Baron Browning. This was the one player they needed to land in the late going, and props to assistant coach Luke Fickell who won the family over with his honesty and straight-forward approach. Browning "should" hit the two-deep next year, and I think he gets some major minutes in the Buckeye defense. In time, he has All-American potential as a three-down linebacker. Not real sold on the depth at linebacker, so Browning and Pete Werner should definitely help shore up that position. In my opinion, this is a GREAT get for the Buckeyes.
Trey Smith. I know the buzz is out there for Smith to Ohio State, but just like the crystal ball fail of Browning to Alabama didn't really phase me, I also have pause with Smith. Let's see how the official to Tennessee goes this weekend. He is an in-state kid, coming off the high of an Ohio State official visit. He has been a Vol lock for months, and it's hard to turn those around in one weekend, but it happens. My final bit of pause goes to the fact that Smith's sister is a recent employee of the Vol athletic department, and while I have no doubt she was hired for her qualifications, education, work ethic and experience, I was told the job was the LOI for her brother, and he is signed and sealed to the Vols. Do they bring in Luca Brasi this weekend and remind him? Or does big sister encourage Trey to follow his dreams and go where his heart leads? We shall see.
Kendall Sheffield. This one keeps getting more and more interesting, because I believe Ohio State knows both cornerbacks are leaving early for the NFL. After being one of the top defensive backs in the country as a senior, and heading to Alabama, Sheffield got his eyes opened and ended up in Texas at Blinn Junior College. Now he's looking to return to the big time, and he's thinking he's going to be a one-and-done. What does that mean for Ohio State? It means you don't recruit Sheffield the way you recruit Shaun Wade or Baron Browning. There's no need wasting time talking about the degree or jobs after football with Sheffield. You have to convince him he's going to be a starter Day-One, and you are the best school to put him directly into the NFL. With Conley and Lattimore being so highly valued by the NFL, you can guarantee Sheffield a starting spot and ask him if he's heard of Bradley Roby or Eli Apple, as well as Conley and Lattimore. I think Ohio State can win this one, because like Browning, it makes a lot of sense.
Pete Werner. Still think all is well here and I have him in the class. See him committing on his official visit, because he has not spent much time with Urban Meyer yet as last weekend was an unofficial.
NET GAIN OR LOSS: The bottom line with linebacker recruiting for me was they needed Baron Browning. PERIOD. Now I liked Antjuan Simmons and think he's a nice player. I also like Pete Werner and think those two equal each other out. But Browning is the deal maker for me. You can find guys like Simmons and Werner all the time. You don't get a Baron Browning every year. Regarding the offensive line, losing Jake Moretti is a loss and there's no way to spin that. If you replace him with Thayer Munford, it's all cool but it's not a step up for the program. Now if you replace Moretti with Trey Smith, that's a whole other ballgame. If given the choice, there isn't an O-line coach in America that takes Moretti over Smith, so this is an upgrade if it all works out.