Buckeye delirium over recruiting has hit an all time high in January, 2010, and at times it is downright comical. Although nobody has jumped off a bridge yet (that we know of) there probably have been some fist fights if the boards on various websites are any indication. I have never before seen the OSU faithful in such a tizzy over recruiting and that is saying a lot!
For the first time in the past four years, Ohio State is coming off a big bowl victory, and looks like it will retain most of its top players. Although Thad Gibson is turning pro, players like Cameron Heyward, Chimdi Chekwa and Justin Boren have told the NFL they can wait, and it doesn't look like any of the other potential seniors will enter the draft. However, in the midst of all this great news, some fans can't seem to handle the bliss and are turning to recruiting to feed their need for negativity.
Now in all honesty there is some cause for concern when one looks at recent history. Terrelle Pryor aside, Coach Tressel has had his biggest successes in recruiting early in the process, and there have been some big disappointments in January and February. Most out of state studs who have waited until the end to announce their college choice have seemed to spurn the Buckeyes. But even with that historical perspective there is no need to get hysterical.
-Jordan Hicks - The top rated player in Ohio, he appears to be leaning toward Florida, if recent reports are to be believed. While you hate to lose the top instate recruit, the truth is that the Silver Bullets are loaded at linebacker, and there are always plenty of good ones within the Buckeye state to be gleaned.
-Matt James - I actually feel pretty good about this situation, because a month ago I would have said that our odds were slim on the big offensive lineman from Cincinnati. However his recent statements lead one to believe that OSU is at least getting strong consideration. While Notre Dame may be the school to beat, don't give up hope on this talented player.
-Seantrel Henderson - I confess that he is #1 on my radar, as I think the Scarlet and Gray have not recruited enough o-lineman in the past few years and he is special. Nobody knows his intended destination but OSU is still in the running.
-Sharrif Floyd - He would be my personal number two, and is also the focus of a huge amount of the angst and arguing. We were assured for awhile that he was a Buckeye lean but are now being told by some that he is not. Since Hankins verballed there is no reason to panic, and I hold out hope on landing this big guy.
-Latwan Anderson - This speedster is a Buckeye lean according to most experts, but his own words make you wonder if he is about to pull a Cordale Scott and head elsewhere. He could also be another Glenville guy who has trouble in the classroom.
-Christian Bryant - I'll be very surprised if this Tarblooder DB doesn't sign with the Bucks, and he may be a bit underrated.
-Bradley Roby - Yet another defensive back, he verballed to Vanderbilt but has toyed with the idea of switching to OSU. With the loss of Shaw and Joyner it wouldn't hurt to add this guy who is out of Cam Heyward's high school.
Of course there are a couple of other names that have popped up in the past few days, but the seven listed above are the ones everyone is following most closely, and include the players that fans most desire. My guess is that the Bucks get three or four of them and add somebody else who has been flying under the radar. It might not be a top five class, and may even dip below the top ten on some lists, but it will still be pretty good.
Anyway, here's my message to the Buckeye faithful: Don't panic regardless of what transpires. Even if most all of the best prospects kick Ohio State to the curb, remain calm. Don't reach for the gun! Put down the bottle of valium! Not one of these guys is indispensable. Football, unlike basketball, cannot be built around one or two players. And the present staff has a great track record with supposedly second-tier guys. Think Laurinaitis, Jenkins, Hawk, Robiskie, and Chekwa, just to name a few.
This is the best January in a long time. It is silly to let a bunch of 18 year-old kids cause major heartburn as they navigate the rough waters of recruiting. Let's enjoy the good times and gear up for another great season no matter what happens during the next few weeks.