With such a nice pull on signing day, we had to bring in someone that loves him some recruiting to break down the class. We're pleased to announce Alex from DTI has accepted our offer of a copy of the Ohio State offensive playbook, two chickens and a stained Snuggie and will be coming on board to help cover recruiting and various other Buckeye-bits.
The Senator and his staff brought in a great class yesterday, signing 25 of the nation’s best players. Like every year, the Bucks pulled in some big fish, missed out on some others, but in the end finished with another top 5 class. Here’s the breakdown on what could have been, what will be next year, and what to look forward to in the future for these new Buckeyes.
What Could Have Been
The Buckeyes got two pieces of disappointing news on Signing Day, when Memphis Harding wide receiver, Marlon Brown, chose to attend Georgia, and when Louisville Male athlete, Justin Green, de-committed from OSU, to sign with Illinois.
Brown was rumored in the morning to be headed to Columbus, but all signs in his recruiting process pointed to Athens. Brown is a tremendous athlete, who, at 6’5”, has great size to go along with good speed and a large wingspan that helps to bring in balls that smaller receivers would otherwise miss. I feel, with many questions at wide out this year, he could have competed for playing time right away. The loss of Brown hurts, as hopes were brought up yesterday, but no sensible Buckeye fan could really expect to land Marlon, especially with the those awesome southern alumni pulling on him to stay in the South.
On the other hand, Justin Green, the brother of former OSU defensive tackle Marcus Green, was expected to be a member of this class. Green, who wavered on his pledge during the fall, visited Clemson in early January and came away saying he was still a Buckeye. Green obviously was not happy to be competing for a starting position at corner back, and went shady on the Bucks, visiting Illinois this past weekend where he subsequentially changed his mind. Rumors have swirled that Green was promised a shot at running back and that’s why he chose to sign with the Illini, but I like to think that Ron Zook is simply a cheater. Green’s de-commitment won’t hurt that much, but I wish he would have given JT more time to fill his spot. Thanks Justin!
What Will Be Next Year
Now that the class is signed and delivered, everyone wants to know who will redshirt and who will make an immediate impact next year. Looking at this class, it is very talented, and looking at the OSU depth chart, there is a lot of opportunity to compete for playing time right away.
The most obvious position to look at when you talk about open competition is running back. Chris Wells’ departure leaves the starting job open, with Boom Herron and a gimpy Brandon Saine as the only returning backs. Jaamal Berry and Carlos Hyde should both see the field next year behind Herron, with Berry (4.31/40) playing in spread formations and zone reads, and Hyde (6-1/230) getting some short yardage and goal line carries. Pryor's old Jeanette teammate Jordan Hall, will most likely redshirt and I see him as a future slot guy for the Bucks.
Other players who I see competing for time next year include offensive lineman Marcus Hall, cornerbacks CJ Barnett, Corey Brown, and Dominic Clarke, linebacker Dorian Bell, defensive end Melvin Fellows, and wide receivers Duron Carter and James Jackson (mainly as a return specialist). Hall and Bell are standouts at their positions and will be tough to keep off the field, but the guy I see surprising a lot of people will be Corey Brown. Brown showed what he could do on the offensive end as a receiver in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but can be the next Chris Gamble standing out on both sides of the ball in Columbus.
What The Future Brings
There are other players in the class who can compete for time and may be overlooked for now (see: Nathan Williams last year), but will have to take this year to better themselves and concentrate on how they can help the program in the future. I see defensive tackle Johnny Simon, safety Jamie Wood, and offensive lineman Jack Mewhort as future stars in Columbus, but right now they face log jams in their positions. Of those three, Mewhort and Wood have the best chance at playing time (especially Wood on special teams), but they will have to work hard to compete with returning players. Storm Klein, Jonathan Newsome, and Zach Boren are kids I really think have a chance to develop under the staff and will have a bigger impact than most analysts are giving them credit for. Overall, I think this class will have a tremendous impact at Ohio State and will team up with the great class of 2008 and the future 2010 class to put the Buckeyes into MNC position in a couple of years.