Breaking Down The Buckeyes

The 2007 Ohio State recruiting class will end up being in the top 20. Only signing 15 players will keep this class from being ranked higher. The average star rating indicates this is a very good class. Is it a home run? Probably not, but it's a ringing double off the wall. In the end this class will be known for speed and athleticism. This is an area the Ohio State wanted to improve.

Brian Rolle

Greene - The only knock on Rolle is the fact that he's only 5' 10". This doesn't bother me at all. I'm not going to ask him to rebound and block shots. I want tackles and sacks out of him. A highly skilled outside linebacker, who could see the field next year on special teams and defense.

Powers - A real steal from the "Sunshine State." Ohio State has a knack for uncovering hidden gems from Florida, and Rolle will look to continue that trend for the Buckeyes. The Florida schools tried to come back in on him late, but he was already convinced that he would make a future in Columbus. He has a motor that does not stop, and as a senior he racked up 125 tackles on defense and added over 900 yards rushing on offense.

Lichtenfels – This is one of my favorite commits of this class. I hear people complain about size all the time, who cares? The kid can either play football or he can't that's the bottom line and Rolle can ball with the best of them.

James Scott

Greene - Could be the next great cover cornerback at Ohio State. No way this kid red-shirts next year. He's coming in early looking for a job. Coach Tim Beckman has told him he could be returning kicks and punts next season. He might end up being the best player in this class.

Powers - On film Scott is probably my favorite player in this class. He is not the biggest player stature wise, but he plays very big. He will come up and knock a running back out of his cleats if he has to, but he also has the natural corner abilities of a future NFL first day pick. One thing I love about his game is how he approaches the "zero angle" when making a tackle. He consistently saves the defense yardage, and that is a trait that could be most valuable over the course of a career.

Lichtenfels – Honestly, I would take this kid over a lot of corners who are rated higher than he is. Another kid who gets knocked because of his size. He covers like a glove. He can press, play man, play zone it doesn't matter he's locks you down. He is also physical. I am a sucker for a corner who will come up and smack you in the mouth like you stole from him.

Cameron Heyward

Greene - Ohio State chased a few defensive prospects like Joseph Barksdale, Devon Still and Cameron Heyward. In the end, they only got one, but they got the best one. He could be the next great defensive tackle at Ohio State. More than a big, run-stopper. This guy is very athletic for his size. Needs work on technique but Jim Heacock will make Heyward into a star.

Powers - This was a big verbal for the Buckeye staff. They needed defensive tackle depth and got a player who racked up over 30 offers throughout the process. Heyward's game may be suited to play a strong side defensive end position. I see him playing a similar role to what Darrion Scott played at Ohio State.

Lichtenfels – Growing up in Western Pennsylvania I saw Cam's daddy play numerous times and one word would describe the late "Ironhead" and that is a"Badass". If Cam has ½ the toughness that his daddy had then Ohio State is getting a helluva player. Fundamentally he is a little raw, but there is so much to work with.

Taurian Washington

Greene - A playmaker. Pure and simple. Good size and speed combination. Had a great summer camp at Ohio State and parlayed that performance into an offer. Could red-shirt in 2007, but if Dukes and Lyons don't raise their game, he could be in the mix at wide receiver.

Powers - Washington has a college ready body right now, and for that reason I think he has the chance to come in and compete for early playing time. Coach George Porritt is old school at St. Mary's Prep and I believe he will be entering the program at peak performance. He is a four-star player, but people are still sleeping on him as far as "hype" is concerned.

Lichtenfels – Taurian is built like an Adonis, as Greg said he has a college body already. He is not a burner and everyone wants the 4.3/4.4 guy , but he is fast enough. He has great ball skills and will be serious weapon in the short-to-intermediate passing game. Again I have certain qualities at every position that I look for that others tend to overlook. At wide receiver for me you either block or you don't play. Taurian blocks, so obviously I like him.

Dane Sanzenbacher

Greene - Another player who earned an offer with a strong summer camp performance. A technician at wideout, with surprising speed. Could be a good safety prospect, but I feel his future is at wide receiver. A redshirt candidate to get stronger and learn the system. Drawing comparisons to Anthony Gonzalez.

Powers - A great character player that just gets it. He understands that he is going to have to work hard, and is using that as motivation to get better and stronger. He also buys in to the concept of the team, and has natural leadership abilities. He is a lead by example type of player that can do some amazing things athletically.

Lichtenfels – You ever find a player that you just can't help, but to root for him? When I first saw Dane I thought of a kid from two classes ago who escaped Ohio and ended up at Iowa named Trey Stross. Sorry Buckeye fans, but he should've never been allowed to leave the state because he was very good. I see Dane as a smaller version of Stross. Ironically, Iowa was one of the first teams to really pursue Dane as well.

Rocco Pentello

Greene - My pick for the sleeper of this class. Rocco is blessed with great hip turn and has excellent balance. Will be a starter at safety before he leaves Ohio State. Son of a coach. Played both ways at Westerville South, but his future is as a defensive back. Another camp performer who earned an offer. He is a winner and will surprise people with his speed and overall athleticism. An almost sure candidate to red-shirt.

Powers - Pentello was the surprise of this class. While other staffs were sniffing around C.J. Peake and Sidney Glover the coaches were just up the road watching his development. An ankle injury ended his senior season, but the coaches saw enough to offer him a spot.

Lichtenfels – I'm not going to lie, this is the one recruit who I am still not completely 100% sold on, but I will give him every chance to prove me wrong. He gets bonus points from me for having a name like "Rocco" that exudes toughness. I have really only ever seen Pentello play offense. He is a great athlete and a tough kid. He is also a leader and you have to have kids like that for continuity.

Donnie Evege

Greene- I've seen him play the least of any of the 15 signees. In the times I've talked with Donnie it's easy to see why he'll be successful. He's a great kid from a wonderful family. Great speed. Another cornerback. Great work ethic and he comes from a highly successful high school program. Will enroll early and take part in spring practice.

Powers - We have all seen the bonuses of coming in early and participating with the team in the spring. Evege will have a leg up as far as adjustment is concerned. When talking Buckeye football it is important to remember the goal. They need to trust that the players they put in the system will be where they are when they are supposed to be there. I think that the staff trusts that Evege is their man for the job.

Lichtenfels – Once again, I was not ecstatic when I saw Ohio State take Evege, but after I saw him at the Ohio State senior camp I understood why he was offered so early. Evege has very fluid hips and he is lightning quick, two very good characteristics for a cornerback.

Devon Torrence

Greene- I saw him as a sixth grader and immediately projected him as a future Buckeye recruit. Devon was born to be a Buckeye. He never considered any other school. He is also a great baseball player. Plans to play both sports at Ohio State. Will start out at cornerback but could also play wide receiver. He has speed to burn and is an amazing athlete at 190-pounds. Could return kicks as a true freshman. A real team player who is very unselfish. He just wants to win. A perfect Jim Tressel recruit.

Powers - Torrence was a guy that had to grow on me personally, because after initially projecting him in my own mind as a wide receiver after watching his sophomore film, I was more enthused about his potential as a defensive back.

Lichtenfels – Almost everytime I watch Torrence on film I confused myself more. I cannot figure out where I would actually play him. I have come to the conclusion that he should play both ways. Yes, I am greedy, but he is a special athlete.

Eugene Clifford

Greene - Probably the top player in this class. Could be a standout wide receiver but will probably play defensive back. A physical player who can run. Gene has the athletic ability to play corner but would be a devastating safety. He is a difference maker. Gene fits the mold of the type of player Jim Tressel loves to recruit. A future NFL player.

Powers - Clifford is a tremendous talent. He came in to his own during U.S. Army All-American Bowl week, and intercepted two passes in the game. He has unnatural ability as a defensive back prospect. He can do some things that are unreal. I thought he was a safety, but after watching him more closely I believe he has the talent to play corner on the next level.

Lichtenfels – Gene is the best prospect in this class. You could make a strong case for him to be the top player in the state. I remember a Buckeye named Chris Gamble who was magical and I would put Gene Clifford in the same category. Put him on offense and he'll make plays. Put him on defense and he'll make plays. It's not often that you come across a prospect like Clifford that can play safety, but is athletic enough to play corner as well.

Brandon Saine

Green - Brandon literally has speed to burn. Might be the fastest Buckeye from the first day he suits up. He's also a physical player who weighs 215-pounds. I think he sees the field next year and Ohio State moves him around from running back to wide receiver in an attempt to get him the football in space. He hits the depth chart immediately.

Powers - Saine is a dangerous player any time he touches the ball. It is nice to have one of the countries fastest players in your own state. People are always clamoring for Ohio State to secure Mr. Football, and this year they were happy to oblige. He led Piqua straight to a State Championship. He is a championship caliber track athlete. The only thing I can not figure out is why there are no more celebratory posts on other teams message boards about "that" player from Piqua that runs a 4.3 forty.

Lichtenfels – I was in the camp of folks who questioned if Saine was a true RB prospect. I think Brandon got made at all that talk and he played this year with a chip on his shoulder and showed everyone that he is indeed a RB and a very good one at that. The buckeyes can use Saine in the return game as well to make up for the loss of Ted Ginn.

Boom Herron

Greene - Boom played in a great program at Warren under legendary coach Thom McDaniels. Boom earned his offer with a great camp performance. Sound familiar? He has a lot of things he does well, but nothing stands out as exceptional. Boom loves to run inside and knows how to make the first defender miss. He has a chance to be in the two-deep next year, but a red-shirt year would probably be beneficial.

Powers - Boom is a player that is going to get the job done. He has a high ranking, but people still have questions about his potential at the next level. I say do not worry. He will be fine. At 5-foot-10, 190-pounds, Herron, is built like a ton of bricks and hits the lane as fast as any of the other players that people consider dominating.

Lichtenfels – I have liked Herron since the first time I saw him and I still think he is the best RB in the state. I may be the only one who thinks that, but we'll see what happens. He hits the hole with a great burst and just beats people down.

Evan Blankenship

Greene - The only offensive lineman taken in a year where some people thought Ohio State needed two or three. Evan has camped at Ohio State for a few years and the staff was able to see him a lot. An almost certain red-shirt who will get the time to develop in Jim Bollman's system.

Powers - The lack of film makes it hard to for me to project what I have not really seen. I know the staff had an up close look at him in summer camp sessions, and that they offered him as early as some of the other top linemen. As the lone offensive linemen in the class, he would be well served to study the book on Kirk Barton.

Lichtenfels – One thing that really caught my attention in the national championship game was the fact that Ohio State was actually too big on the offensive line. Yes, that sounds like an oxymoron, but the big line for the Buckeyes was no match for the smaller, quicker Gators. Blankenship is a road grader, but he does have decent feet and can move. Blankenship is a great character kid who has performed well at Ohio State's camp and earned an early offer, so the staff sees great potential in him.

Jermale Hines

Greene - Jermale keeps the Glenville pipeline open. Will start out at safety, but I see him eventually playing linebacker. Hines has great speed for his size and is a playmaker on both sides of the ball. Hines could see the field next year on special teams. He's 215-pounds, right now and has the frame to get to 235-pounds. A superior athlete with good football instincts.

Powers - Hines is an explosive athlete that could play any number of positions on the next level. Most project him as a strong side backer, but he has been mentioned as a safety as well. I think ultimately he is a linebacker, but he is the rangy type of player that could probably be successful at any position.

Lichtenfels – Personally, I would not be surprised at all to see Jermale Hines become the cream of this entire class. I don't care what position that he plays, he will have a big impact at The Ohio State University before he leaves. Hines is an exceptional athlete who should fill out and eventually settle in at an outside linebacker spot, but he will likely be looked at as a safety at first.

Nate Oliver

Greene - Nate gets lost in the shuffle because he committed so early. I think he ends up growing into a linebacker and tops out at around 230-pounds. A smart, tough player who starred in a great high school program. Will probably see the field next year on special teams. Nate is a leader who helped recruit this class and has the ability to be a captain some day.

Powers - Oliver is a leader on the field that can come up and lays the wood. Some question his speed, but after watching him first hand at the Herbstreit Challenge I feel that he has the speed to be very good. I think he is a perfect fit at strong safety.

Lichtenfels – For the same reasons that Bill mentioned you have to like Oliver, not only did he help the Buckeyes recruit a lot this years class, he has also has begun to work on the class of 2008 as well. I first saw Oliver as a junior and I could immediately tell he was a player. He did look to be a step slow, but as he began his senior season, but he did flip the switch and became a complete player. I agree that he could grow into a backer, but why?

Solomon Thomas

Greene - He is a pure pass rusher at defensive end who has a lot of upside. Needs to add weight and strength and should be a starter at Ohio State in a few years. Getting Solomon helps ease the blow of losing Ben Martin. An almost certain red-shirt candidate in 2007. He has a chance to be a great one some day because he has great physical skills.

Powers - Thomas will fit in nicely as a weak side defensive end, where he can play on the ball or drop back in to coverage. The Florida Gators ate Ohio State up with speed on the edge in the National Championship game, and Thomas brings that type of "speed" skill to the edge for Ohio State. Yet another high character guy. Thomas gets my vote this year for "Most Likely to be a Captain."

Lichtenfels – Just a few short weeks ago we were all debating about how thin the depth was on the defensive line at Ohio State, but after adding Thomas and Heyward it doesn't seem all that bad now. Solomon is an athlete and you can see that rather quickly when you see him. He needs to get bigger and he will. He is a versatile who can cover the flats or drop back into the hook zone, but he can also get after the quarterback off the edge.

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