A class that only numbered 20 members in the famous "Brew Crew" checked in with an average star rating of an astounding 3.90. Included in the class were six 5-star recruits, and seven 4-star prospects. This class was the first "rock-star" group at Ohio State, and sent interest in Buckeye recruiting to even greater heights.
This class was responsible for a lot of great wins in the Tressel Era, including BCS wins over Oregon and Arkansas, but also had several members run into trouble with the NCAA, bringing considerable unwanted attention to problems within the program. Shockingly, only three members of the Brew Crew were drafted into the NFL, and none of them in the first round.
Mike Adams. Dublin Coffman. Offensive tackle. Was the first of the high-profile recruits to jump on board, and actually deserves much of the credit for recruiting other members to join the party at Ohio State. The nation's number-two ranked offensive tackle started his career slowly, but left Ohio State as one of the top linemen in the country. Was the first member of the Brew Crew to be drafted into the NFL.
DeVier Posey. Cincinnati La Salle. Wide receiver. The nation's number-four wideout prospect was also heavily involved in recruiting others to Ohio State, and had an excellent career with the Buckeyes. Was suspended by the NCAA for most of his senior season, which caused him to fall in the NFL draft.
Michael Brewster. Edgewater (FLA). Center. The top center prospect in the country probably deserves his own book rather than a few sentences in a recruiting article, but that's a story for another day. The ringleader of the recruiting class, and a player that did as much as any Buckeye assistant coach to recruit star players to Ohio State. Had an excellent career at Ohio State, but stayed a year too long trying to help the school get through the Tressel scandal and did not have a great senior season. In a class tainted by scandal, there was nothing negative about the Buckeye four-year starting center.
J.B. Shugarts. Klein (TX), Offensive tackle. The number-seven ranked tackle prospect in America was a multi-year starter for Ohio State. Did he live up to the billing as a five-star tackle? Maybe not. Did he give everything he had to the program, often playing when he was injured and hurting? Definitely.
Etienne Sabino. Miami Krop. Middle linebacker. Started grade school at the age of five, and as a result he was only 16-years old as a high school senior. Had he been 19-years old as a high school senior would his career have turned out differently? The nation's number-two middle linebacker prospect selected Ohio State over USC on national television, and ended his career leaving people wanting more. A multi-year starter, and a player that red-shirted during his third year in the program.
Terrelle Pryor. Jeanette (PA). Quarterback. Came to Ohio State as not only the top quarterback in the nation, but the overall top prospect as well. Had a great career on the field with the Buckeyes, putting up huge numbers along the way. In the discussion as the best quarterback in Ohio State history. Was dismissed from the program along with head coach Jim Tressel as the Buckeye administration sought to limit the damage from the on-going NCAA investigation into wrong doing. Only played three years at Ohio State, and one has to wonder what the numbers would look like had this group not fallen out of favor with the NCAA. A polarizing figure without question, but the physical talent was sometimes stunning at the college level.
Jake Stoneburner. Dublin Coffman. Tight end. The nation's number-four tight end prospect, and a player the Brew Crew lobbied extensively to get offered by the Ohio State staff. Another player that did all the right things off the field like Brewster, and was an excellent representative of the program. His career never really panned out while playing for three different head coaches, and fans were left wondering what could have been with this player.
Nate Williams. Miami Trace. Defensive end. The nation's number-24 ranked defensive end, and the only member of the class that was decidedly anti-Brew Crew. Williams hated all the hype and publicity the class received along the way, preferring to let his play do the talking. A serious knee injury prevented Buckeye fans from seeing just how good Williams could have been, but he played through pain and was a key contributor in a lot of wins at Ohio State.
Andrew Sweat. Trinity (PA). Linebacker. Came to Ohio State as the number-six middle linebacker in the country, and showed flashes of brilliance in his career. A serious knee injury and more than a few concussions caused Sweat to fall short of how good he could have become with the Buckeyes. Another player that led by example and did all the right things off the field.
Garrett Goebel. Montini Catholic (ILL). Defensive tackle. Left Ohio State the very way he entered. Quiet. Hard-working. Determined. The nation's number-four defensive tackle was a pure football player and did all the dirty work on the defensive line as a multi-year starter.
Lamaar Thomas. Fort Washington (MD). Runningback. This was the classic case of pitting a square peg into a round hole, and "Flash" simply didn't fit the Tressel system at all. The nation's number-ten runningback would be very welcome in the current Urban Meyer offense, but he never found his niche at Ohio State before transferring. Was one of the most well liked members of the Brew Crew.
Willie Mobley. Eden Prairie (MN). Defensive tackle. Came in as an undersized tackle, needing to rely on quickness and strength, but the number-13 ranked player at the position soon left Ohio State. Another well liked team member.
Keith Wells. Gainesville (GA). Defensive end. Chose Ohio State over Notre Dame, but the number-16 ranked defensive end suffered from personal and grade issues. Eventually left the program without fulfilling his vast potential.
Ben Buchanan. Westerville Central. Kicker. Came to Ohio State as the number-four ranked kicker in the country, but left Ohio State as a multi-year starter as a punter. Possibly the nicest student-athlete I've covered in over ten years of covering recruiting.
Nic DiLillo. Madison (OH). Tight end. Ohio State was the third school he committed to, but the nation's number-39 ranked tight end never made his mark with the Buckeyes. Left the program after a few years.
Travis Howard. Miami Krop. Cornerback. Simply yet another one of the "Tressel sleepers" that the Buckeye head coach found across the country on occasion. Came in as only the number-24 ranked cornerback in the nation, but started two years at cornerback, flourishing in the last year under Meyer and cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs.
Shaq Rowell. Glenville. Defensive tackle. One of the early thank you's from Jim Tressel to Ted Ginn Sr., but the number-60 rated lineman was more of an internet fascination than he was a Big Ten football player. Weight and grade issues doomed this career before it got started. Resurfaced at West Virginia following a few JUCO seasons and used up his eligibility last season with the Mountaineers.
Zach Domicone. Beaver Creek. Safety. Was an unknown recruit until December of his senior season when offers surprisingly showed up from Oklahoma, Nebraska and Ohio State. The number-70 ranked safety contributed on special teams, but was the classic tweener as a position player.
Orhian Johnson. Gulfport (FL). Quarterback. Yes, Tressel did it again with the number-30 ranked quarterback in the country, that became a multi-year starter and key contributor at safety for the Buckeyes. Another great young man, and a player that worked his tail off to beat out higher rated players at Ohio State.
Jermil Martin. Glenville. Fullback. Thank you Coach Ginn, and we do have a spot open. The unranked fullback had one good quarter of football against Minnesota, but left the program after a few years.
With only 13 prospects ranked as four-stars or higher, this was absolutely not the highest ranked group in terms of raw talent. In terms of excitement generated, Buckeye fans might never see that level again in the next decade.
The Brew Crew forced internet recruiting junkies to not miss a day, because that could be the day something BIG happened.
The term "nugget" became a staple of every meal at the Ohio State Scout site, and Nevadabuck became the Wolfgang Puck of Buckeye fans across the internet.
In terms of raw numbers, when you look at games won there's no doubt this group more than lived up to the hype, but the way the music died for Tressel, Pryor and others left a bittersweet taste in the mouths of many.
How should we evaluate the impact of the Brew Crew? That's best left to each individual, but for me I give them an A.