It's coming soon.

It has been a long and arduous off season for Buckeye Nation.

The anticipation and anxiety surrounding the August 12th NCAA hearings alone are enough to put someone on edge. How severely will the NCAA ultimately punish Ohio State for its transgressions?

We can only speculate and hope for the best.

Next up was the resignation of all-time great Jim Tressel and the resulting uncertainty surrounding Ohio State’s next head coach. Luke Fickell is a great defensive coach and an even better Buckeye, but will he be the long term answer to Ohio State’s head coaching vacancy?

We can only speculate and hope for the best.

Finally, what initially looked like a 2012 recruiting class for the ages is quickly turning into another source of concern for fans. As I have mentioned previously, it is still much, much too early to give up on the class, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a source of stress for the next several months. Will Luke Fickell (or the next head coach) be able to salvage the 2012 recruiting class before signing day?

We can only speculate and hope for the best.

Clearly there will be plenty of uncertainty and things to worry about in the coming months. If you are like me, however, you are already so sick and tired of worry and speculation that you have entered a state of comatose. Obviously, being in a state of comatose isn’t very much fun, so I have decided to switch my coping mechanism.

While this off-season has dragged on to the point that it seems like it will never end, the light at the end of the tunnel is coming into view and the season is fast approaching.

Rather than worry about things outside of our collective control, it’s time to refocus our energies on getting excited about the football season that kicks off in 65 days.

Here is a list of some things that I am most excited about for this season and beyond. Read More

Spring Game Primer

Written April 11th, 2011 by Jim

Excited for football yet?

With spring practice well underway and the spring game quickly approaching, it is time to move from “way too early looks” at each position into some more informed analysis based on practice reports.

[Note: I apologize for not getting to the defensive backs in my “way too early looks”.]

This offseason has been a tumultuous one to say the least. The tattoo revelations leading up to the Sugar Bowl and the resulting suspensions guaranteed a shadow over the off season. The additional news concerning Jim Tressel didn’t exactly make that shadow go away.

Fortunately, time heals all wounds, and cracking pads on the field helps to speed up that process- at least for me. After some time off from writing following the Tressel news conference (which is part of the reason why I didn’t get to the DBs), my enthusiasm for football is back in full swing.

So what follows will not only be a look at the DBs for the first time, but also a review of all of the position groups with some updated thoughts based on news from practice. I apologize ahead of time if this ends up being lengthy.

My rebuttal: FOOTBALL!

My attitude this offseason has always been that no matter what happens, when the Buckeyes take care of business on the field everything else will fade into the background.

Redemption through wins.

Off field BS be damned.

Here is a look at how each position is looking heading into the spring game.

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2011 High School All-Star Games Recap

Written January 13th, 2011 by Joe Laing

As promised here is a combined recap of the 3 High school all-star games that we previewed.  Lots and lots to talk about.

Offense / Defense All-American Bowl

In the game that showcased a high number of Buckeye commits our guys really showed out.  Chase Farris was named the defensive MVP for his play on the defensive line.  Kenny Hayes was probably one of the top 3 most recognizable recruits in the game and was talked about all week by the experts. He showed why by performing well in the game. These two were not the only D-line commits to perform well in all-star games, as we will get to further down.

Chase Farris

Derjuan Gambrell scored from the defensive side of the ball as he was able to pick up a fumble and take it back 28 yds to the house.  Ron Tanner and Jeremy Cash also made appearances in this game, but I have not heard reports on their play.

On offense, Nick Vannett, who is a guy that many haven’t talked much about, was very impressive in the game. After seeing him this season and hearing how impressive he looked in the game, I for one am really excited about the skill set he brings to Columbus.  He follows in the footsteps of other Ohio State TE’s that will pride themselves on blocking and have the ability with their huge frame to make plays down the field.

Tommy Brown; not much news during the week or the game.  He will most likely be a red-shirt and fall into the two deep on the inside in a couple years.

The one guy from Ohio that really showed out was Cardale Jones.  He threw for 125 yds, 2 scores, and ran for another.  While he has been hot and cold all year, it really comes down to a test score;  If he can qualify, we will find room for him I think.  I don’t see Braxton red-shirting so there could be at least a year of seperation, and if Braxton turns out to be the star that many believe he will be, there is an opportunity that he leaves early and gives Jones 2 year.  If nothing else, Jones looks like he has the ability to move out to WR for certain plays, especially in the red-zone.

His teammate Shane Wynn also performed well.  He scored a TD and had a block that left many talking as he led the QB to the endzone.  He is tiny, but we might regret this one in a couple years in terms of a weapon we really could have used.  I’m not sure why we are taking a pass on this one, although there have been rumors of grades, but I hate to speculate.  Eilar Hardy and Jarrett Grace are two other guys that played in this game that we might regret passing on in a couple years as well.

Read More

Offense / Defense Bowl Preview

Written December 30th, 2010 by Joe Laing

Checking in with a preview of the Offense / Defense Bowl being played Dec. 31 @ 4. Will be held in Myrtle Beach South Carolina.  TV will only be Comcast in the South.

Practices have been delayed because of players not arriving on time, due to the weather on the east coast.  We could see a very sloppy game because of the lack of practice, even moreso than usual in these all-star games.

Hungry...

“All Eyes on OSU” is one of the storylines for this game.  With 7 committs playing in the game and 6 of them on East team:

  • Toledo Whitmer DE Kenny Hayes
  • Elyria DL Chase Farris
  • Toledo Westerville TE Nick Vannett
  • Columbus Eastmoor safety Ronald Tanner
  • Toledo DB Derjuan Gambrell,
  • Akron OL Tommmy Brown.

On the West will be Florida safety Jeremy Cash.  The game looks to have a heavy Buckeye flavor.

Cash the only Buckeye for the West

The game itself has a large Ohio flavor.  In addition to the 6 Buckeye commits from Ohio, Cleveland Glenville standouts Shane Wynn and Cardale Jones will suit up for the West team.  They were once talked about as being in the running or having offers from Ohio State, but that talk has really died in the past month or so.

Two of my favorite players from Ohio that were not offered by Ohio State are both Notre Dame commitments- Pickerington safety Eilar Hardy and Cincy Colerain LB Jarret Grace, also suiting up for the West side.

The others from Ohio are Westerville OL Ray Ball, who has committed to play at Wisconsin.  Strongsville TE Ray Hamilton Brad Carrico has committed to play at Notre Dame.  Carrico is the only Ohio player playing for the East team.  In total that makes 13 players from the state of Ohio.

Look for a fun and exciting game with a lot of local talent and stay tuned for a post game write up. In the meantime check out this link for updates on practices and any updates on our recruits from our friends at Buckeyeplanet.com.

2011 Recruit Preview…Steve Miller

Written October 26th, 2010 by Joe Laing

tBBC continues our look at Ohio State’s 2011 commits, what they have done on the season, a preview of their upcoming game, and a brief synopsis of what to expect when they get to Columbus.

After a bit of a break last week, we’re back to take a look at our other amazing defense end, Steve Miller, the counter point to Kenny Hayes. Miller, a 6’5” 240 lb DE from Canton McKinley, is yet another in a long line of Ohio kids that have been Buckeyes their whole life, and couldn’t wait to commit to Ohio State.

Coming soon to a QB near you

Steve was probably the first recruit outside of Braxton Miller that was talked about in 2011 class, as Florida came calling early on with heavy interest.   I currently have Steve Miller as the #5 player in the state, with offers from basically everyone in the Big T1e1n, Florida, Notre Dame, WVU, UCLA, Stanford, and Syracuse.

Steve is not the only talented DE on his high school team, as his counterpart is a highly recruited junior, Se’Von Pittman. Pittman currently doesn’t have an offer from Ohio State, but he could very well earn one.  Currently McKinley is 7-2 on the year, and has a huge game this weekend against their rival Massillon Washington (7-2) and Buckeye commit Devin Smith. Win or lose both team should make the playoffs.

Miller has not been as productive in the stat department this year as last.  Last year he was up in the double digit range for sacks, this year he is only at 2 due to a ton of double teams, and chip blocks from the rb’s. Read More

2011 Recruit Preview…Kenny Hayes

Written October 12th, 2010 by Joe Laing

tBBC continues our look at Ohio State’s 2011 commits, what they have done on the season, a preview of their upcoming game, and a brief synopsis of what to expect when they get to Columbus.

This week we switch to the defensive side of the ball, where we take a look at our first verbal commitment of the 2011 class, Kenny Hayes. A 6’5” 255 lb DE from Toledo, he has been a buckeye his whole life, and couldn’t wait to commit to Ohio State.  He has been a fixture at home games for a while now

"Nice Haircut!"

Kenny seems to have become a household name in Ohio, and I have him as the #3 ranked player in the state behind Braxton Miller and Michael Bennett.  He committed early even before official offers could be sent out, so he didn’t have the time to rack up all the letters that many recruits have in their portfolio, but make no mistake Kenny could play anywhere in the country. Hayes’ athleticism is obvious, as he also is an outstanding basketball player earning second team all-league last year.
Kenny is not the only talented DE on his high school team as his counterpart is a highly recruited junior, Chris Wormley, already has an offer form Ohio State.  Currently Whitmer is 6-1 on the year, and has a huge game this weekend against undefeated (7-0) Toledo Central Catholic, home of the one and only Dane Sanzenbacher.  With a win they should win out and win the league, but either way Kenny should have the Panthers in the playoffs again this year. Read More

The next Buckeye in the 2011 class? Only if Vannett doesn't commit first.

Update: Josh Perry verbally committed to Ohio State today, becoming the first commit in the class of 2012. Welcome to Buckeye Nation Mr. Perry!

When you are on a recruiting roll like Ohio State is, it is never too early to look ahead.

But first a quick look at the 2011 class.

Rumors are swirling that TE Nick Vannett (within a few days) and S Ron Tanner (announces on Friday) are both extremely close to officially committing to the Buckeyes.

Also, it appears that Ohio OL/DL prospect Donavon Clark may have earned himself an offer at Ohio State’s Senior Advanced Camp this past weekend. If he did in fact receive an offer, he may be another likely candidate to commit sooner rather than later, even though he says he would like to take some official visits before making a decision.

Regardless of what happens with Clark, with Vannett and Tanner in the fold, that brings the 2011 class to 17 players… before fall practice even starts.

With the 2011 class coming together so nicely, and with many more outstanding prospects waiting to fill those last few spots (Doran Grant, Aundrey Walker), it seems like a good time to take a look at 2012.

The 2011 class is going to be outstanding (no matter who fills the last few spots). The 2012 class could be even better.

I know, I know, you are probably saying to yourself that 2012 is way too far away to be making bold predictions like that. You are also probably saying that I am hopelessly optimistic as well. But seriously, the amount of in-state talent in the 2012 class is tremendous, and there are quite a few verbal offers already on the table. Best of all, it appears that almost every single stand out Ohio prospect has Ohio State as their early and overwhelming favorite.

Still don’t believe me? Well, take a look for yourself. Read More

Recruiting Update: Joel Hale is a Buckeye!

Written June 7th, 2010 by Jim

Wild card!

Alternative title for this update: Christmas in June or The Homestretch.

With the commitment of legacy WR Evan Spencer on Saturday, the class of 2011 has grown to 13 players. That means that the magic number for the rest of the class is 9 (or so I have read). What happens with the last 9 scholarships? that is what I am here to talk about.

Breaking News: Joel Hale has committed to the Buckeyes as I put the final touches on this post. I will leave the text the same, mostly so I look smart.

First I’d like to elaborate on some things from my last recruiting update.

Most importantly, I want to retract my position that Trey DePriest is an “absolute must get” for this class. I based that designation mostly on the fact that if Ohio State lost DePriest to Alabama, that would be two years in a row that the top LB in Ohio left the state for college.

Upon further examination, who cares?

Joel Hale is a Buckeye!

First, Ohio State is absolutely loaded at LB and will be for several years to come, making the position less than a priority for this class.

Second, the way this class is shaping up, Ohio State may have its choice of premier players. This means two things. One, players that wait until signing day may not have a scholarship waiting for them, even if their name is DePriest. Two, since LB is not an area of need at the moment, why not give that extra spot to a premiere player at a position that Ohio State is a little thinner at.

Third, I get a generally bad feeling about the recruitment. When a kid wavers this much early on, it does not lead to good things for Ohio State in most cases. I would love to see DePriest in scarlet and gray, but in situations like this it is better to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. DePriest is an absolute wild card in this recruiting class, but from what I can tell things just aren’t looking good for Ohio State here.

Fourth, the 2012 class features linebackers like Kaleb Ringer and James Ross.

The moral of the story is that DePriest is a wild card for this class, and not an ‘absolute must get’ like I said before.

Read More

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