11W Recruiting Mailbag

By Alex on February 8, 2012 at 1:00p

Welcome back to another edition of the 11W Recruiting Mailbag. Since the first installment was so successful and we are now post-Signing Day, I figured another opportunity to ask me your questions would be welcomed.

In case you have been living under a rock for the past week, National Signing Day was pretty successful for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Urban Meyer's first class currently features 25 top level high school seniors, with one more spot left to fill if the staff chooses to do so. 

That one spot was speculated to be left to either Scottsdale (AZ) Chaparral ATH Davonte Neal or Olney (MD) Good Counsel WR Stefon Diggs. Rumor spread last week that the Buckeyes had turned away Neal's efforts to commit on Signing Day, and it turns out that the rumor is looking to be true, despite some details missing from the story. As for Diggs, things are still looking good for the five star prospect, as he will announce his decision Friday between the Bucks, Florida, Maryland, and Auburn.

In addition to covering 2012 prospects in this mailbag, we will also take a look at some of your questions regarding 2013 student athletes. This class is expected to be smaller, but is already off to a great start as DB Cameron Burrows and ATH Jalin Marshall are already on board, giving Urban Meyer two All-Americans to build from.

Please join us after the jump to discuss the latest on Diggs and Neal, what 2013 players to watch, and more on the recruiting front with the latest installment of the 11W Recruiting Mailbag.

If Tatgate hadn't happened, who do you think would have had the higher ranked recruiting class-Tressel or Meyer?

While Jim Tressel hauled in some pretty spectacular recruiting classes, I still have to give this one to Meyer. Meyer takes recruiting to a whole new level and is relentless in pursuit of the nation's best players. Both coaches had different strategies and both were successful, but I take Urban any day of the week when trying to close out a recruit and I think that gives him the edge at Ohio State over Jim Tressel.

So, just to be sure, Davonte Neal is definitely not going to be a Buckeye? What happened there?

As you all know now, Neal has apparently "eliminated Ohio State", but the real story is that Ohio State eliminated Neal. The rumors circulating last week that Neal tried to commit and was denied are apparently true, although I haven't been able to get my hands on the full details just yet, nor may I ever. I was told that there was something that Meyer and the OSU staff did not like from the Neal camp and those type of things are what Meyer didn't like about recruiting in the SEC. The fact that Urban wants to avoid the shady business, coupled with Ohio State's current situation of being in trouble with the NCAA, are plenty of reason not to be taking chances, even if it means losing some good talent.

I know Urban has been an integral part of pulling this class together, but many prospects give the position coach or recruiting coach credit a lot of times in getting them to go to a certain school. If I wanted to look at this class and say "this guy was all Urban", who would be that one recruit I could point to?

Without a question, Noah Spence. Urban played a very important role in getting some guys like Kyle Dodson, Tommy Schutt, Joey O'Connor, and others, but Meyer targeted Spence from day one he took the job and pretty much closed him all alone, despite taking some company with him in Fickell and Vrabel. I don't think there is a bigger prospect for your head coach to bring you, so be happy the Buckeyes got their man in Urban.

Do the coaches give the incoming recruits a workout regiment before they enroll?

Yes, many times the high school strength and conditioning coach or the player's trainer they work out with will talk to the staff at Ohio State and talk about what each prospect should be doing to prepare for Ohio State. I know Mickey Marotti has had these discussions and was very specific for each player in terms of goals and a way to achieve those goals before they step on campus. If the players follow Marotti's lead, they should be ready to go come June when most of them enroll.

Big Catch Bob Robert Foster is a top target for 2013

What are the biggest needs in the class of 2013?

While Kyle Dodson and Taylor Decker were good gets in 2012, I think the offensive line is still a bit raw in terms of talent and depth doesn't run deep. I expect Meyer to continue to pursue linemen, while also targeting defensive backs (especially corners), tight end, and probably most importantly, quarterback, as Braxton Miller will need a successor one day.

How many spots are available in the 2013 class and how quickly do you expect them to be filled?

Right now the class is looking to be around 15 players, but due to natural attrition and players transferring, I expect that number to be somewhere between 18-20 when it is all said and done. I think spots will go fairly quick in this class and I wouldn't be surprised if the class is half full, maybe even up to 10 by the start of next football season. Of course, there will always be the players who want to drag things out until Signing Day, but hopefully you are looking at only 2-3 of those players with the rest in the bag before the January stretch to the finish even starts.

Who do you think is Ohio State's top target in the 2013 class?

That is really hard to judge right now because it is still fairly early. I think Jalin Marshall was far and away the top target, with Cam Burrows a close second, when recruiting first started, and of course those two are committed. As for players still available, I think WR Robert Foster is definitely up there as the top target on the offensive side of the football, while LB Jaylon Smith is probably the top guy on the board on the defensive side.

Do you think OSU will offer Trotwood-Madison LB Michael McCray? Is it just a matter of time?

McCray is a very good player and a great kid. It is my hope that Meyer eventually offers, but I think the staff is being more careful at the linebacker position after locking down David Perkins, Cam Williams, Luke Roberts, Jamal Marcus, and Josh Perry in this year's recruiting class. I think McCray eventually does get offered, I just hope his love for the Buckeyes isn't tainted by the fact that he knows he wasn't the top priority from day one for this staff. It is still a bit puzzling why Courtney Love was offered a few weeks ago and McCray was not.

What are your feelings on the Buckeyes' chances with Robert Foster?

I think right now, Ohio State is definitely the team to beat. Unless something changes, I don't anticipate this one will be over anytime soon though, and of course plenty of programs will have a chance to get in on this. That being said, geography and early returns will make Urban Meyer a hard guy to defeat for Foster.

Is the staff looking at James Quick at all? If not, why?

I think James Quick is definitely on the radar, but guys like Foster, Marquez North, and Uriah LeMay are a bit higher in the pecking order right now. With a solid group of receivers in this past year's class, and Diggs possibly on the way, I'm not sure there will be room for too many wide outs and I think the first group of targets is going to get a lot more attention as compared to the "Plan B" guys right now, until things clear up a bit. Quick is good, but I think he is in the second tier of guys the staff is looking at right now.

What position will Jalin Marshall play?

Marshall will come in as a "quarterback", but if he ever even takes a snap behind center in practice I will be surprised. If you listen to Marshall speak, you can tell he knows a move to receiver is imminent, but this guys will have the ball plenty in his hands. People want to talk about someone like Stefon Diggs being the "Percy Harvin" at Ohio State, but the real guy for that role is Marshall. He will get be out wide, in the slot, in the backfield, and behind center making plays for Ohio State and will be a REALLY good one. 

Check out this video for what you may see from Jalin in Columbus:

Does Ohio State take a specialist or two in next year's class?

I think they have to. Ben Buchanan will be a senior this year and Drew Basil will be a junior, meaning they will be without a punter and will have a senior at kicker when the 2013 class comes on campus. I think Frank Epitropoulos is definitely an option at punter, but Urban knows how important special teams are and will likely go after the best specialist in the country. I think the staff will be looking for someone who can both kick and punt at the BCS level, as that way only one scholarship can be taken by a specialist, rather than too. Taking Ross Martin this past year may have been the move, but that was obviously not in the cards.

How much longer until Dymonte Thomas is a Buckeye?

If it does happen, I think this one will take a while, as breaking away from Michigan won't be as easy as it sounds. I think come the fall you will see Dymonte making visits to Ohio State to "visit family and see Bri'onte play". He may not be there "to see any coaches" but you can bet he will "bump into them". Slowly but surely after a couple more interactions at OSU, Thomas will officially start to consider Ohio State and gradually break up with his firm hold on a Michigan commitment. He will most likely wait until after his season is over to "further consider other options besides Michigan" and then once January rolls around he may even be "open". Once again, if this does happen, I think the final public pledge to OSU won't come until later in the game, but Urban will know long before where he stands in this one.

Between the three corners most see committing (Cam Burrows, Eli Woodard, Caleb Day), is there a chance any of them could move to safety or STAR?

Woodard is definitely a true corner and I think he will stay there. Caleb Day probably could move to free safety down the road, but I think Burrows could be the guy most likely to move as he is a bit bigger than the other two and plays with the physicality needed at the position.

How long before Michigan realizes their 2013 recruits from Ohio are Urban's leftovers?

I think their fan base would never acknowledge that, but that is most likely going to be the case. Fortunately for them, with a large talent base for the state in 2013 and a small Buckeye recruiting class, the "leftovers" are a "five star meal" most other years.

Thanks to our readers for their participation. Keep your eye on the forums for our next request for 11W Recruiting Mailbag questions.


Comments Show All Comments

Big Swede's picture

Great job Alex! Way to leave no stone unturned in your quest to bring the ins and outs of Buckeye recruiting to the masses.

RecruitBuck's picture

Nice work Alex! If you guys are interested in the 2013 recruiting class, hit up GeneStarWind's newly stickied thread in the football forum! 

Thanks to whoever edited this, but I wanted the whole paragraph to be linked.

Jason Priestas's picture

That logo is sick. Nice work, again, Flip.

Bucks's picture

Agreed. I want that as a hat (w/o the recruiting mailbag obviously).

Cough cough hint hint cough phlem cough choke cough.

tarheelbuck's picture

Thanks Alex, great perspective.  I always have a hard time getting into the next class, especially with Diggs decision looming and a top 5 class this year to glean over.  I appreciate the insights. 

Just wondering why you feel we are in a good position with Foster? 

"They hate us because they ain't us" - Sully

RecruitBuck's picture

Foster has shown that he is a Buckeye lean-his profile picture ("avi") on Twitter was him with Urban's rings for a while.

bassplayer7770's picture

I believe it's Foster who is very close with Malik Zaire who is thought to be a Buckeye lean.  Last I read he was very impressed with tOSU.

DefendOhio's picture

Word is they are a package deal. What a sweet one that would be for OSU.

Alex's picture

Foster has visited and loved the visit. He hit it off well with Malik Zaire there who I feel will be a Buckeye, but more importantly, hit it off REALLY WELL with Braxton Miller. Proximity fits, system fits, need for a player like him fits. No reason OSU won't be in it until the end for Foster and I think they land him eventually as of today.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I loved how Urban eluded to Braxton being an excellent ambassador to and recruiter for OSU!!!  It sounds like this kid is going to be doing some great things for OSU on and off the field!

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

Menexenus's picture

You're welcome for the avatar idea, Tarheelbuck.  :-)

Real fans stay for Carmen.

jfrank373's picture

Wow, looking at the video of Harvin running everywhere gives me chills thinking about Urban putting up 60 or 70 points on Bert next year.  You know he's not going to let up on anybody, especially that Nickleback loving douchebag.

Anononym's picture

Hey Alex, any chance we see a late addition to this year's class if Diggs decides to go elsewhere?  Perhaps Alex Kozan?

Alex's picture

I personally don't think so, as 2013 is LOADED and they can bank that spot for next year. Kozan is definitely an interesting thought and would sign on the dotted line immediately, but I personally would rather have some of the 2013 guys.

NC_Buckeye's picture

I was thinking Meyer could use it for a senior walk-on to continue the practice squad scholarship tradition.

Alex's picture

this year sure...as long as we have the scholly for 2013 that is fine

AcrossTheField11's picture

Speaking of recruiting, it was announced yesterday that Diggs will be announcing at 10pm on Friday (after the wizards heat game) on a local sports channel.  This seems to bode well for the Terps, when last week I was reading on other outlets that he was all buckeye and the Maryland visit was a formality.

I know this kid has the poker face of all poker faces, but Alex, if you had to rate our chances today what would they be?  I'm thinkin' 35 - 40%.

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

Alex's picture

Where would you like him to announce? Columbus TV? Gainesville TV? The kid is from Olney, Maryland in the DC Area so it only makes sense for him to announce on Comcast Sports Net in DC/Maryland, just like Demetrious Cox announced for Michigan State on a Pittsburgh local sports channel. Don't buy into any of that ballyhoo please.

I think Maryland definitely has a shot as OT Mike Madaras and RB Wes Brown, two of his good friends and teammates are headed there. They are the home school and he has definitely mentioned wanting to stay close to home in the past. Then again, why take visits to Cal, OSU, Auburn, and UF--all far from home?

I think OSU and UF are the two teams to look at outside of UMD. I think if it's between those two OSU wins, but of course, this kid is a game player and nobody knows for sure.

I know OSU likes it's positioning and feels it did the best job it could given the circumstances to land Diggs. I think if Urban had a full year this one would have been in the bag, but if OSU loses out, know Urbz gave his best shot in the short time he had.


If it's Maryland, props to the kid for trying to make that program something. If it's OSU, Urban Meyer = Recruiting God for Eternity in your book.

AcrossTheField11's picture

I'm wasn't referring to the local channel so much as the fact that its at 10pm after the basketball game... just seems like its a buildup to a local product staying home and everybody celebrating.  Who knows if HE has even made his decision at this point, though. 

If he signs with us, I'll be very excited.  If he goes elsewhere best of luck to him.  Jalin Marshall still has me even more excited.

After these last 2 months, Urban Meyer is already Recruiting God for Eternity in my book.

Thanks for the insight and perspective... very informative as ususal.

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

Alex's picture

It is at 10 PM for two reasons:

1. Diggs' coach is at a clinic Friday and wanted to be in attendance for the announcement. He wanted Stefon to move it to Thursday or Monday, but Diggs waited until late Friday so coach could get back.

2. They are not going to cut coverage on CSN of the Wizards-Heat game so Stefon Diggs could announce. Choice was before the pre-game show or after the game. Obviously, Diggs could have chose before the game, but as #1 says, coach won't be back

LouGroza's picture

This definitely puts it in perspective. Ok, we all see it will be OSU now, right? Wait a minute, didn't someone five minutes ago say he looked fondly at the state of Florida on a map? And earlier said Auburn had nice uniforms? And that California really provided a great opportunity to take a long plane ride? He's closer to Maryland isn't he? Nevermind, he's going to choose OSU, I hope.

Poison nuts's picture

It's funny...I got sucked into the line of thought saying that the way he is choosing to announce looked to favor Maryland even though I've had fairly good feeling for a while on him coming to tOSU. But yeah - with his coaches situation and where he lives - this is a totally natural way to do it...

Whatever the case I think just finally knowing will be nice. Even if it's not us he chooses. Like when we got the bowl ban - just finally knowing the punishment was a relief. My current prediction on Diggs...there will be a story about him on 11W at approx. 10:06-10:27 pm tomorrow night.

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

Craft to the Rafters's picture

Update: Diggs host on his visit to UMD this past weekend was the qb Danny O'Brien - http://www.testudotimes.com/2012/2/2/2766322/stefon-diggs-recruiting-maryland-visit-danny-obrien-florida-auburn

UMD fans were under the impression that O'Brien would be the best possible host. Only thing is there are reports coming out today that Danny O'Brien is transferring from UMD -


which means it's unlikely he was the most inspriring host.. Go Bucks!

DefendYoungstown's picture

This sounds like the guy is positioning to make this "all" about himself.  I understand that he wanted to visit Maryland, is there a reason why he couldn't make the announcement on Tuesday or Wednesday instead of attaching it to an NBA game?  I think back to the last player that waited to make his big decision and see the pain that player caused our program.  Do we really want kids that think they are bigger than the program or have the "I" mentality?  

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

William's picture

His mother and brother's birthday is this Friday. So maybe he just wants to announce on Friday for them? Does it matter where he does it? Honestly people are reading way too much into this.

SPreston2001's picture

Lol like many people have pointed out before he's not making it all about himself. Does it ever occur to people that this is a huge decision for him?? Not to mention its not like he's holding up your time. Football season is months away so what does it matter that he's taking a few extra days to make his decision? He wants it to be a special day which also happens to be both his moms and brothers bday. Lol give the kid a break people.

Jdadams01's picture

Braxton is a beast at recruiting.

flipbuckeye's picture

I'm not one to jump on the hype train, but Jalin Marshall looks like he's going to be a beast for us. I agree with Alex that this is the playmaker we've been looking for. HE is going to be our Percy Harvin.

Alex's picture

I would take Marshall over any player in the 2012 class or 2013 class....that includes DGB :)

Maestro's picture

He is the only one who can shoot smoke out his butt too.

vacuuming sucks

bassplayer7770's picture

LOL, that video was hysterical.  No matter how Jalin is ranked, I'll just be happy he's a Buckeye.  O-H!

immort9888's picture

I like Jalin too.  If fact, I wouldn't be too upset about Diggs choosing some other school to give Mr. Marshall a clear path to getting on the field immediately.

OHIOklahoma's picture

Great work, thanks for the answers

TNBuckeye1421's picture


Do you see Bogard playing the Star? His highlight tapes show him blowing people up.

Alex's picture

I do think Bogard is a STAR.....kid played linebacker in HS and needs work on coverage skills...definitely a SS/STAR type

Squirrel Master's picture

LOL. Courtney Love! hehe hehe hehe, she said Hole! hehe hehe hehe!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Bucks43201's picture

I know Diggs has 2 h.s. teammates commited to Maryland, but I looked on 24/7 Sports and OSU's top 2013 targets include a linebacker from Diggs' high school. This may not be relevant, but could count for a little something:


"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

Alex's picture

CB Kendall Fuller from Good Counsel is also an OSU target

BuckNut1070's picture

Very good observation BUCKS43201

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium."  ~Woody Hayes~

Bucks43201's picture

thank you, and Alex

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

DMcDougal24's picture

with Berry no longer on the team, does that mean 1 more player to go in order to get to Urban's count or are we still expecting two more departures?

Squirrel Master's picture

did berry officially leave OSU? I know it was speculative but don't recall he officially left.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

RecruitBuck's picture

He left the team, still attending the school.

Northbrook's picture

The current publicly known number on scholarship is 83. Urban says we have 81. So there are two more on their way out. I'd guess at the end of the current term. We will probably have further attrition leading into next season and after that season such that we will be able to give a one year ride to some deserving senior walkons and take more than 14 for next class.

rdubs's picture

Is there any chance that McCray not getting an offer is related to some off the field thing (a la Neal/Diamond...errr)?  It just seems that he is at least as good as some of the LBs that got offers recently and he is from Trotwood and is a legacy.  The excuse that we are being cautious doesn't seem valid given who else we have offered.  Unless Urban thinks he can slow play him and still get him, but needed to jump on the other players more quickly... this just makes no sense from an outside perspective.

Alex's picture

Don't think so...there are just a lot of linebackers on the board and I think OSU wants a closer look at McCray before they offer...Urban will not offer him because he is a legacy or that he is from Trotwood if better players can be had....if it is a tie, those things may push him over the top

Brutus's picture

Since my question wasn't addressed here, I'm assuming this means I'm not as good looking as I think.  This is going to sting for a while.  Thanks anyway Alex.

Alex's picture

probably not Brutus...sorry bro

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Alex, if there ends up being a little more attrition in the spring (possibly thanks to February workouts, drills), and given that schools prefer not to offer many schollies to specialists, which suggests that quality Ks/Ps would still be "on the market" and thus intending to walk on somewhere, any chance that Urbz would offer one of those "free agents" this spring? Or is that something that just doesn't happen?

Alex's picture

I'd have a hard time seeing that unless the right player came along...I do think a specialist will be in the 2013 class though, just my opinion

Nappy's picture

How do you like our chances with Zaire?  Watching the kid throw, he looks like one of the better passers I've seen in a while.  Add the fact that by getting him we may better our chances with Foster, Urban needs to go HAM on recruiting him.

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

Alex's picture

if the news staff 100% confirms Zaire's offer, he is a Buckeye...I think they want to see him throw first because his team in HS runs a triple option most of the time and he doesn't throw many passes

Nappy's picture

That would explain why half his completions are to wide open receivers.  But he seems to be accurate and hits most guys in stride which Pryor never could do consistently.  

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

Sauce Bauss's picture

Nice Logo! Props to whoever designed it

schooey's picture

I liked Tressel but I always felt talent was wasted. Thank god for that drug dealer guy!


Poison nuts's picture

It's easy to say that now that we got ANOTHER great coach & and great recruits but "that drug dealer guy" is not someone to be thankful for brother.

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

cesmit's picture

Alex - with OL being a top priority in 2013, why aren't we seeing many offers out there yet? I'm seeing that OSU has made offers to many players at most positions, but very few to offensive linemen so far. Why hasn't Lovell Peterson been offered? (I believe he's a Buckeye lean?) Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself here with it still being so early, but I'm already excited about the 2013 class!

Also...QB's - I know Jalin is coming in as a QB, but will be playing other roles. Zaire sounds like he's a strong possibility. Do we just sign him, or do we maybe sign a couple? I see early offers out there for Richardson and McCrary, and others that are interested but have no offers yet. Any insight on this?

Thanks man!

Buckman's picture

Possibility of getting Billy Price and Jake Butt?

I like to believe that my best hits border on felonious assault.