Now, I tend to exaggerate to make a point. After all, Will Smith might be the best defensive lineman in the nation this year. Multiple times, he has been described by opposing coaches as "unblockable". And one of the reasons they can't block Will is because they can't double-team him. Why? Simon Fraser.
We might never see another combination as fierce and as virulent as Smith and Fraser. Then, again, when you look down the road, the athletes coming up do fit the famous "freak category" that gives us pause before any ultimate declaration.
We have Mike Kudla, a kid that ran a 4.5 forty and bench-pressed 500 pounds. In high school. Hey – we have Mike D'Andrea who ran even faster and benched just as much plus jumped over a 64-inch box and stuffed two basketballs. We have Jay Richardson, who has been described as "the next Will Smith". And we have Joel Penton, Sian Cotton, Marcel Frost and…well, you get the picture. And it's a helluva picture!
For the sake of clarity, let's look at whom we have in this picture and what year (eligibility wise) they will be next year.
Steve Graef (walk-on)
Bryce Culver (walk-on)
Reggie Smith (?)
Chad Hoobler (?)
Add to those question marks Redgie Arden and Mike D'Andrea. Why? Arden, because the staff has to find a place for this guy to play. Or at least be in the two deep. D'Andrea, only because there's a chance he could get dislocated next year by Anthony Schlegel and/or John Kerr. And Mike is too good of an athlete to leave languishing on the bench. And he's a natural at DE, given his speed and strength.
So…if we look at next year, the first two guys on the field will probably be Fraser (natch) and Kudla. The first two guys off the bench will probably be Richardson and Penton. Joel Penton can play DT, as well, and he is a physical marvel. But if Pitcock and Patterson are as good as I think they are, Penton might find his best position out there on the end.
In my scenario, then, you have a senior and a junior starting and two sophomores backing them up. Not bad spacing with high quality kids. Hey – think of what a "logjam" we would have if Stanley McClover and Turk McBride wouldn't have reneged on their commits last year!
If Marcel Frost keeps the momentum he has, he will be playing somewhere – either at tight end or at defensive end. And Reggie Smith is a beast-and-a-half. Recruited as a linebacker out of Cleveland, he has outgrown that position and goes a-huntin' for a place to play next year, as a red-shirt freshman.
So whom are we looking at to add to the crown jewels? Probably the main man – particularly to Ohio fans – is Mike Massey from St. Ignatius. Despite a season full of injuries, Massey has been very impressive on both sides of the ball (just what we need – another tight end!). It comes down to OSU and Michigan, like it should every year. And this one is hard to handicap since Mike's oldest brother (Jim) played at Ohio State and his other brother (Pat) currently plays at Michigan.
Getting away from assessing our Massey shots, the rest of the list as we now know it includes Rhyan Anderson from Wisconsin, Derrick Harvey from Maryland, Vernon Gholston from Michigan and Alex Barrow from Dublin Coffman and Nick Smith from Canton Glenoak. These guys have also made some lists as defensive tackles or offensive players, as well.
Once we get past Massey on the charts, our other two Ohio boys are, well…Plan B material. That is, if the nationally ranked guys turn their backs on us, we have good shots at turning the heads of Barrow and Smith. And that's not a condescending comment – remember how we lucked into Marcel Frost last year after he committed to Iowa and we thought we lost Irizarry? Frost could be a great one.
Rhyan Anderson and Derrick Harvey are the best of the bunch from the aforementioned list. The trouble with Harvey is that he is not currently scheduling us as one of his five visits (Maryland, Miami, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida – note the southern trend?). The trouble with Anderson is that we are only in his top four (Miami, Oklahoma, Ohio State and USC). Not only are the odds long in that crowd, but also he has said that Oklahoma is his fave.
Vernon Gholston? We've got a shot. But, frankly, we are now dealing in the Nick Smith "potential" department. And at that juncture, I would always rather take an Ohio kid that is lusting to get to Columbus…
So Dr. Recruitnik sez…we will take Massey and one of the national guys, going probably to Nick Smith if no one else works out. And if we get "none of the above"? We have the spacing and talent to wait until next year…
For comments or well-thought-out vitriol, feel free to ventilate to Dr. Recruitnik's confidante, Mr. Bucknuts at Mr. Bucknuts@yahoo.com.