One trend that only seems to be accelerating in recent years is the early enrollment of recruits on campuses across the country. Guys that graduate high school early are eligible to get an head start on their college careers by taking classes and participating in strength and conditioning drills with their teams. Months ahead of their peers, they get an opportunity to immerse themselves in the playbook, impress coaches and more or less, get acclimated to college life.
The first high-profile Buckeye to enroll early, was none other than Big Mo, and while he may have turned in a stellar (albeit turbulent) rookie season, things didn't exactly work out for him after that first year. He's not alone -- for every Tim Tebow and Matthew Stafford, there is a Stephen Garcia. Still, getting that jump can be important.
Last season, Brewster and Shugarts were in school for January with Adams, Sweat, Stoneburner and Sabino joining them by March. It's little coincidence that half of them saw considerable playing time last season with Brewster even going on to win the starting center job.
The Buckeyes have four players enrolled early this season and because of depth situations at their respective positions, all four have a chance to see the field early this fall if things break their way.
The early enrollee seeing the most love right about now is lineman Jack Mewhort. Finding playing time with the first unit will be a challenge for him, but as much as Tressel and Bollman like rolling two lines in games, he has a great shot to crack the 2nd unit and possibly even push for a starting position by midseason.
Linebacker Storm Klein, besides rocking one of the coolest football names you'll see, is already endearing himself to Buckeye fans thanks to lines like this after he signed his LOI:
"I'm just blessed to be able to play a sport I love ... for free."
Good frame, good speed and smarts, he reminds me of Bobby Carpenter a little bit. Perhaps it's because I often lump Newark and Lancaster together when thinking of the towns that ring Columbus, but if he can grow into a Carpenter, we'll all be the better off for it. There are two open linebacker spots, so he could force his way onto the field on defense, but I see a year of special teams hell-raising before he gets in at backer.
The other two early enrollees both have the distinction of being younger brothers of other Buckeyes. Adam Homan and Zach Boren may not be coming in as all-American recruits, but each of them will get crack at the open fullback spot. And when I say open, I mean wide-open. Jermil Martin and Marcus Williams are lingering, but the fullback position has been perhaps the most undecided in each of the last two spring camps -- almost to the point of being an afterthought. And this season, expect to see fewer I-sets. Still, if one of these guys can destroy linebackers, he'll create playing time.