“May you live in interesting times”- Ancient Curse
With news today that PA linebacker Alex Anzalone has both decommitted from Ohio State and is no longer considering the Buckeyes, it has certainly been an interesting week for Ohio State Football recruiting.
First, Lewis Neal acknowledged that his jumping on the Buckeye Bandwagon and that he needed to slow down and assess his future before making a solid commitment.
Anzalone’s change of heart was the second of the week, but could easily be seen as the third; since Buckeye “lock” Mike Heuerman decided instead to head to Notre Dame.
Interspersed in all of this was the story of Charles Waugh, a registered Kentucky sex offender who interacted with a number of Ohio State recruits on twitter and facebook; and even met up with several (Anzalone and Heuerman included) at the Spring Game. For the most in-depth coverage of this, please see the work that Luke Zimmerman did over at Land-Grant Holy Land.
So, here are some things that are currently rattling around the ol’ brainbucket here at Mali Manor:
To be clear- this isn’t a comment on other sites’ decisions; several of the BBN do great work connecting with young adults. Rather, it’s more commentary that we haven’t figured out how to have these types of conversations as carefully as we’d like to, in spite of numerous conversations with the Ohio State Athletic Department.
“Ask before you act” is a great motto to have in this matter, and we’d rather be behind the news than make a huge mistake.
Oh, and believe it or not… It’s a GREAT day to be a Buckeye.
Ah, the joys of a new server to bring you the midweek morass that is SBP. Thanks to everyone’s patience as we had a bit of a sabbatical earlier this week to upgrade the hamsters in the wheel.
Before we get into the usual links and fun-making, I wanted to talk a bit about fan expectations.
Over the past few days, Buckeye Nation has seen both sides of the loyalty of young adults, and hopefully our amazingly rabid fan base can gain a bit of perspective.
First, we watched in shock as Ohio State Senior (and tBBC favorite) Michael Brewster went undrafted in the NFL selection process. Even more shocking was that several centers from inferior programs did not suffer the same fate- Western Oregon? Michigan? C’mon…
While there are surely lots of reasons that this happened, including, as our friend Jeremy Birmingham pointed out, really REALLY poor coaching during his college career, it’s difficult to pinpoint one specific instance that led to Michael falling from a first rounder as a junior to an afterthought as a senior. It could be some of the season’s struggles- Michigan State and Florida both indicated that they could get a jump on their rush due to his rhythm (Might also explain Shugarts’ issues); at times his shotgun was a bit off target as well. It could have also been the “post-season”; reports that he had some challenges at the senior events, rumors of a rift that led to a last minute change of agent. Or, like many members of last year’s team, perhaps all of the off field drama and change caught up with him all at once.
But for Buckeye fans, our feelings of empathy and sympathy for Mr. Brewster were also tempered with another realization- this happened, in part, because he is a Buckeye. No, I’m not insinuating that the NFL is intentionally snubbing Ohio State players- the data proves that to be less than accurate. Instead, I believe the Michael cost himself lots of money because his loyalty to the program and to the coaches wouldn’t let him cut and run in the middle of the chaos.
Granted, we don’t know what went on behind the scenes other than this- of the members of the “Block O/Brew Crew”, Michael was the highest profile recruit and player to not find himself in the papers on a regular basis for off field issues, particularly during the past 13 months. To the contrary, as his friends and teammates (some of whom he helped bring to Columbus) continued to make decisions that led to last season’s issues and were over and over again sanctioned in ways that hurt the team, Brew was the anchor that sought to keep things together. During a time when it would have been easy to jump to the next stage in his career- first round projections, programmatic instability, loss of friends and coaches, Michael chose to stay in the Scarlet and Gray.
And that decision, in part, cost him on draft day 2012.
Let me be clear- Michael Brewster doesn’t need me to be an apologist for him. He’s landed with his home-town team (although Kansas City would have been nice for family reasons), and is bringing the positive attitude and hard work mentality to his current situation in the same fashion that he showed in Columbus. Tuesday’s Dispatch has a great article on where he’s currently at, including this great quote-
Just more people that I get to prove wrong. I think it’s an exciting challenge.
But you’ve got to wonder- if you took off your Ohio State glasses for a minute, and imagined that he was your son or grandson or family friend; If you knew in January 2011 how the season would end up for the Buckeyes, what would you tell him to do? Would you ask him to be loyal to his alma mater, or pursue his dreams in “The League” even if that made Ohio State weaker in a key position?
You’d hopefully choose the career option in your advice- particularly if you had the wisdom of hindsight. And yet, as fans, we often want young adults to think not of their own needs and dreams, but to have the same needs and dreams that we do- to be enthralled with Carmen Ohio no matter the cost.
And that brings us to Lewis Neal. Read More
And the good news keeps rolling, as North Carolina’s Lewis Neal becomes the lucky thirteenth member of the OSU class of 2013.
The 6’3″ Neal is projected as a defensive lineman, and plays weakside end at James Hunt HS in Wilson North Carolina. He visited the ‘Shoe on Saturday for the spring game, which gave us what could easily be the most awesome recruiting photo ever, seen on the right.
Neal’s offer list is a strong one, particularly given that he is rated as a three star by most of the major recruiting sites. He held offers from Clemson, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, and Purdue.
After the jump, you can get a better look at his film- great first reaction and tenacity, although the technique is a bit raw (who’s wasn’t in high school?). From what we hear, he’s just now coming into his own in terms of his abilities, and is a hard worker both on and off the field.
It will be interesting to see if Ohio State keeps him on the line or bumps him back to linebacker- our recruiting team seems to think that this commitment more than makes up for Courtney Love’s decision to head to Nebraska over the weekend.