Drew Thurman (9:57 am)
Tressel and the staff are coming off two of the most successful classes of his tenure, but now the focus must be shifted to the 2010 class. Things have started off pretty solidly thus far with commitments from DE J.T Moore, OL Andrew Norwell, DE Jamel Turner, and LB David Durham. Yet negativity has surrounded this class on the boards, even before summer has arrived. While I do not understand the negativity this early, the reality is that this class does not have the make up to rank with the last two. There are several factors leading to this, so let's take a look:
Problem #1 - Lack of Scholarships:
Many fans are pointing to the 20 plus commitments that Texas already has in this class, and have totally forgotten the lack of scholarships the Buckeyes have to hand out in 2010. Due to this, there are a handful of Ohio kids that will not receive offers who in other years may have already committed. The staff has already shown that they are going to be selective in this class, and are looking to out-of-state talent to try to fill some holes first.
Problem #2 - Enemies Attack:
With the Buckeyes not being able to offer some in-state kids, there are other schools already grabbing up commitments. The two schools that have primarily been pulling this sneak attack are Cincinnati and Michigan. The Bearcats already have six commitments from Ohio kids, including tight end Alex Smith of Lakota West, who recently impressed at the Nike Combine in Cincinnati. The Wolverines have three commitments from Ohio themselves, most notably Jerald Robinson of Canton South. It's hard to believe that these young men would be looking elsewhere if the Buckeyes had scholarships to offer.
Problem #3 - The Chance of Losing the Best:
With that said, Jordan Hicks (pictured above) does hold an offer and could go elsewhere. Hicks recently found himself on top of Bill Kurelic's Ohio Class rankings, and has offers from a lot of the big time programs around the country. Many say his early leader is Texas, which would be a killer considering the talent Hicks is. If the staff is going to be so insistent in looking beyond on the borders of Ohio, they need to at least lock in the top tier talent inside. Let's just hope the Buckeyes don't lose two big talents from Lakota West High School in one year.
Another Cincinnati product is offensive lineman Matt James of St. Xavier. Though the Buckeyes are one of the three schools at the top of his list, it is very realistic that they could lose him to Notre Dame or Cincinnati. Cincinnati as a whole has always been a tough battle for Ohio State, especially for the guys that look to continue their Catholic roots with the Irish. So losing James and Hicks in the same year would really leave a scar on this class. Yes the staff has already locked in Turner and Norwell, a couple of the best in the state, but one could argue that Hicks and James are the best two overall players in Ohio.
Problem #4 - Ohio is Bloated:
One of the biggest problems that faces the staff in the 2010 class is the fact that the Ohio talent is bloated at certain positions, while being vacant at others. For instances, Ohio has lots to offer at linebacker and defensive end (there seems to be 100 solid DE's), and even has a variety of talent on the offensive line. Outside of this the Buckeyes are having to look around the country to fill needs, including some key positions like quarterback and running back. This has been a problem with Ohio classes before, but with the lack of scholarship this year, it is even more evident.
All in all:
The makeup of this class will not hold its weight with the last two. With that said, Tressel and the staff always bring in talent and fill the needs. It may not be as exciting for us fans because the recruiting news will not be as flashy, but this class will be solid. Some have already compared this class to the 2006 class, but it is way too early to project that kind of disappointment on these young men.