Michael Chung (9:17 pm)

Few recruits were more heralded in the 2012 class than Noah Spence. A five star prospect out of Pennsylvania, Spence committed to Ohio State soon after Urban Meyer took over as head coach.  With offers from all over the country and almost every major college football program, Spence chose Ohio State.  Many project Spence as the key recruit of this class. Urban is clearly trying to build up a superior defensive line and many believe Spence will be the cornerstone of that line. He took some time to answer questions recently.

You are one of the highest rated recruits in the 2012 class. How do you deal with the pressure?

NS: I put my faith in God and take it in stride. Try to work hard to get playing time. Coaches keep us together and do not want anyone to think they are better than the team; we are freshman and have to prove ourselves.

What attracted you to Ohio State?

NS: A lot: the coaching staff & school is close to my home. Coaches clearly communicated a mission with the players and they are very focused on this mission. I wanted to be part of it.

Pocic headed to LSU
Dave Thurman (8:56 pm)

I am a little late with this week's N & N...let's blame it on a short week whether that's true or not!  There are a number of interesting items to discuss.

Pocic Picks Tigers: Ethan Pocic, a 4-star offensive linemen from Lemont, Illinois, coveted by the OSU staff, gave a verbal commitment this week to LSU.  Considered one of the elite offensive tackle prospects in the nation, he ranked at the top of the Buckeye wish list, and some thought he was an Ohio State lean.  So, although signing day is a long way off, and Pocic could change his mind, this has to be considered a big loss for Urban and company. After a tremendous hot streak early this spring, the Buckeye staff has been in neutral for awhile in regard to the class of 2013.  Is it a big concern?  No!  But it does sting a little right now. Especially losing to the Mad Hatter, Les Miles.

Looking Back at Tress:  Nearly every Ohio newspaper and Buckeye blog has featured reflections of and tributes to Jim Tressel at the one year anniversary of his forced resignation.  Maybe the most complete of the lot was Matt Baxendell's two part homage entitled "A Golden Decade" but you need a subsription to Bucknuts to read it.  Our old friend Ramzy also had an interesting piece at Eleven Warriors entitled "Three Cups of Deceit."  You can read the TSB take here, and at the bottom are links to other articles about JT that appeared on the Buckeye Blog Network. 

Dave Thurman (8:23 pm)

Memorial Day, 2011 (Monday, May 30th), will always go down as one of the saddest in my many years of participating in, writing about and following sports.  Like every other fan of Ohio State football I knew the program was in the midst of a firestorm, and that Jim Tressel's flame resistant clothing had some holes in it.  Sports Illustrated had just released a scathing (though not entirely true) article, ESPN was on a witch hunt, and the whole world seemed to be calling for Tressel's head.  Still, I admit that I expected him to survive.  However, as I drove my mother, wife and daughter to a family reunion in Cynthiana, Kentucky, WLW news out of Cincinnati reported that Coach Tressel had stepped down following a meeting with E. Gordon Gee and Gene Smith.  I was shocked, then angry, and finally, numb.  Once again, the national media had succeeded in convicting a good man without a fair trial. 

It is not my intention to defend JT in this article, nor do I want to dredge up the past, since Tattoo Gate was painful enough the first time.  Rather, it is my desire to offer a brief tribute to a man who not only tasted great success at Ohio State, but impressed me with how he handled both accomplishment and failure.  It seems fitting to post such a tribute on Memorial Day, not only because it is the one year anniversary of Tressel's resignation, but also because I can recall no coach in recent history who was more patriotic or cared more about our nation's troops. 

Michael Chung (8:29 am)

Hailing from South Bend, IN, David Perkins was a highly sought after LB recruit during the 2012 season.  He may be the fastest linebacker recruit the Buckeyes have ever had.  Once a Notre Dame commit, Perkins gives us the inside on why he de-committed, why he committed to OSU and compares Urban Meyer to Brian Kelly.

Tell me what sold you on Ohio State?

DP: Some say it is Urban Meyer but I must be honest, Urban had almost nothing to do with it.  When I de-committed from Notre Dame, I wanted to go to a school that I felt comfortable at. As soon as I got on campus, something just felt right and I fell in love with OSU.

Why did you de-commit from Notre Dame?

DP: ND was the home school and I really wanted to see other places. They did not want me to visit other schools so I de-committed.

What have been your 40 times?

DP: During my sophomore season, there was an electronic clock at the Under Armor game.  It measured me at 4.43.  My fastest recorded time is 4.22.

Drew Thurman (12:01 pm)

In typical Mark Dantonio fashion, the Spartans are quietly getting it done on the recruiting trail again in the 2013 class. They have locked in seven verbal commitments thus far including two Ohio prospects in linebacker Shane Jones (Moeller HS) and safety Jalyn Powell (Warren Harding HS). I sat down with Jim McEvoy from Shaw Lane Spartans and talked about those two and where things stand in 2013.

1) What should Buckeye fans know about Michigan State's 2013 class? What are your feelings about the class thus far?
The class of 2013 is typical Dantonio in terms of quality. All of the committed prospects seem to be above average and potential Big Ten starters. A couple (Shane Jones & Caleb Benenoch) have some pretty impressive offer sheets and physical gifts. This seems to be par for the course under Dantonio, solid talent.

A strange thing that's happening is that MSU is definitely moving away from winning Michigan in terms of recruiting. Undoubtedly a portion of this is related to Hoke working so diligently to lock up Michigan. Another portion is that MSU has set it's sights to winning prospects away from states it's not traditionally recruited well in the past. MSU has commitments from R.J. Shelton (from Wisconsin with a Wisconsin offer) and Benenoch(from Texas with A&M and Tech offers).

2) Which position groups do you think are the most important to fill in this class? How has the staff addressed those needs?

MSU really needed to hit a home run in linebackers this year and it has with Jon Reschke and Shane Jones. I'm sure OSU fans or at least their QB's still have nightmares about Denicos Allen, Max Bullough and Chris Norman from last year. Norman graduates this year, Bullough and Allen are projected to go in the first three rounds if they chose to leave after this year. MSU has some young talent at the Linebacker position, but they really needed to and have hit a home run at Linebacker.

Michael Chung (8:41 am)

Brent Williams is a 13-year veteran of the NFL playing for teams like the New England Patriots and New York Jets. What sets him apart is he has three boys playing major college football. His oldest son Brennan is an offensive lineman for the North Carolina Tar Heels, while his younger son Camren and godson Armani Reeves will be Buckeyes in the fall. This is Brent’s second interview with me (here is his first, another insightful interview). In light of the recent media coverage of parents, safety and recruiting, and realizing he has an older son who lived through the scandals at North Carolina, I thought Brent would offer unique insight others could not provide.

With the recent media coverage of concerned parents and OSU recruiting (note: Dr. Sal Anzalone was misquoted by Reading Eagle), what would you tell parents of prospective recruits?

BW: There are so many factors in the decisions. Having gone through it three times as a parent, you want what is best.  From all we have experienced at Ohio State, they do a tremendous job of educating young men due to the previous issues with their program.  OSU was very upfront with the boys about their celebrity status once they became Buckeyes.  Columbus is a city that is primarily an Ohio State football town so the boys become instant luminaries.  Urban wanted to recruit young men who are mature enough to handle this status and responsibility.  The coaches know that people want to be as near to the program as possible and young men have to be able to handle themselves. I think OSU has done a great job addressing potential concerns.

Will Hood wind up at OSU?
Dave Thurman (6:38 pm)

Welcome to our weekly edition of Midweek News & Notes, let's hit up some of the headlines...

Schedules Released: This week the B1G released the future schedules of all twelve conference teams for 2015 and 2016, and Ohio State learned that they will begin both of those seasons playing Purdue and will close each with Michigan.  You can see the full schedule for both years here.  The great news is that "The Game" continues on as it should be, right at the end of the year.  There had been a great deal of speculation that conference officials (not known for their wise decisions in the past) might move the OSU-Michigan contest to an earlier date.  Thankfully that has not occurred.  We also learned this week that the 109th edition of "The Game" will kick off at noon this season and be covered by ABC.  I can't wait for the ugly helmets to make the trip down to Columbus so Ohio State can begin a new winning streak.

Brandon Castel, the fine writer at The OZone weighed in with a number of thoughts on future schedules that is worth reading.  Among other things, Castel notes that the 2013 schedule looks very favorable for the Buckeyes, and of course that will be Urban's first season when he can aim at both the B1G and national titles. 

More Hood Speculation: We have been hearing for a few weeks that Rodney Hood will check out Ohio State, and might eventually select the Buckeyes.  Hood, who played this past season at Mississippi State, was an AAU teammate of LaQuinton Ross, which may help a great deal.  It now appears he will finally visit Columbus this weekend, as he chooses between Duke and OSU.  Although he would have to sit out the upcoming season, Hood would be a great acquisition and has three years of eligibility remaining.  Last season as a freshman at MSU he averaged 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest. 

Michael Chung (11:53 am)

The Los Angeles Lakers have a rich history of basketball and championships and names like Wilt Chamberlin, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Pat Riley, and Phil Jackson, to name a few, are synonymous with greatness. So after game 2 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, when Steve Blake missed a shot near the end of the game, Laker fans’ behavior was alarming.  Despite multiple past championships and some of the greatest players in history, fanatical basketball fans fired death threats via social media at Blake’s Twitter.  Blake’s wife ended up having to block around 500 people.  The question is asked: has society gone too far? Do we as fans need to revaluate the priorities in our life? Has our following of sports produced an irrationality that is detrimental to teams, our society, and ourselves?

Buckeye fans may also share in this alarming behavior.  In recent Ohio State Football history, two young men, Alex Anzalone and Lewis Neal, experienced similar things as Steve Blake. After their de-commitment from Ohio State, fans took out their wrath on these two young men. Unlike Blake, they are not professionals but two people who are trying to figure out where the best place for their education will be.  This decision will affect the rest of their lives.

Michael Chung (10:06 am)

J.T. Barrett is rated by some publications as the number one dual threat quarterback in the nation. Heralding from the football talent rich state of Texas, Meyer and the Buckeyes were able to secure a commitment back in April with hopes that he we be the heir apparent successor to Braxton Miller. He took some time to answer questions for us.

Being from Texas, did the Longhorns try to recruit you?

JT: They did. They were the first camp I went to. I worked out for them and they were the school I was talking to first.  But they ended up not offering and I was fine, if it were the best place for me to go then I would have been offered.

Being so close to the Oklahoma border, did the Sooners show any interest?

JT: They did, but they came into the game too late.  They started talking to me around spring ball and it was too late.

Any other schools you were thinking about?

JT: Texas Tech, Baylor and Nebraska.

What factors made you chose OSU?

JT: They are a big family. I was raised in a big family all my life and both my mom and dad came from big families so I am use to being around a lot of people.  My high school team is a big family so I wanted to go to a team that felt like a family. OSU also has lots of alumni everywhere so the OSU family is all over the world. Coach Meyer has also assembled one of the best coaching staffs in the country.

OSU is in good standing with Quick.
Drew Thurman (4:16 pm)

As we wade through the 2013 recruiting waters position by position, it is time to take a deeper look into what is going on at wide receiver. We previously looked at the quarterback, offensive line, defensive line, and linebacker positions.

Even if you marginally follow the recruiting world, you know how hungry Urban Meyer and the staff are for playmakers. In fact, Meyer was quite open about the lack of game changers at the wide receiver position in spring practice, something that he will look to change. While the wideout ranks are still very young and have potential, Meyer is looking some more versatile talent that can alter games in his diverse attack.

He already has one of those players on board in Jalin Marshall. While there has been a lot of speculation about where Marshall will play in college, since he plays QB for Middletown and wants a shot there at Ohio State, most everyone assumes that he will eventually end up in a Percy Harvin type role when the dust settles. Marshall is a very rare talent with 4.4 speed and great lateral movement, qualities that make him a scary asset with the ball in space.

Besides Marshall, the staff will be looking to add two to three more players at wide receiver in this class. Fortunately, almost all their targets are still on the board, as the big time wideouts don't appear to be picking schools as quickly as their fellow classmates. Let's dive in a take a deeper look at who those players are...