Recruiting Update: 6/21/11

Written June 21st, 2011 by Jim

One year's recruiting "miss" is next year's commitment looking for early playing time.

The biggest news in this recruiting update is the commitment of Ohio defensive lineman Se’Von Pittman to Michigan State, continuing the theme of doom and gloom for 2012.

Pittman was one of the top players in Ohio with offers from football royalty across the country and a big time target for the Buckeyes.

First, let me say congratulations to Mark Dantonio and Michigan State on a great pick-up. There are obviously a lot worse places a player can choose to go, and Pittman will be joining what is shaping up to be a very impressive group of young defenders for Dantonio and the Spartans.

Second, it is becoming clear that the coaching uncertainty in Columbus is having a negative impact on recruiting (huge surprise there, right?). Luke Fickell is the head coach for the 2011 season and a helluva recruiter, but there is only so much he can do in an incredibly difficult situation. Whether it be the uncertainty of possible NCAA sanctions or the inability to guarantee players who their coach will be in 2012 and beyond, there are some serious hurdles to overcome.

With that said, there is no reason to panic- not yet at least.

First, if Ohio State didn’t receive another commitment in 2012, the 9 players already on board would constitute a decent (albeit small) recruiting class.

Second, there are still plenty of targets left in Ohio for the Buckeyes to reel in. Signing day isn’t until February; the sanctions and head coaching picture will be much clearer before the ink is dry on this class (hell, some of the players heading elsewhere at the moment might even reconsider if/when the dark clouds clear a bit from above the WHAC).

This is obviously a low spot for recruiting, but there are better days ahead.

If I have learned anything from following recruiting for the past half decade or so, it is not to sweat the small stuff.

Miss out on a huge, can’t miss target one year? Guess what? There is going to be another player the next year. Better yet, the Buckeyes will look a little bit better to that player because the hole on the depth chart opens up a chance for early playing time, a luxury that Ohio State almost never has the opportunity to sell a recruit.

A perfect example of this phenomenon is 2005 target and 5-star RB Jason Gwaltney. Some of you may not remember Mr. Gwaltney, but read through his thread on BuckeyePlanet and you will get a sense of the anxiety and anticipation that surrounded his recruitment.

If you will recall, Ohio State didn’t have such a hot year running the ball in 2004, and the Buckeyes needed a stud running back to come in and save the offense. Gwaltney was that guy, and for months Buckeye Nation fretted over whether he would choose Ohio State over Southern California and West Virginia.

Ultimately, Gwaltney chose West Virginia and did, well - very poorly in his exceedingly short career there.

As for Ohio State? Well, they signed a player by the name of Chris “Beanie” Wells in the 2006 recruiting class (not to mention Antonio Pittman exploding for 1331 yards in 2005), and the rest, as they say, is history.

So, don’t sweat the small stuff in recruiting. Ohio State may not have the spectacular 2012 class that we all envisioned when we first heard about the in-state talent this year. Hell, they may even have a below average class. But relax and give it time, even if that time carries over into 2013.

With a clear idea of the sanctions it will be facing and a coach with an extended contract (whether it be Luke Fickell or not), the Buckeyes will be back in a huge way sooner rather than later, no matter what ends up happening in this recruiting class.

As always, read on for new offers in the 2012 and 2013 recruiting classes and for players dropped from the 2012 Big Board (check out the 2013 Big Board too).

New Offers


Andre McDonald (WR)

Highlights: Video #1

Offers: Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota

6’2″ 190 lbs.

Minnetonka (MN) Hopkins HS

Andre McDonald recently re-opened his recruitment after de-commiting from Minnesota. He will be heavily pursued across the midwest and likes Coach Drayton and Ohio State. I wouldn’t put Ohio State’s chances very high at the moment, but you never know.


Jaylon Smith (LB/DE)

Highlights: Video #1

Offers: Ohio State, Purdue, Indiana, Mississippi State

6’3″ 215 lbs.

Fort Wayne (IN) Bishop Luers HS

The younger brother of current Buckeye RB Rod Smith, Jaylon camped at Ohio State recently and the Buckeyes look to be in a great position here.

He has great explosion off the line of scrimmage to go along with speed in the open field. It is easy to see him growing into an outstanding LEO at Ohio State.

Shaquille Wiggins (DB)

Highlights: Video #1

Offers: Ohio State, Cincinnati

5’9″ 175 lbs.

Tyrone (GA) Sandy Creek HS

Shaquille Wiggins is an undersized but very athletic and aggressive DB prospect from Georgia. He went to the same high school as 2012 prospect and Auburn commit Jaquay Williams. Even though the Buckeyes didn’t land Jaquay, this is a good example of why you pursue national recruits even if your chances are slim- you never know who else may be on the team worth recruiting as well.

It is great to establish those recruiting relationships early and often, and this early offer is a nice example of that.

2011 News

The negative impact of off-field turmoil knows no yearly bounds. 2011 PA LB Ejuan Price will not be attending Ohio State. Considering how much he appeared uncertain about his decision even on signing day back in February, this doesn’t really come as much of a surprise. Best of luck to him where ever he chooses to go, but even more so if it is not a Big Ten school (fingers crossed for Pitt).


GA WR Jaquay Williams committed to Auburn.

OH DL Se’Von Pittman committed to Michigan State.

OH WR Cameron Wilson committed to Iowa (no Ohio State offer).


  1. JimNo Gravatar
    June 21st, 2011 at 7:16 am

    For what it’s worth, Kyle Kalis is apparently visiting Michigan this weekend rather than attending an Ohio State camp which he and all of the other 2012 commits had planned to attend to “show support” for Coach Fickell.

    Induce panic if that is your thing, otherwise read this update again and smile because this nightmarish offseason will be over in 74 days.


  2. ErictBBCNo Gravatar
    June 21st, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Excellent writeup Jim. Thanks for the reminder about Gwaltney. I had a vague recollection of a player spurning us for WVU that everyone was upset about, but I couldn’t remember who it was. Now I see why.


  3. Mike RodriguezNo Gravatar
    June 21st, 2011 at 9:27 am

    I agree with the argument that if you miss out on a big recruit this year there will probably be another great recruit the next year but the difference with this situation is that there is a very good chance TSIO will lose out on scholarships which will limit their ability to get the guys they want and if they start missing out on guys and do not have enough scholarships their depth will be greatly affected.


    JimNo Gravatar
    June 21st, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I usually don’t listen to Colin Cowherd very much, and I agree with him even less. However, I have to agree with him when he said that Ohio State’s best 75 players are still better than 9 out of 12 of Big Ten team’s best 85 players.

    It goes back to what your definition of “down” is for Ohio State. With a reduction of 10 scholarships (which seems to me like the absolute worst that the Buckeyes will be hit with), will we be competing for national championships over the next few years? Probably not. Will we still beat most teams in the Big Ten year in and year out? Yes.

    This recruiting class is clearly on hold if not falling at the moment, but like I said, there is a long time between now and February, and there are a lot of things that can and will happen between now and then.


  4. SteveNo Gravatar
    June 21st, 2011 at 11:09 am

    hmmm…what’s up with Kalis —- could be a little too emotionally swayed by outsiders, or maybe it’s negative recruiting or a combo. of the both —- thought he was solidly re-committed after talking to Fickell a few weeks ago. Now, he’s taking a trip up north to scUM. Would love to see this kid stay a Buckeye, but, if he isn’t truly committed and want’s to defect to the dark side, of all places — then good riddance.
    I think a lot of the panic is overhyped, and you bring up a great point —- for every so-called 4 or 5-star recruit you miss out on…the positive side is that it opens up a hole for the following year. This is Ohio State…big-time recruits will still come, whether it’s ’12 or ’13.
    As for Pittman, yeah it sucks we didn’t get him. But, there are so many top-notch DL in the state of Ohio for ’12, there was no way we were going to get them all in the first place. Some recruits would not have looked at OSU because a few other players at his position just signed there, and it works the other way — if a top target at that position signs with another team, then he may more likely to go to OSU because he may see it as an opportunity for playing time right away b/c there’s less competition at his position, initially.
    I’d rather have the kids that truly want to be Buckeyes than the wishy-washy ones. OSU will be fine. These are but mere bumps in the road.


  5. EricNo Gravatar
    June 21st, 2011 at 8:59 pm is reporting that 5 star tackle Kyle Kalis has de-committed from Ohio State (free)

    Kalis states he wants to keep his options open, and will continue to consider Ohio State.


    JimNo Gravatar
    June 21st, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    As I’ve said, there is a long time between now and February. With any punishment from the NCAA known and the head coaching position secured, it is not hard to see Kalis coming back on board with the Buckeyes, even if he commits somewhere else in the meantime.

    Still not fun to see, but the recruiting theme at the moment is patience and perseverance.


    EricNo Gravatar
    June 21st, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    This is the major advantage of having self-reported the violations and having worked so closely with the NCAA. We will know what the NCAA is thinking even before the season starts. That means there’s plenty of time (5 months!) to rebuild the confidence of these kids who have to be worried about their future.

    As Jim says, lets be patient and let things happen.


    JimNo Gravatar
    June 21st, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Just to add, if Kalis ends up committing to Michigan this weekend, which seems like a real possibility, it will be a real head scratcher. As a fan, it is difficult to fathom being “100% committed” to Ohio State one week only to switch over to the dark side the next. Recruiting is never normal or easy to understand.

    At the same time, until that actually happens (if it does), it is best not to jump to conclusions or say anything that you can’t take back later about a young person that is still in high school.


  6. Jeff DeansNo Gravatar
    June 22nd, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Here’s what I don’t understand…

    Why are all these kids in a hurry to make a move? I don’t understand why Pittman, JaQuay, Kalis, etc. don’t hold off their decisions until the August ruling. Why not wait and make a more informed decision?

    It makes sense for Ejuan Price because of the timing with seasons. But the commits would only gain from letting the dust settle and have more information at their disposal, right?



    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    June 22nd, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Good point… I think that recruiting in June will be a lot different than recruiting in November.


  7. JimNo Gravatar
    June 24th, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Lot’s of exciting news out of camp so far and there will likely be more over the weekend, mostly with the 2013 class.

    Stay tuned for our next update early next week.


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