A team losing 28 seniors, including a three-time All-American linebacker, an All-American cornerback and Jim Thorpe winner, and a NFL-ready running back will usually look to rebuild in the college football offseason.
But as many say about THE Ohio State University, "They don't rebuild, they reload".
How fitting that quote is, especially now since the class of 25 recruits, including seven ESPN 150 commits, is ranked in the top-five recruiting classes on ESPN, Scouts.com, and Rivals.com.
Already with two star running back prospects, a couple of go-and-get-it wide receivers, a plethora of incoming defensive talent, and a transfer of guard Justin Boren from the Buckeyes' rivals in Ann Arbor, the Buckeyes still have eight recruits (four on offense, two on defense, and two athletes) in their sights as National Letter of Intent Signing Day approaches.
Out of these players, four are ESPNU 150 players, and two of those players are High School All-Americans.
These final few "phenoms" have also drawn attention from teams like Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia, LSU, and Michigan among other top teams.
Getting any of these recruits would be icing on the cake, and while some may provide a sweeter frosting than others, any of these "Elite Eight" may give Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes the sweetest surprise of all.
Tajh Boyd, No. 5 Quarterback, No. 59 Overall
CONSIDERING: Ohio State, Oregon, Clemson
Despite the attractive and ferocious Buckeye recruiting class, one gem still is missing from the treasure, a quarterback.
Even though the Buckeyes have a sound starter with dual-threat Terrelle Pryor, they only have two scholarship quaterbacks, Pryor and Joe Bauserman—who was in the same class as Pryor, but same limited playing time.
Boyd is certainly enticed to Ohio State by the two-quarterback scheme put on by the Buckeyes at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. He is more of a developed passer than Pryor, and still is a great run threat.
The fact that the Buckeyes have scarce with signal-callers could be a positive for the Phoebus High School star, as he would get a chance to compete for snaps. Although, he most likely wouldn't start, he would find himself on the field more and more as time passes.
Prior to his Clemson visit, Boyd expressed to some that he was "leaning" towards Oregon, but with the addition of Clemson to his list Boyd has said it's anybody's game.
Marlon Brown, No. 3 Wide Receiver, No. 24 Overall
CONSIDERING: Ohio State, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Ole Miss
With a receiver corps losing experience and skill, it was one of the Buckeyes' top priorities to land a few wide receivers.
They did so by getting players like Duron Carter, son of Cris Carter, James Jackson, and Chris Fields who will be in the mix for starting jobs along with current Buckeyes Dane Sanzenbacher, Ray Small, DeVier Posey, and others.
With the early and questionable departure of junior receiver Brian Hartline, starters time is up for grabs and this could be a huge bargaining chip for Brown. Brown is a tall, strong receiver who is pretty much a starter where ever he decides to go.
Brown would certainly be the go-to receiver the Buckeyes have been looking for. He is a red-zone target and deep threat would would crate a lot of mismatches and provide the Ohio State quarterbacks with a big target.
Speculation is that new Tennessee Volunteer coach Lane Kiffin has heavily recruited Brown, who is from the state of Tennessee. Rumors are the Vols are his favorite, but with the mix of all the other schools, schools like Ohio State still can plead their case on why Brown should bring his presence to their team.
Darren Myles Jr., No. 5 Safety, No. 39 Overall
CONSIDERING: Ohio State, LSU, Florida, Alabama, and Purdue
The Buckeyes entered the chase for Myles late. With lingering questions on the future of their secondary, the Buckeyes entered the pool for a dynamic athlete and ball-hawking safety.
His athleticism allows him to also play wide receiver and quarterback, and although he's not as developed in these two positions as he is at safety, those are two positions with limited numbers for the Buckeyes. Myles could get time at returner too.
The decision of junior cornerback Donald Washington to enter the draft and the loss of senior Malcolm Jenkins to the NFL draft will give players the opportunity to step in.
If Myles were to pledge Scarlet and Grey, he'd get the nod from many fans and coaches to get good amounts of playing time.
Since the Buckeyes were late jumping on Myles, they will have to do a hefty amount of work to convince him away from the SEC schools near his Georgia home.
Morgan Moses, No. 6 Offensive Tackle, No. 49 Overall
CONSIDERING: Ohio State, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia
Moses is a true work-horse. Listed at 6'7'' and 347 pounds of sheer beast, Moses is a must-get for big offensive lines looking to run, yet he can also do a great job at protecting the quarterback.
While the O-Line will be an upcoming strongpoint for the Buckeyes' offense next year, it is always good to add more depth to a line that will face touch Big Ten defenses.
He would certainly compete for a job and if he goes to Ohio State and gets good playing time early, he should be a main-stay on a offense that is dependent on the run, but is surprising with the passing game.
It will be hard pulling Moses away from his home state team Virginia, and Oklahoma has been said to be high on his list, as they are losing a couple of big Moses-sized linemen.
If Moses were to say yes to Tressel's sweater vest crew, the combination of him, J.B. Shugarts, Mike Adams, Mike Brewster, Justin Boren, & Co. should make for a scary, almost "un-penetrable" line that will open up big gaps for the Buckeyes' offense to run through.
Marcus Hall, No. 13 Offensive Tackle
CONSIDERING: Ohio State, Michigan, Miami (FL), LSU, Illinois
Despite being lighter than Moses, Hall is still a big, tall linemen would would pose a threat to any incoming defender.
Hall would also make a great addition to the Buckeyes' offensive line, and Ohio State is in good position to possibly land Hall since he is from Glenville, Ohio, an area where many Buckeyes have come from. One reason is because Ted Ginn Sr., father of former Buckeye Ted Ginn Jr., has been at persuading players to stay in Columbus.
Despite Hall's interests in Ohio State, he was said to have a great time on his official visit at Michigan. He even stated once that they were the front runner, with Ohio State being second and still in the running.
It would be a tremendous let down to see such good talent go to a great, but struggling rival, where Hall would make a good first impact.
Darrell Mason, No. 39 Athlete
CONSIDERING: Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska, Illinois, Akron
Mason is a threat at running back, safety, or linebacker. Mason isn't your normal athlete who is said to always be a speed demon. While Mason has speed, his game is better at wearing you out with each and every opportunity he gets.
Mason would give good depth to the secondary and linebacking core, and despite great depth at the running back position, Mason could find his way to some reps during his career.
Mason is a Ohio native, which could end up being a factor in getting this all-around player.
Jayron Hosley, No. 22 Cornerback
CONSIDERING: Ohio State, Michigan, USF, Louisville, Virginia Tech
Hosley is a good athlete who could play cornerback or safety at the next level.
His presence would be greatly appreciated with any team, as Hosley is a very hardworking player with room to be taught and improve.
USF is the school closest to his home in Florida, and is one of Hosley's top schools.
Steven Gaydosz, Unranked ATH
CONSIDERING: Ohio State, West Virginia, Virginia, Vanderbilt, Ohio
Gaydosz doesn't have much information on him. ESPN has no notes yet, but according to his information (on Maxpreps) he played defensive back and running back, while it seems he played a little on both sides for most of his games last year.
As a native of West Virginia, he has been frequently contacted by local schools, and pending actual review from ESPN and other sites, his presence on any team would have to be determined by the coach.
Nonetheless Gaydosz is a good prospect being recruited by good schools.
I'd love to have all of these standouts at Ohio State for my viewing pleasure along with many others viewing pleasures too.
That's probably not going to happen, but certainly landed a few of them would cap off a great and absolutely promising class.
I, nor Tressel, nor any Buckeye fan is probably a huge Uncle Sam symbol believer, but speaking on behalf of all of Buckeye nation towards these eight recruits:
WE WANT YOU to become Buckeyes, bleed Scarlet and Grey, and continue on the long tradition of All-Americans, Heisman Trophy winners, National Champions, and defend the state of Ohio against Michigan.
(All rankings courtesy of ESPN’s Rankings)
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