After a long hiatus, it’s time to jump back in with some recruiting talk.
Adverse circumstances surrounding the program have obviously impacted recruiting for months, but the 2012 class still has an opportunity to be pretty darn good.
The key will be finishing strong, and the Buckeyes look to be in a great position to do just that.
The biggest concern, as it has been for months, continues to be along the offensive line. Regardless of how the ’12 class finishes, the depth issues there may not be resolved until the ink is dry on the ’13 class.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, here is a look at how the 2012 class will wind down.
With Cardale Jones set to enroll in January, the Buckeyes are done recruiting QBs for the class and are in great shape moving forward.
A verbal offer recently went out to ’13 OH QB Malik Zaire, so if you’re interested in QB recruiting, it’s officially time to turn your attention to the 2013 class.
Anything is possible in the world of recruiting and given the amount of smoke surrounding Dunn, who knows what his future holds.
Regardless of what happens with Dunn, the Buckeyes are likely done at RB in this class, especially with Derrick Green coming down the line in 2013.
[Joe L: With Dunn it will all depends on his visits and who the Buckeyes hire at HC.]
Reports indicate that Michael Thomas is set to enroll at OSU in January with his prep school teammate Cardale Jones. Even though he doesn’t want to announce anything publicly at this point for whatever reason, it’s a pretty safe bet to call him a Buckeye.
There is also a lot of positive buzz surrounding Dwayne Stanford, who is set to announce his decision on November 9th with his teammate Adolphus Washington.
With Roger Lewis already on board, Thomas and Stanford would be a likely and very solid WR haul.
Blake Thomas is verbally committed, and with the next Stoneburner lined up, the Buckeyes are done here.
This is where things start to get interesting.
The Buckeyes currently have Jacoby Boren and possibly Patrick Elflein (depending on which side of the ball he ends up at) in the class, but both project as interior linemen and don’t address the depth issue at tackle.
Last Friday an offer went out to CO OL Alex Kozan. While Kozan will likely be a Buckeye (despite how long it took the offer to go out), he also projects as an interior linemen and doesn’t do much to address the tackle situation.
Kozan could move to tackle if need be, and who knows, he could excel there. Fingers crossed on that one if it happens.
The good news is that they both project as tackles.
The bad news is that it is hard to get a read on either one of them, and the offer to Kozan may be a sign that the staff isn’t feeling particularly confident about their chances at this point.
Nick Davidson is a Buckeye legacy and although there hasn’t been much in the way of recruiting buzz surrounding him, you have to assume that the Buckeyes are in good shape and have an above average shot at signing him in February.
That leaves Jordan Diamond, who would clearly be the crown jewel of the offensive line class. While many have assumed Diamond is a heavy Michigan lean for months, he may be looking around more than originally thought due to a numbers crunch, particularly for offensive linemen, up in Ann Arbor.
Ohio State landing Diamond would be a huge development and something to watch closely, but definitely nothing to hold your breath for as a Buckeye fan.
At this point, an OL class of Boren, Kozan and Davidson would be more than acceptable and a realistic goal.
If Kozan or Davidson falls through, the Buckeyes would really have to scramble to find some bodies (possibly Kevin Mills of Canton McKinley or someone completely off the radar).
I’m not the biggest fan of offensive coordinator Jim Bollman’s effort on the field this year, and his efforts on the recruiting trail aren’t exactly impressing at the moment either.
Whoever the head coach is moving forward, getting some new blood on the offensive coaching staff and reinvigorating the recruiting effort, especially on the offensive line, will be crucial.
There are currently no offers out to a strong 2013 line class in Ohio, and given the situation with the 2012 OL class and the current depth chart, that is extremely hard to understand.
All of Ohio State’s eggs are in the Adolphus Washington basket for defensive linemen, and for good reason, he is the best player in Ohio.
Fortunately, it is looking very good for the home team.
Washington plans to announce his college decision with teammate Dwayne Stanford on November 9th, so stay tuned for that one. That day could be the biggest moment in the rest of the 2012 class (pending a huge surprise from Diamond).
With Elflein and Washington, the Buckeyes will turn their attention to 2013.
[Joe L: Sevon Pittman (Michigan State verbal) is still on the board at DE. Could a change of direction with the program (head coach, no sanctions) sway him?]
Like the defensive line, all of Ohio State’s eggs are in one basket here, and that basket is named Ifeadi Odenigbo. Like Washington, Odenigbo also happens to be one of the best players in Ohio and is one of the biggest remaining targets for the Buckeyes.
Odenigbo is in no rush to make a decision, and he will likely wait until the future is a little more certain in Columbus (long-term coach, known sanctions).
Given where he is from (Centerville), the Buckeyes have an above average shot at landing Odenigbo, and you’d hope that the staff feels pretty good about it since they currently aren’t pursuing anyone else.
I’ll take Roberts and Odenigbo and look towards 2013.
[Joe L: I don't think Ifeadi is going to happen. I am leaning towards an offer for Monheim who should find out one way or the other soon. He would commit on the spot. It is between Monheim and Burger for a late offer.]
There are four remaining players with offers on the board, and they are all basically the wildcards in the class (along with trying to fill the OL spots).
Bam Bradley may feel jilted by Ohio State after a long wait for an offer and things seem up in the air with him for the time being. He projects as a star or possibly even a LB at the next level either way, so he is a bit of a wild card in the class in more than one way.
Jordan Diggs has had the Buckeyes near the top of his list for a long time, and he hopes to set up an official visit in the future. If he makes it to Columbus that would obviously be a positive sign. If he doesn’t make it to Columbus for an official he likely won’t be a part of the class.
Demetrious Cox is from the same HS as Pryor and Jordan Hall, so the Buckeyes have that going for them. He says he “could” take an official to Ohio State, and like Diggs, whether he makes it or not will tell us a lot about our chances.
Gary Simon is a relatively new face on the recruiting board and there isn’t much information on him. He wants to make it to Columbus for a visit, and well… we all know the story at this point.
As I mentioned, these guys are basically the wild cards in the class. Any of them could be a part of the class, but it seems equally likely that none of them will be.
[Joe L: Bam Bradley is probably going to Pitt.]
Epitropoulos says he is focusing on receiver and punting, although he could end up on the defensive side of the ball at safety as well.
Perry is an amazing athlete (read about his exploits in track and field) with great size who could end up anywhere from linebacker, LEO, defensive end or even tight end if need be.
The Buckeyes also have offers out to some uncommitted players, but none of them will be Buckeyes so it’s not worth worrying about.
QB: Cardale Jones
RB: Warren Ball, Brionte Dunn
WR: Roger Lewis, Dwayne Stanford, Michael Thomas
TE: Blake Thomas
OL: Jacoby Boren, Alex Kozan, Nick Davidson
DL: Patrick Elflein, Adolphus Washington
LB: Luke Roberts, Ofeadi Odenigbo
DB: Tyvis Powell, Najee Murray, Devan Bogard
ATH: Josh Perry, Frank Epitropoulos
That is 19 players if you are keeping track, which is right at the upper limit for players in the class.
I feel very confident about Washington, Stanford, and Thomas… we will know for certain within a few weeks for each of them.
I am cautiously optimistic about Odenigbo, but we will have to wait and see what happens after the season with coaching and potential sanctions… if things work out well in both of those areas he should be a Buckeye.
That leaves the offensive linemen and possibly the DBs.
Ohio State is Kozan’s dream school and he has been working to earn a Buckeye offer since fifth grade (his mom is an alumni) so it is safe to assume he will be a Buckeye.
Davidson is an Ohio State legacy but otherwise his recruitment has been fairly quiet. I am going on the legacy angle and assuming he will be a Buckeye.
There may be a spot for a DB (I’m not into crunching the numbers) and if so one of them could very well be a part of the class as well. If Dunn jumps ship that would open up another spot which would increase the chances of that happening.
Jordan Diamond is obviously someone to watch very closely, but at the moment landing him is more of a hope based on the fact that we haven’t been eliminated yet.
This is all based on the current recruiting situation and a lot can happen in the final months before signing day (Urban Meyer coming to Columbus, for instance), but with the possibility of a few surprises thrown in along the offensive line and in the secondary, the 2012 recruiting class appears relatively set.
I, for one, would be very happy with my best guess class.
Knock on wood.
[Joe L: I would keep it open for a surprise or two late in the game with a new coach (Urban Meyer).]
As always, remember to check out our 2012 Recruiting Board and our 2013 Recruiting Board (2014 coming soon?) to see all of Ohio State’s commitments, offered and targeted players, and links to the latest information on players via our friends at Buckeye Planet.