For a second straight year, Ohio State may land what could arguably be labeled the best recruiting class in the country. As successful as the Buckeyes have been under the Tressel regime, Buckeye nation has never seen such a multitude of talented players give their pledges to Ohio State as they have had in droves over the past two recruitment periods.
Let that sink in for a moment. Tressel has been doing so much with albeit good to great talent, but he has never had the luxury of the elite talent that has all of the sudden kicked Ohio State's proverbial front door right down. Call it what you want: the Terrelle Pryor factor, the BrewCrew, or whatever other factors you wish to attribute it to. The fact remains, Ohio State will be a mainstay at the top for the immediate foreseeable future.
I recently broke down Ohio State's current verbal committment's in the article's Checking in on Ohio State's 2009 Recruiting Class Part One and Part Two. Now that you're caught up on those future Buckeyes, let's analyze the situation that is currently presenting itself.
The 2009 class currently sits at twenty-four commitments, one shy of the maximum twenty-five limit. The Buckeye's are rumored to be in on a handful of player's whom could give their verbal commitment to play in Columbus next year. So how is Ohio State going to go about fitting those players into an already packed class? Follow closely on this somewhat confusing process and find out.
Last season's recruiting class totalled out at twenty prospects, with a few enrolling early, resulting in those early enrollee's being counted toward the previous recruitment class. With that said, the 2008 class technically consists less than the said twenty players.
The same process can be applied to the 2009 class. Any prospect who intends to enroll early in the 2009 class, is to count toward the 2008 total. With the 2008 total so far under the twenty-five player limit, it then allows this current class to surpass the maximum cap, and could realistically reach thirty prospects. The only number that matters at this point is that of the 85-man roster limit.
Confused? Don't worry, just reread that a couple of times and it will eventually hit you smack in the face much as it did me.
Enough of the laymen termed (or lack thereof) bylaws, let's move on to the remaining prospects still on Ohio State's radar.
First up is Marcus Hall, an offensive lineman hailing out of Cleveland Glenville, a traditional pipeline of talent for Ohio State such as Troy Smith and Ted Ginn Jr. Hall is one of the premier lineman in the country and is currently looking at LSU, Illinois, Tennessee, Miami, and obviously, Ohio State.
Seeing that Hall is from Glenville High School, don't expect a public announcement of where Hall intends to play until the letter of intent is signed sealed and delivered to the fortunate institution. Traditionally, Glenville players are encouraged to take their time in the recruiting process as to gain maximum exposure for teammates who may be currently flying under the radar.
Marcus has impressive size and strength, and excels in run protection more so than pass protection, making him an ideal guard at the college level with room to improve to the outside at tackle. With his good footwork, and ability to drive block at the point of attack, one Marcus gets locked on, hang on for the ride, as he will more than likely finish strongly.
Hall is considered to be a Buckeye lean, especially after he labeled his official visit to Ohio State as a "10", but with a recent update, he seems very adamant about visiting LSU. He may just be playing the "recruiting game", or he may legitimately be looking to get out of Ohio. Either way, we will most likely find out on National Signing Day.
Until then, sit back and chew on these highlight's of Marcus Hall in action.
Next up on the list is Corey Adams, a defensive tackle prospect out of Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. Corey seems to be down to three schools of choice: Ohio State, Arizona State, and Southern Cal. Those in the know feel that it is down to OSU, a childhood and family favorite, and ASU, the hometown team. It will comedown to whether or not Ohio state can convince Corey that the distance factor will be worthwhile for not only his future, but substantial playing time as well.
Adams, like Hall, is considered to one of the premier prospects in the country. Corey has an ideal frame to build on as a defensive tackle. With opportunity to add bulk to an already impressive build, Corey and his physicality and quickness puts his potential off the charts. His disruptive hands makes him a force as a pass rusher, as does his ability to get low and square.
One of Ohio State's biggest areas of need is that of defensive tackle, making Adams a priority for this class. The opportunity to come in and compete for immediate playing time is realistic, but it may not be enough to lure him out of his backyard and away from current teammates currently committed to Arizona State.
Look for Corey Adams to announce his decision at the Under Armour All-American game on January 4. Until then, enjoy Corey and his highlight reel.
Moving on, the next player essentially fell into Ohio State's lap as a direct result of Tennessee's hiring of Lane Kiffin as their next head coach. Tajh Boyd out of Phoebus High School in Hampton, Virginia, was told by Kiffin that "you aren't our type of quarterback, and won't fit our system." Boyd then decommitted and now is down to three schools: Ohio State, Oregon, and Boston College.
Boyd is an impressive quarterback prospect, and is one of the elite talent's at the position this year. Watching his game film, he strikes a scary resemblance to former Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith, a player Boyd says that he idolizes. Tajh has impressive arm strength, and is just a natural born leader with plenty of poise. The mechanics are there, the legs to label him a dual threat are there, the only thing that may need improvement is decision making, as he tries to force things with his "live" arm. Anyway you slice it, this kid is a serious talent as a signal caller.
Boyd recently visited Columbus with his family and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the players and watching bowl practices. He also made the long trip out to Oregon by himself and came away impressed with the facilities and setting.
Here is another case where distance may be the biggest factor, but favors Ohio State this time. Oregon presents the opportunity for immediate playing time but Ohio State would allow him to grow behind Pryor and also have close proximity to his family. Boyd will be appearing in the Army All American game on January 3, and could very well make his decision at that time. If not then, expect another National Signing Day decision from a top flight prospect.
Shifting focus now to the next player on the list, and certainly not one who lacks talent, is that of Marlon Brown, a wide receiver out of Harding Academy in Memphis, Tennessee. Marlon is currently being wooed by a who's who of SEC football in Tennessee, Florida, LSU and Georgia, to go along with Ohio State. Many feel that Georgia and Ohio state are the lead dogs for this prospect, and not in state school Tennessee.
Brown has impressive size at 6'5" and great speed, both of which make him a rare breed. The do-it-all prospect is about as physical as you can find when going for that ball, using his body to shield the ball, as well as going over the middle with no hesitation. His big hands and ability to out-muscle make him an ideal redzone target.
The only downside to Brown's game isn't Brown himself, but rather his competition, or lack thereof. While still very impressive, he will have to undoubtedly prove himself in the Under Armour All American game on January 4. Brown has made it known that he is a National signing Day decision, so in the meantime, get a taste of what Brown can do for you.
The next player has recently popped up on Ohio State's radar, similar to that of fellow Virginian Tajh Boyd. Morgan Moses has apparently shown interest in the Buckeyes and wants to give them a look. Moses plays out of Meadowbrook High School in Richmond Virginia, and also considering such schools as Alabama, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, among others.
Morgan is built like a house, and it's not that far of a stretch when I say that. At 6'7" and 345 lbs., Moses is obviously an attention grabber. He has shown that he is a nice run blocker, but struggles against the speed rush. Morgan's footwork need a bit of fine-tuning as does his technique, but with his impressive physical measurables, no one will let those facts scare them away.
Morgan will be playing the Army All-American game, and whether he makes his decision at that time is not known.
The last two guys currently left on the table certainly aren't slouches in terms of talent. Mike Edwards and Jayron Hosley face slim chances of receiving a Buckeye offer, and barring any decommitments or other surprises, it seems as if Edwards has come to that realization and is looking around. Edwards is an athlete out of Cleveland Glenville who had been wanting and waiting for an OSU offer, while Hosley is a corner back out of Delray Beach Florida.
Hosley is an interesting case, as there would be a lot of ground gaining to be done, but a visit would go a long way in helping that cause. Jayron currently likes Michigan, South Florida, and Louisville. Edwards seems to be leaning toward staying in state at Cincinnati. Keep a watchful eye, as these types of situations tend to heat up as signing day approaches.
So there you have it, the potential to seal up not only the top class in the nation, but one of the most impressive classes under Jim Tressel to date. These are definitely exciting times for Ohio State fans, despite the national perception and the constant badgering by the media on the state of the program. Fear not buckeye fans, because the elite prospects aren't buying into it.