Volcano Defeated

By Johnny Ginter on January 20, 2011 at 1:01p

Way back in June I wrote a post about Jim Tressel, recruiting, and the general circus that surrounds this general time period where student-athletes are making the decision to either go pro or to stay at their colleges for another year. For fans (especially those basking in the afterglow of a Sugar bowl win), it is probably not nearly quite as stressful as it might be for coaches, who have to deal with the inevitable unexpected changes to their lineups that can completely alter how they plan for the next season.

Where Ohio State is concerned, Tressel has been fairly consistent in how he advises players considering the NFL draft: while encouraging them to fill out the paperwork to determine their possible draft status, he also generally has made clear that if a player is not projected to go in the first few rounds, then their best move is to stay in school. Obviously there are a lot of mitigating factors to this policy, depending on the player and situation, but for the most part it's a sound policy to stick to.

This year, of course, presented the situation of having several juniors on the team possibly leaving for reasons related to their suspension by the NCAA, but as we all now know, all five will be coming back (including some others, like Mike Brewster, who could've also left). This accomplishment is no small potatoes, but put in context it is even more impressive. This is an age of college football where oversigning is the norm in the most dominant conference, negative recruiting runs rampant, and the nature of sports media in the 24 hour news cycle tends to reinforce the worst aspects of both; in that it continually reinforces the idea that results are the only thing that matters. The ends justify the means, even if the means are immoral and can have hugely negative consequences on a player's life.

Jim Tressel knows this, and rejects it. He does not oversign, and as Oversigning.com pointed out, has even talked at length about making sure that he adheres to the established limits on scholarships. Granted, the Big Ten, more than any other conference, is particularly strident when it comes to enforcing scholarship limits, but Jim Tressel clearly takes that concept to heart. As a fan, the concept of oversigning was initially something relatively foreign to me, in that I had always felt that part of the "game" of recruiting was trying to find the best players to fit a limited number of slots. Finding out that other schools aren't playing by the rules makes me as angry as it makes me glad that the coach of the team I root for does.


Negative recruiting is a part of this as well. Over Christmas some idiot posted a rumor saying that Jim Tressel was going to step down as the head coach of OSU after the bowl game. He was roundly mocked, proven wrong, and we all went back to our lives. But the real story here is not that a Chicago hockey blogger posted an obviously false rumor, it's that a Chicago hockey blogger was fed disinformation from "insiders" at other schools who were attempting to negatively impact OSU recruiting.

This kind of thing has happened before, will happen again, and, given that signing day is approaching quickly, is likely happening right now. For a few seasons a common meme among OSU fans was the idea that Tressel was losing out on recruits because he simply couldn't hack it in the cutthroat world of recruiting; he was nice, boring, low pressure (all true), and high school kids wouldn't respond to that (not true). It was an idea reinforced when the father of high profile recruit Seantrel Henderson said this about him:

Henderson’s father described the talk as "pretty long-winded." Afterward, Tressel mentioned to the Hendersons that he was always told he talked a lot.

"He's so informative and so to the point and so much about business, that it was a little boring," Sean Henderson said.

And a month ago, Duane Long shared this anecdote on Bucknuts:

I will never forget a few years ago talking with the mother of an out-of-state recruit I got friendly with during recruiting. This was post-signing day. Her son did not sign with the Buckeyes. She saw them all. About the only major coach who did not offer her son was Mack Brown at Texas. Every other coach made his way into her living room. She told me the only coach who did not negatively recruit was Tressel.

What this seemingly adds up to is a man who is by the book, honest, boring, and possibly completely out of touch with the current world of college football. But what Duane Long, myself, and many others who have seen how Jim Tressel approaches this part of college football coaching would tell you is that yes, that may be true, but it works. Somehow, it works.


The 2011 OSU recruiting class is shaping up to be an incredible one. They've secured one of the best DEs in the nation along with one of the best QBs, and have landed an outstanding array of complementary players to go along with them. Many are early enrollees, and because of that when the suspended Juniors return they will find the cupboard not bare, but filled with players with experience who came to Ohio State not because they were lied to, or pressured, or bribed. Those players will be there because Jim Tressel was an honest man who only asked that they made sure OSU was where they wanted to be.

Never let anyone tell you that there isn't room for this in college football. Jim Tressel is not a fluke. He will keep winning games, a lot of them, until he decides to step down and move on to the next phase of his life. And he will keep doing it the right way.

With apologies to the always excellent KC Green.


Comments Show All Comments

Kyle's picture

Great piece.  Oversigning is a cancer on college football.  I find it extremely hypocritical of Nick Saban to refer to NFL agents as pimps when he willingly throws players who have pledged their service to him under the bus when the next big thing comes along.  Yes the SEC is a great football conference, but look at the major culprits of oversigning and you can see how they assemble some of those great teams.

Nappy's picture

When I read the headline I immediately thought of Joe vs. the Volcano, don't ask me why.

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

Hoody Wayes's picture

We know Pryor's creds as QB. We also know he's, likely, better off declaring himself an "athlete" at the 2012 NFL Combine. If Braxton Miller proves he can start, why not convince Pryor to get ready for the NFL, by returning from suspension at wideout? 

Great article on OSU's potential QB conundrum:


luckynewman13's picture

I personally never saw the guy as a wide out, first of all he's gigantic now and looks more like a DE, but even if he got into wide receiver shape he runs with his back completely straight and has very long strides when he runs. All those strong corners of the NFL will be able to jam him at the line and he'll be almost completely immobile. But frankly, I really just don't know where'd I'd put him, I would draft him (not in the first round) because he is an incredible athlete, but he's going to be a big project in whatever position he plays.

RoweTrain's picture

I don't know if it's just me but I don't see Pryor being an NFL wideout.  Sure, he's fast and can jump but I just don't see the acceleration needed at the next level.  If he gets jammed at the line, then I think the play is over for him.  I could be wrong and he could turn into the next Anquan Boldin but that's just my observation.

"Just bow up and go out and play." ~ D. Lee

"As it stands right now, I know I am the best athlete in college football." ~ B. Miller

nickma71's picture

You don't see acceleration? What games are you watching? Him looking to pass and not running full speed is not the same thing.

RoweTrain's picture

I said I don't see the acceleration to play wideout at the next level, not that he didn't have any at all.  Those two things are also not the same thing.  I also said I could be wrong and that was just my thought on the matter.

"Just bow up and go out and play." ~ D. Lee

"As it stands right now, I know I am the best athlete in college football." ~ B. Miller

William's picture

Cris Carter and Jerry Rice never had great acceleration, and neither does Mike Williams for Seattle.

JakeBuckeye's picture

This comment really had me busting up for a second. You list Cris Carter and Jerry Rice, and then go straight to an ever enormous drop off of Mike Williams.

William's picture

Yeah I know it is quite the drop off, just thought I'd list past and present receivers that don't have great acceleration. Sure Williams is no where near Rice or Carter, but he's still succeeding in Seattle.

RoweTrain's picture

You also just named the two greatest wide receivers in NFL history that most likely played wideout all their lives.  They learned the techniques needed to make up for their lack of acceleration.  If Pryor can do that, more power to him.  I think Pryor is a great athlete and if he can't make it as a quarterback then I'd love to see him tear it up at another position, wideout included. 

"Just bow up and go out and play." ~ D. Lee

"As it stands right now, I know I am the best athlete in college football." ~ B. Miller

RBuck's picture

I agree; he doesn't accelerate, he just switches to glide. Believe...the dude is fast...and abides.

Long live the southend.

Doc's picture

Nice article Johnny.  Tress does things the right way and still wins.  I think that is one of the reasons he and tOSU are hated.  Misery loves company and so do cheaters and dirt bags.  May God continue to bless you Coach.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Matt's picture


Nice break down of B1G 10 football attendance.  Ohio State beats all other Big 10 programs in terms of % of seats filled.  Given the size of Beaver Stadium, PSU brought it weak this year.

Type G's picture

When Tress was recruiting Seantrel Henderson there was a picture of The Senator with his shoes off inside the kid's house. In those same batch of pictures you see Lane Kiffin with his shoes on. I think that right there speaks volumes about what kind of person Tress is.

"No time for love, Doctah Jones!"

Colin's picture

Jim Tressel is secretly part Japanese?

Orlando Buckeye's picture

Tressel-san respects the ancient traditions.

Denny's picture

Stop it, you guys. Tressel has never eaten a horse. 

Unlike Johnny.


Johnny Ginter's picture

not an ENTIRE horse

741's picture

The French eat horses. Japanese people eat whales.

Denny's picture

That's only because horses are so good at kicking field goals, and whales are not good.


Seth4Bucks's picture

Do they have pictures in Japan?

Colin's picture

They have drawings and scrollwork.

......but they also have Fuji, the camera company