Recruiting: The invasion of Ohio by other conferences

otrain2416's picture
July 3, 2013 at 12:01p
28 Comments

Ohio is a great state and I'll always be somewhat biased of the great high school football our state has to offer. Growing up I got to play with two awesome RBs Tyrell Sutton and Delone Carter and against some great players in Northeastern Ohio such as Rick Stanzi, Mario Manningham, Mercilus Whitney, iIhmaa'ily Kitchen, and our very own Chris Wells and John Simon to name a few. As far as talent wise Ohio could be considered a consistent Top 5 talent producing state in the nation and its easy when you look at power houses like St. Eds, St. Ignatius, Glenville, Trotwood, Massilon, Mckinley, St. X, Elder, Moeller, Centerville, and Whitmer (for Genestar) that constantly produce D1 talent year after year.

Last year and this year especially it seemed like there had been a major shift in recruiting Ohio with the middle of the pack D1 prospects as far as recruiting which has caught my attention. Now I'm not saying OSU is losing talent to the other teams aside from a handful we offered to TSUN, ND, and the occasional Bama, but the rest of our conference is. In the 2000s, it seemed that Tressel and now currently Meyer put a wall up around Ohio generally got their first pick on prospects then took the wall down and let the rest of the Big Ten raid the talent pool with a few guys slipping out to other conferences. Now other conferences are starting to invade the fertile grounds of Ohio much more and take talent that was once thought to go to the Big Ten.

As of the last two years the out of conference teams that have done pretty well in Ohio are Kentucky (8-2014', 3-2013'), Louisville (5-14'), West Virginia(1-14', 3- 13'), Duke (3-14'), Tennessee (2-14', 2-13'), Boston College (4-14', 2-13'), Pitt (2-14', 4-13'). Now I know that losing these players is not a concern for us directly with our recruiting class but it is for the rest of our conference. Teams like Mich St., Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota could be seeing some big hits in talent over the next few years if they continue to lose recruiting battles. Michigan State, for example a few years ago when they were winning 10 games a season had roughly around 30 guys on their roster from Ohio, turning mid major Ohio talent names like Greg Jones, Le'Veon Bell, and Jerel Worthy into All-Americans and now NFL players.

Now I know there are many different views on this issue of not wanting other Big Ten teams to do well recruiting or could care less. I personally take the stance I want the Big Ten to do well recruiting and get good prospects as long as it doesn't drastically effect our class. What worries me is our strength of schedule will suffer specifically in conference if the Big Ten fails to recruit Ohio.  This could mean once the playoffs start and it depends on a voters to select one of the four teams a one loss SEC team would probably be given preference without second thought over a one loss Buckeye team if we slip up a game like we almost did a couple times last year.

Looking back last year, everyone in our conference didn't do awful recruiting. Ohio State brought in arguably the best recruiting class I've seen, TSUN, Penn State, and Northwestern did well. Nebraska and surprisingly even Indiana didn't do too bad. I'm still hoping teams like Mich St, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin battle back in the next few years. Taking a look at our nemesis the SEC, they have bottom teams like Ole' Miss cleaning up house recruiting. Now I, like many others was convinced that their success had to do with giving money or extra benefits around until I met a high school coach from Miss 3 weeks ago and had several good conversations with him about football. Just to summarize: he was a coach of the Mississippi State runner up 2nd biggest division last year, he didn't really follow college football but he said if he had to pick a team it was southern miss, said he sent a few players to Ole' Miss as well as other D1 programs, said Hugh Freeze was a class act who wouldn't pay players to come there just sold a good program. Now if teams like Ole' Miss can do it, so can the rest of our conference, and it starts in Ohio.

The Big Ten needs to take back the fertile recruiting grounds of Ohio and turn the conference perception in football around. Recruit Ohio, bring in talent, and win bowl games. Now I'm not saying go SEC on me and route for every team in the conference but when a Big Ten team does well recruiting be happy for them, because when we beat them on Saturday with better talent and a more competitive football image of the Big Ten we'll be the ones smiling when it comes time for voting and we're in the playoffs competing for a national championship. Go Bucks!

Comments

Poison nuts's picture

On one hand, I am not in the least bit worried about Ohio State's recruiting of Ohio or anywhere really. Urban will always do well I believe. On the other hand, I don't think I love the fact that other conferences are working Ohio the way they are - with a good deal of success...I'd like to keep the talent in conference if we can. On the other hand, UFM is getting kids from all over the place & I'm sure there's a guy in Georgia right now who is wishing that Georgia talent wasn't heading elsewhere or at least staying in their conference ;)

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

otrain2416's picture

Very true I couldn't even imagine the team Georgia would have if they landed all the studs from there state every year. I'm pumped for Vonn Bell and Trey Johnson and we have All American Roby on our roster :)

Poison nuts's picture

I do agree that a strong B1G is good for OSU btw, so I would rather the talent in Ohio were dispersed to the B1G rather than the SEC... If the conference gets stronger as a whole then the perception that OSU plays a week schedule goes away which helps come playoff time, if say there is a year that they are on the bubble...

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

You'd like to think the best of the best in Ohio would pick OSU every single time, but as history has shown thats not always the case. I personally hate the thought of Little Nicky taking our top players but then I realize maybe Urban Meyer didn't want them OR the fact that those player(s) were not good fits for what Meyer is trying to do. He's a great recruiter and usually gets what he wants and more importantly knows what he wants. In the rare event he gets turned down he doesn't lose any sleep over it because he usually gets the players he wants, eventually.
As for the rest of the B1G not located in That State Up North, we have a HUGE advantage of being in the middle (and more importantly close in proximity) of such a great recruiting base where as the non-Ohio B1G schools already operate in a disadvantage just for not being in Ohio LOL. Unless they pick Notre Dame, very few 4* and 5* recruits want to go to school in Indiana. Who wants to go to Illinois or Minnesota or Iowa? Even when he was in Wisconsin, Bert got mostly 3* recruits that turned into really good players. You never heard the No. 1 player in the country ever wanting to go to Madison. Even Coach Pelini gets most of his best players from Nebraska, or Oklahoma or Texas. With Penn State still going through its thing, I agree, Ohio is ripe for the picking from non-B1G schools and the B1G isnt in the best position to do much about it.
I actually have a greater concern for Hokey Pokey taking our top players more than I do Little Nicky. Your commentary is meant to point out the B1G needs to do better in Ohio, you're actually advocating TTUN to do better in Ohio as well. That becomes a classic case of being careful what you wish for, you may get it.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

otrain2416's picture

I wasn't really trying to say I want TSUN to do better recruiting because I think they're doing very well. More the teams like Wisconsin, Mich St. Minnesota, Iowa Illinois guess I was saying the BIG Ten needs to do better getting the high 3 stars low 4 stars that OSU and Mich passes up on. Like seeing Mich St. lose battles to a bottom feeder Kentucky sucks for our conference. I want the teams I mentioned above to be more competitive like they were in the past for our conferences image. It was much more fun and better for us beating a Minnesota Gophers team back in the day that was nationally ranked then facing one that's 2-8 and getting them back to that point starts with recruiting

BrewstersMillions's picture

If Urban and Co. landed 25 of the best players in the nation and none of them were from Ohio, we'd all live. That's where this staff draws a clear line in the sand from their predecessors. There is nothing wrong with grabbing Ohio kids if they fit what you are trying to accomplish and every year I'm sure a fertile state like Ohio will even produce a few players in the top 25 of any scouting service list so of course you'd want to see them land in the S & G. With all of that said, recruiting Ohio because its Ohio is what gets you 10 wins and a loss in the NCG. You recruit the best players and the best fits for your program regardless of where they live.
It isn't time Ohio gets reclaimed. Its time Ohio State makes no coach in any state feel safe about recruits in their back yards.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

otrain2416's picture

I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I said its time Ohio gets reclaimed by the rest of the teams in the Big Ten. I said OSU was doing just fine recruiting

BrewstersMillions's picture

Could be. But I guess my thinking would extend to the rest of the conference just like it does for OSU. Every school is best served recruiting the best players in the nation and not getting handcuffed by geographical loyalty. It benefits, say Nebraska, to recruit Georgia just as much as it benefits Ohio State.
I still couldn't care less about the rest of the conference though-and that's where we differ. Let the rest of the B1G sustain itself with the recruiting scraps Meyer and Hoke allow them to have. Screw conference loyalty, if I can be vulgar.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

otrain2416's picture

No I completely agree that we need to recruit nationally. Ohio's talent will be good enough consistently we can get anywhere from 7-12 studs/ year that fit our system and were not over reaching for then also land the studs like Bell, Bosa, Baugh, Wilson ect nationally. I was saying after we get those guys and scUM grabs a hand full of guys that there still are a lot of good players that could benefit our conference. The reason I want our conference to do well also is realistically whether we want to admit it or not were gonna be in a close game similar to last year like Purdue, Mich St, Wisconsin and lose. If our conference doesn't start to produce in out of conference games and doesn't have the national respect other conferences do, a second place SEC team like a 11-1 LSU team could be selected over a 12-1 BIG TEN Champs OSU team in the 4 team playoff. That is my fear

BrewstersMillions's picture

Then OSU better not lose!

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

BuckeyeNationProblems's picture

Zero points for logic. 

Matt

Catch 5's picture

Otrain I agree with you completely (course, I'm a fan of an SEC team so take it if you want it). While you may not like the S-E-C chant, your argument behind your statement is precisely the reason behind it: the SEC wasn't viewed as a strong conference and that was costing teams in BCS standings.
I've had this discussion here several times, and while there are some that agree with you, it seems that most side with Brewster: screw the rest of the B10. This will come back to bite you at some point-likely as you say with the playoffs, but also in preparation. Yes, you are much more likely to go undefeated and win the conference championship with a weak B10, but when you make it to the playoffs, you are much less prepared to play the other teams there. That's why (I believe) the SEC is so successful in the BCSCG. The team that got there usually beat a couple teams good enough to be there had they not lost. That prepares a team to win the big game much better than rolling over weak teams every week.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

otrain2416's picture

Yup my thoughts exactly. It says a lot about teams that play tough teams and win close games. I think there is a gap now between the SEC and BIG TEN not as big as I originally thought after watching the bowls last season and watching NW beat Miss ST Nebraska hang with Georgia, and Mich hang with South Carolina. To be honest one play could have changed either of those games we lost. I'm worried if were as good as we think we'll be a lot of our guys won't be playing full games cuz we'll be up so big in the 2nd half. This would be a disadvantage playing a team like Bama in the championship game cuz you know we'll be playing 4 quarters of football. I'm also worried that if teams don't keep recruiting at a high level and we don't start paying our assistants the gap between the conferences could get bigger

BuckeyeNationProblems's picture

Ever tried using logic?

Matt

BuckeyeNationProblems's picture

Lol sec suck it. It's alabama, LSU and no one

Matt

otrain2416's picture

Logic? Your clearly delusional whether you want to admit it or not they've play some pretty good football in that conference in the last decade. Since 2006 they've won every national championship game. And its not just LSU and BAMA that won them Auburn won one Florida won two. I'm a very pro Big Ten supporter if you even read what I wrote above, but you have to be an idiot to think Bama and LSU are the only teams that make up that conference. I think your right currently theres a drop off in talent at a point in that conference but thats after you include Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M, and South Carolina so that would make 7 of the 14 teams respectable national programs more than we can currently say about the Big Ten.

Poison nuts's picture

Agreed Otrain, SEC has 6-7 good teams - namely the ones you just listed. People who say it's just Bama & LSU aren't looking very hard - although I would say those are the 2 best teams consistently in that conference.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

Hovenaut's picture

Tress made it a priority to keep a fence around the state of Ohio. While I believe UFM and staff look to maintain it, the effort to make a national footprint (or beyond - Nuernberger, Johnston) has taken Buckeye recruiting to new heights.

It's great to have such a wealth of home grown talent, but I'm with the majority. There's no doubt Ohio State is an elite program, and has to recruit nationally to sustain that status.

Fugelere's picture

Even if UFM and the rest of the staff were able to build a fence around Ohio, we simply can't take every quality player in the state.  That's a good thing, but unlike previous years were those guys we didn't have room for may have ended up at another B1G school or maybe a MAC school we're starting to see a shift to SEC schools.  That may trouble some people.  I don't know if the reason for that shift is because of this coaching staff's emphasis on recruiting elite out of state talent is leaving out players who in years past would have become buckeyes.  I don't know if its because the other B1G programs are reluctant to spend the money on better coaches or at least coaches that are better recruiters.  Or if it is some combination of the above.  As long as we continue to win more recruiting battles than we lose and keep finishing in the top 5 for recruiting rankings I'm not super worried about it.

allbucksallthetime's picture

I also wonder what impact this is having on the DI schools in Ohio not named Ohio State.  If schools outside the state of Ohio are making inroads in recruiting as it appears they are, what effect is that having on Cincinnati, OU, and BG, etc.?  The very survival of these Ohio schools is based on recruiting Ohio well, so it seems to me they will be the ones hurt most in Ohio if these recruits go out of state to play, irregardless of where they go. 
With the coaching staff we now have at OSU, the Buckeye brand is clearly more national in scope than any time in my life.  IMO, recruiting across the country will only strengthen OSU and, with most kids growing up in Ohio wanting to be Buckeyes, I'm confident the best is yet to come.  Go Bucks!
 
 

otrain2416's picture

We'll see in a few years what effect it has on them. OU, Cincy, Kent State, Toledo, BG all had 8-11 wins and went to bowl games. Akron is the one Ohio school that bugs me they don't compete in the MAC cuz its my home town, they have a brand new gorgeous stadium, and they are centered right in a high talent region of HS football. They can pull St. Eds, Ignatius, Glenville, Massilon, McKinley, Cardinal Mooney scraps as all those schools are within and hour of the school and those aren't bad schools to be pulling players out of. Akron unfortunately doesn't recruit Ohio as hard as they should in the past few years and their record is reflected on it. They have won a grand total of 6 games in the last 4 seasons and 3 of those wins come against teams in FCS.

buckeyedude's picture

Thanks for including Toledo Whitmer on your list, OTrain. :) Central H.S., St. John's and to a lesser extent St. Francis deserve recognition in the Toledo area, as well as Findlay H.S. and Fremont Ross H.S., in NW Ohio.
update: and forgot, Sandusky H.S. produces some good players on occasion like an Orlando Pace.

 

 

otrain2416's picture

Yeah I just named the ones that came to my head real quick I knew I was gonna miss a few unfortunately in the Toledo area and Columbus area as I'm not as familiar with the HS teams in those regions. I guess its a good thing cuz it says a lot about the football we play in our great state when theres like 20+ teams that deserve recognition for being consistent power houses.

pjtobin's picture

As long as our kids in this state get to go to school somewhere, and Urban gets his picks first, I am a happy guy. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

fanosu99's picture

I'm actually hoping Kentucky has great success with Ohio kids that OSU passed on. 

buckskin's picture

O train, I tend to agree with you and for proof all we have to do is look at the basketball tournament.  Yes I know that 4 teams is different than 68, but both tournaments (will) have a selection committee.  Take the Big East for example.  It seemed like their whole conference made the tournament.  The perception (true or not) was that they were the premier bball conference (and the fact they had 50 teams in their conference :).
This issue has been discussed for a couple of years and I think some fans feel that if they were to want a stronger conference, they aren't being 100% loyal to the Bucks.  I disagree, in fact I'd argue for the opposite.  It's much better as a fan to beat highly ranked teams than to beat much weaker teams.  The only time I turned away from the Game was RichRods last year in the fourth quarter.  Was it great to beat them down?  Of course.  Did it become a tad predictable like we were playing Indiana every year?  Also yes, and who wants that in a rivalry?  My worst years as a fan were the Cooper years, when we were at our best and they found a way to beat us; why not give them the same feeling?  2005 and 2006 were great years for the Game.  Others just don't give a sh*t about conference strength.
I will say this, it seems like more Southern teams are recruiting Ohio than in years past.  And if they succeed, the losers will be the rest of the B1G,  not OSU.  I think we have the name power to get in the playoff as a one loss team, especially with Urban at the helm.
 

otrain2416's picture

Good stuff Buckskin I really like the basketball analogy you used. It didn't even cross my mind to use that.

Eddie-Eddie's picture

We've got to keep the best talent in Ohio.  The problem is that there are so many good players in the state so that is really hard.  However, if we can keep the best players and supplement them with great talent nationally then we've got the makings of a great team!