Drew Thurman (2:40 pm)

Just when it looked like Tressel and company would be unable to reel in a quality tight end, they have nabbed two in 2011. The latest commitment came today from Nick Vannett out of Westerville Central (6-6 230 pounds). He picked the Buckeyes over high profile schools like Notre Dame, Penn State, Oregon, Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Pitt, and Wisconsin.

Vannett's commitment was expected, but it still doesn't make it any less important. The Buckeyes have struggled in recent years getting anyone to come to Columbus to play TE, and if Stoneburner would not have moved over this team would be in serious trouble. Vannett is a serious talent, rated top a top ten tight end by ESPN, and appears to be the tight end of the future. Here are his highlights courtesy of ScoutingOhio.com... 
 
 
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Drew Thurman (1:52 pm)

Don't give up Duron Carter just yet. The latest update from Carter at Coffeyville Community College seems pretty positive. I just watched this video over OKBlitz.com, and it's nice to see Duron at least saying that right things. He is admitting that he messed up at tOSU and now knows that this is his last chance. Maybe the most encouraging words coming from Carter's mouth was this:

"I'm a Buckeye in my blood, I'm a Buckeye all the time." 

As for now he's stuck in the middle of nowhere in Kansas, and has some hard work ahead of him. Let's hope the freshman mistakes are behind him, and he can follow up what was looking like a very promising career.

Head over to OKBlitz.com for the full video and story...
 
 
Drew Thurman (7:31 pm)

The popular belief was that the hot start for the Buckeyes in 2011 would lead to some early recruiting with the talent laden 2012 class. Well, things have officially begun as junior Josh Perry has committed to the Buckeyes. Perry, an  Olentangy High School product, is listed at 6-3 220 pounds and also boasts a 3.8 GPA. He will be listed as a linebacker by all the recruiting services, which is what he plays in high school, but he is a versatile athlete that could find himself in a couple of different places depending on need. 

He caught the attention of the staff and many onlookers this last weekend at Ohio State's camp, which earned him an offer. Like many of the recent Ohio recruits, he wasted no time jumping on board. Tressel and the staff are definitely hitting their stride right now, and the rest of this summer should be fun. Anyways, here are some of Perry's highlights...
 
 
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Drew Thurman (10:15 am)

The dust has settled the last few weeks on the expansion front, and now we are merely left to analyze all the action that took place in such a quick period of time. One of the biggest questions we have ask at this point is - who won the expansion war? 

Well, early this year it appeared that the Big Ten was the front runner in all things expansion and would dictate what the other conferences would do. Jim Delany and company drug their feet though, and Larry Scott and the Pac-10 wasted no time jumping into the spotlight. At one moment it appeared they would jump to 16 teams, engulfing the powerhouse teams in the Big 12.

Though most of the predictions and rumors would end up being false, the Pac-10 did grab most of the headlines with their additions of Utah and Colorado. Those press clipping combined with the biggest expansion move (two teams) would leave many to believe that they were the big winners of the whole thing. At first glance that doesn't seem like a crazy assumption, but after a deeper look I think it's pretty clear the Big Ten came out on top. Here is why:

It's about quality not quantity...

Adding both Colorado and Utah ensured that the Pac-10 can now have a conference championship, but neither appears to add much as an elite power. Colorado has not fared well in recent years, and even under Gary Barnett (when things were much happier in Boulder), they were still typically a 5 loss team. Utah does have much more appeal with their recent bowl success, including the stunning upset of Alabama in '09, but have yet to show they can play in a power conference week after week (though I do have great respect for the MWC). Larry Scott even admitted this:

“Utah’s proven they can compete with the very best of the Pac-10,” he said. What will be interesting to see is, now they’ll have to do it on a week in, week out basis. I think it’s a real challenge for Utah coaches, but I’m sure they’re up for it.”
 
 
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Will Smith in the 2002 National Championship Game
Dave Thurman (12:11 pm)

In our ongoing series we have already looked at the following positions: wide receiver, linebacker, offensive line, defensive backs, fullbacks and tight ends.  Although most OSU fans have been jealous of schools like Florida, Florida State, Miami and Alabama who always seem to be loaded with NFL caliber talent on the defensive line, it's not like the Buckeyes have been void of excellent players at this position.  However, many of the guys on this list played years ago, and have been forgotten by all but the most ardent of fans.  Here are the ones TSB considers to be the best of the best:

10. Vernon Gholstin - Due to his lack of success so far in the NFL it is easy to forget how dynamic he was in college, especially his senior year.  Big Vern spent most of that 2007 season in the offensive backfield and wound up with 14 sacks.

9.  Bob Brudzinski - Brudzinski was a four-time letter winner and a 3-year starter at defensive end for the Buckeyes. He was a two-time All-Big 10 selection and as a senior, was a consensus All-American, before going on to a lengthy NFL career.

8.  Van Ness DeCree - Besides having one of the coolest names in Ohio State history, DeCree was a quick, dominating defensive end who was a two-time All-American in the early 70s.

7.  James Houston - This big guy was a two way player who excelled on offense and defense.  But his forte was stuffing the run with physical play, and James was a two-time All-American before being the eighth player taken in the first round of the NFL draft. 

6.  Jim Marshall - Before becoming an ironman in the NFL (started 282 straight games), Jim was a quick lineman who starred for Woody Hayes.  He actually left school before his senior year and played one year in the CFL before entering the NFL draft.
 
 
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Dave Thurman (8:24 pm)

Congratulations to Evan Turner on a most memorable week.  First he was named the Jesse Owens Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year, following a season in which he averaged 20.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg and 6.0 apg, recording an amazing sixteen double-doubles.  One wonders if Turner has room in his trophy case for all the hardware he has reeled in, which includes the Wooden Award, as well as the Naismith and Oscar Robertson trophies.  The Villain was also named National Player of the Year by the Associated PressBasketball Times, National Association of Basketball Coaches and Sporting News.  

Turner capped the week by being the second player chosen in the NBA draft, and will head to Philadelphia to join new coach Doug Collins.  The 76ers seem to be a good fit for Evan, and it will be fun to watch him peform at the highest level.  Best wishes to ET, and we'll try hard to cheer for him even though he will now reside in Philly!
 
 
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Drew Thurman (9:30 pm)

In this series of profiles, we are taking a look at some of the under the radar Buckeye players who play a vital role in a championship run. Everyone knows the importance of players like Pryor, Saine, Posey, Brewster, Boren, Heyward, Homan, and Rolle. This series is not about those big name players, rather the indispensable guys that get looked over. Check out #7 Nathan Williams...

Why he is important:

Thaddeus Gibson is gone, and with him left a lot of production for the Ohio State defense. Last year he led the team with tackles for loss (13) and was second on the team in sacks with four. Enter Nathan Williams. He is the only guy on the depth chart who has extensive experience to replace Gibson. Lawerence Wilson graduated and Solomon Thomas and Melvin Fellows have yet to to prove they are ready to play every down.

Williams numbers last season prove he will be a game changer in 2010. Coming off the bench he appeared in all thirteen games, and was third on the team in tackles for loss and sacks behind Heyward and Gibson. 
 
 
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Is this finally Washington's time to shine?
Dave Thurman (4:45 PM)

Looking for a late Father's Day gift for Jim Tressel?  How about a dependable number three wide receiver.  Last year it was supposed to be Ray Small, but he had problems hitting the books and staying out of trouble, and fell out of the good graces of the coaching staff.  Now, Duron Carter, the young man who wound up assuming that number three WR spot a season ago, is leaving school.  As has been widely reported, Carter was done in by poor grades, and is going to attend Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.  If he can get back on track academically, Duron will then head to a four year institution, which may or may not be Ohio State.  This is terrible news for the 2010 Buckeyes because of Carter's immense potential, and is especially baffling considering all the tools that the youngster had at his disposal.  He knew what grades were needed to stay in school and had all kinds of people willing to help him.  What a shame...and a waste of talent.

Anyway, receivers coach Darrell Hazell is left to choose from the following options, as he looks for someone to complement Devier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher:

1) Taurian Washington - A senior who has size and speed but has lacked consistency
2) Chris Fields - A speedy redshirt freshman who many think will eventually win the job
3) James Jackson - A thin, but quick redshirt freshman, who may need more seasoning
4) One of three true freshmen - James Louis, Corey Brown, or Tyrone Williams, the latter of whom just received word that he is cleared to enroll.  Of the three, Brown, who is a burner, may be the most prepared to play from day one. 

Your guess is as good as mine as to who will get the playing time, but my bet is that one of three youngsters eventually claims the spot - either Fields, Louis or Brown.

Of course the bad news from this past weekend just keeps on going.  Besides Carter, the school announced that defensive end Keith Wells is also transferring.  While not a surprise it is a bit of a blow, as Wells has an explosive first step off the edge, and I hoped he could contribute this fall. 

Word is also being circulated that top incoming recruit Rod Smith, the running back from Ft. Wayne, Indana, has not enrolled for summer classes.  His grade issues have been well documented, and one wonders if he will be on the team this year.  While OSU is stocked at the position for 2010 this would be very damaging for the future.

And, finally, everyone knows by now that Jamel Turner was shot multiple times on Saturday and critically wounded.  Those closest to his situation had already forecast that Turner would never suit up in Scarlet and Gray due to academic deficiencies.  Regardless, our prayers go out to Turner and his family, as he fights for his life.  Coupled with Smith, I thought he was the best athlete in the class of '10.

Any way you slice it, it was not a good weekend for the Buckeyes...and who said the off-season is boring?
 
 
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Dave Thurman (8:08 pm)

Buckeye Battle Cry 2010, a preview of OSU football published by Maple Street Press, includes an article by Drew and me, entitled "Want Eight," detailing the keys to another Buckeye championship appearance. The publication is 128 pages in length, full of recruiting information, analysis of the current team, and entertaining stories of years past. A big thanks to editor Jason Priestas over at 11W for giving us this opportunity.

You can order the publciation online at:
http://www.maplestreetpress.com/book.cfm?book_id=79
 
 
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Drew Thurman (2:33 pm)

There has been a lot of recruiting action today involving the Buckeyes, some good and some bad. Let's start with the bad.

Linebacker prospect James Vaughters announced today that he is headed for Stanford. After the ceremony he said that Ohio State and Georgia Tech tied for second for his services. The Buckeye staff is hungry for a star linebacker in this class, and Vaughters' announcement makes that task a little harder. Now all eyes will turn towards Trey DePriest, who currently appears to be all about Alabama.

On the positive side, wide receiver Devin Smith committed today. The Massilon Washington product is 6-2 175 pounds and had offers from Penn State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska, West Virginia, and many more. Smith was at the Senior Advanced Camp this weekend at OSU, and his performance brought an offer on Monday from the staff. He didn't waste anytime, and now the Buckeyes have two wideouts committed in 2010. It will be interesting to see what happens with the other wide receiver prospects the staff is after.

All in all, the Buckeyes now have 15 commitments in the 2010 class. Outside of some small struggles at linebacker, this class is moving right along.