11W Recruiting Notebook

By Alex on October 19, 2011 at 2:00p
Top notch salesmanFickell has done a great job keeping recruiting afloat

In the midst of a 4-3 season, Luke Fickell has a lot of critics. Some like to harp on the lack of adjustments made during the game (cough, Nebraska, cough), some like to take shots at his authority over the offensive play calling, and some like to go after his use of his time outs (Miami) and general clock management.

After everyone is done taking their shots at Luke, they should take a minute to applaud him for the job he has done on the recruiting trail. While you may think I'm crazy for saying that, especially being that the Bucks haven't received a verbal pledge in over two months, take a step back and look at the situation the program is in.

If you believe that Mike Thomas is eventually committing, like I do, that gives the Bucks 14 players for the class of 2012. Most other programs in the country would probably have a third of that, at most, if they were going through similar uncertainties with the NCAA ruling and a future coaching staff. They would also probably have many more decommitments than the Buckeyes have, which is one in the form of Kyle Kalis.

While Luke hasn't done anything drastic to reel in some big fish or add some out of state talent to a class currently filled with all Ohioans (sans Thomas if he's in), he has kept the status quo the same and that's all you can ask for at this point in time. The Bucks are still in on some big time prospects and the fact that the program has a chance to land 5-star talent in a situation like this once all the dust settles, has to be attributed to the job Fickell and the staff have done in selling Ohio State.

In this segment of the 11W recruiting notebook, we'll talk filling out the class of 2012, the pending decisions of a certain two prospects from Cincinnati, and a possible successor to the Buckeye quarterback position. Join us after the jump to hear more.

Two Coming For Buckeyes?

Many of you have asked about Cincinnati Taft stand outs Adolphus Washington and Dwayne Stanford during the last few notebooks. While things were relatively quiet since Washington's father hinted Adolphus would be committing to Ohio State, that has changed as the duo has announced they plan to reveal their college decisions on November 9th when they receive their invites to the Army All-American Game.

Washington making movesWashington may be Buckeye bound on November 9th

While nothing is guaranteed, Washington and Stanford have both expressed interest in attending the same college. The two have taken a ton of visits together over the past year and have had very similar schools on their short lists for the entirety of their recruitment.

Is this good news for the Buckeyes? It certainly appears to be as Washington continues to say Ohio State leads for his services despite taking a visit to Michigan State last weekend and scheduling a visit to Oregon on October 29. If Washington is on board, the train of thought here is that the much more "hush hush" Stanford will be joining Washington in Scarlet and Gray as well.

Getting this pair of elite players would be a huge get for Ohio State, especially since these decisions come before the NCAA's ruling and long before a new head coach is named for the program (if that happens). Washington, who has been an absolute beast this season, is my top player in Ohio for 2012, while Stanford is the top receiver in the state and would help form a nice corps with fellow classmates Frank Epitropoulos, Roger Lewis, and Mike Thomas (once again, if he's in). 

I also feel a commitment of this magnitude would cause a ripple effect in the recruiting world, as it would show other elite prospects that they shouldn't be scared to come to Ohio State. Having players in those national all-star games is never a negative either, and I would expect Washington and Stanford to try and bring as many players as they can with them to Columbus for Luke Fickell or whoever the next coach may be.

Closing out the Class of 2012

If Mike Thomas, Adolphus Washington, and Dwayne Stanford all do end up committing to the Buckeyes, that would leave the program with 16 verbal commitments in a class expected to number about 20. That leaves four spots open for a slew of players that remain on the recruiting board, although that number could increase if there are any defections from the program or if the school gets a favorable ruling from the NCAA regarding scholarship reductions. For the sake of predicting the rest of this class, let's go with a loose 20-22 spots.

Will Kozan get an offer Friday?Kozan could be the next on board

The number one priority is and should be the offensive line. The Bucks already have two commitments in Patrick Elflein and Jacoby Boren, but would like to have at least four linemen in this class and possibly five if the right players wanted to come on board. The most likely candidates to end up in this group are Nick Davidson and Alex Kozan, with Jordan Diamond being the outside shot. I think the third generation legacy Davidson eventually ends up with Ohio State after visiting and I think Kozan, who hears by Friday about a scholarship offer, joins him. I think Diamond ends up at Wisconsin, giving OSU four total lineman in this class and bringing the class total up to 18.

The second priority the staff is looking at is linebacker. Luke Roberts is on board already but the staff would like to add one more player out of two Ohioans who currently do not have scholarship offers. Those two players are Mason Monheim of Orrville and Joe Burger of Cincinnati La Salle. Right now it looks like Monheim is ahead of Burger on the pecking order to get an offer and if he does, I expect him to commit shortly after. For safe measure, I will include Monheim in this class and leave Burger out for now, giving the Bucks two linebacker commits and bringing the class number up to 19.

If Washington joins the fold, the need for another defensive lineman isn't as great, but the staff would definitely like to add one-two more and have their eyes on two prospects. The first is the uncommitted Ifeadi Odenigbo of Centerville, a traditional Buckeye factory. Despite his school's ties to the OSU football program and his close relationship with Mike Bennett, it seems academics may be the most important to Ifeadi and his parents, making Notre Dame (he's also Catholic), Stanford, Northwestern, and Cal definite players in this one. I think it comes down to the Irish and the Buckeyes and right now I see the Irish coming out on top.

The second is Jordan Washington. Washington is a defensive tackle out of Suwanee, Georgia who recently received a scholarship from the Buckeyes. Washington has narrowed things down to Ohio State and Mississippi State and will be visiting Columbus for at least the Wisconsin game on October 29th, while also mentioning he may make a return visit for an official in December. I think the first trip to the 614 will sell Washington on going a bit further away from home and he will be the 20th member of the 2012 recruiting class.

The other defensive lineman still in the picture is Canton McKinley's Se'Von Pittman. Pittman is committed to Michigan State and just took an official visit to East Lansing last weekend, but visited Columbus for the Colorado game and left the door open for a possible official visit to OSU. It's no secret the Bucks were Pittman's favorite before Jim Tressel's resignation retirement, so I wouldn't be shocked at all to see Pittman end up in this class. Let's take a risk here and say Washington and good friend Steve Miller work on Pittman to make him number 21 in this class.

Finally, the last area the staff is likely to recruit is defensive back, where Luke Fickell would like to add one more player to an already solid group. The candidates here are Trotwood-Madison S Bam Bradley, Jeannette (PA) S Demetrious Cox, Island Coast (FL) S Jordan Diggs, and Erie (PA) McDowell ATH Greg Garmon. Diggs was once fascinated with Ohio State, but his interest severely cooled after Tressel departed, making Nebraska the front runner for his services. Bradley seems salty over a "late" offer and lack of early interest and has Pitt (his brother plays there) and Stanford on top. Garmon has stated he'd like to play running back at the next level, leaving the Bucks at a disadvantage right now, with Iowa in the lead. Finally, the staff's best shot is with Cox, who seemed like a shoe-in to come to Columbus when Pryor was here. Cox still says the Bucks have as good of a shot as anyone, but something just doesn't seem right here and I think he stays in state with either Pittsburgh or Penn State, giving Ohio State no more defensive back commitments for now.

The additions of Mike Thomas, Adolphus Washington, Dwayne Stanford, Alex Kozan, Nick Davidson, Jordan Washington, Se'Von Pittman, and Mason Monheim would be a great finish to this class, especially considering the circumstances the program has endured. If Urban Meyer or another coach taks over in December, I expect a few of these names to flip around, as it is unknown the impact a new regime would have on closing out this class come signing day.

Bucks Offer 2013 Signal Caller

In last week's notebook we mentioned that Kettering Alter junior quarterback Malik Zaire had received a Wisconsin offer in addition to the Cincinnati offer he already held. We knew that the Bucks liked Zaire a lot, but we weren't sure if they felt he was ready to be the first out of a plethora of very talented 2013 signal callers to get a scholarship offer. We now know how the Bucks feel, as Zaire informed the media this week that Ohio State had indeed let him know that he had a scholarship to come play quarterback in Columbus.

The next Troy Smith?Zaire may be the next Buckeye quarterback

The offer to Zaire, who many compare to Troy Smith, came shortly after his visit to Madison, and I'm sure the Badgers getting in first had something to do with Fickell and the staff pulling the trigger a bit earlier than they'd like. Nonetheless, out of all the quarterbacks in the class of 2013, Zaire is the best fit for the Buckeye offense, a pro-spread type, as it has been run since Troy took the full reins in 2005.

I like the aggressive move of offering Zaire now and if there is a new staff, I expect that offer to stand. The elusive lefty doesn't pass much in the Alter offense, but has shown he can sling it in the pass and is quite the athlete as his legs show during games. It tells you something when Cincinnati offered him a scholarship before he even had a single start as the varsity starter and I think with the future before his eyes, Zaire will put the necessary hard work in to make himself better by the time he reaches college.

Zaire maintains the Badgers and Buckeyes are the top two on his list. He said Wisconsin was the leader last week because they offered and OSU didn't, but since the Bucks have come in, I'd have to imagine that they are at the least even. Zaire definitely likes what he sees with the Badgers' use of Russell Wilson in their offense, but a chance to play for the home state team where his family will easily be able to come see him play has to be appealing as well. Keep your eye on this one as it could get to be a heated battle.


Comments Show All Comments

biggy84's picture

Davidson or Kozan compete for playing time out of the gate? Any chance that a possible new coach rescinds previous offers?

Alex's picture

I'd say Kozan no for early PT, but Davidson yes, definitely at least the two-deep.......I don't know about rescinding offers....tough to take a scholarship away from a guy who committed under the current circumstances....someone who hasn't committed yet I can see taking one from though (happens all the time)...also don't tihnk you'll see Bri'onte Dunn in scarlet and gray if Urban Meyer comes to town---would be Michigan or Penn State's gain

Kyle's picture

What's behind your thinking that Dunn would leave if Urban was the coach?  Any others who would bolt? 

Alex's picture

Dunn has told people that he eliminated Florida early because he didn't want to play in an Urban Meyer-type offense....we'll see if his love for OSU overcomes those sentiments, but Dunn seems to want to play smash mouth football...Urban is a slick salesman so maybe he sells him on playing that in the B1G more than at UF

Ethan's picture

Why don't you think Dunn would come here with Urban Meyer? 

Buckeyejason's picture

I'd say because Meyer recruited smaller, scat bat types for his offense..Demps, Rainey, etc.

Big power backs like Dunn don't really thrive in an Urban Meyer offense.


jenks's picture

But I thought good coaches could fit their styles to any player.

I don't like Urban.

Buckeyejason's picture

You're right Jenks..Urban Meyer isn't a great coach

Signed- 2 national titles in 3 years, a Heisman trophy winner, and shit load of players in the NFL.


jenks's picture

I just said I didn't like him, not that I think he's bad.

I really think he's a quitter. He will always be Florida's guy and nothing he could do at OSU will outlive his legend there. OSU would just be another notch in the bedpost for him and I think the program is too good to settle for his one night stand.

Alex's picture

Who do you suggest I may ask? Not saying anything you said is wrong, but if not Meyer than who? The way I see it, Pelini would be next up and I want no part of him. Hoping taking a shot in the dark on Beckman leads to Tressel-esque results? I don't....really just curious after Meyer who the guy is....Gruden, Dungy, Patterson, Peterson should not be on your list because they ain't happening....Hazell is too unseasoned (might as well bring back Fickell) and I don't think Dantonio will be someone they offer...who does this leave?

TallTom's picture

I'll stay loyal to Fickell with an OC over Urban anyday. He doesn't have health issues and hasn't tried to quit twice. Plus how many Florida players were arrested on Urban's watch? 

The only interesting option, Gruden, just signed a 5 yr TV deal.

Dantanio isn't coming- he has had heart attack, has built a program where they would be happy not to boo @ 9-3, and he is older guy anyway.  He can take 20 guys not offerred or can't qualify at OSU, plus bleed mich of talent.  Keep him there to weaken Hoke.

Patterson not likely to leave Texas, but I do like style of play. Peterson seems to like Boise St.  Not sure if he even wants to leave. Can either recruit Ohio, Penn, Illinois, mich, Florida, Georgia, etc like existing staff has done?

Wisky Offensive coordiantor Chryst? He turned down 1 Mil @ Texas to be OC there. And if we are going coordinator route, why do we screw over the Buckeye who just stepped in the breach?

If dead set against Luke, then what about Dan Mullen @ Miss? He was at BG, Utah, & Florida during Meyer's heydey, has recruited Midwest and the South and hasn't burned out or quit yet. 

Jeff Fisher?

Still, an OC might be easier than a HC with all new staff.  Get behind Fickell and watch him grow.


Alex's picture

I think Urban would defintiely tweak his style to fit what players he has...nobody completely changes their style to fit the players

biggy84's picture

Meyer's offense changes to fit the players he has. Leak , Tebow and Alex Smith ran different offenses. The guy can coach!

biggy84's picture

Washington the DT from Ga picked Miss St today.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Doubt it.  A few things about this:

1. OSU has recruited decent talent

2. New coach will have limited recruiting time 

3. OSU has extra spots if new coach lands additional commitments 

Read my entire screen name....

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I'm now confused.  I thought Thomas was reported to have committed yesterday?  Or was yesterday the "save the date" annoucement that he plans on committing to OSU and then there will be another formal annoucement that he is, indeed, committing.  

Read my entire screen name....

Alex's picture

Yesterday wasn't the "official
 commitment it was the "I'm planning on enrolling in January" announcement...I'm guessing shortly after his official on October 29 you can expect a formal announcement....FUMA ends in November so I wouldn't be shocked to see him wait until after his time there is done

crazykg's picture

You guys might want to add an additional section to your recruiting notebook. Scholarships and positions open due to transfers. At least one of the QB's will transfer, I would be willing to bet that Jaamal Berry is gone and going out on a limb, TY Williams. Maybe thats why we are trying for 4 receivers? That an Epitropolous may be a safety and not a receiver.

Alex's picture

Epitropoulos may end up being a PUNTER when it's all said and done...I think he will get work there in addition to WR/S

crazykg's picture

Thats true! Forgot about him being a pretty good punter too!

Maestro's picture

Wish there wasn't so much confusion about the Washington and Thomas "commitments". Disturbing trend.

vacuuming sucks

Buckeyejason's picture

If I had to guess..I'd say one of if not both Graham and Guiton are gone after this season..as well as Williams and Berry.

Our O-line looks good on paper for next year..Norwell,Mewhort,Bobek,Linsley and Hall. Depth is a concern obviously.

We really need to bring in some Offensive Tackles bad..or we could be seeing a lot of EL Matador looking plays killing our QB.


flipbuckeye's picture

I doubt Guiton is going anywhere. This was a dude that was on no one's radar as a senior and is now apparently 2nd string at Ohio State.  Fifth Row Joe is gone next year, and Braxton isn't made of stone, so he will be playing some relief in 2012 at the very least.

I don't think Graham or Williams would be missed. I personally would miss Jaamal Berry, but we have a deep, respectable RB corps.

Buckeyejason's picture

I would hope Guiton stays..you're right he'd be one snap away from being the starter next year.

As for Berry..if we do get Meyer, he would work well in his style of offense..as well as Hall would.


crazykg's picture

I dont exactly know what Berry has shown to be missed.

Maestro's picture

well said

vacuuming sucks

flipbuckeye's picture

He is a legitimate threat returning the ball next to Hall.  He makes other plays on ST too. I remember one wicked block in particular that he delivered last year on a TD return for Hall.

I know that he hasn't shown much on meaningful snaps, but that's because he hasn't really been given the chance to. He beasted in garbage time. Against second stringers maybe, but he also had second stringers blocking for him too. I'm beating a dead horse here.

I'm not going to question the coaches' depth chart decisions. They know more than me. I just feel like we have some talent at RB that isn't fully being tapped because we are so stockpiled, and it probably won't get any easier next year with Brionte and Ball coming.

crazykg's picture

I agree with yout sentiment. He definitely hasnt been given the opportunity, but I think with what we have seen the last three years he hasnt earned it. Other people have passed him up. Carlos hyde was the last RB to get reps last year. Even with Berry's injuries, Hyde has taken care of his responsiblities.

This isnt his fault, but I cant remember the last time he returned a kick.

biggy84's picture

Is anyone sold on Hall as a suitable tackle?

BDruhot's picture

our o-line looks good on paper for next year??  That was a joke right?

BucksShockTheWorld's picture

Nothing has been said lately, but with us needing Offensive Lineman and the opportunity that a good one may be able to play right away is there any chance Dodson may change his mind about Wisc and go to the Bucks. That is if sanctions against the team arent bad and dont really affect next year?

Alex's picture

From talking with Dodson, I always got the sense things were open once the dust settles with the NCAA and coaching situation.....I think as things stand now he's staying with Wisco, but maybe a new coach can convince him otherwise...same with Kalis who seems set on Michigan, but maybe a new coach flips him?....really hard to tell what may happen with all the uncertainty

Buckeye06's picture

Are people forgive and forget in recruiting?  I'm wondering based on the Kalis comments after he decommited.  Of course things get taken out of context etc. but I thought that bridge was burned?


blazers34's picture

Do Stanford and Washington still plan on going to the same school?  If so, it seems obvious that it is OSU as its the only school they have in common in their top 3. 


What is the consensus on Stanford?  IIRC Duane Long has him as the best WR in Ohio.  I have heard others question his ability though.  Anyone have any real insight?  I watched him on ESPN and you cant really tell much from the piss poor offense they have.

William's picture

I think Roger Lewis is a better prospect than Stanford. Stanford resembles Plaxico Burress whereas with Roger Lewis he has good size but also has speed to burn. I think of Devin Smith when I see Lewis.

Buckeyejason's picture

I agree..I think Stanford is a bit overrated. He's got the height, but is rail thin, slow, and soft as a player.

Not that he can't expand on his talent but I think we're looking at another T.Y. Williams here.

Lewis will be a monster..mark my words.


gravey's picture

Ohio State is an elite academic institution if the student is an elite student.  (Krenzel) I don't know why parents who seem to think going to a place like Notre Dame will benefit a football player who is smart anymore than going to OSU.   Certainly we put the most articulate football commentators in the TV booth of any school.  Those marble-mouthed guys from other B1G schools are sometimes embarassing on the Big10 Network.  

There are graduate programs at OSU that are tops in the nation...and undergraduates can take classes in those programs. If academics are that important...run with the big dogs off the field too.  

People are just way too willing to use exclusivity as their standard for excellence.

Bucks43201's picture

man I hope they offer Kozan --- come on Bolllman, enough with the sloooow draw

I know he may not be a true tackle, but he's at least a guard/tackle, and Lord knows we need all of the quality O-Line depth we can get --- at any position

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes