The recruiting news hasn't exactly been hot lately, as Ohio State's last official commitment was Roger Lewis on August 9th. The Buckeyes aren't exactly in position to wrangle in the recruits though. With Fickell's future up in the air and the NCAA ruling still looming, it really should come as no surprise that many recruits are waiting to see what goes on.
All of that hasn't stopped Buckeye fans from being impatient with what they are seeing on the recruiting trail. After a decade of being spoiled by top ten classes and a wealth of blue chippers, the restlessness isn't hard to understand. Still, as Alex Gleitman from 11W pointed out earlier this week, fans need to realize what Fickell has been able to accomplish with this 2012 class. Despite all the drama, there has only been one decommitment (think about that for a second) and the Buckeyes still have a very real shot at some big names on the board, including some 5-star prospects.
Let's take a look at some of the latest news...
* Last night Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts was the first to break the news that offensive lineman Alex Kozan finally received an offer from Ohio State. Kozan's recruitment has been a hot topic in Buckeye Nation, as many have accused Bollman of dragging his feet. The staff was quick to offer Pat Elflien of Pickerington North back in July, but has seemed to string the much more highly regarded Kozan (Highlands Ranch, Col./Valor Christian) along. Supposedly the staff wasn't sure they wanted to add another offensive guard in this class, as they already have Boren and Elflein on board, and have also been worried about the possibility of the NCAA handing down a scholarship reduction.
Regardless of whether or not you think those are valid reasons to not offer such a talented offensive lineman, Bollman and company finally got the job done. While the Buckeyes will be competing against schools like Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, LSU, Oklahoma State and Oregon for his services, Kozan has made it very clear that an OSU offer was what he was looking for. The Cincinnati native is a big Buckeye fan, and I think it's just a matter of time until he commits. If the staff does land him and possibly Nick Davidson, it would be a very solid offensive line class all things considered.
“With all the unstable problems Ohio State had over the past year and the way they came in kind of late just raised an eyebrow for me,” he said. “Mississippi State is just where I belong and I get to play in the SEC, the best and most competitive conference in NCAA football. I can’t wait to get to Mississippi State and compete.”
Adding him definitely would have been a bonus, but losing him does not really hurt OSU at all. The 2011 class was loaded on the DL and the Buckeyes aren't really losing anyone significant after this season. In fact, I'm not sure why the staff is going after so many second tier defensive lineman in this class. Outside of a guy like Adolphus Washington, I think the scholarships should be used for linebackers and offensive lineman.
* Speaking of Adolphus Washington, over the next few weeks it will be important to keep tabs on his recruitment as well as his Cincinnati Taft teammate Dwayne Stanford. Supposedly both will be announcing their college choices on November 9th, when they are honored at a school assembly with their Army All-American invites. That can always change though.
All along Washington has appeared to be a lock for OSU, and at one point Washington's father broke the news that he was committing. He denied what his father communicated to reporters, but has been very clear in saying that Ohio State is his favorite. With everything surrounding the program though, count me as someone who will not be confident until he announces for the Buckeyes. Especially after his Michigan State visit, where he got to watch a dominant defense take down the Wolverines.
As for Stanford, his recruitment and feelings for the Buckeyes have been much more under wraps. Fans have been banking on the theory that both Washington and Stanford want to attend the same school, hoping that since OSU is the only school in both of their final three, that he is Columbus bound. While I too hope that is true, I'm not nearly as convinced as other fans and bloggers. I feel much better about Washington.
* So, how will things finish? Well, there are currently 13 commitments in the 2012 class, including quarterback Cardale Jones at Fork Union Military Academy. Earlier this week FUMA's coach broke the news that Michael Thomas is also planning on enrolling at Ohio State alongside Jones in January. So while Thomas has not come out and directly said he has committed, for our purposes I will count him as part of the class, bumping the count up to 14.
The staff should be looking to 6-8 more between now and signing day. I definitely see the aforementioned Kozan and Davidson taking two of those spots. Kozan loves the Buckeyes and I highly doubt Davidson will pass up the chance to be a third generation Buckeye player. If I was a betting man, I would also put money on Adolphus Washington picking the Buckeyes in the end over Michigan State and Alabama.
After those three it gets very interesting, and every pick is much more of a reach. For instance, I'm picking Ifeadi Odenigbo to chose OSU. While he has a long list of suitors, many of which are in the Midwest, I think he stays close to home and plays with teammate Michael Bennett. I also am starting to buy into the rumors that Se'Von Pittman is taking a second look at the Buckeyes after committing to Michigan State early in the process. It's a known fact that OSU was his favorite before Tressel's departure, and I see him jumping on board with former teammate Steve Miller and friend Adolphus Washington. Finally, I see the Buckeyes either adding Mason Monheim or Joe Burger at linebacker. It will ultimately come down to who the staff offers.
That's six guys I see eventually helping to complete this class. I refuse to pick eight, because I know there will be some last second surprises as always to finish off the class. Not to mention that there is a real possibility of someone like Urban Meyer taking over the program before signing day and capping off the class with some guys we thought were gone.