Recruiting Update: 2011 Linebackers

Written November 4th, 2010 by Jim

Crowell will decide between Ohio State and Penn State tomorrow night.

There really hasn’t been much in the way of recruiting news since the commitments of 2012 prospects Brionte Dunn and Kyle Kalis at the end of September. However, the 2011 class will see some action tomorrow night.

Since Trey DePriest chose to head south, linebackers have been one of the most active and interesting areas for Ohio State recruiting. The coaching staff seems to want at least one linebacker in the 2011 class, but who that will be has been a question mark.

Ohio State could get an answer as early as tomorrow night when Maryland linebacker Conner Crowell announces his college destination. He has recently narrowed his choices to co-favorites Penn State and Ohio State and will decide between the two schools.

For a long time I have assumed that Crowell would be Penn State bound due to his east coast ties, but Penn State recruiting gurus appear to be as uncertain as anyone else about his destination. You would think if he was leaning one way or the other they would at least get a hint of it.

Given Penn State’s struggles on the field and the rumored turmoil amongst the coaching staff off of it, I’d say Ohio State has at least a 50/50 shot. We won’t have to wait long to find out.

In other recruiting news, Texas linebacker Anthony Wallace favors Oregon and enjoyed his official visit to Southern Cal (who played Oregon) over the weekend.

Wallace initially reached out to the Ohio State staff with interest, but it appears his heart lies on the west coast and he is not currently as serious about Ohio State as he once was. That may change with an official visit, but for right now it is not looking good for the Buckeyes.

In other linebacker news, Virginia LB Curtis Grant lists Ohio State in his top three along with Florida and North Carolina, but says he won’t be making a decision until signing day in February. Ohio State has a history of not doing well with players that wait until signing day, so lower your expectations accordingly.

Finally, Pennsylvania linebacker Ejuan Price is still deciding between Ohio State and Iowa and he is not likely to choose soon. At one time Price seemed destined to be the next Ohio State commitment but that is clearly no longer the case. The fact that Iowa has come on so strong is not an encouraging development.

All of these negatives with Ohio State targets make the Crowell decision tomorrow night relatively important.

Beyond some hope with 50/50 Price, whose recruitment seems to be trending away from OSU at the moment anyway, there are not many encouraging signs with Wallace or Grant that make you think they will be Buckeyes.

Either way, we won’t be hearing any of their decisions soon.

If Ohio State can lock up Crowell, it would solidify the LB spot inĀ  the 2011 class and ease any worries about the other linebackers that seem to be looking elsewhere. If Crowell heads to Happy Valley, Ohio State may be looking at a late in-state offer or no LB at all in the 2011 class.

That type of scenario wouldn’t be devastating, but striking out at a position is not desirable no matter what the circumstances. Stay tuned.

3 Comments

  1. Greg N.No Gravatar
    November 4th, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Penn St. may be considered “Linebacker U”, but Ohio State’s LB reputation is arguably as good…why are we having such trouble locking one down?

    [Reply]

    JimNo Gravatar
    November 4th, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    A good start would be to look at where the targeted linebackers are from. Maryland, Texas, and Virginia don’t normally send a lot of kids to Ohio State. Losing Trey DePriest hurts in that regard because he was an Ohio kid.

    At the same time, Ohio State has Sabino, Sweat, Bell, Klein, Whiting, Durham (even though he might be a LEO) and McVey (even though he might be a star) waiting in the wings.

    If Durham and McVey do end up somewhere other than LB in the coming years and the Bucks don’t land a LB this year, that would be two years in a row without a linebacker recruit.

    It is hard to say what the issue is exactly(the intimidating depth chart might have something to do with it). The bright side is that at a school like Ohio State two years without a linebacker greatly increases the chances of landing a great one. Kids are looking for early playing time, and Ohio State will give linebackers that opportunity shortly.

    I look for Ohio State to have a big year at LB in 2012 so I am not worried at the moment, regardless of who ends up in the 2011 class. If they struggle finding LBs again in 2012, then it might be time to start worrying.

    [Reply]

    JimNo Gravatar
    November 4th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Oh yeah, add Newsome to the LB depth chart as well.

    [Reply]

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