Even though punter Ben Buchanan was the first commit, the ball started rolling with the commitment of Adams, who deserves the bulk of credit for taking the lead in helping recruit a stellar class. The subsequent commitments of Posey and Stoneburner fueled the fire, which turned into a raging inferno with the addition of Brewster.
As we look back at this class, how should they be rated today, following three years of play on the field? Was it all show and no go, or did this group truly live up to the expectations generated on National Signing Day of 2008?
1- Ben Buchanan Came in as one of the top place-kickers in the country, but made his mark in 2010 as the starting punter. Now a redshirt sophomore, Buchanan may never reach the heights thought when he signed, but he is a solid starter and should only get better in the next two seasons. RESULT: Solid contributor and starter.
2- Mike Adams Started slowly and played sparingly as a freshman and sophomore, before having a breakout season in 2010. Adams was the surprise of the year, being named first team All-Big Ten and emerging as one of the great success stories. Was being whispered as a bust, before totally reshaping his body and his game in the off-season. Should be an All-American candidate in 2011. RESULT: Might have taken longer than people wanted, but Adams has turned into exactly the type of player he was expected to be. Headed toward being a high NFL draft choice.
3- DeVier Posey Came in with high expectations as one of the top wide receivers in America, and a five-star prospect. Has had two solid seasons as a sophomore and junior, and there's no way to label him a disappointment, but I believe he's capable of much more. Suffered from a case of the drops on occasion, and at times, appeared to be a player that lost his confidence. Started the year as the clear number one wide receiver, but lost that title to Dane Sanzenbacher. RESULT: The talent, attitude and work ethic is second to none, so there's no reason to think he won't finish strong next season. With a big year in 2011, Posey will leave Ohio State as one of the leading receivers, statistically, of all-time.
4- Jacob Stoneburner Even though he was the fourth to commit of the Brew Crew, he was forced to wait the longest for his offer, after much lobbying by his teammates. Who could ever forget the MySpace postings of Brewster, Adams, Posey and the rest, after Jake got his Buckeye offer? "Now We Can Be A Family." Stoneburner will never put up numbers in the Ohio State system that he would in several other programs, but make no mistake, this four-star is supremely talented. Emerged as a starter as redshirt sophomore, putting up impressive numbers for a Buckeye tight end, and being a reliable option. RESULT: Solid contributor and starter, and future high NFL draft choice.
5- Michael Brewster Took the "recruit recruiting recruits" idea to the next level, as he averaged over 3,000 text messages per month, wearing out several Blackberrys in the process. Once he committed, he was driven to build a recruiting class that was second to none, and he was relentless to the point of obsessing over every single recruit's decision. Most famous comment? "(Player not named) is an idiot. You can take THAT to the bank." Being a dynamic recruiter is fine, but can the dude play football? The answer is a resounding "Yes" and he has been improving game by game, since being inserted as a starter as a freshman. Second team All Big Ten, which is one team too low. RESULT: On his way to being Nick Mangold Part-II. Enough said.
6- Nathan Williams Another four-star recruit, and another one who was supposed to be a project, yet contributed as a freshman. Battled injuries as a junior, but still is a solid, dependable starter, and one who rarely has a bad game. Williams has been good to date, but has a chance to be great as a senior. Provides a sorely-lacking pass rush to this team, and one player teams must account for. RESULT: Has matched his projection so far, and will look to exceed expectations in 2011.
7- J.B. Shugarts A five-star tackle recruit, ranked five spots behind Adams, and another player that hit the field early. Was solid as a sophomore starter, but was never 100% healthy in 2010. To his credit, he battles his tail off, fights through pain, and plays every play. Tough as nails, and will fight every play as if it's his last. RESULT: Had his foot been right, we might have seen exactly the type of player he can be. Hopefully, he is 100% next year, and everyone can see his talent, because he has skills.
8- Andrew Sweat A four-star middle linebacker coming out of high school, and another player that was swamped by Adams, Brewster, Stoneburner and Posey. They sold him on being part of the "Crew" and he bought into the idea. Emerged as a starter as a junior, after showing great promise as a sophomore before suffering a knee injury. Should have a more prominent role in 2011, with the departure of Brian Rolle and Ross Homan. RESULT: Solid starter and contributor as a junior.
9- Garrett Goebel A four-star defensive tackle, and the number four defensive tackle in America coming out of high school. Now a redshirt sophomore, Goebel is in a battle for playing time, but shows well when given the opportunity. Younger linemen like Johnny Simon, Adam Bellamy and Johnathan Hankins may have passed him by, but he will get an opportunity next year, with the departure of Cameron Heyward and Dexter Larimore. RESULT: Incomplete so far, but a player who could flourish over the next two seasons.
10- Nic DiLillo Has to be viewed as a disappointment, and the three-star tight end has yet to make a significant contribution to date, and has had off-field issues. The addition of Nick Vannett and Jeff Heuerman would seem to be the kill-shot to his career, but could he be the next Nadar Abdallah? RESULT: Disappointing to date.
11- Lamaar Thomas Gone like a "Flash." Thomas was one of the more popular guys on the team, and another recruiting coup for the "Crew." Left Ohio State after contributing for two seasons, because he was worried about playing time. With the departure of Duron Carter, Flash would have probably been the third wide receiver in 2010, but he had no way of knowing that, and he transferred. RESULT: Contributor in his first two seasons.
12- Travis Howard This was the kid I've been screaming about since the day the three-star athlete committed, and this was the year he made me look good. Finally hit the field as a redshirt sophomore, and his career is about to take off. Very raw coming out of high school, but with a skill set unmatched by any defensive back on the current roster. Once he got healthy and learned the system, he found regular playing time, and is as important part of this defense. RESULT: Contributor as a redshirt sophomore, and a probable starter the next two seasons.
13- Etienne Sabino Came to Ohio State as a five-star recruit, and the number two middle linebacker in America, but people forget he was 17 years old when he entered college. Looking back, it's easy to see he should have redshirted as a freshman, but he was too talented to keep off special teams. Was a top special teams player, but there hasn't been anywhere to play on the field, which should change next year. RESULT: Incomplete, but the coaching staff and his teammates think highly of him, so the next two years will tell the tale on his career.
14- Willie Mobley Very popular with his teammates, and another win for the Brew Crew, but he left shortly before the start of his second year. Didn't seem to have a position in the Jim Heacock system, and he saw the writing on the wall. RESULT: Transferred to Arizona.
15- Shawntel Rowell The Glenville Big Man never made it to Ohio State, after suffering academic woes. Was thought to be a viable option on the defensive line, but never qualified. RESULT: Now enrolled in junior college.
16- Zach Domicone Special teams contributor as a redshirt sophomore, but would seem to be lagging at the safety spot. Ohio State suffered numerous injuries to the position in 2010, yet Domicone never saw steady action. Could prove to be a tweener at the college level, but he still has two years left. RESULT: Special teams player the past two years, but the jury is out on him as a position player.
17- Jermil Martin People got mad when I wrote that his fine day against Minnesota last year would be his shining moment at Ohio State. Wasn't talented enough to play at this level, but he has that memory for the grandkids. RESULT: Transferred out to find playing time.
18- Keith Wells A big disappointment, because he was a heralded four-star recruit coming out of high school, and appeared to have everything needed to be a star. Never saw consistent playing time in his first two years, before leaving Ohio State and heading to Columbus State. RESULT: Could still have an impact, should he find a way to return to Ohio State.
19- Orhian Johnson The "Who's He?" in the class, and a stunning Signing Day decision. Of course, he started as a redshirt sophomore, and appears to have a bright future ahead of him. Johnson is a typical "Tressel-Special" in that he only had a few offers, as a quarterback, and was a total unknown recruit. No surprise he became an early starter. RESULT: Solid contributor as a redshirt freshman, and a starter as a sophomore.
20- Terrelle Pryor The cherry on top of the "Brew Crew" sundae. He decided very late, but was well worth the wait. A true freshman starter after only a few games, and the rest is history. Will leave Ohio State owning every quarterback record on the books, and as one of the most exciting players in Buckeye history. Would the Buckeyes have landed Pryor without the "Brew Crew" working overtime to get him? Maybe not. Who could forget Brewster, Adams and Shugarts driving to Pennsylvania to watch Pryor play hoops, to the anger and dismay of Rich Rodriguez? Or the minute-by-minute text message reports of how the official visit to Ann Arbor was going? RESULT: Terrelle Pryor ======== Buckeye. Nothing more needed to be said.
Of course, there is still a game to be played before we look to next season, and what this group might accomplish as seniors, but it was fun taking a look at one of the more celebrated recruiting classes in Ohio State history.