Top 12 for 2012

By Alex on February 7, 2011 at 1:00p
Shell is the top running back in the class of 2012

Ohio State wrapped up a very solid finish to a spectacular recruiting class of 2011 last week, but immediately the coaching staff's attention shifted to the elite prospects in the class of 2012.

The class of 2012 is one that includes exceptional talent, especially in the state of Ohio. This bodes well for Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes who will look to add to a class that already has five very special verbal commitments on board the Buckeye bandwagon. 

While the players located in OSU's backyard can easily make up what would be another top ten recruiting finish, The Vest only settles for America's best and will definitely look outside the state's borders to fill the remaining slots for this class. In addition to the plethora of talent within the state, there is a ton  of out of state talent for OSU to feast on. As per usual, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Michigan will be areas that the Buckeyes target, but there are also players in this class that the coaches are looking at that are living outside the normal realm that we know as Buckeye Country.

With the recruiting for 2012 really just kicking off, we thought it would be a good time to share with our top 12 prospects remaining on board for next year's seniors to be. While this list will likely change as the current juniors go through summer camps, combines, and their senior seasons, use the following as a good list to start from when looking at some of the top targets for Ohio State as they focus on their next great recruiting haul.

Rushel Shell of Hopewell High School in the Pittsburgh area is not only the number one player on our board, but maybe on the board of every single person in the entire country. Despite having two running backs already committed in Warren Ball and Brionte Dunn, the Bucks are going after Shell early and often. The elite back from the Keystone State puts OSU as one of his favorites along side Pittsburgh, Florida, Oregon, and Auburn. One thing that certainly plays in the Buckeyes' favor is that Shell idolizes Terrelle Pryor and already has a relationship with the OSU signal caller. Many feel that because they have Ball and Dunn that Shell will go elsewhere, but right now I'd have to call this one to either the Bucks or the hometown Panthers.

There are players from all over the country that come to Ohio State to play football, but Missouri is not usually an area that OSU ventures into quite often. One outstanding player from the state for 2012 though is wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (pictured right). Green-Beckham may be the top pass catcher in the nation and at 6-5/210 is a "must-get" type of prospect. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, LSU, Missouri, Oklahoma, and USC are with Ohio State as schools that have offered and it's way too early in the process to tell who is in the lead. One thing that is for sure is that OSU can use some help at the receiver position and Green-Beckham is the type of player that can contribute from day one.

Jameis Winston hails from Hueytown, Alabama so it's likely he'll end up at either Alabama or Auburn. With that said, the Buckeyes are definitely on his list of schools he's interested in, but they'll have to do work to lure the 6-4/190 dual-threat quarterback. If I had to call it today I would say Roll Tide for Winston, but the Buckeyes' success with similar passes have to at least give them some sort of chance in this one.

Jake Stoneburner and Reid Fragel will be seniors when the 2012 class comes in, so getting one tight end in this class will definitely be a target for the coaching staff. The best available at the position for this class is Taylor McNamara of San Diego, California. The Buckeyes, Arizona, Cincinnati, Florida State, Kentucky, Maryland, and Tennessee were schools early to offer this beast of a child, who stands currently at 6-5/235 and is still growing. While FSU and OSU are definitely the leaders right now out of the schools that offered, be careful of USC getting into the mix. The Buckeyes do have a special connection though, as his trainer George Whitfield is a good friend of Coach Tressel's.

Kyle Kalis is on board already, but filling out the rest of this offensive line class is the first priority for the Buckeyes. A player who was overlooked at first but has made his way to the top of the national wish list is Jordan Diamond of Simeon Vocational, just outside of Chicago. Diamond's high school teammate and good friend, Chris Bryant, signed with Michigan last week, so you can see why the Buckeyes really need to put the heat on early with the 6-6/290 tackle. Besides OSU and UM, Diamond holds offers from Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Northwestern, Kansas, West Virginia, and others. I think this will be a Big Ten battle until the end and the Bucks will have a fighting chance for as long as they put in the effort for. 

While many of the players listed above will likely play the recruiting process out for a while, one player who wants to make a decision sooner rather than later is Tommy Schutt. Schutt is a 6-3/300 defensive tackle from Glenbard West High School in Illinois. He has the Buckeyes on his list of favorites along with Illinois, Iowa, Boston College, Michigan, MSU, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Nebraska, Colorado, and Penn State. I really like the Buckeyes' chances with Schutt and since he wants to pick a school before his senior season, keep your eyes open for an announcement coming in the next few months.

Out of state prospects are great, but you have to take care of the Ohio guys as well. No other uncommitted player in the Buckeye state may be recruited more than Adolphus Washington (pictured right) of Taft in Cincinatti. The hybrid defenseive end-linebacker holds offer from the Bucks, Alabama, Boston College, MSU, Texas, Texas A&M, and has drawn interest from other elite programs as well. I won't go as far as to say it's a done deal, but I have a really good feeling that Washington will end up picking the good guys at some point before his senior season. This is definitely a prospect to get excited about if you're an Ohio State fan.

Another top defensive lineman in the state of Ohio is Toledo Whitmer's Chris Wormley. This will be an Ohio State-Michigan battle into the end, as Wormley grew up a fan of the Wolverines, but appears to be realizing that Ohio State is the more stable environment and probably sets him up better for success at the next level. OSU signee and teammate Kenny Hayes will do what he can to reel the 6-5/250 stud prospect in, but at the end of the day I think the Wolverines will nail this one now that they have Greg Mattison running the defense. 

We stated the need for offensive linemen when talking about Jordan Diamond, but there is no bigger lineman on the board than Blue Earth's (MN) Jonah Pirsig. The 6-9/295 offensive tackle is the top prospect in Minnesota and holds offers from the Gophers, Iowa, and Wisconsin in addition to the Buckeyes and it will be on Dick Tressel, who recruits the state, to bring in the big man to Buckeye country. Pirsig is expected to first visit OSU for the spring game or for summer camp, so we should have a better idea of OSU's chances after that visit happens. 

Another top out of state prospect and one of the top players in Florida for the class of 2012 is Travis Blanks. The safety from Tallahassee will be hard to pry away from the Sunshine State, but there is hope that going away from home will provide a change of pace for this elite athlete. Florida State, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, Georgia, Clemson, Louisville, South Carolina, USF, Vanderbilt., and Tennessee are among Blanks' offers and many more are sure to come as soon as schools watch the film on the 6-1/195 defensive back. Blanks said he will try to make it up to the OSU spring game in April and if he does indeed make it up to Columbus at some point this summer then you can put his interest from moderate to serious when it comes to taking the Buckeyes seriously. If there is one prospect on this list I absolutely want, it is Blanks, as he is a straight up difference maker on the defensive side of the ball. 

Another difference maker on defense could be 6-2/200 linebacker, Deaysean Rippy of McKees Rock, Pennsylvania. The Buckeyes, Florida, and Pittsburgh appear to be on the top of a list of offers that also includes Michigan, Penn State, Maryland, Syracuse, West Virginia, and others, so definitely watch how this one plays out, as Jim Tressel has had tremendous success in Western Pennsylvania. Luke Fickell could be the key here and I think at the end of the day Rippy chooses OSU over his hometown Panthers because of the proximity to home, the group of current players from his area, and most importantly, Fickell's presence as his future position coach when he gets to college.

The last prospect making our list today is Dwayne Stanford, also of Taft High School. Stanford is a 6-4/200 receiver who has good speed to go along with great size at the position. He recently added an Ohio State offer to go along with the offers he already held from Alabama, Cincinnati, Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, MSU, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas Tech, and other top programs across America. Many think Stanford is a packaged deal with Adolphus Washington, but I don't think it will necessary work out that way throughout their recruitment. In the end I think this will come down to the Irish and Buckeyes and feel Jim Tressel's presence, as well as the decision of Washington to attend Ohio State, will bring Stanford to Columbus where he could contribute immediately to a receiving corps that isn't that deep with talent.



Comments Show All Comments

ToledoBuckeye's picture

Talking about Tight Ends.  What happened with Jack Nicklaus' grandson who is a TE in Florida?

"Anything easy ain't worth a damn." - Woody Hayes

Buckeye Scottie's picture

Nick O'Leary, signed with FSU.

ToledoBuckeye's picture

I wonder if it had anything to do with that game against Glenville where he lost his cool and the fans boo'd him?

"Anything easy ain't worth a damn." - Woody Hayes

COB's picture

I would say it is probably more to do with the trim in Tally.  That or getting away from being even more overshadowed by his grandfather than he normally is. 

btalbert25's picture

Would they have even taken him at this point?  2 TE's signed pretty early to this recruiting class.

M Man's picture

I don't think that the Glenville game had anything to do with the decision at all.  Nick's dad played football for Georgia and his mom went there as well.  I think he was destined to stay down south no matter what.  The Seminoles pulled in a galaxy of stars in this recruiting class.

original buckeye's picture

I know it's your schtick to come on this site and stir things up, but have you seen the two TEs that OSU signed in this class? 

Matt's picture

Neither of whom is as highly regarded as Nicklaus's grandson.  They are both good players but there is no doubt that Tressel and his staff wanted O'Leary.

M Man's picture

Gosh, I meant no disrespect to any of the Buckeyes, past present or future.  I was well aware of Reid Fragel when he was both a recruit of both Michigan and OSU.  I'm not sure, but I think that both or one of his parents went to Michigan.  His OSU commitment was a triumph for Tressel.  I know that much from talking to friends of Fragel's parents in Grosse Pointe.

I certainly meant no disrespect to Nick O'Leary, and again I have nothing but the utmost respect for the whole Nicklaus family, some of whom I see occasionally when they come to Michigan during hunting season.

And I didn't even think of commenting on any of the current Buckeye recruits at TE, about whom I know nothing.  If they are in your 2011 recruiting class, they are presumptively very, very good.

From very much afar, I think that Jack Nicklaus simply observed grandson Nick's football recruitment.  Nick had a dad who played college football.  For Georgia.  He didn't need much advice from grand-dad.  I had heard Jack say that he'd be delighted if Nick ended up at OSU.  So would his Uncle Gary, and his grandmother.  Uncle Steve might have preferred North Carolina.  But Nick went in the direction that a whole bunch of other 4- and 5-star Florida kids did this year, in a phenomenal recruiting job by the Seminoles staff.

btw, I expect my impressions of the Dwyer-Glenville game is pretty much the same as most of the other 11W guys.  It was just a freakish ending, to a very good if not great h.s. football game.

btalbert25's picture

Seriously, some people need to just grow up.  You said absolutely nothing to start a fight or argument with anyone.  Just merely pointed out he was destined to be in a southern school.  Most sensible people here would realize this.  I guess the M Man name and picture of winged helmet automatically send some people into a tizzy that you are going to be an A-hole from TTUN so anything you say is irrelevant.  That is not all of us.  I saw nothing wrong with what you said at all, and actually find most of your comments to be quite civil and well said.  It actually makes it kind of dull that we get a regular from Michigan that doesn't come on here and stir the pot lol.

btalbert25's picture

Glad to hear about Adolphus Washington coming fromTaft.  It wasn't that long ago they were going to scrap football all together.  It's a rough school in a bad part of town, it's rare to hear positive things coming out of there.  I remember a few years back, they did some specials on the local news about them because, and I can't remember his name for the life of me, a former Bengal took over the program and they went from basically playing Iron Man football to having a full team. 

blazers34's picture

Mike Martin.  Good guy.

btalbert25's picture

That's right.  I think he even kind of took Chris Henry under his wing and Henry served some of his community service there.  I don'tk now if he is responsible or not, but before his death, Henry seemed to be turning a corner and straitening his life out. 

Hootie159's picture

The main thing with O'Leary was actually wanting to catch passes. Also, I think he didn't want to go too far from home.
Way too early to tell, but I hear Arkansas is the early leader for DGB. McNamara grew up an OSU fan and almost committed, but decided to wait and see what offers he'd get. He also wants to catch passes and likes the way Arizona used Gronkowski 2 years ago. Travis Blanks is thought to be a two-horse race between Auburn and FSU, with Auburn holding the early lead. Rippy has UF in a slight lead because of their "family environment." Not sure how well he has hit it off with Muschamp.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Interesting read. Crazy how its a full year-long process for these coaches. Another reason to appreciate what The Vest and Co. does for tOSU football. Round the clock year long, grueling process and you never see Tress off balance. Should be another solid class. O-H!!!

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

buckeyejonross's picture

My cousin, who lives in Center PA, plays AAU basketbal with Shell. From what I hear the kid is a beast haha.

"You might as well appeal against a thunderstorm as against these terrible hardships of war. War is cruelty, there is no use trying to reform it; the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over." -William T., Battle of Atlanta, B1G.