Lemming's List... Tom Lemming's Top 100 came out yesterday. When it comes to recruiting reporters, Tom (a mailman turned recruiting guru) is everyone's favorite whipping boy for several reasons, ranging from his allegiance to Notre Dame (which is something that fans feel factors into his rankings, and it is also something that some fans have alleged played a role in Lorenzo Booker announcing his college decision on ESPN (Lemming works for ESPN, Booker was supposed to go to ND, etc)) to his controversial rule of downgrading a player in his rankings once he commits. But other than ranking Dublin Coffman QB Brady Quinn in his top 100 -- which is not necessarily a stretch, just a surprise seeing as how Todd Boeckman has been regarded by most as Ohio's top QB -- I have to say that the players he included from Ohio (Prescott Burgess, Dareus Hiley, Donte Whitner, Louis Irizarry, Shawn Crable) are pretty much the ones I expected would be in national top 100 lists when they came out.
He included a lot of expected names nationally as well, including two players from out-of-state that OSU is after in Michael Bush and a Haray Caray special in Victor Abiamiri (I call it a Haray Caray special because I know that I as well as Mr. Bucknuts are destined to mangle his last name when we try and read it on the radio). Of the players Lemming listed, I'd guess the players who are getting the most buzz (from what I've seen) are Florida LB/RB Ernie Sims, Charlotte QB Chris Leak (the man who was offered by Wake Forest in the eighth grade), California WR Whitney Lewis, and Illinois DL Moe Dampeer. Donte Whitner also raised his stock as he was tops at the MSU Nike Camp.
The only issue I have with Lemming's Top 100 -- don't include the little asterisk indicating which players he's seen play. He rates Brady Quinn as a top 100 player, and a poster on the Recruiting Board says that Lemming thinks Quinn is the best QB in Ohio... yet he reveals via asterisk that he hasn't seen him play. Recruiting gurus can't see everyone play, but it doesn't help to admit that... :-)
Bad Boys... Another offseason, another plethora of stories about college football ne'er-do-wells. Right now, the headlines on the ESPN.com College Football page include "ND expels three players for alleged sexual misconduct," "SEC investigating payments to ex-Vol Martin," "Prosecutors drop possession charge against Benson," and "Colorado coach revokes four players' scholarships." Unfortunately, OSU has been in the middle of that unwanted spotlight as is indicated by the headline, "Ohio State's Cooper indicted on weapon, drug charges." I don't want to dwell on it, but I have a thought: Some fans have pointed the finger at John Cooper, but is this really a result of John Cooper? I want to see actual evidence that indicates John Cooper as being at fault for Marco Cooper's actions. There are plenty of players who played under John Cooper who are doing just fine. Sure, we can talk about recruiting and recruiting philosophy, but what do we actually know about what goes on in that regard? This is one issue that I think blaming John Cooper on would be a stretch. I could be wrong, but that's just an opinion.
However, with all those headlines, it's depressing to fans of college football, and you have to wonder if there is a solution. A few might argue that it isn't really a problem because there are tens of thousands of college players who haven't done anything and the media blows it out of proportion, but I tend to think there's enough of a pattern here that the troubles that some college football players get into can be called a problem. It certainly isn't good for any institution's image, and we all know how important image is to a university. Heck, I went to a college where it seemed more important to have pretty flowers and landscapes and beautiful scenery for visitors to look at than it was to have working showers in the dorms and healthy food in the cafeterias. But that's secondary to the impact on people's lives. It is indeed a problem, and I hope that it can decline in the future. The good news is that after talking to many of the kids from this 2001 recruiting class, we are optimistic that things like this will happen less and less at Ohio State.
Santonio's Home... I was deleting a few bookmarks from my cluttered bookmark/favorite list in my browser, and I found this article I saved earlier in the year regarding Santonio Holmes' hometown, Belle Glade, Florida. Before I deleted the link, I thought you might be interested in looking at it. It's a striking portrayal of how serious the poverty is in Belle Glade (located in the middle of Southern Florida on Lake Okeechobee), a place that has one of the worst AIDS rates in America. It's good to see that Santonio is on a path that will take him out of there. Here is the link: http://college3.nytimes.com/guests/articles/2001/11/23/884344.xml
The Next Cali Buckeye? A new name surfaced to remember for recruiting fans -- DB Christian Bass. Bass lists OSU as his favorite, and the fact that he's a California player makes that even more interesting. Recruiting fans always like to see OSU go into a talent-rich state like California and grab a prospect. We're unsure how interested OSU is, but Bass sounds like a good one; he raised eyebrows at the USC Nike Camp. Speaking of California, do you want some strange stats?
- Number of scholarship players on OSU's roster from California - 2.
- Number of scholarship players on OSU's roster from Cincinnati schools - 2.
- Number of recruits from California 1996-2001 - 10 (Jack Tucker, JaJa Riley, Michael Wiley, Kenyon Rambo, David Priestley, Austin Moherman, Mark Garcia, Paul Breed, Na'il Diggs, Garrett Shea).
- Number of recruits from Cincinnati schools 1996-2001 - 5 (B.J. Sander, Richard Hall, Jason Ott, Ryan Hamby, Jefferson Kelly).
- Number of recruits from Cincy suburbs 1996-2001 - 1 (Scott Kuhnhein, Ft. Thomas, KY). (This is not including Hamilton and Lebanon... I am not certain if those are considered suburbs or not... if they are included, throw in Mike Gurr and Kelton Lindsay... add E.J. Underwood if you extend it to 2002)
There's not much of a point to be made there, but that might be a bit surprising to some. We've said before that Florida has been better recruiting ground than Cincinnati, but some might be surprised to learn of the comparison between California and Cincy.
That's all for today... that little bulleted list on Cincy vs. California took more work than it looks and my brain is tired (hopefully there are no errors on there). I will go rest it and be back soon with more! :-)