11W Recruiting Notebook: All-Star Edition

By Alex on January 10, 2011 at 1:00p

The Buckeyes are Sugar Bowl champions and the 2010 season has come to an end for the Scarlet and Gray faithful, but certainly not for the coaching staff. Before Jim Tressel begins to worry about who his starters at some key positions are for the first five games of next season, The Vest and the rest of the coaching staff have to worry about finishing up the remaining spots in the recruiting class of 2011.

Last week was the pinnacle of the high school football season, as two primetime all-star games took place, featuring the nation's top senior stars. The Army All-America Bowl has been around for quite some time and used to be the mecca of America's young talent, but the media horse of ESPN and a growing popularity with the sponsor brand has brought the Under Armour game to national prominence as well. No matter your preference, both games brought fans tremendous entertainment this past week and gave the country a glimpse of the next group of college football stars.

Heading into the two games, Ohio State had five prospects committed to coming to Columbus next season, with several other recruiting targets participating as well. Two of those prospective Buckeyes made announcements this weekend, and Jim Tressel went one for two, landing DB Doran Grant of St. Vincent-St. Mary, but missing out on Miami (FL) Pace DB Jabari Gorman. The remaining uncommitted prospects will take some visits in the coming weeks before making their announcements on or around National Signing Day (February 2), but all had solid showings last week in their respective all-star contests.

It's time to take a look at the both the committed and uncommitted prospects who participated in last week's games and evaluate their performance, projection at the next level, and chances they each wind up as a part of Buckeye Nation in the next month.

Under Armour Game

The cream of the crop for OSU in this contest had to be Braxton Miller. The 6-2/200 quarterback showed all week in practice why he has a great chance to begin 2011 as Ohio State's starter behind center. Miller, at the same point in their careers, appears to be a better passer than Terrelle Pryor and  has a tremendous ability to make plays with his feet as well. The more I watch him, the more he reminds me of Troy Smith, and it's not just the versatility, but also the poise in clutch situations and ability to lead his team both on and off the field. The Buckeyes are getting a tremendous player in Braxton Miller and I am certain he will be a star in Columbus. I don't know if he'll be the starter next season, but after enrolling in classes last Thursday, he definitely puts himself in a great position to compete for playing time right away.

Another verbal commitment to play in this game was the "other Miller", DE Steve Miller. Not the biggest defensive lineman on the board (6-3/230), Miller makes up for it with a non-stop motor and tremendous strength against both the run and the pass. He was consistently beating the nation's top linemen all week long in UA practices and showed why ESPN ranks him as OSU's top recruit in this class. While Braxton is better known to the fans, Steve could be the Miller who is a household name by next season's end, as there is a good chance Buckeye fans could get a glimpse of him on special teams and in various defensive formations next season.

The last player who was committed heading into this game was OLB Ryan Shazier of Plantation High School in Florida. Shazier played most of his high school career at defensive end, but made a smooth transition to linebacker during UA practice. While there were certainly lapses in coverage and a difficulty in adjustment at times, Shazier looked very good overall and closed on ball carriers as good an anyone in St. Petersburg. Also enrolling early last week, Shazier will have a leg-up on fellow freshmen and could see immediate playing time as a pass rush specialist, as well as on special units.

As for the uncommitted prospects, there was Doran Grant, Jabari Gorman, Jadeveon Clowney, Darius Jennings, James Vaughters, and Ja'Juan Story. The aforementioned Grant and Gorman made their announcements for the Buckeyes and Florida respectively and both were very good throughout the practices and game. Grant is definitely the better of the two, and while he has to work on tackling, he has elite coverage skills that will find him in the two-deep as a true freshman.

Clowney was everything he was cracked up to be and is by far the best player I have ever watched at the high school level. There was no answer for this stud from South Carolina, as opposing linemen tried double and triple teaming him to no avail. Clowney was either in the face of quarterbacks all day long or stuffing runners behind the line of scrimmage to the frustration of White Team head coach Mike Ditka and offensive coordinator Keyshawn Johnson. It is unknown whether Clowney will take an official to Ohio State yet, but if he wants in this class, you find a way to take him.

Jennings didn't play in the game due to a concussion, but certainly belonged on the roster. This stud athlete from the Baltimore area is capable of playing quarterback, wide receiver, and defensive back at the next level, and has narrowed his college choice down to Ohio State, Virginia, and Wake Forest. He visits the Deamon Deacons next weekend and will make a decision shortly after that, but it is likely he will decide between the Buckeyes and the nearby Cavaliers.

Finally, both WR Ja'Juan Story (Florida) and LB James Vaughters (Stanford) are currently committed to other schools, but both will visit OSU this month (Story this weekend, Vaughters January 28). Urban Meyer leaving UF, and now Harbaugh leaving Stanford, create great opportunities for Jim Tressel to get in on both players, and both would be excellent catches, as they showed in practice and the game why they are among ESPN's top 50 players in America.

Army All-America Bowl

The only committed players the Bucks had in the AAA Bowl were C Brian Bobek and DT Michael Bennett. I had my doubts about Bobek heading into last week, but the nation's top ranked center sure shut me up. Bobek looked like an absolute stud at center and gives me great confidence in filling the middle once Mike Brewster departs Columbus after next season. This kid has all the intangibles to be a leader on the offensive line and Jim Bollman is sure to groom him into the next great Buckeye center.

Bennett, on the other side of the ball, started the game off with a bang, recording a sack on the first series of the contest. He was very disruptive after that as well, until he was stopped. No, not by a lineman on the West team, but by an arm injury that will no require surgery to insert plates and some screws. The injury shouldn't slow him down too much and he is expected back in time for fall camp, but let's all hope for a speedy recovery for the next Big Mike.

The uncommitted Buckeye prospects in this game, included OL Aundrey Walker and LB Curtis Grant. Both players have visited OSU, but neither will announce until Signing Day. Walker, who was regarded as the top offensive lineman at the game after a week of practice, favors the Bucks and Michigan State, but still has to visit USC, Pitt, and Penn State before making his decision. Grant, who showed great strength and tremendous explosiveness, visited Ohio State and they currently lead for his services, but he still has to visit Florida and UNC before announcing his decision. The Bucks sit in great position for both players, but will have to hold on in the next month before they officially declare their decisions.


To wrap-up, all the Buckeye commitments and targets had great weeks in St. Petersberg and San Antonio last week. With Doran Grant now in the fold, the Bucks have 20 players committed to a class that will probably number 23 players. Leaving three spots open, I think the Bucks will finish with Curtis Grant, Aundrey Walker, and Ja'Juan Story, with James Vaughters definitely a possibility. Anything can open between now and National Signing Day on February 2, so stay tuned to 11W for the latest recruiting updates and news as it comes.


Comments Show All Comments

Buckeye Black's picture

We need Ja'Juan, the RB's are stacked, so let's get some WR's for the QB.

BuddhaBuck's picture

"Leaving three spots open, I think the Bucks will finish with Curtis Grant, Aundrey Walker, and Ja'Juan Story, with James Vaughters definitely a possibility."

@Alex - all of Buckeye Nation hopes you're right about those two kids in bold!

When was the last time tOSU lost this many starters/seniors on defense?

  • DL - Heyward, Larimore
  • LB - Rolle, Homan
  • DB - Hines, Chekwa, Torrence, Gant (glad Torrence didn't go play baseball)

As a fan, I have concerns about the back-four, especially the island guys. But it's a relief to know that Moeller and Barnett will both be back and available for 2011.

Don't text while driving.

Alex's picture

Ejuan Price and the other Glenville guys are still in the mix but I think Shazier switching from UF to OSU will have a big impact on Story.........Vaughters gives OSU the last crack in a few weeks which can bode VERY well.....Grant I think is a Buckeye as of now---hopefully Muschamp doesn't pull a Florida robbery...Walker=======Buckeye 

tampa buckeye's picture

Yes it should be pointed out Barnett was coming on strong when he went down with injury.  Also we all know Moeller brings it on every play.  

The defense will be fine.  We have a ton of young talent.  

Big Hank







Sabino, finally


I'm sure im forgetting someone but the point is....  Reload not Rebuild.

Natty Light's picture

agreed, these kids showed a ton of promise early on but have just been behind one of the best defenses in the country. 


the secondary is not losing its 4 best...Barnet, corey brown, have looked good this year.   OJ, Bryant are starters now. 

luckynewman13's picture

I don't want to put any undue pressure on these kids, but if we finish this class with the players how do we not expect to win a national title in the next 3 or 4 years?

Alex's picture

Because you never know what is going to happen with high school players....I was certain we would win at least 1 MNC with TP and the Brew Crew and that Pryor would win a Heisman...I still could be right, but don't think it's likely

tomcollins's picture

It takes a lot of luck to win a title, even when you have the talent.  See Miami 2002.

Joe Beale's picture

This year it would have required OSU to show up for the first half of the Wisconsin game.

Natty Light's picture

people said the same thing about current Jr's and sophs...those were arguably the 2 best classes of those years. 


we also are ranked 6th by espn, 2nd by scout, 7th by rivals...maybe move up a little with a good finish...but others can get more signings too

btalbert25's picture

If the Bucks land 3 or all 4 of those guys, this is a huge class.  It could even rival Pryor and the Brew Crew class.  I don't care what the star ratings are, there is just a lot of talent already in this recruiting class and if the others commit, 5 stars or not, there is a real possibility that a lot of these guys contribute early.  We all know next years class will be huge.  As good as things have been the last few years, the next 4 or 5 could be the best.

btalbert25's picture

I don't want to jump ahead of myself here, but man with the next couple of recruiting classes I have to think that it's possible we haven't seen the best years of the Tressel era yet.

AK's picture

It might be more appropriate to say that Tressel is stocking the cupboard for his replacement.  I would be surprised if Tressel is coaching long enough to see the 2012 class (which should be awesome) graduate.

btalbert25's picture

That's Great news, I had a bad feeling he may take off. 

Alex's picture

Yeah I got Brewster and Moeller locked in...Sweat a good possibility...not sure any of the Tat 5 get a captainship--Boom and TP would've been most likely to get in there....Nathan Williams maybe?

RBuck's picture

I'm scratching my head trying to think of any O captains minus the tat5.

Long live the southend.

BuckeyeSki's picture

Little Boren?

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

O-H Kee Pa's picture

The entire team knows what the the Tat 5 can do athletically. Take that away, and what kind of leaders are they? I think TP, Boom, and Posey will have a shot at being captains based on how they compose themselves in much different roles (e.g. helping the underclassmen along in Spring practice).

Chris Lauderback's picture

I agree. I wouldn't rule out Posey being a captain. I'm a little less certain about TP but it wouldn't shock me depending on how his teammates perceive his acceptance of the suspension and his contributions in other areas during it. Boom is also a realistic choice. I don't see Adams as captain material. The recent issue wasn't exactly his first brush with stupidity while at OSU.

Hoody Wayes's picture

"Over the past 48 hours is appears that Jon Gruden has indeed interviewed and expressed interest in the Michigan head coaching vacancy."

btalbert25's picture

Last night on the radio as the MNF guys were signing off Terrico said I'm not sure what I'm going to do without you guys on Monday nights.  He asked John Gruden, you taking any jobs, and Gruden said I'm not going anywhere, I'll be back and Terrico said good I'm getting tired of getting asked about it.  Gruden didn't give it one of those open ended answers, the tone of his voice was pretty telling to me.    It doesn't mean he won't take a job somewhere, I would just be surprised based on his comments and how he said it last night.