knowledge. Maybe that is the hold-up.
Evan Jones, 6-6, 240, Athlete, Ridgewood. I don't know how long Jones is going to fly under the radar. Since the last time I talked about him he has picked up offers from Michigan State and West Virginia. I hear the Buckeyes are showing interest. I love the versatility of Jones. He could be a great tight end or strong side end or maybe even a three-technique.
Kurt Laseak, 6-4, 220, DE, Mentor. A very athletic big who lines up all over the field who I see a standup 3-4 defensive end.The knock is he is not a big framed kid but that is about him playing as a 4-3 defensive end. He is so long you can't help but see an edge player. I don't know if he is going to get more than about 240 with his frame but that is just fine for a 3-4 weakside linebacker. A coach whose team played on a different night than Mentor went to watch Tom Strobel. He did not know his number. He came home thinking Laseak was Strobel. A friend whose opinion I respect greatly went to see Mentor a few weeks before. He did know what number Strobel was but came away convinced Laseak was the better prospect. His only offer is Kent. This is the sleeper of sleepers.
James Sanford, 6-2, 180, Safety, Xenia. He needs to get his grades in order. That may take until late in the recruiting process. At that point the highway will be jammed with coaches trying to get down to offer this elite athlete. I say athlete because some might want him at wide receiver.
LaKeith Walls, 6-3, 210, Athlete, Cleveland Rhodes.Walls offer list is nothing compared to what it should be. No word on his grades. That could be it. Rhodes is off the beaten path in an area of the state where it is easy to fly under the radar.
My most recent entry seemed to be mostly about the lack of an offer to Benny McGowan. That is true but there is more to it than that. I failed to mention the fact that the Buckeyes are focused on national recruits that are not currently favoring the Buckeyes. I could not be happier that Evan Goodman ( http://rivals.yahoo.com/video/highschool-football/Evan-Goodman-621516 ) , the five-star offensive lineman from Florida, has decided to come up for a second visit. That is huge that a kid from Florida wants to come back again before the season starts. He still has not named a leader. Neither have Jordan Diamond nor Jonah Pirsig. The buzz is Diamond is a Michigan lean. When push comes to shove most insiders believe Pirsig is likely to stay home in Minnesota with new head coach Jerry Kill. Even if he doesn't there will be a dogfight between Ohio State and Wisconsin. If I felt the Buckeyes were leading for any of those players I would not have felt the need to comment on the loss of McGowan because as impressed as I am with McGowan, I would take Diamond or Evans or Pirsig over him.
Another thing. The national offensive linemen the Buckeyes are recruiting are likely to go down to the wire on decisions. I don't like the staffs history of finishing. Last year was an exception. Most years we do not see the staff pull off any late recruiting season coups. That is not really a knock on the staffs ability to close. To pull the undecided your way means saying and doing things that make a decent man want to take a shower, and still not feel clean. I understand and support the decision by Jim Tressel and staff not to get down in that mud pit. However, it does mean I do not like the Buckeyes chances with players who are undecided in mid-January. One last thing. I believe out of state recruiting is so much about success at putting players in the NFL at that players position. The track record is not impressive at all.
That brings us full circle on what got me so upset about the McGowan commitment. I am in better spirits today. You can thank Mark Porter for that. He sent me a film that pulled me out of the doldrums.
Akron Manchester offensive lineman Tony Matteo ( http://scoutingohio.com/index.php/view-profile.html?task=userProfile&user=6924 ) is a big time kid who looks to me to only be lacking the publicity, and the level of competition, to be in the discussion with Kyle Kalis, Kyle Dodson and Benny McGowan. He is a great run blocker. I would give McGowan a slight edge but this kid is adept at knocking people down. He is longer at 6-5 and has longer arms. We get to see him pass block on his full film. He shows really good feet. He does a good job of locating and staying in front of rushers. He is quite agile, a very fluid athlete. Gets out quickly on second level blocks and executes them well. One thing that appeals to me more about Matteo is the fact that while I think McGowan could play tackle I am more sure Matteo could because I can actually see him pass blocking. The pass blocking film is as a center so we are not talking about blocking some explosive elite athlete on the edge, but I like what I see. Speaking of center, well, he is a center. That is a big plus. This is a kid who could be the more versatile player. He could play any of the guard spots as well as center and might be able to kick out and be a tackle. The timing is another issue that plays well in Matteos favor. He has no offers that I am aware of. He is a small school kid who is going to have to camp to get the big boys involved. The staff could have a better idea of where the Buckeyes stand with the national kids and the picture with Kyle Dodson could be should be, clearer at that time.
Keep Tony Matteo in mind. He could be a gem of a fallback player.
Saturday was not red letter day for Ohio State and offensive linemen. Outstanding Centerville offensive lineman Benny McGowan committed to Michigan State. There were some warning signs that McGowan would not wait too long for an offer. If anyone can explain the offensive line recruiting strategy to me I would love to hear it.
Last year The Buckeyes jump very early on some raw unknown instate guards. Had a cup of coffee with the nations best left tackle prospect in Christian Westerman but decided to not recruit him beyond that. I have solid information that the Buckeyes would have been in the mix for him if the staff had decided to offer and recruit him. Nobody tried to come in and change the minds of those unknown raw instate prospects even after Ohio State offers brought them into the spotlight. Not a single offer was made to any of them that I am aware of after they committed. Their rankings did not improve.
This year we come back and the strategy appears to be a national one with offers from Florida to Minnesota to Illinois to top offensive linemen. Starting nationally and working your way back home makes sense to me. It is harder, so much harder than fans think it is, to recruit out of state. Get in on them early. We did not do that last year. Last year we jump very early on some players that we could have gotten in January. If there was ever a time to go local first it is this year.
This is incoherent. There is no way you can argue that last years guard prospects were better prospects than Benny McGowan. Look at the offer lists if nothing else. Recruiting coordinators make a very comfortable living making decisions about players, so we can use them as a comparison. You want to argue that schools stopped offering the Buckeye offensive linemen last year because they were verballed? Other schools continue to offer Kyle Kalis. Brionte Dunn and Warren Ball continue to rack up offers despite being committed. Don't try to argue McGowan is a guard. He plays guard in high school. We have never seen him play tackle. Look at his film when he is in space. He looks very capable of playing right tackle. That should not matter anyway. Remember, Bollman wants versatile linemen. The guard argument does not explain the lack of an offer to Notre Dame commit Taylor Decker, who also had offers from Michigan and Wisconsin. You want to have faith in Jim Bollmans decision making on offensive line prospects, I would ask you what you base that faith on. What is the measure of success that I am not seeing? It can't be the NFL draft. The draft was completed Saturday. Neither Bryant Browning nor Justin Boren were selected. Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State and Nebraska from the Big Ten put linemen into the NFL. Lehigh, South Carolina State, Arkansas State, Appalachian State, Missouri State, Montana State and Slippery Rock all put offensive linemen into the NFL. I did not know the was a Missouri State or a Montana State. The Buckeyes have not had an offensive lineman drafted since 2008. There have been four offensive linemen drafted since 2006.
I talk about line play so a good number of the coaches I speak with are currently or were at one time offensive line coaches. Some have come in contact with coach Bollman. They believe he can teach. I read a presentation coach Bollman did at the C.O.O.L clinic. That is a coaching clinic that is just about coaching offensive linemen. It was impressive. I will never believe in his versatile linemen principle but I think coaching them up on blocking techniques, he knows his job.
This is about recruiting. One coach told me this. "He believes there are centers and everybody else. Because he believes linemen are so interchangeable it affects the way he recruits. I see one left tackle. He sees a handful. In turn that affects the numbers. Since he believes all his lineman can play anywhere he does not see the need for numbers."
Something else stands out about recruiting to me. Look at the success rate going off the board with offensive linemen. What I mean by going off the board is taking a player that nobody else is high on. That no other top programs have offered. There has been one success in all these years, Kirk Barton whose next best offer was Ohio U. That to me is significant about evaluating talent. I was listening to Mike Mayock discussing the decision to draft either Jake Locker or Christian Ponder, I can't remember which. He said that the M who went off the board like that "owns" the pick, meaning that GM is completely responsible for success or failure of that pick. If it goes bad, the finger is pointed directly at him.
At some point we have to face that the way the Buckeyes are recruiting offensive lineman is not working. Jim Tressel will never fire a coach. I don't know if there is cause to fire Jim Bollman as offensive line coach. Stripping him of recruiting decisions seems like a long overdue move.
The one position that I am happiest about coming out of spring is cornerback. Going in all the talk was about Travis Howard and Dionte Allen as the starters. You know I found that disturbing. That a kid could transfer in from a lesser program, sit out a year, and still be the starter was not something I wanted to hear. Dominic Clarke has taken the confidence he found from his solid performance in the Sugar Bowl and is ready to claim the job opposite Howard. I say ready to claim, not already claimed, because Brad Roby had a great spring. He could be the starter too. Allen is there in the mix. Howard is ready to be a superstar. He seems to get better with every rep. Going into spring I saw corner as a weakness. I now see a strength in both talent and depth.
I see a ray of hope with the incoming freshmen offensive linemen. Tommy Brown did not have a good day in the spring game. Some earlier film of a practice that Bucknuts got hold of showed he did not have a good day there either. Tommy Brown is 18 years old. He is 5 months removed from high school. He may even still be 17. I was not 18 until August after I graduated. I knew quite a few others in the same boat. He is out of position at tackle. As frustrating as it is we might as well get used to it. Jim Bollman is going to try to play guards at tackle in his desire to have versatile linemen. What I like is the different body I saw out of Brown compared to the body I saw at the end of the football season last year. I like that he showed the kind of commitment to get into a college program early and to get his weight down. Yes, he got whipped pretty good when I saw him but I never saw him loafing. He was playing hard.That commitment and his willingness to work, along with moving him down to guard, could produce dividends in time. I also saw film of Chris Carters senior year. He is clearly a better player than he was as a junior. I had reports that he looked overweight too. I can't see any of that in the film. He is carrying 330, or whatever his weight is, very well. He was moving well. He is the rawest of the incoming freshman but he has the most upside. If he works hard I could see this being the one kid from this class who has a shot at making an impact at right tackle. I also heard that Antonio Underwood played all season with an ankle that would have sidelined anyone else. He played through it to help his team. All good news.
We are hearing that Brionte Dunn has opened up his recruitment. He has already visited Michigan. He is concerned about what he is hearing about the future of coach Tressel. Some are trying to argue with me that this is overblown. They cite the verbal of athlete Frank "Frank E" Epitropolous. I cannot take that seriously. This is a kid whose Dad and his Uncle not only went to Ohio State, they played at Ohio State. His sister is currently at Ohio State. Frank E was going to get an offer from Ohio State and say no? Come on, man. This is a problem. The NCAA needs to make a decision so the Ohio State powers that be can get on with whatever they are going to do based on the NCAA penalties. It is hurting beyond the penalties that may be levied. This is a class for the ages in Ohio and Ohio State is getting pounded with negative recruiting.
It looks like the Buckeyes have landed a fullback recruit. I have always been a fan of in-roster recruiting. I noticed David Durham on the scarlet sidelines in the first half. I saw him wearing #33. I was not sure if that was always his number. Odd that would be for a recruited DE/LB to be on the offensive sideline no matter what his number was but a number change would be a significant development. I forgot about the issue but it came up on the Bucknuts board. I never noticed him in the game. Others said they saw him in the game at fullback. I did not notice him in the game. Both Zack Boren and Adam Homan are juniors. It was time to start looking for a fullback again. I hate to spend scholarships on fullbacks. A couple of years ago the Buckeyes had three scholarship fullbacks. That kept me up nights. Durham is a talent but he was buried on the depth chart at end. It was going to get worse when Farris, Hayes and Miller arrive. This is an opportunity to salvage what amounts to a lost scholarship.
I have looked back at the spring game again. I wanted to take another look at the quarterbacks.
Going in I thought this thing was a done deal. Bauserman was going to be the starter. He was a senior. It really came down to that. He was the most veteran so he would know the offense the best. Tressel likes to play hard working upper classmen to pay them for their service. There was going to be no controversy about benching him when Pryor returned. Bang. Three strikes you're in.
I never heard anything this spring that said any quarterback separated himself from the others. I heard Graham looked the best but not so much better than any of the others that he had won the starting job. I heard Braxton Miller showed flashes of brilliance but also showed that he was an 18-year old who was in high school just 5 months ago. There was no reason for me to think anything had changed to make me believe that Bauserman would not be the starter. That all changed for me after the spring game.
My thinking was Bauserman, or whoever was going to be the starting quarterback, would be handing the ball off alot. I still believe that but alot is not exclusively. We are going to have to throw it some. Watching Bauserman throw in the spring game gave me flashbacks to the Illinois game when Pryor went down and the staff put the veteran Bauserman in. By the time Pryor was forced back in the game the
overwhelming consensus of the people in my house was we needed tostop throwing the ball with Bauserman in there. After watching the spring game I have to say I saw the same quarterback as I saw in the Illinois game. We are going to have to throw it some. I can't see Bauserman not hurting us with his passing even throwing it 15 times a game or less. Whether he throws interceptions is obviously the biggest worry. Nobody will forget the interception he threw that three Illinois players had a better shot at than the Buckeye receiver he looked to be trying to throw to. Becoming one dimensional is the end of your offense. When any competent DC knows you cannot throw the ball they have you. At that point they stack against the run and you lose the field position battle. That will not do against Michigan State and it might not do against Miami. The defense constantly having to defend against short fields is a recipe for disaster. It is a recipe for 3-2 not 5-0.
Braxton Miller was easily the best quarterback on the field. After that you can decide whether you liked Taylor Graham's arm better or Kenny Guiton's feet better. I think starting either Miller or Taylor creates the possibility of a quarterback controversy when Pryor comes back. The passing offense struggling, let alone being key to a loss, starts a quarterback controversy much earlier.