Peterson Discusses New Recruiting Assignments

We had a chance to speak with recruiting coordinator John Peterson regarding where members of the Ohio State coaching staff will be assigned for recruiting territories. Peterson talks about some of the key areas for the Buckeyes and how the staff will compensate for the loss of assistants Mel Tucker and Mark Snyder. Click here for more.

We had a chance to speak with Ohio State recruiting coordinator John Peterson recently to discuss how the coaching staff will realign its recruiting territories after departures this off-season by assistants Mark Snyder and Mel Tucker.

OSU hired Paul Haynes from Michigan State to replace Tucker, now with the NFL's Cleveland Browns, as the secondary coach. Then, when Snyder left to become the head coach at Marshall, head coach Jim Tressel promoted Jim Heacock to the coordinator's position.

This past week, Tressel hired Bowling Green defensive coordinator Tim Beckman to fill the open spot on the staff. On the field, Beckman will work with Haynes in the secondary, focusing mostly on the cornerback positions.

But Beckman comes to OSU with a reputation as a strong recruiter. A native of the Cleveland suburb of Berea, Ohio, Beckman has plenty of experience in recruiting Northeast Ohio. That is an area where Tucker, in particular, was strong over the last four years.

"Coach Beckman has ties in the Cleveland area and he has recruited there," Peterson said. "That will continue."

A quick survey of the OSU roster shows how much the Cleveland area has meant to the Buckeyes in recent years. When the fertile areas of Akron, Canton and Youngstown are factored in, that quadrant of the state has outperformed any other by a margin of two-to-one or more in recent years.

"I think all of Ohio is very critical," Peterson said. "But Cleveland has definitely been very good for us. We have had a lot of success up there. Having Tim, who has been in that area for a number of years and built those relationships and the familiarity he has with the programs there, that only adds to the benefit of bringing him on to our staff."

But Beckman will not be alone in Northeast Ohio.

"Luke Fickell has been up there this week," Beckman said of the Cleveland area. "Then, we've had (offensive coordinator) Jim Bollman in Akron and Canton. Coach Heacock will also go into the Warren and Youngstown area. We hope we have the state covered this way."

Peterson revealed that there will be some changes in the southwest corner of the state.

"I have kind of taken over that area," Peterson said. "Coach Heacock has done a really good job in that area for a number of years. But as a coordinator, his area has to be a little more manageable because his time is limited in the fall. We give the coordinators a smaller area because of that. I will be taking over Cincinnati, Dayton and Kentucky as well."

The change makes sense because Peterson is a native of Middletown, Ohio, and served as an assistant at Miami (Ohio) before coming back to his alma mater.

Much has been made about the allegiance of the Cincinnati area. But Peterson said his reception has been good in the Queen City.

"No question, we have a lot of people down there and the Buckeye nation is strong," Peterson said. "People are excited when you come to talk about Ohio State. Coach Heacock has done a tremendous job down there and I hope to continue that."

Outside Ohio, the Buckeyes have some major plans for the East Coast as well as the state of Florida, which has also been big for OSU over the years.

"Coach (Darrell) Hazell will continue to get up into the New York City area," Peterson said of Hazell, a former Rutgers assistant. "In south Florida, we will have Coach Haynes and Coach Hazell. Coach Beckman has also gone into the west coast of Florida to recruit before."

Joe Daniels, a Pennsylvania native, will continue to mine that fertile ground after helping OSU land four signees there two years ago. At the same time, Dick Tressel will continue to try and gain a foothold in the upper Midwest states of Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

"Doc Tressel has spent most of his career in Minnesota (as head coach at Divison III Hameline)," Peterson said. "The Midwest is Big Ten country. And anytime you're in Big Ten country and you're at a place like Ohio State, you think you have a chance to get in on some of the best kids."

With spring football over, the staff is now focused on the May evaluation period. This serves as the prelude to the summer camp, set for late June.

"This is the evaluation period," Peterson said. "We are allowed out on the road for four weeks in a six-week window. We have to pick four of these weeks.

"This gives us a chance to talk to coaches and watch tape of their players. We are also allowed one phone call during the month of May. This is also an important time as we work hard to invite kids to our summer camp in June. That is also a big evaluation time for us."


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