As Chris mentioned in his post yesterday, we are going through the dry season of Buckeye hoops and football and thus have to "create our own jump shots". Since I don't have Big Z or Dwight Howard setting screens for me, I figured I would begin a new segment over the next four weeks looking back at the last four recruiting classes.
This new segment will look at the recruiting classes of 2005-2008, but in a different view than most of you are used to seeing. Instead of looking at the players that the Buckeyes landed in these classes, we will look at the players they offered and missed on. The three categories we will be looking at in each class are: The Ones That Got Away (players from Ohio that turned down OSU), Wish You Were Mine (players that panned out well elsewhere), and Glad We Passed (players that turned out to be busts either on or off the field).
With that being said, here's our first crack at "Looking Back", as we start with the most recent of the recruiting classes we'll be looking at, the class of 2008:
The Full List of Culprits TE Blake Ayles (USC), LB Brandon Beal (Florida), DE Quinton Coples (UNC), RB Aundre Dean (UCLA), WR Michael Floyd (ND), WR Jeff Fuller (Oklahoma), LB Steve Gardiner (MSU), LB Steven Filer (ND), LB Shayne Hale (Pitt), CB Brandon Harris (Miami), WR Josh Jarboe (Oklahoma/Troy), OL Josh Jenkins (WVU), OL Ben Jones (Miami), TE/DE Kevin Koger (Michigan), DE Corey Liuget (Illinois), OL Kyle Long (FSU-baseball), S Dan McCarthy (ND), DT Moses McCray (FSU), TE Kyle Rudolph (ND), WR Cordale Scott (Illinois), WR Kenny Tate (Maryland), DT Brandon Thompson (Clemson), DT Justin Thompson (stayed in JC, now Memphis), RB Richard Watson (Georgia Tech), LB Christian Wilson (UNC), CB DJ Woods (Cincinnati), and LB Mike Zordich (PSU)
The Ones That Got Away Kevin Koger (Toledo Whitmer), Steve Gardiner (Dublin Coffman), Dan McCarthy (Cardinal Mooney), Kyle Rudolph (Elder), Cordale Scott (Glenville), DJ Woods (Strongsville), and Mike Zordich (Cardinal Mooney) all decided to turn down the Buckeyes and play at other schools of their respective choices. The most shocking choice of this bunch was Scott, who was considered a "shoe-in" by some to continue the Glenville-Columbus pipeline and sign with the Bucks. Cordale bucked the trend and shocked Buckeye Nation by joining Ron Zook at Illinois. On the other end of the spectrum, both Dan McCarthy and Mike Zordich of Youngstown Cardinal Mooney had strong ties to the schools they chose to attend. McCarthy's brother, Kyle, played for the Irish and those roots were too strong for the Buckeyes to overcome. Zordich's father played for Penn State, and was a lock for Happy Valley once an offer came his way. The best player to come out of this class so far is Rudolph, who registered 29 receptions for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns in his freshman season and is widely considered the best tight end in his class. The toughest battle lost may be with Kevin Koger. Not only did the Toledo prospect spurn the Bucks, but he went to the dark side, heading up to Ann Arbor, where he showed a lot of promise in his freshman year. Overall the Buckeyes were able to compile a phenomenal class in 2008, so the players they missed on from inside the state didn't effect the recruiting results too much.
Wish You Were Mine This list compared to the other three classes we will look at in this segment is short because it is hard to judge a class after just one year on the field. The players I will put in this category are Josh Jenkins, Michael Floyd, Brandon Harris, and Kyle Long. Jenkins was openly deciding between his home-state school in West Virginia or driving the short distance over the border to become the fourth member of "Block-O" with Mike Brewster, Mike Adams, and JB Shugarts. It seems Jenkins ticked off a few of his classmates with his choice to become a Mountaineer, but his decision (which was based on the depth chart supposedly) seemed to have paid off as he saw action in 5 games as a freshman and has a good chance of starting as a true sophomore. Michael Floyd is the stud of this group and notched 48 receptions for 719 yards and 7 scores in his freshman campaign. Floyd has the ability to become one of the top pass-catchers in the nation this season and the Minnesota native was a great get for Charlie Weis and the Irish. Harris played the media game during his recruiting process and lead many people to believe he might end up in Columbus. His father's relationship with Randy Shannon, the opportunity to play early, and the fact that he lived in Miami all lead him to the Hurricanes where he played in all 13 games as a corner back and kick returner. The final player on this list, Kyle Long, was supposed to be the fifth member of "Block-O" before choosing to pursue a career in baseball at Florida State. It is widely believed the younger son of Howie Long (brother of Chris Long of the Rams) would have been a Buckeye had he chosen football and it may have been a wiser decision as Long has since left Florida State, enrolled in community college close to his home in Virginia, was arrested for DUI, and now apparently is trying to transfer to UVA to play football. Kyle could have had one solid career anchoring either side of the line in Columbus this year and would have competed to play at multiple positions.
Glad We Passed This list, like the last, consists of far less players than the classes of 2005, 2006, and 2007, as we cannot judge who will make an impact at the next level. There are two players who stand out to me on this list and they are Steve Gardiner and Joshua Jarboe. I shouldn't be so hard on Gardiner, as he is a good player who wanted to be a Buckeye, but turned down his gray-shirt offer to get a regular offer from the Spartans. I am happy Gardiner chose this route as a scholarship would have been burned for the past class just signed and one of the members of the class of 2009 would not have been able to become a Buckeye. Sometimes things happen for a reason and I think this was a blessing in disguise. As for Jarobe, if you haven't seen the video of him rapping yet, you now know why he was dismissed from the Oklahoma program. Jarobe has since joined Troy and was in attendance at The Shoe to witness Terrelle Pryor's debut against the Trojans last year. Josh was widely regarded as one of the top receivers in the nation coming out of high school, and while he can still save his football career, his character issues make it seem best that he didn't end up in Columbus.