NevadaBuck: Recruiting Is All In The Details

In his latest column, NevadaBuck takes a look at some of the factors the Ohio State coaching staff uses when it evaluates prospects and criteria it applies when decisions are made about scholarship offers. Plus, he discusses OSU's improved academic outlook and also looks ahead at key games for 2006.

I will start this column off with another one of Grandma Nevada's favorite quotations.

This would be in reference to someone who talked a lot but couldn't back it up.

"Big hat, no cattle," she would say.

I guess this would sum up my feelings towards Charlie Weis and the Notre Dame Nation ... but it really has nothing to do with anything that I'm going to talk about in the column ... so why is it here?? I'm not really sure myself.

I wanted to talk about player evaluations and the process. The next time you view a few clips on the Internet of your favorite prospect, and based upon this you issue your proclamation of "Why hasn't this guy been offered??" or "how can the OSU coaches be so blind??" you need to think about what goes into a prospect being fortunate enough to receive an offer from a school and a football program like Ohio State.

I will list just a FEW of the things that go into prospect evaluation:(in no particular order):

* Tape of player in action.

* Personal observation of player in game

* Personal observation of player in practice

* Evaluation by player's coach

* Evaluation by teammates

* Evaluation by "trusted sources"

* Evaluation by opponents

* Evaluation of level of competition

* Measureables (speed, bench press, etc.)

* Scholastic Achievement (grades, test scores, class rank, etc.)

* "Needs" of the program at that position

* Number of scholarships available

* Future impact on class sizes and "balance"

After all of this information is put into the equation, then the entire OSU staff's collective experience is brought to bear on determining which of these players will go on and excel at the next level.

Then and only then is a player extended an offer to play football for Ohio State. When you think about it this way, you understand why I am excited about each and every player that makes it through this "vetting" process and merits an offer -- because they are truly the "best of the best."

Now once the players get here, can OSU "coach them up" and make them the best they can be?? Well that proof lies in Jim Tressel's overall record of accomplishments (which I listed in the last article), I think that record speaks for itself.

Academic Achievement

Well, now that we are pretty satisfied that JT can evaluate talent, and is the best big game coach in the country. How are the Buckeyes doing in the classroom?? Well funny that you should ask, as the "updated" APR ratings are due at the end of February, and we are happy to report that the Buckeyes face no loss of scholarships under the new guidelines.

The Team GPA is hovering around 2.81 which is OUTSTANDING, and would rate at the top of any program playing competitive college football in the country today. Combined that with the number of academic All-Big Tens that we have and you have a very rosy picture in the area of OSU football academics -- and the trend is even up from here.

Clearly the emphasis and the "culture" of academic achievement that JT has put in place is working and paying big dividends. Yes, there is a pay-off to stricter "guidelines" that are put in place for prospective student-athletes. It may be painful sometime, but in the end it is clearly the medicine that this program needed.

At this point in time, while our friends up North are "reshuffling" their staffs and waxing eloquent about all the "new blood" they will bring in to right their sinking ship, we just need to "fine tune" a few things, make sure guys stay healthy and eligible, and get ready for next year.

I can't wait for the Penn State game, as I see that as a revenge game in the spirit of the beatings that Iowa and Northwestern took this season. The Texas game needs no more hype, but I submit that Vince Young was the heart and soul of that team and that we have our heart and soul back with Troy Smith. Accordingly, I like our chances.

The Iowa game scares me, but is certainly winnable. And I can't wait for Michigan to come and take their every other year beating in Columbus.

Enjoy these days, as they are the best of times. But with JT at the helm, the great news is that the best is yet to come.

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