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.
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.
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.
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.
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).