One of the strengths of the Tressel era was the ability to build a fence around the state of Ohio, effectively keeping most of the top in-state prospects right at home in Columbus. In-state recruiting was certainly the staple of every top-rated recruiting class the Buckeyes achieved under Tressel's leadership.
So where does Ohio State go from here, now that the program is headed by former assistant coach Luke Fickell, even on an interim basis? Two of the top high school coaches in Ohio gave their views on the subject.
Ted Ginn has long been known as the man responsible for creating the Cleveland Glenville program. Ginn has sent numerous players to Division-I colleges throughout the land, including Ohio State, and was known for having a close relationship with Tressel. The Buckeyes are currently recruiting Glenville safety Devan Bogard.
"I think we all lost a great man for the state of Ohio, and it's hard for me to speak on the subject, to be honest," Ginn stated. "He did so much in the community, and directly for the players themselves, that he will be missed. He provided some great opportunities for a lot of kids, and Ohio State will still provide that under Luke Fickell, or whoever their coach is."
"It doesn't change the way I feel about the man or the school at all," he continued. "And it never will. That's my good friend we are talking about, and nothing can change that. I think things will be fine going forward for Ohio State, and I look forward to working with those coaches, like I do with every school that recruits my players."
Canton McKinley head coach Ron Johnson echoed the sentiments of Ginn. Like the Glenville head coach, Johnson also has a player currently being recruited by Ohio State in defensive end Se'Von Pittman.
"Of course it's a big loss, because you are losing someone of great integrity and also great popularity," Johnson stressed. "However, Ohio State University remains the state school for this great state, and to the great high school players in this state."
"I think it will carry on very well under Luke Fickell, and still be one of the top programs in America," he continued. "Because of what the university stands for, and because the same men are doing the recruiting, things could stay exactly the same."
Johnson also feels Tressel's legacy will be in the people he helped develop, and thinks history will be very kind to Jim Tressel.
"Coaching is a fraternity and you have to look at the coaches Jim Tressel has mentored," he explained. "You look at not only the guys on the current Ohio State staff, but there are men all over the college football world. Look at Michigan State for example, with Mark Dantonio and Don Treadwell, and both are products of the Jim Tressel system. The guys on the staff at Ohio State right now were very well tutored to be successful."