This was scheduled to be an article about high expectations for incoming Ohio State freshmen.
It was supposed to be a thoughtful glimpse into variables like these that can put phenomenal recruits in position to meet or exceed expectations in their first seasons:
- DEPTH CHART - like Lydell Ross as your primary competition for the starting job
- SERENDIPITY - like Michigan choosing to cover you with Brandon Watson with everyone watching
- TIMING - like playing next to Korey Stringer when you happen to be Orlando Pace
Being a stud is required. Other factors go a long way to determine the size of a splash.
Ohio State has five incoming freshman who were ranked in the top ten nationally at their positions as recruits, and that's what we were going to discuss today. It's standard offseason fare. We would have compared the future to the past, and forgotten for seven blissful minutes that we still have 11 wedding-appropriate Saturdays to survive until our favorite sport returns. Then, back to your TPS reports and allergies.
The opening to that article had David Boston returning a punt for a TD with only eight Buckeyes on the field in his second game ever before pivoting to Maurice having his name chanted by the entire stadium in his first game ever. Then we'd dive right into Zach Harrison and get current. The title was going to come from an ancient Genesis album which maybe three old timers would notice and appreciate in the comments. That stayed. You're welcome, Boomers.
So you're not getting that article, because while performing due diligence to ensure I wasn't unintentionally rewriting someone else's 2019 offseason take, I found this masterpiece:
The 25 Most Overrated College Football Players of All Time
Of all time. Spielman's neckroll, that's a monster effort. We're currently at 130 FBS programs and well into our second century of the sport, so getting dialed in on why Jebediah C. Washburn was a bigger disappointment on those Colgate squads of the 1930s than say, Derrick Green in Ann Arbor - that's 100% my shit. My previous column idea vaporized, and I visited that link with enthusiasm, excited to see which legendary teens disappointed their communities the hardest.
The article was published in 2011 so Derrick Green is not on it. Take your time. Swirl it around.
|1||JACQUIZZ RODGERS||OREGON STATE|
|4||TERRELLE PRYOR||OHIO STATE|
|5||JEREMIAH MASOLI||OREGON/OLE MISS|
|9||ARCHIE GRIFFIN||OHIO STATE|
|10||MATT LEINART||SOUTHERN CAL|
|11||MAURICE CLARETT||OHIO STATE|
|17||ZAC ROBINSON||OKLAHOMA STATE|
|18||GEORGE SELVIE||SOUTH FLORIDA|
|19||JEVAN SNEAD||TEXAS/OLE MISS|
|22||BRADY QUINN||NOTRE DAME|
|23||RICK MIRER||NOTRE DAME|
Before you gasp whoa whoa whoa there's a lot to unpack here just stop. Stop and count the number of Heisman winners among the most overrated college football players of all time (six!). Stop and count the number of defensive players (zero!) Stop and total the number of historically overrated guys who played in the sport's first century (maybe five?). Stop and count the number of Forciers that made the list (all of them! They're 12% of the list!) Okay, now we can unpack.
You may have noticed that this article was curated from what can affectionately be referred to as Bleacher Report Klassic, but that's no excuse - not even Cameron Heyward disrespected the Forcier family like that. Heyward's teammate Terrelle Pryor was the MVP of the Rose and Sugar Bowls - and he's fourth on that list. There are many lists that have Archie Griffin and Maurice Clarett on them...and this is one of them.
Depth Chart, Serendipity and Timing can definitely affect if a player matriculates out of amateurism wearing an Underrated or Overrated pageant sash for eternity. We could dive into statistics, trophies, gilded moments from big games or legacy - but those fail to overwhelm the most important variable of all: Your lying eyes and cheating heart.
My personal truth is that Dane Sanzenbacher, who last played in 2010, is still the best wide receiver Ohio State has put on the field this decade and since Santonio Holmes. No one ever successfully guarded him, he never dropped anything, he did everything without the ball and he barely improved because he operated at his ceiling from the very beginning. This may start a fight, but whatever. It's my personal truth.
And that's how that Klassic list should be viewed, since I don't think you'll find another vessel wandering this warming orb who will tell you Jacquizz Rodgers is the most overrated college football player of all time. Personal truth tends to permeate all of our takes under the auspices of being close enough to Actual Truth, but that author wanted nothing to do with conventional capitulation. If he thinks Shoelaces was historically overrated, it must be true.
So your discussion of Ohio State freshman meeting and exceeding expectations in 2019 is going to have to live inside your head, because I don't think I'm courageous enough to put out a Personal Truth I can defend without stuttering. It's beyond my depth. Offseason content has no rules, but I have my own.
That was the bravest college football take I've ever seen in my life, and I regret that it took me eight years to discover it. Here's to Garrett Wilson ending up as overrated as Julio Jones.