February 4, 2009
When Jim Tressel was hired as Ohio State's head football coach back in 2001, there were concerns among Ohio State fans that Tressel would not be an effective recruiter.
After all, Tressel had spent 15 years as the head coach of I-AA Youngstown State. How would Tressel do against the big boys on the recruiting trails?
After signing another highly-ranked recruiting class, the question should now become: How does Tressel do it year after year?
Below are some observations I would argue about Tressel's recruiting philosophies:
1. Concentrate on Signing the Top Players in the State of Ohio
Cooper had a very good eye for talent, but did not cultivate relationships with the top high school coaches in Ohio. As a result, some of the top talent in the state of Ohio left to play for other programs, including Michigan.
The most notable examples are Ricky Powers, Desmond Howard, and Charles Woodson, Ohioans who spurned Ohio State.
On the other hand, Tressel was well-known and respected by coaches throughout the state as a result of his tenure at Youngstown State. He was the favorite of these coaches to be Cooper's successor.
Does this necessarily mean that these coaches will steer players to play for Jim Tressel and Ohio State?
Not at all.
Jim Tressel will rarely lose out on a top player from the state of Ohio.
2. Focus beyond Football
Comparable to Woody Hayes, most of the players who sign at Ohio State usually say that Tressel rarely discussed football during their recruitment. Woody Hayes was famous for recruiting players' parents.
After Hayes ensured a player's parents that their son would earn his college degree
while playing at Ohio State, most of the time, the player signed with Ohio State.
I believe Tressel uses a different methodology, although just as efficient. One of Tressel's key coaching tenets, The Block "O" Of Life
, is meant as a guide and pathway to help a player develop beyond his talents on the football field and well beyond his days at Ohio State.
3. Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
Ohio State signed 25 players, but only had 30 players in for official visits. The NCAA allows teams to have up to 56 players come per year on official visits. To sign 25 out of 30 visitors shows the Ohio State's coaching staff had targeted players that they not only felt could help their team, but that they felt would want to become Buckeyes. An 83 percent close ratio is impressive.
Here is a link to the class
, as well as a percentage breakdown of where the recruiting class members are from. As stated above, Ohio State will always focus on the state of Ohio, as more than half of the class is from Ohio.