The ink is dry on the letters of intent and the speculation is over. No more focusing on who Ohio State did not get; let's talk about what is coming in and what you should like about it.
1. Number 2- Cleveland Glenville's Ted Ginn, Jr. wears #2 on his jersey, but he is the big name in this class. Ginn is one of the top football talents to come out of Ohio in the past several years and has the national awards to prove it. He seems to be a can't-miss and destined to be a star.
2. Crack Open a Keystone - For years, Buckeye fans who have followed recruiting have wondered why OSU has had a lack of success in the state of Pennsylvania. In fact, "lack of success" might be an understatement as the last player from PA to sign with Ohio State was Randy Homa in 1995. This year, however, the Buckeyes reached into the Keystone State and plucked four of the state's very best players in Erie McDowell OL Kyle Mitchum, Pittsburgh Woodland Hills WR Devon Lyons, Beaver TE Rory Nicol, and Mount Carmel OL Jon Skinner. The Buckeyes went toe-to-toe with some of the biggest programs in the country for these players and came out the winner. Assistant coach Joe Daniels deserves a pat on the back as he did much of the recruiting that helped bring OSU these players. Hopefully the Buckeyes will make noise in PA for years to come.
3. Speed & Athletes - Speed in itself doesn't win football games, but having speed a necessity these days as everyone is getting bigger, stronger, and faster. The Buckeyes brought in plenty of it. Ted Ginn, Jr. is likely one of the two fastest players in the country (the other being LSU WR commit Xavier Carter), while teammate Curtis Terry is a fellow track standout. Vernon Gholston can flat-out fly for a DE, while the tailback trio of Erik Haw, Antonio Pittman, and Dennis Kennedy are all known for their ability to pick 'em up and put 'em down in a hurry (particularly Haw). Then there's Marcus Freeman, an LB with DB speed, and of course, all the Buckeye DB commitments can get there quickly. Did the Buckeyes get better today? Probably. Did they get faster? Definitely.
4. Ohio Success - Plenty of talk circulated around the big fish that swam to another pond -- Toledo Rogers WR Fred Davis (USC). That may overshadow OSU's in-state success this year. Only three other players -- Cleveland St. Ignatius DE Mike Massey (Michigan), Germantown Valley View RB Brock Bolen (Illinois), and Youngstown Ursuline OL Brandon Braxton (Oklahoma) didn't sign with OSU, and only one of those (Massey) was still being heavily pursued in the heat of recruiting season. The Buckeyes landed every other player they went after in-state, and in-state talent is always the foundation of every class. But...
5. Out-of-state January - ...the Buckeyes won't fill every class with just Ohio talent, so when the time came to go out of state, they performed well. We've already mentioned the PA four, but joining that group were Florida standouts Albert Dukes (WR, Belle Glade, FL Glades Central -- chose OSU over NC State and Florida) and Dennis Kennedy (RB, Ft. Lauderdale Stranahan) as well as Detroit DE Vernon Gholston, Missouri DB Nick Patterson, and a potential real steal in Metarie, LA DT Nader Abdallah. Out-of-state recruiting is tricky, and the Buckeyes will never get everyone that they and the fans want, but when it came down to it, they delivered in this category.
6. Versatility - This has become a theme in recent years, and this year, we see it once again. More players in this class can easily play multiple positions than not. Ted Ginn will hopefully see time down the road on offense and special teams as well as defense, while guys like Devon Lyons and Nick Patterson could excel on either side of the ball. Don't forget Shaun Lane too, who is a fine return man and put up over 2,000 yards at RB this past year, and Chad Hoobler, who could wind up being a star at TE, LB, or even DE.
7. Filling Needs - The Buckeyes didn't leave empty-handed in any area this year -- they addressed the spots they needed to address with excellent talents. They needed offensive linemen and grabbed the top OL in Ohio in Ben Person, two of the top four in PA in Mitchum and Skinner, and another big nasty from Ohio in Steve Rehring. They needed RBs and grabbed two from in-state and one from Florida. WRs? They got one of the top three in Florida and the best in PA. The list goes on, but in the years to come, this class will fill out the depth charts.
8. Character - Like versatility, high character individuals has become a recurring theme for OSU recruiting classes. This year, they signed some guys you're going to love to cheer for. Nick Patterson comes in ready to pick up where Craig Krenzel left off in the academic All-American department, while the class is filled with strong students down the line. Rory Nicol compares himself to Ben Hartsock on the field, and he may have what it takes to fill Ben's shoes in the interview department as well. Erik Haw has future captain written all over him. So many more players from this class were fun to talk to and will be fun to follow in years to come.
9. Scouting - This is a class filled with players the Buckeyes are very familiar with and know what they bring to the table. The Buckeyes offered the players early they liked from in-state and were 100% on, and then guys like Erik Haw, Dionte' Johnson, Nick Patterson, Vernon Gholston, Brandon Underwood, and Steve Rehring got a close-up look at camp and received offers. Recruiting is a bit of a crap shoot, but many of these players are guys the Buckeyes are pretty familiar with and know what they can do.
10. Buckeyes - Last but not least, this class is filled with guys who are Buckeyes through and through. Guys like Shaun Lane, Ben Person, Steve Rehring, Erik Haw, Dionte' Johnson, A.J. Trapasso, Chad Hoobler, Curtis Terry, and several others knew that OSU is where they wanted to go from the beginning, and these guys will lay it on the line for OSU. Even out-of-staters like Rory Nicol, Albert Dukes and Devon Lyons have had their eyes on Ohio State for quite some time. This class will wear the colors with pride.
Well, that's all for this year. Of course, recruiting never ends, and it'll be a long wait until we see what these guys can do. It's been a hectic year, but it's time to take a breather and look forward to next year. Ohio State already has two of the top three players in the state committed in Alex Boone and Jamario O'Neal, and look for many of the other in-staters to follow in months to come. Stay tuned to Bucknuts.com for continuing coverage!