The recruiting game is a fun diversion that usually rewards good teams, but sometimes it turns into a crapshoot. Five-star recruits may not live up to their billing, while some two- and three-star recruits excel and go on to play on Sundays.
As Ohio's only major football school (in your face, Cincinnati!), Ohio State often has its pick of the state's best talent. Nevertheless, some elite players slip through the cracks. In this article, we take a look at some of the recent in-state prospects Ohio State wouldn't or couldn't recruit who blew up elsewhere.
Luke Kuechly- Boston College
Without question, Luke Kuechly is one of the best linebackers to come out of college in the last decade. Kuechly had a fantastic career at Boston College, racking up 158 total tackles as a true freshman. For his career, he had 532 tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss and 7 interceptions. And Ohio State missed on him.
Kuechly, a Cincinnati St. Xavier alum, was not heavily recruited by the Buckeyes out of high school. As a three-star recruit, Kuechly held offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, NC State and Stanford. He committed to BC in 2009, and he went on to be a consensus two-time All-American.
Kuechly declared for the NFL after his junior season and was taken ninth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. He won AP Rookie Defensive Player of the Year with the Carolina Panthers, and last year he was the AP Defensive Player of the Year. Given his accolades, Kuechly ranks as one of the biggest misses of the Tressel era.
Brady Quinn- Notre Dame
Unlike Kuechly, Brady Quinn was highly recruited by Ohio State as a potential franchise quarterback. Quinn, a five-star pocket passer from Dublin, was the star quarterback of the 2003 class, racking up offers from every major program in the country. He would have been an ideal quarterback for Tressel's system, but Quinn had other plans.
Ultimately, Quinn passed up an opportunity to succeed Craig Krenzel to play for Ty Willingham at Notre Dame. While his first two seasons saw some struggles, he blossomed once Notre Dame fired Willingham and hired Charlie Weis. Quinn led the Irish to back-to-back BCS bowls in his junior and senior seasons and finished his career with 11,762 passing yards and 95 touchdowns. Even more impressive, he temporarily made Charlie Weis look like a genius.
Quinn had all the stats, but Notre Dame just couldn't win the big game while he was there. He played well in the epic 2005 USC-Notre Dame game, but the Irish fell 34-31. He played Ohio State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in 2006 and lost 34-20. In his final game with the Fighting Irish, Notre Dame was demolished by LSU in the 2007 Sugar Bowl, 41-14.
What team drafted him in the draft in 2007? None other than the Cleveland Browns. Quinn was taken with the 22nd overall pick, but he was not the answer to the Browns' problems. He started and played in just 14 games for the Browns and was out of town after three seasons. He remains a backup in the NFL; not an awful career, but disappointing considering how his college years went.
Mario Manningham- Michigan
Another painful defection came from Mario Manningham, a wide receiver from Warren G. Harding High School in Warren. On National Signing Day 2004, Manningham committed to Michigan over Ohio State and went on to have a productive career as a Wolverine.
Manningham was a tall and powerful receiver, and those traits served him well. He had 2,310 receiving yards and over 30 touchdown receptions over his career. In his 2007 junior season, Manningham had 72 receptions for 1,174 yards and 12 touchdowns, making him one of the top receivers in the nation. He left early for the NFL Draft after his junior season and was selected in the third round by the New York Giants.
Manningham had a few productive years with the Giants. His best season was in 2010, when he caught 60 balls for nearly 1,000 yards. He was never the true No. 1 receiver with the Giants, but he was a very good No. 2 or 3 option. After a two year stint with the San Francisco 49ers, he returned to the Giants.
|Player and City||College Chosen|
|Fred Davis (Toledo, Ohio)||USC Trojans|
|Brian Hoyer (Cleveland, Ohio)||Michigan State|
|Daryll Clark (Youngstown, Ohio)||Penn State|
|Kyle Rudolph (Cincinnati, Ohio)||Notre Dame|
|Fitzgerald Toussaint (Youngstown, Ohio)||Michigan|