COACHING MOVES THAT COULD AFFECT RECRUITING: We are fast approaching the "silly season" of college football, and impending coaching changes could alter the recruiting landscape for the 2017 class. While Tom Herman is still a hot name, look out for Larry Fedora to possibly start a chain reaction in the musical chairs game, as it's looking like he wants to leave North Carolina. The LSU job could get the ball rolling, assuming they make the first hire, and it's looking like Ed Orgeron is not getting that job. While Herman is the hot "media" candidate, the real hot coach that the big guys are looking at is Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente, but could he leave the Hokies after one year? I believe Brian Kelly is safe for another year, but I think Butch Jones could be in trouble at Tennessee. If LSU can't pry Fuente away from Va. Tech, I'm hearing Lane Kiffin could be their guy. I also think Oregon is going to make a move on Herman if they decide to fire Mark Helfrich. Would any of this affect Ohio State? Hard to say right now, but all of this bears watching. Another couple guys to watch would be Art Briles and Bobby Petrino, and both are great coaches, but are they too toxic? Conventional wisdom is that Petrino would stay with Louisville out of loyalty to the school that rescued him, but I don't think loyalty is in Petrino's dictionary. The biggest bombshell would be Jimbo Fisher taking the LSU job, and if that happens the coaching carousel would be on fire. I think it's going to be a fun off season, and it should get started the week after the Michigan game.
A COACHING CHANGE THAT COULD AFFECT OSU: The Charlie Strong Watch just might end up with him keeping his job at Texas after all is said and done. Should Strong beat West Virginia this week, there's a chance he might be retained for another year. Win the next three to finish 8-4? He might get a contract extension. My guess? Texas gets drilled by the Mountaineers this Saturday and the "Fire Charlie" crowd gets their wish. Baron Browning probably wants to go to Texas, but only to play for Strong. Should Charlie be out, Browning is all Buckeye. I believe J.K. Dobbins is all OSU, even though he did flirt with the Longhorns. He spent a lot of time with Strong on a visit that was supposed to be to see his girlfriend a few months back, but I think he's done to Ohio State regardless of Strong's fate. And OSU is definitely signing Jeffrey Okudah, who does not have the lifelong Texas ties as the other in-state kids. Regardng Anthony Hines, the one constant in all of this is that he absolutely will not go to the same school as Browning, and I have Hines to Texas A&M anyway.
THE DEFENSIVE TACKLE SITUATION: Not feeling either Jay Tufele or Marvin Wilson are signing with Ohio State. I have Tufele either staying home and going to Utah, which is probable, or going to Michigan. Wilson is a homebody, and I believe he stays closer to home at Texas or LSU. The Buckeyes are now recruiting Joshua Paschal in hopes of sliding the defensive end inside to play tackle, but I think Paschal is going to Kentucky where his brother is on staff. Where does that leave Ohio State? They could just stay pat with Jerron Cage and Haskell Garrett, but I think they really want to add another tackle. Look for new names to pop up in the next month.
THE BUBBA BOLDEN DEAL: I believe he truly wants in this class, and I truly believe Urban Meyer is going to make it happen. This could go down soon too, so keep an eye on Bubba's Twitter feed going forward. I have BUBBA "IN" the class after this past weekend.
THE SHAUN WADE DEAL: He was at Ohio State this past weekend, and there are more visits upcoming. I know there's a ton of optimism coming from the OSU side of things, and I could be dead wrong on this one but I think he's headed to Alabama. He will be there with his mom in a few weeks on that official, and I think that seals the deal for the Tide. The Wade's have family in Tuscaloosa, and this is where mama wants him to be. I think mom wins this one in the end. Of course I reserve the right to be totally wrong on this kid.
THE JAYLEN HARRIS DEAL: Things are still in a holding pattern, and the plane is circling the runway waiting for permission to land.
THE SECOND RB IN THIS CLASS: Despite what he's saying, the Buckeyes are totally not in the hunt for Najee Harris. I believe Alabama has the best chance of signing Harris, and if they don't it's going to be Michigan for one of the top players in the country. Cam Akers is giving Ohio State a hard look, but I think Florida State or LSU is going to get him. If they lose out on Harris and Akers, would OSU still consider a second back? I think they just might, and there could be new names popping up.
THE SUMMARY: We just might not know all the names of the people that are going to be signing with Ohio State on Signing Day. Guys like Malcolm Pridgeon, Jahsen Wint, Rodjay Burns, Dwayne Haskins and Keandre Jones weren't on any early November lists one year ago. All signed with Ohio State. As has been the case the past three years, look for things to go crazy in January. Why kids jam all their serious recruiting into three weeks when they've had three years to find the right school is beyond me, but this is the new normal in college recruiting anymore.