Recruiting Mailbag: Thawing Out Edition

By Jeremy Birmingham on February 18, 2014 at 5:00p
43 Comments

Howdy, welcome to everyone's favorite recruiting piece, the mailbag. It's your story, I'm just writing it. No need for pleasantries, you know who I am and I know who you are. Let's do it.

How many players in this class realistically? - BassDropper

We had a number of folks asking questions similar to this, so I figured I'd get it out of the way now. First of all, it's always a crapshoot when it comes to numbers as we're learning because there's simply no easy way to "plan" for who decides to move on (like Mike Mitchell.)  There are not many seniors-to-be on Ohio State's current roster, but attrition through transfers and early-entry to the NFL is a guarantee. Right now, I'd say a good safe number to look for in 2015 would be 20, but if they can get the right 25, they'll do their best to accommodate it. Never want to turn down the people and players that fit your program.

Your favorite target to talk to? - Fitzbuck

This is a tough question, honestly, because there have been so many different kids I've gotten to know in the past few years of doing this sort of work. Obviously, Demetrius Knox is up towards the top of that list. Meech and I have had a really good relationship since our first conversation, but I could definitely say the same about a lot of the members of the 2014 recruiting class. I know it's cheesy or whatever, but I feel truly blessed to have been a part of the journey for all those kids. Stephen Collier, Kyle Berger, Terry McLaurin, Sam Hubbard, Kyle Trout, Raekwon McMillan, Brady Taylor, Noah Brown and basically the whole class, have been nothing but class to deal with. 

There are a number of non-Buckeyes that I really enjoyed talking to as well. Two quarterbacks I really got to know very well, Kyle Allen and Drew Barker, were always forthright and put a lot of trust in me during their recruiting process. 

I've gotten to know a few of the guys from 2015 already, but I think that it's too early to have a "favorite." I look forward to continuing to cover all the kids I get to talk with and write about. Those relationships are something I take very seriously.

What is your way-too-early prediction on how (the 2015 linebacker class) could shake out? Could Conner be the odd man out? Maybe Baker ends up at RB? - TeddyHeisman

Despite the loss of Mike Mitchell, the 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes have left the Buckeyes in a much better situation at linebacker than they were in. That said, they'll still look to add three, maybe four linebackers in 2015. I know Jeff Holland is high on Ohio State, but it will be a major challenge for Urban Meyer to get him out of Florida, even with Ben Edward's commitment helping ease the way. Realistically, a linebacker class of Nick Conner, Justin Hilliard, Jerome Baker, and Sh'mar Kilby-Lane should have any Buckeye fan jumping for joy. Yes, Baker could play running back, but I think he's likely to head to Ohio State as a linebacker. The Buckeyes could land the state's three best linebackers and a heat-seeking missile from the south, very similar to the 2014 haul.

Mail. Bag.

Not really recruiting I guess, but anything on Baugh? - PittBuckeye

When the Buckeyes told David Njoku to stay home days before his scheduled official visit, it was clear that Ohio State had decided they were going to stand pat at the tight end position as it's currently constructed, Baugh included. Marcus is aware that he's got no more chances, and the Buckeyes are hoping that he'll be able to work himself into the rotation and make himself into the weapon they believe he can be in the offense.

Are there any recruits you could see us getting that would be deemed as a surprise at the moment? - ItWasMe

As the recruiting calendar continues to move ahead faster and faster, it seems that a majority of the country's premiere talents are committing sooner and sooner, so it's hard know who's a surprise and when; Ben Edwards and Jamel Dean were certainly "surprises." The Buckeyes are in a non-stop recruiting mindset, and with that comes new names busting onto the scene almost every day. If I am forced to pick a name to be a surprise down the line, I'll go with another Florida star, wide receiver Calvin Ridley from Pompano Beach. I know he's believed to be a Miami "lock," but I have a feeling he could be another Zach Smith special.

Has "Friday Night Lights" surpassed the Spring Game as the staff's offseason top-recruiting event? It seemed in years past that getting kids to attend the Spring Game was important, now...not so much. - JohnBlairGoBucks

I think that yes, there's some truth to this, and it's two-fold as to the reason. First of all, this will only be Urban's third spring game and last year was in Cincinnati, a calculated risk to try and bring Buckeye football to other parts of the state and — in my opinion — a mistake. In the past, they'd bring kids to campus and give them a chance to see campus in full-bloom, with 80,000-plus screaming fans for a scrimmage and the support of Buckeye nation would blow people away. It did in 2012, Alex Anzalone and Lewis Neal both committed that weekend, and it will again in the future.

Friday Night Lights is a totally different beast and yes, in my opinion the staff prefers it as a recruiting event because that's what it is by its very definition, whereas the spring game is equally about team development and evaluation. FNL is competition, with many of the nation's best players seeking Buckeye offers, solely to catch the focus of Ohio State. It's a pretty darn cool event.

With multiple QB offers out there, which are truly QB offers vs ATH? Which are commitable right now? And what is your theory on pecking order of those offered? -  KBonay

There are a number of quarterback offers, but I think the only ones that are "athlete" offers are Tennessee's Jauan Jennings and Maryland's Kai Locksley. The Buckeyes would love to land one from the group of Torrance Gibson, Brandon Wimbush, Lorenzo Nunez, and Jarrett Stidham. Recent offers to two more Florida stars, Dwayne Lawson and Deondre Francois, indicate that the Buckeyes are not going to sit idly by and wait before moving on, but I'm admittedly a bit unfamiliar with the two newest offers...for now.

How do you like Ohio State's chances to get the top 2 players in Illinois, Terry Beckner and Natereace Strong? -  TheKornIdentity

There's been little discussion about these two and according to their head coach, that's in part to Terry Beckner, Jr.  (the higher-rated of the two) not really focusing much on his recruitment yet. Ohio State is still interested in the two East St. Louis prospects, and according to all sources and people involved, the Buckeyes are still well regarded by each player. Nate Strong is one of my favorite kids in the 2015 class, and he's told me repeatedly that he genuinely likes the Buckeyes and wants to find a time to come visit. If that happens, it's worth noting, until then: no visits to Ohio State, no chance.

I'm the guy who doesn't want to follow every little detail of Ohio State recruiting, but I do love me some suspenseful obsessing over the top-notch guys. This year the guy that stands out for me was Raekwon McMillan. Who are the 3-4 guys for next year that I should go all OCD about? - RosyCheeks

First of all, I picked this question because I assume the name "RosyCheeks" is paying homage to Aaron Craft. #ManCrush

Now, as for the players to obsess about? There's definitely a few, and the Buckeyes could be waiting a long time for any of them to make a choice. Quarterback Torrance Gibson, running back Damien Harris, wide receivers Christian Kirk and George Campbell, tight end Chris Clark and offensive lineman Drew Richmond would be a great group to freak out about on offense.

On the defensive side of the ball I'd get ansty about defensive linemen Tim Settle and Jashon Cornell, linebackers Hilliard and Baker discussed above and cornerbacks Minkah Fitzpatrick and Iman Marshall.  Overall, 2015 could be a truly special recruiting class for the Buckeyes.

43 Comments

Comments

TheNorthernBuckeye's picture

I'm actually really surprised Baugh is going to be given yet another chance.  

"You're an angry football team, and I'm proud to be your coach." - UFM

+9 HS
Grande Gustavo's picture

Same here, but who knows maybe it turns out for the best.  Our lord Urban works in mysterious ways.

The answer may not be at the bottom of a bottle, but it never hurts to check. 

FitzBuck's picture

Keep in mind what Baugh got introuble for both time was not an overly serious thing.  We all drank underage and in my case I got caught once but could have easily been busted multiple times.  Sometimes it's luck that keeps you out of trouble.

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+5 HS
2002osubuck's picture

Totally agree, I got busted once but could've been several times with bad timing. And, his dad expressed concern about him having a possible problem, so it's the right thing to do. He obviously needs help and I hope he gets it together.

BuckeyeB9B82501's picture

I think that its a really good thing the MB is given another chance. It really shows that we care more about the player as a man than as a FB player. It shows alot about UFM and co. being there for the kid when in most situations he would have been shown the door. It takes alot to be there for a kid when you know he needs help and you are there to help him. Im glad that that is the way our coaches are; when the coaches are in the living room of the young men and they tell the parents that they will be there through thick and thin and will look after them. MB does need help and Meyer is there for him and will stand beside him and guide him through this. That shows a lot more of how UFM and staff truly are than if they would have shown him the door.

Buckeye Dynasty starts in 2014 baby !!!!!! GO BUCKS !!!!!!!! O - H - I - O

+1 HS
Alpo's picture

Thanks as always for the great work Birm, another write up knocked out of the park! I was really planning on scaling back my interests in recruiting for 2015 because the last two cycles took a lot of emotional investment, but I can't stay away. It makes it even harder after hearing about all the amazing prospects we seem to be on for this season and beyond. To think this years haul could possibly be better than the past few is hard to fathom. The future looks bright!

Ahh Saturday's picture

Hey Birm, you did a way-too-early '15 class prediction on the old site that I don't think has made it over here.  Have you made any/many adjustments to that list?  When might we see an updated version?

+1 HS
rosycheeks's picture

RosyCheeks' cheeks are all flush. So excited to get my question answered. Thanks Birm! Now I know who to hone in on and get all obsessive about for 2015.

(And absolutely, my user name is an homage to everyone's favorite scrappy point guard.) 

+3 HS
Buckeyeneer's picture

Thanks Birm!

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

m5987usus's picture

Thank you Birm you are awesome!

O-H!

pabdublin78's picture

Thanks Birm for all the info and while it is very early, its great to know some of the key names to read up on, watch videos and begin that fretting process that drives so many of us a little crazy, as these teenagers take their turn in the limelight that is non-stop recruiting...

 

m5987usus's picture

Birm can you also update us on Damien Harris by any chance??

O-H!

Buckabroad's picture

In case you haven't had a chance to see it yet, LGHL conducted an interview recently with Harris. He spoke quite highly of the Buckeyes in general and UFM in particular. Here's the link in case you are interested:

http://www.landgrantholyland.com/2014/2/17/5420976/ohio-state-recruiting-damien-harris-talks-buckeye-visit-process

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

+2 HS
m5987usus's picture

Thank you sir, appreciate it

O-H!

johnblairgobucks's picture

Thanks for your insight.   Go Bucks!  

A few more weeks until, IMO, Raekwon begins his on-field journey to be the first freshman opening day starting linebacker for Ohio State, since The Big Kat.

IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

I don't pretend to know what is going on with Baugh, but what may have saved him from getting booted is the appearance of an issue with alcohol. Anytime you have two underage consumption charges it suggests, at least to me, that there is an issue there. I remember his father coming out and saying he thinks there must be a problem. OSU has it in their best interest to help him deal with that issue, but then again, he screws up again it is a 100% certainty he is gone. I hope he pans out. He has tremendous potential and he has his whole life ahead of him. Would be terrible to see him waste his chance. He's really close to doing just that as it is.

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

+1 HS
BuckeyeB9B82501's picture

I mentioned pretty close to the same thing up above. I think it means alot more and shows that TOSU/UFM and co. do care more about the kid as a man than as a player. MB does have a problem and its better for him that we help him through it than it would be to show him the door.

Buckeye Dynasty starts in 2014 baby !!!!!! GO BUCKS !!!!!!!! O - H - I - O

+1 HS
spqr2008's picture

I'm hoping that the current staff reaches out to Alex Boone to talk to Baugh about alcohol abuse and help to set him straight (about the best example of overcoming alcoholism from the Buckeyes that there is).

+1 HS
BGSUBucksFan's picture

Any news on George Campbell? At 6'4" with a 4.3 40, you'd think we'd be hearing more about Meyer reaching into his bag of tricks. Is Campbell interested in OSU?

Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

Terry Beckner will be a Buckeye!

-1 HS
lvccacamcrca's picture

Birm.............you da man! I believe there is little chance that Chris Clark signs with us.....the kid is Notre Dame all the way.......with Baugh in Limbo who is the next best option ?

+1 HS
Phoenix824's picture

I don't think the names of Alex Anzalone and Lewis Neal should be used the same sentence to state what a success the spring game could be in recruiting.....

Maybe it should have said "Joey Bosa committed because of that weekend"

+9 HS
johnjy78's picture

I agree... I was like "Ok, two guys that aren't Buckeyes...." Haha

johnjy78

ITWASME's picture

Awesome! My question got answered! I thought it was too vague actually but thanks anyways Birm I'll have to remember the name Calvin Ridley

+1 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Birm - you rock as you always do - never a disappointing read

+1 HS
buckguyfan1's picture

Before we all proceed, please fasten your seat belts...  This is going to be fun. Thanks for the Preview Birm! 

PittBuckeye's picture

Tim Settle seems like he's going to be one of my favorites if he commits.

Silver Bullet 10's picture

I think he's Alabama or Virginia bound if we don't start recruiting him hard.

SilverState's picture

Gibson, Kirk, & Harris. Will be fun to watch.

BuckeyeB9B82501's picture

Gr8 read as always !!!!!!! Thanx very much for the updates. 11Ws always makes my day brighter and helps with my Ohio State FB addiction. I take it 1 day at a time !!!!!! GO BUCKS!!!!

Buckeye Dynasty starts in 2014 baby !!!!!! GO BUCKS !!!!!!!! O - H - I - O

+2 HS
BuckeyeB9B82501's picture

I really, really, really , really want T.Gibson at QB, D.Harris at RB and T.Settle at DL. Those 3 would be big-time "gets" for the Buckeyes. Gibsons' skills at passing and running are just plain sick. He would be another XBrax at running but he is way ahead in the passing as what Braxton was as a Sr in HS. He is actually faster too than Braxton (but by maybe a step or 2...lol) Braxton does have his name all over the record books at TOSU for a reason tho. Just think at how much better Braxton would be if he had any coaching at all in his freshman campaign!!! He was just thrown in there and was told, "go do whatever you can and go with it." But Gibson would be like getting another phenom athlete at the QB position!!!!!! Go get em Urb!!! :-) GO BUCKS

Buckeye Dynasty starts in 2014 baby !!!!!! GO BUCKS !!!!!!!! O - H - I - O

One Bad Buckeye's picture

EGW, Dean, Edwards, Holland, Kilby-Lane, Settle, Thompson, Hilliard, Campbell, Gibson/Wimbush, Toliver, Harris, Beckner, Baker, Kirk, Clark, Strong, a few OL and a partridge in a pear tree......that would be a pretty sick class, no?

Seriously though, if we can even get 20% of the guys not already committed we'll be doing pretty good.  

"I'm One Bad Buckeye, and I approve this message."

+1 HS
wyatt's picture

Thanks for the thorough recruiting update Birm.  It is full time to keep up with the SEC and ACC teams  like LSU, Miami, Alabama, Georgia, Florida State, Florida, Auburn and even Kentucky. No rest in the recruiting business. 

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

We would have to sign 35 kids every year to keep up with those guys.  

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

Great info Birm...  I'm looking forward to seeing how this class fills out.  It's fun to watch, but stressful at the same time.  Recruiting is everything on the college level.  

buckeyeradar's picture

Thanks Brim you're right on.  I know we always want the top of the heap in talent so what's the word on QB Kyler Murray from Allen, Texas?   The kid only led his team to two consecutive 5A state championships and second in the nation in ranked high school teams. Played against D. Wilson as a sophomore and upstaged him.  You got to check him out.

Buckeye in Texas

Poison nuts's picture

Jeremy, I realize you can only answer so many questions, but I'd asked about amount of commitments OSU gets from Ohio vs Florida. Seems like this could be a year in which the amount of Florida commits potentially could equal or even outnumber the amount of commits from Ohio. Just wondering if you had any thoughts on this? I'm curious because there are quite a few 'must get' targets from Florida & there are already 2 Florida commits. I also live down here so I'm that much more interested in OSU's efforts in Fl..either way - thanks for the efforts - much appreciated!

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

zenshade's picture

Chris Kirk is the one to get excited and obsessed over. Watching his video I was mumbling O...M...G... after pretty much every play.

He's the guy that can make people stop referring to the Percy Harvin role. Dude looks like what you'd get if you frankenmonster spliced Harvin and Ted Ginn's genes together.

If we don't get him I really hope he stays home and plays for RichRod, giving UM fans additional angst while suffering through 4 or 5 consecutive 8-5 type seasons under Hoke.

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

OSU isn't going to use him in the hybrid role tho.  In the article here on 11W, he talked about how the staff didn't want to use him so much like Wilson but more like Corey Brown.  He will be more of a true WR than a Hybrid.  I'd say they don't want to push him away with the depth we have at Hybrid.  

Squirrel Master's picture

BIRM, BIRM, BIRM, BIRM, BIRM...

 

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

+2 HS
BDobina's picture

Not apart of the 2015 recruiting class, but do you have any information on Richard LeCounte? Him and Raekwon were teamates and he was a true freshman. Here are his highlights. I have been told we have already offered.