It was a slow, dragging recruiting period for the Ohio State Buckeyes following Scott McVey's commitment at the Spring Game in April, but things have started to heat up again on the recruiting front. There have been two summer camps held at the WHAC and the staff has had the chance to hit the trail, sparking interest in some prospects that may have never been on the radar before.
With some new offers, new verbal commitments, and some prospects mixing up their lists, it's time to take a look at how the recruiting class of 2010 is stacking up for The Vest and who is left out there to fill a class that steps into the very large shoes of the star-studded classes of 2008 and 2009.
Jamel Turner, J.T. Moore, Andrew Norwell, David Durham, and Scott McVey are still Buckeyes, but three new names have joined the party since the Spring Game. Taylor Graham won the quarterback race in June over Andrew Hendrix, and as verbal number six, he hopes to be the heir apparent to LiC.
While Graham was the only commitment in the month of June, the first week of July brought Buckeye nation some good news. Heralded running back Roderick Smith, from Ft. Wayne (IN) Harding, gave the Buckeyes their seventh verbal for 2010 and their first star commitment since Turner pulled the plug. The 6-2/220 Smith is drawing comparisons to Beanie Wells already and is expected to have an immediate impact when he arrives in Columbus next summer.
The fun didn't stop just yet with Smith, as the Buckeyes pulled a surprise move after their second camp and out of the woodworks offered K/P Drew Basil of Chillicothe. Basil took an unofficial visit to campus the following Thursday and gave a verbal commitment to the coaches on the spot, becoming the eighth member of the 2010 class. Basil chose the Buckeyes over offers from Kentucky, Purdue, Cincinnati, and Air Force and could be in line to team up with Ben Buchanan as the Buckeye kicking specialists of the future. Many people criticized the staff offering a specialist in a class of smaller size, but it was a neccessity considering Aaron Pettrey and Jon Thoma will both be seniors this year, leaving The Cannon as the only specialist on scholarship after this season.
Who's Out Of The Picture
With Taylor Graham taking the quarterback slot in this class after Nick Montana verbaled to Washington, things became much more clear for Andrew Hendrix as he decided to become a Golden Domer and commit to the Irish of Notre Dame. The move made sense, as Cincinnati seems to have become a hot bed for Charlie Weis to recruit from, and with Graham committing to the Scarlet and Gray, there was a process-by-elimination decision for Hendrix to make.
Although the Bucks were never considered a favorite, Storm Johnson of Loganville, GA took OSU and many other schools out of the picture as he announced his intentions to commit to LSU this past week. Johnson was one of the first backs the Buckeyes targeted, but the gain of Rod Smith makes this insignificant news in Columbus.
Big tight end target, C.J. Fiedorowicz, had OSU in his top two with Iowa for a while, but after careful consideration of seeing how the Bucks have used the tight end in the passing game, he decided to ultimately drop Ohio State from his list. The Johnsburg, IL native now lists Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin as his leaders and I just hope this guy doesn't come back to bite us in the future.
On the offensive line front, James Hurst (Plainfield, IN), Brett Benedict (Jacksonville, FL), and Matt Rotheram are now out of the picture. Hurst (verbal to UNC) and Benedict (verbal to Georgia) both had offers from OSU, but Rotheram (verbal to Pitt) was a rising star in Ohio that caught the staff's attention, but was not able to pull in a scholarship.
Looking at the defensive line, William Gholston (Detroit Southeastern) wanted to know what it was about the green ones, as he gave a big time verbal commitment to Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State Spartans. Many Buckeye fans were upset that the Ohio State coaches waited too long to offer the cousin of Big Vern and they could be rightfully angered as the younger Gholston was talented enough to draw offers from programs such as USC, Florida, and other national powers. The other defensive line prospect that the Buckeyes were looking at, Jibreel Black (Wyoming, OH) committed to Indiana after it was not looking like he was going to land an OSU offer. Black's brother plays for the Hoosiers and the up-and-coming lineman was a good get for Bill Lynch.
Finally, on the defensive back front, Courtney Avery turned to the darkside and spurned Jim Harbaugh's Stanford Cardinal for the Michigan Wolverines. Avery, from Lexington, Ohio, did not have a Buckeye offer and is not someone who was on the front of the line to receive the next scholly.
Who's On Tap
While some players have committed to Ohio State and some have gone on to other schools, there are still plenty of players left to fill the 10-12 or so spots remaining in the Buckeyes' class of 2010.
Starting on defense, the biggest target left on the board is Lamarcus Joyner of St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Joyner, known as Mr. Frankenstein, is a well-known commodity amongst Buckeye fans and continues to hold Florida State and OSU as the top two on his list. Joyner will play in The Horseshoe at the end of August against Upper Arlington in the Herbstreit Challenge and will also make an official visit the weekend that USC comes to town. The coaches are hoping those two trips are enough to push OSU over the top of the still-falling Seminoles come National Signing Day in February.
If Joyner is Target #1, then Jordan Hicks is target #1A. The Lakota West linebacker is drawing interest from top programs around the nation and has named OSU, Texas, USC, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia as his leaders to this point. Many believe OSU and Texas will slug it out till the end for Hicks, but vibes are good as him and his mother have enjoyed their relationship with the Buckeyes so far.
Rounding out the defensive prospects with offers still left on the board are CB Christian Bryant (Cleveland Glenville), CB Tony Grimes (Hollywood Hills, FL), CB Terrence Mitchell (Tampa Bay, FL), CB Kacy Rodgers (Southlake, TX), CB Nickell Robey (Frostproof, FL), CB Bradley Roby (Suwanee, GA), CB Joshua Shaw (Palmdale, CA), S Chad Hagan (Canonsburg, PA), S Jarred Haggins (Lakeland, FL), LB Khairi Fortt (Stamford, CT), LB Jeff Luc (Port St. Lucie, FL), DT Jonathan Hankins (Detroit Southeastern), DT Garrison Smith (Atlanta, GA), DE Daryl Baldwin (Solon, OH), and DE Fre'Shad Hunter (Cary, NC).
Other defensive players that are still on the radar, but do not currently hold offers are S Latwan Anderson (Cleveland Glenville), CB Dior Mathis (Detroit, MI), CB Cody Riggs (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), ATH Cameron Ontko (Cuyahoga Falls, OH), DE Derrick Bryant (Columbus, OH), and DE Jayrone Elliot (Cleveland Glenville).
Turning to the offensive side of the ball, the prime targets are RB/WR Corey Brown (Springfield, PA), RB Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA), WR/ATH Christian Green (Tampa Bay, FL), OT Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, MN), OT Matt James (Cincinnati St. Xavier), OT Chaz Green (Tampa Bay, FL), OT Arie Koundjio (Hyattsville, MD), C Brandon Linder (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), WR James Louis (Delray Beach, FL), OT/DT Laken Tomlinson (Chicago, IL), ATH Spencer Ware (Cincinnati Princeton), WR Tyrone Williams (Cleveland, OH), and TE Alani Fua (Westlake Village, CA).
It would be considered a win for the Buckeyes if they could bring in at least one of the offensive linemen in that group, along with Brown, Williams and any one of the other players at any positions. If things don't go according to plan look for the staff to start pulling players out of the pool of prospects that currently do not have offers. That list includes Mr. Ohio RB Erick Howard (North Canton, OH), TE/QB Tyler Brause (Bucyrus, OH), WR Anthony Schrock (Wadsworth, OH), WR Ivan McCartney (Miramar, FL), TE Dan Schneider (Avon Lake, OH), TE Alex Smith (Westchester, OH), OL Michael Dennis (Carey, OH), and OL Andrew Donnal (Whitehouse, OH). This list is obviously not the full list of prospects on the coaches' boards, but these players could be the next in line for an offer if room opens up.
Finally, the Buckeyes are still looking at one specialist that could join Drew Basil in this class. Punter Will Hagerup from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin was offered a scholarship by Jim Tressel after attending the OSU Senior Advanced Camp last week. Hagerup has offers from OSU, Michigan, Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Northwestern, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, but his decision could end up coming down to Michigan and Ohio State based on his visits to those schools. It will be interesting to see if Hagerup chooses the Buckeyes after Basil has now committed, but there is room for him in the class if he does choose to don the Scarlet and Gray.
The Class of 2010 is far from being filled and with about seven months until National Signing Day anything can happen on the recruiting front. Look for more action to continue as July rolls on and spaces in the class begin to close as the pressure for prospects to commit becomes greater as the high school season comes around in August.