Buckeye Recruiting: Numbers Not Important

As we take another look at Ohio State's attempt to put together a top recruiting class, there still isn't any tangible evidence that the Buckeye effort is being hurt by the school's pending NCAA troubles, although there are a few troubling signs. Also, it seems that although the numbers were originally tight, that probably is not the case today.

Is Ohio State's 2012 recruiting class being hurt by the impending NCAA penalties against head coach Jim Tressel? As of now, that question is STILL impossible to answer, although it appears the Buckeyes will not be able to pull many of the 50-50 prospects this year.

Players such as James Ross, Jordan Diamond, Jonah Pirsag, Evan Goodman, Travis Blanks, and others might have been considered Ohio State leans prior to the recent troubles, but today they are all longshots, or long gone as with Ross.

Not going to be too worried about numbers for this class either, but will try to stick around 20 for discussion purposes. Currently, it looks like Ohio State will not land all the prospects they were reasonably in great shape with, and there could be more attrition coming to the program.

QUARTERBACK: One. Cardale Jones is the obvious leader right now, but there is a long way to go before he enrolls at Ohio State. Who is waiting in the wings? With the recent commitment of Shane Dillon to Colorado, next up would be Austin Appleby who will be coming to camp. Appleby just might blow up in camp, for he has major talent, and end up being in this class.

TAILBACK: Two. Ohio State has the two they want. Now it's a matter of holding onto Brionte Dunn, and that answer will come when Ohio State learns how the NCAA is going to treat them and Tressel. Barring Armageddon from the NCAA, I see Dunn sticking with Ohio State. There really isn't a backup plan at this point.

WIDE RECEIVER: Three. Frank Epitropoulos is IN, and he could also double as a punter, which might save a spot in the end. I think Ohio State is in great position to land Jaquay Williams and Dwayne Stanford. There have been questions raised over whether Stanford has an offer, but both the player and his head coach insist he does. Williams is probably down to Auburn and Ohio State, and this is probably a coin flip. The quiet storm in this group is Miami Northwestern's Amari Cooper, and if the summer visit takes place he will be a strong candidate to be a Buckeye. Next would be Miami Beach's Ricardo Louis, but I think Cooper is a stronger possibility.

FULLBACK: One. I don't see anyone on the horizon, nor do I know if they're recruiting one. The impending graduation of Zach Boren should be addressed in this class, but they might feel comfortable switching a current younger player to fullback.

TIGHT END: One. Ohio State has their man in Blake Thomas, and it's a question of when, not if. WHEN should be before the end of the month.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Four. There are two good ones in the hopper, Jacoby Boren and Kyle Kalis. Conventional wisdom has Kyle Dodson waiting for an offer and leaning toward the Buckeyes, and he would be a great catch. Others in the discussion are out-of-staters Evan Goodman, Jonah Pirsig, Jordan Diamond, Abraham Garcia and Jordan Simmons, but none of them would be considered strong Buckeye leans at this point in time. The in-state crop has started making commitments, but there could be a few names pop up at camp next month. Tyler Orlosky plays next to Kalis at St. Edward and he could be an offer-type with a strong camp.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Four (Down from six). If the mess Ohio State is currently involved in is showing its ugly head, it would be with this group. What seemed like a "pick and choose" six months ago, now looks like "take what you can get." Chris Wormley seemed like Michigan's to lose from the beginning, and it's tough to see Ohio State landing him now, but it's not over until it's over. Se'Von Pittman hinted at committing before the spring game, but that plan has gone by the board and he is actively looking at other programs. Adolphus Washington also looked like an early commit, but it looks like Alabama and a few others have turned his head a little. LaTroy Lewis appears to be wanting the Notre Dame offer, but he is a tough kid to read and if Nebraska lands Greg McMullen, it could find Lewis heading there with him. McMullen would now have to considered a strong Nebraska lean, and the Huskers have done a great recruiting job on what was a Buckeye lock this time last year. Tom Strobel says he's still looking, and might take official visits in the fall. Ifeadi Odenigbo is really not a defensive end, but is not a pure linebacker either. Odenigbo is the one player that is not affected by Ohio State's recent negative publicity, but that doesn't mean he's a Buckeye lock either. If Ohio State can pull four from this group it would have to be considered a success, and I think that can happen. Which four? Strobel-Pittman-Washington-Odenigbo.

LINEBACKER: Two. Joshua Perry committed so long ago that people have forgotten just how talented this player is, but he can play. Kaleb Ringer and Joe Bolden would have received strong consideration had they camped, but they both made early decisions. Ohio State will not be getting Daysean Rippy. Who is an outside shot for an offer? Look at Warren Central's Jordan Wallace, a player very, very close to James Ross in size and skill set. Wallace wants that offer and would commit to Ohio State. He will be in Columbus for the Nike camp this weekend, and back at Ohio State in June for camp. In-state linebacker Mason Monheim could also earn an offer at camp.

DEFENSIVE BACK: Three (maybe four). Devan Bogard should be in for starters, and that's a good starting point. Who is OUT? Geno Smith, Terry Richardson, Stefon Diggs, Deon Bush, Travis Blanks and Chaz Elder are no-shots. Who is in the MAYBE category? Demetrious Cox, Jordan Diggs and T.J. Davis are legitimate prospects to commit to Ohio State, and I would have it Diggs-Cox-Davis, in that order. Others in the mix but needing strong camp performances would be Allen Gant, V'Angelo Bentley and sleeper prospect Tyvis Powell of Bedford, who I really like a lot. Ohio State should be able to add three, or four, quality players out of this mix.

SPECIALTY: One (or zero). If they decide Drew Basil is not their guy for the future, Ross Martin might be the top kicker in America and he would love an Ohio State offer. Epitropoulos could solve the need for a punter, as he is supposedly scholarship-worthy in that role.

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