COLUMBUS--Not even 24 hours after the ink dried on the 18 national letters of intent faxed into Ohio State's football offices, Coach Jim Tressel and his staff face a difficult decision which may ultimately result in a change of the guard.
A Thayer Evans penned New York Times piece on wunderrecruit tackle Seantrell Henderson profiled what some consider the genesis of the conundrum now facing the Buckeyes' decision makers:
As the Hendersons started to receive letters of intent Monday, the Ohio State running backs coach Dick Tressel, who is known as Doc, sent an e-mail message to Henderson’s father referring to a performance by the rappers Lil Wayne, Eminem and Drake during Sunday’s Grammy Awards. When Tressel, the older brother of Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel, visited the Hendersons in December, Seantrel made his father freestyle rap for him.
“That was a Grammy performance made me think of u!” Tressel wrote.
Since sending the superficially shameless ploy to appeal to Henderson's hip-hop sensibilities, Doc Tressel's been said by observers close to the program to withdraw from his recruiting responsibilities, and instead has been spending virtually all of his time consuming all of the Crunk, G-Funk, Ghettotech, Grime, New jack, and Gangsta 'ish he'd missed during the past 3 decades.
"I've heard the bass line from 'BedRock' by Young Money featuring Lloyd over 25 times in the last 8 hours alone emanating from underneath his office door." one puzzled assistant trainer told 11W.
Tressel's obsession with all things "popping", "locking", and "dropping" would be viewed as but a phase to many familiar with the 6th year running back tutor and master recruiter, but numerous recruits, including Fork Union Military Academy tailback Carlos Hyde and Fort Wayne Hardin product Rod Smith have said to have received countless text messages completely unlike the previous 11 months' correspondences:
"I mean, I thought that was a cool dude. But now? Got me scratching my head, know what I'm saying'? I just didn't gee the same stable 'I ain't goin' nowhere' vibe from him like I did from Lane Kiffin or Bobby Petrino," said a recruit who asked to remain nameless and ultimately signed with a rival program.
Many other recruits weren't so lucky. Another ESPN 150 recruit said he was bombarded over the last week with what appeared to be Blackberry taken photos of the 62-year old coach in various so-called "fly gear".
"I like Pelle Pelle Raised Leather Men's Jackets as much as the next guy, but on coach? That was just too much," the recruit said when reached for comment.
Ultimately some analysts believe the Buckeyes will be forced to make a change at the position after Tressel spent much of Tuesday transcribing the lyrics to various freestyles over the "Exhibit C" beat and using the athletic department internet to update his new blog, "Soul Tress".
Not all who've heard about the dramatic change in persona though have found reason for concern. Professor Marcus Patterson, a sociology department chair at an Ivy League institution described the phenomenon of sexagenarians becoming consumed by hip-hop culture a growing occurrence in society and little reason for concern.
"A lifetime of denying ones true self can drive many to depression or worse. If the worst crime this man's committed is the embracing of a cultural response to the historic oppression by a system designed to keep the balance of power in favor of the status quo, well then, lock me up and throw away the key too. Lupe Fiasco's "I'm Beamin'" is the truth."