The Buckeye Board: Six-Shooting

By Jeremy Birmingham on January 10, 2012 at 4:00p
Tommy SchuttThe recruiting game can be a dirty game - ask Kyle Dodson

Welcome back Buckeye fans, recruitniks and impartial observers who wandered in here after taking a wrong turn somewhere north of Dayton. It's been a quiet few weeks on the recruiting trail since Urban Meyer set the world on fire with the commitments of Tommy Schutt, Noah Spence, Se'Von Pittman and the reaffirmation of Bri'onte Dunn.

Quiet not because the new Buckeye coaching staff suddenly came down with a bout of Bollmanitis (characterized by brief flashes of genius surrounded by weeks to years of complacency and feigned concern for your employment), but rather because the NCAA's recruiting calendar was set to "don't you dare". 

This weekend will mark the start of the next round of the recruiting race, so we'll once again push "Around The Oval" to the side and spend this Tuesday afternoon discussing how we at Eleven Warriors see this class of 2012 winding up.

where we are today

As we discussed last time, the once struggling Ohio State 2012 recruiting class has picked up a significant amount of steam since the public announcement of the Urban Meyer hiring in late November. 

There's been little "official" movement as far as roster transitioning goes, but we know now that Taylor Graham is officially out of the program and we're closer to being sure that at least two players (DE Melvin Fellows, and LB Scott McVey) will be granted medical hardship releases from the football program. There are others who will likely make their out of the program for one reason or another, so as far numbers go, I think that Meyer will be able to squeeze in 25 in this class without any real roster-wranglin' at all.

One of the biggest differences in recruiting today versus say, a decade ago, is that so many players take advantage of the opportunity to enroll in college early, where they get a head-start on the playbook, the college experience, working out, etc. It's a big advantage for the players who can do it, and there has been no shortage of 2012 Buckeye commitments who did just that. 

QB Cardale Jones, RB Bri'onte Dunn, WR Mike Thomas, OL Jacoby Boren, LB Josh Perry, and DB Tyvis Powell are all class of 2012 commitments who have already made their way to campus and are living it up at Ohio State. Steubenville DB Najee Murray is hoping to enroll in March to get a jump-start on his Buckeye career.

2012 Ohio State Commitment List
NAME POS Scout rivals 24/7 ESPN Hometown
Cardale Jones QB *** *** **** N/R Cleveland, OH
Bri'onte Dunn RB ***** **** **** **** Canton, OH
Warren Ball RB **** **** **** *** Columbus, OH
Mike Thomas WR **** **** *** N/R Los Angeles, CA
Frank Epitropoulus WR *** *** *** *** Upper Arlington, OH
Roger Lewis WR *** *** *** *** Pickerington, OH
Ricquan Southward WR *** *** *** **** Lakeland, FL
Blake Thomas TE *** *** *** *** Cleveland, OH
Patrick Elflein G *** *** *** **** Pickerington, OH
Jacoby Boren G *** *** *** *** Pickerington, OH
Tommy Schutt DT ***** **** **** **** Glen Ellyn, IL
Adolphus Washington DE ***** **** ***** **** Cincinnati, OH
Se'Von Pittman DE **** **** **** **** Canton, OH
Noah Spence DE ***** ***** ***** ***** Harrisburg, PA
Joshua Perry LB **** **** **** **** Lewis Center, OH
Luke Roberts LB *** *** *** *** Lancaster, OH
Devan Bogard DB **** **** **** *** Cleveland, OH
Najee Murray DB **** *** *** *** Steubenville, OH
Tyvis Powell DB *** *** *** ** Bedford, OH


Ohio State will look to retain the recruiting momentum that Urban created starting this weekend, when the Buckeyes play host to a quartet of big time prospects. Colorado OL Joey O'Connor, previously a Penn State commitment, ATH Davonte' Neal from Scottsdale, Arizona, DB Demetrious Cox from Jeanneatte, Pennsylvania and LB David Perkins from South Bend, Indiana will all be spending their weekend in the shadow of the 'shoe.

It's interesting to note that at present none of these players have what I would consider as a "committable" offer from Meyer and the staff, meaning that I don't believe they would accept a commitment from any of them (with the possibility of Neal being an asterisk on that assertion). While each of these players is a highly-ranked, nationally recruited prospect, it's my opinion that (at least in the case of Perkins and O'Connor) they would be considered in some way as "back-up plans" for Meyer if other players fall through.

O'Connor is an excellent offenisve lineman, but he's an interior lineman, which does not fit a real need for the Buckeyes with Boren and Elflein already in the fold. Yes, he's a better prospect than both, and if Ohio State could take 30 players (like Miami, Alabama, LSU, etc) I think he would definitely be a more talked about prospect. If he's offered look for him to possibly commit on the spot, but I'm not sure that will happen this weekend.

Davonte Neal is an interesting prospect, and is one that Buckeye fans should keep an eye on for the next couple weeks. Originally from Ohio, Neal was a ballboy in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl when Ohio State and Kansas State danced in the desert. He's a dynamic return man and could be a cornerback or a wide receiver in college. He's been very difficult to read in regards to his college choices, but he is visiting this weekend, and even if you have family in Ohio, it's not often you leave Arizona in January to visit the "Heart of it All" just for the fun of it.

Cox has tugged on OSU's chain for a while now, but his long time interest has finally been made more "real" in our eyes, as he has scheduled an official visit to Columbus this weekend. Cox is from the same school as Terrelle Pryor and Jordan Hall, so he knows all about Ohio State, and has been on visits many times. He has spoken to the new staff over the phone, but is looking to meet them face to face in the next few days. It will be interesting to see how Urban plays this one, especially with Bam Bradley still in the fold.

Perkins has been a bit of an enigma throughout the entire recruiting process, and his visit this weekend does nothing to change that. It seems that every visit that he's scheduled so far has been cancelled, and this former Notre Dame commitment may have some academic issues that would explain some of those cancellations. He's a guy who is unsure of what position he wants to play at the next level, and the Buckeyes see him as a LB, despite his affinity for playing running back. As I see it, he's now the #3 linebacker remaining on the Ohio State board. If #1 or #2 lands elsewhere, then the interest and pressure for David "Perks" up.


Bam Bradley - Defensive Back - Trotwood, OH Bradley was expected to make a verbal pledge to Ohio State last week in the Semper-Fidelis All-American game but had a change of heart, choosing instead to delay his announcement until a yet-to-be-determined date and time. 


It appears that Bam was not entirely sold on Ohio State, for one reason or another. Some have speculated that he wants to give Pittsburgh, a previous favorite of his, and their new staff a chance to make their pitch. I don't think that's correct, and ultimately I think he will still end up a Buckeye, but unlike some recruits who are being "slow-played" by Ohio State and used as back-up plans, I think that Ohio State is actually Bradley's back-up plan. Whether or not he can get into the school he really wants to go to, that is the ultimate question.

Joel Caleb - Wide Receiver - Midlothian, VA As the first "official" visitor of the Urban Meyer era, Caleb appeared to have the inside track to become the marquis WR of Urban's first class at OSU, but it appears for whatever reason that the once white-hot mutual interest between these two parties has cooled to a barely burning ember. Maybe Caleb doesn't fit the size/speed combo that Meyer wants, or maybe Caleb wants to stay closer to home.

Why this one has cooled off is anyone's guess, but Caleb was once a likely commitment for the Buckeyes, however it seems both parties have moved on.

Camren Williams - Linebacker - West Roxbury, Massachusetts

Ohio State has been pretty fortunate to have their program getting "fixed" at the moment that Penn State's went "broken", and have made sure to capitalize on the unrest in Happy Valley by receiving commitments from former PSU verbal Tommy Schutt and PSU lean Noah Spence. Williams, a Penn State commitment and widely considered the "leader" of their class, may very well be the next piece of the Penn State jigsaw to fit into Urban's puzzle in Columbus. 

One of the country's top linebackers, Cam is #1 on the Buckeyes' board at the position, and the coach that was recruiting him at Penn State was not retained by the Nit's new head man, a move that may have been the final push off the Penn State ledge for Williams. 

When he visited Ohio State in December, Williams made a pledge to get back to campus in January, and that return trip is looking like it will happen the weekend of January 20th. It's being bantered about that his HS teammate, highly regarded CB Armani Reeves may tag along with him on the trip. 

Dalton Santos - Linebacker - Van, TX A new addition to the Buckeye conversation is Tennessee commitment Dalton Santos. A 6'2, 245 pound, run-stuffing middle linebacker, Santos started hearing from Ohio State a week ago, and he's most definitely interested in what they have to say. The Volunteers recently lost the defensive coordinator who Santos was expecting to play for, and that gave him the chance to start looking around.

Santos is a late addition to the Buckeye recruiting board, but he's moved himself up the list of potential commitments quickly. He's expected to visit Columbus the weekend of January 27th, and if he does, he goes from "interesting possibility" to "commitment alert" in a heartbeat. He's also considering Arkansas.

2012 Recruiting Targets
Name POS Hometown  Other Schools of Interest Visit
Jameis Winston QB Hueytown, AL FSU, Alabama, Auburn N/A
Stefon Diggs WR Baltimore, MD Auburn, Cal, Florida, Michigan N/A
Joel Caleb  WR Midlothian, VA Penn State, Georgia, VaTech, WVU 12/02
Kyle Dodson OT Cleveland, OH Auburn, Wisconsin 12/10
Jordan Diamond OT Chicago, IL Auburn, Michigan, Wisconsin,  12/10
Alex Kozan OG Highlands Ranch, CO Colorado, Iowa, Michigan 11/04
Camren Williams LB West Roxbury, MA Penn State, Boston College, UConn 12/11
Dalton Santos LB Van, TX Tennessee, Arkansas, Ohio State,  1/27
David Perkins LB South Bend, IN  LSU, Michigan St, Tennessee, Mizzou 1/13
Bam Bradley DB Trotwood, OH Michigan, Stanford, Pittsburgh 12/16
Demetrious Cox DB Jeannette, PA Michgan St, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Pitt, Penn State 1/13
Davonte' Neal DB Scottsdale, AZ  Notre Dame, Arizona, Arizona State 1/13


Ohio native Davonte' Neal is shooting up the Buckeye board

The Buckeyes are still hoping to secure a visit from Alabama's Jameis Winston, and the future first-round pick in this June's MLB draft continues to beat around the idea of making the trip north, but until that happens he's as likely to become a Buckeye as I am to become a supermodel. Same rule applies for super athlete Stefon Diggs.

Right now, there are 7-10 legitimate candidates to round out the Buckeyes class, and it's becoming a daunting task to try and narrow down who we think are the most realistic options for Ohio State.

As we did a few weeks back, Alex and I compared notes and have come up with our current predictions for who faxes their letter of intent to the WHAC on February 1st.

We both understand the need for help at offensive tackle, and apparently both have a tremendous amount of faith in Urban Meyer's ability to secure a few big-timers at the position come signing day.

At this point, we both see six more commitments to bring the class to 25, and it's hard to look at either list (if we're even close to accurate) and not be very pleased with how this recruiting class will finish.

2012 could end up being a special class, and one that paves the way for a superb, albeit small 2013 class. But that's a tale for another time.

The 11W Wrap-Up
alex     Jeremy
OT Kyle Dodson OT Kyle Dodson
OT Jordan Diamond OT Jordan Diamond
LB Camren Williams LB Camren Williams
LB Dalton Santos LB David Perkins
DB Armani Reeves DB Bam Bradley
ATH Davonte' Neal ATH Davonte' Neal

Next Tuesday we will back with Around The Oval, where we'll take a look at the very special Ohio State hockey team as they play their arch-nemesis Michigan under the moon in Cleveland.



Comments Show All Comments

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

Thanks for the weekly fix, fellas

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

Devin1024's picture

Awesome article Jeremy, I love recruiting news and look forward to this every week...and I hope you are right and we see Dodson and Diamond in the Scarlet and Gray next season.  Now, if only Bollman were still around to dumb them down into fasle start machines.....(was that sarcasm?)

buckeyeEddie27's picture

Hope your picks hold true, very exciting!

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

cdsperr's picture

Given we can expect some attrition, any word on Roderick Smith's status since missing the bowl game? Further, what impact will his status have on recruiting Jaylon Smith (#4 overall in 247 class of 2013)?

Orlando Buckeye's picture

Inquiring minds want to know.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Don't read too much into Rod's absence. He missed a flight, missed a bowl game because of it - time served. Definitely expect the Buckeyes to be on Jaylon's short list, now and come February 2013.

Lee in Altoona's picture

Outstanding coverage. Thanks.

btalbert25's picture

How would attrition impact the schollies that were taken away. Say after February 1 they are sitting on 85, but we have 3 or 4 transfers.  Can they count those open schollies toward the total , and still have a full class next season come in?

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Ohio State is required to start the next three seasons (2012, 2013, and 2014) with 82 scholarship players - how they get there is up to them.  Keep in mind that las year the Buckeyes only had 79 players on scholarship at the start of the season. I would think that's about where we'll be next August.

The 2013 recruiting class could be as small as 13-14 guys, but it's going to be dynamite and could fill up VERY quickly. How the staff makes room to get 19-20 in that class will be important moving forward. 


Ethan's picture

How/why would the class be that small? Everyone is talking about the dynamic talent of the 2013 class. I know that there are the scholarship reductions to consider, but I was under the impression that those could be managed any way over the next 3 years, so long as we do reduce the scholarships by 9. That being true, wouldn't it make more sense to load up on the studs of 2013, and then just take a class of 13-14 in 2013? 

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Right now, there are 15 players who will be seniors next year - so that gives you a starting point for how many players will be available.

Orlando Buckeye's picture

Slightly OT but ESPN is posting their too early top 25 sans tOSU.  I realize we ended this season very poorly but, "C'MON!"

Irricoir's picture

I don't want these kids on anybodies list for anything. I want them hungry and to have something to prove next year. After the way this team performed this year they are not entitled to anything. Our expectations are pretty high for them because we care. The world based off this performance this year, shouldn't expect anything but the same. Its up to these kids to show them differently and to demonstrate why they should never underestimate The Ohio State.

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

OSUNeedles's picture

Are we allowed to be ranked next year? I didn't think USC was ranked during their bowl ban years except for the purposes of strength of schedule for other teams.

Alex's picture

I tihnk it's because of the bowl ban....we are not allowed to be in the coach's poll a la USC...we can be in the AP poll....I tihnk that's why we were left out obviously.....

For example I did not vote USC once in the BlogPoll this year because they were not bowl eligible....if I do the BlogPoll again I will not vote OSU just because they are my team...that wouldn't be consistent

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I'm not seeing the slight here. Even if we improve from 6-7 to 8-4, that's a 20-25 ranking at best. Having Meyer on board won't magically make our mediocre upper classes any better. And an injury to Miller or multiple offensive line injuries could make 2011 look like the good old days. I like our future, but 2012 looks like more of the same (and remember that both Meyer and Tressel lost several games in their first seasons at Florida and at OSU, respectively).

I trust Meyer to make the right recruiting calls, but I am rooting for a commitment from Dalton Santos, because he's from the part of the country where I'm now living, which is not (as you might have guessed) a hotbed of respect for the Buckeyes or "Yankee" football generally. I always figured I'd be an Ohio partisan for life when it came to high school football, but I've quickly become convinced that East Texas football is per capita the best anywhere. It seems like every little town has at least one player who is heading to a BCS-level school. I certainly wouldn't expect the Bucks could tap this talent bed repeatedly, but even once in a while would be nice.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

buckeyedude's picture

Does anybody recall what OSU's preseason ranking was when we won the NC in '02? Just curiouis.



Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I believe we were around #15

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Nutbuck1959's picture

wonder where we will end up in the final class rankings if either of your picks are correct?

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Definitely top 5 on any site that's not blatantly biased towards the SEC.

tedglover's picture

Oh, so expect about a final score of 16 or so then?  :)

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Right now ESPN has the Buckeyes at #10 - I would expect them to finish around #6 or #7 if the class finishes like we expect.

jack's picture

BCS Title Game 14-yr low rating:


boycott worked. fvck rematches!  give us a playoff

poop's picture

The link above yours says that it avoided being the all-time lowest rated NC game. If that's true then I'm really pissed.

Erk aTx's picture

The 2012 QB Jameis Winston tweeted he'll be playing for Florida State.!/UnleashthaBeast/status/156613800907378689

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

He's been an FSU commitment for a while now - still plans on taking a few visits. If OSU is one of them, anything could happen.

FWIW, I think the baseball is FSU's biggest challenge in this one.

spqr2008's picture

Baseball might not be a problem.  If FSU lets him play baseball for them too, he might go there.  The ACC is really really good at baseball.

Alex's picture

Baseball could be a challenge for OSU, as it is a solid program, but not as good as FSU and the weather isn't as ideal

The MLB draft could be a problem for FSU as he is expected to be a 1st round pick, which could be tempting given the guaranteed $ and signing bonuses the 1st rounders get these days

spqr2008's picture

OSU's baseball program is solid, but doesn't have the best track record of putting guys into the pros.  I've been trying to recruit my cousin's kid (13, plays on all star teams every year) for OSU, but we just haven't had enough recent success stories to help in recruiting for baseball.

Nick's picture

If you can be a pro baseball player I would take that over the NFL, sure the seasons are long but you can play a lot longer and still be able to move after you retire. 

Poison nuts's picture

I really love the recruiting coverage that you guys provide. I know there's been a lot of comments that say the say thing...but great job! There is plenty of good stuff to read on this sight but the recruiting news is what keeps me coming back pretty much daily. Thanks so much - it's appreciated.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Rather_Be_Golfing's picture

Man, it doesn't get better than this.


Buckeyes on the tube vs Illinois...

And a great recruiting update.  Thank you the great info and detail.


Sully and Thomas are raining 3's up in here.


Go Bucks!!!

Maestro's picture

Really excited for Feb 1st.  I will be pretty worthless at work that day waiting to see whose faxes roll in.

Even if this class only grows by 2 or 3 kids I sure hope to see Dodson and Williams.

vacuuming sucks

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

NLOID is a holiday every year for me.

buckeyedude's picture

I wish we could pull in Diamond too, especially since Jabba is recruiting him hard too.



BuckPirate1981's picture

It's amazing to me how other sites have no idea what is going on with recruiting (mostly non-Buckeye sites).  High fives all around, 11W.  Recently, I've taken to glancing at the PSU sites on occassion (now that M!ch!g@n is somewhat decent, the schadenfreude just isn't as good w/o the Brian Cook's emo rantings I've so dearly come to miss).  Most interesting (for us, tho the BOBTalk was fun), has been the developments with the Massachusetts pair of recruits.  I would think OL bodies would outweigh another DB, but if that helps pull in the LB help we need (and what seems like a great kid and future OSU recruiting coordinator), while simultaneously keeping the pair away from Coach Artie Lang when they take their visit up there, I'm all for the offer.  This really does show how great Urban is at the recruitment game, cutting M!ch!g@n off at the pass.  I'm honestly liking Armani over Bam (if for no other reason it makes for a great matched set, and keeps Armani away from maize and blue).  Given we get Cam, it would then be nice to see Santos be the one that gets the nod over Perkins, as some MLB help would be appreciated over two OLB type kids.  Especially with my concern that Grant may become the next Sabino before he becomes the next Laurinaitis.  

It's a pitty we can't also bring in O'Connor and Kozan, lets hope neither ends up at a Big Ten rival.  This leaves the question of Dodson - last I remember he was sitting out an all star game because of a torn labrum.  With the forces exerted on the shoulder of offensive linemen (FB players are at 15x's greater risk), I wonder if this is something to be concerned about?  We have taken a few kids with medical | issues the last few years, and unfortunately that has not worked out so well for the athletes or OSU (although it is nice to see they will still be getting their education).  For any interested parties, this is what ultimately began the downward spiral of Take Forcier's career.  Well that and class.  And books.  Interesting to see Dodson's ND recruiter was none other than our very own (one day to be made official) Ed Warinner.  I like our odds, but are there no other four star OT's we can find out there as Plan B?  And if Andrus Peat is seriously interested in Nebraska, family connections (a brother that attends NU) aside, any shot at taking a look OSU's way now that we have a staff that knows what they are doing with OL recruiting in place?  What ever happened to Evan Goodman?  We need moar tackles!

bassplayer7770's picture

I read yesterday evening on Buckeye Planet that Taylor Decker had received an offer from tOSU and was interested.  Any updates on him?

William's picture

He's reaffirmed his commitment to ND. I don't think we ever had much of a chance, even with the hiring of Hinton and Warinner.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

I would say that Taylor is not likely to switch his commitment, but I've never spoken to him - just based on what I read from others. 


Stranger things have happened. 

BuckPirate1981's picture

True.  Urban may have a dream about this afterall.  

lippertini's picture

"The Bank" is Bill Greene, and he wouldn't give that sort of info if it didn't come from a direct source.  The guy making the post is also very cautious about these things, so........I'm optimistic that Decker's not lost yet.