TAKE IT TO THE BANK…

TAKE IT TO THE BANK… Ohio State is not done offering scholarships to the 2008 Ohio kids just yet. We are only in early May. Last year at this time Devon Torrence, Taurien Washington, Boom Herron, Dane Sanzenbacher and Rocco Pentello did not have offers. Camp is still the best prospect evaluation tool out there in my opinion. Let's look at who is in the running for a Jim Tressel offer.

First off let's check out D. J. "Man on Fire" Woods. Woods is collecting scholarship offers the way some of his classmates collect baseball cards……. in bunches. Woods has drawn the attention of the Buckeye staff, with JT telling him he's the number one Ohio cornerback and Taver Johnson being in close contact. D. J. has had a great combine season and has made himself into a national recruit. At the Scout combine in Pittsburgh he put up sick shuttle and 3-cone times, and performed like an OSU recruit should. Simply put, D. J. Woods has had a better month than Tiger Woods. I put Woods at even money to receive a Buckeye offer. A great OSU camp seals the deal and Woods should have a great camp. In the "athlete" competition I have to give Woods the lead over Isaiah Pead and Johnny Adams to score an Ohio State offer. The other two are still in the game though.

We've heard so much about Brandon Beachum for so long that it seems he grew into almost legendary status among recruitniks. Then the anticipated Buckeye offer never materialized and now I'm seeing BB referred to as "over-rated" and "out of the mix" for an Ohio State offer. Don't believe it. He is still highly thought of in Ohio State's eyes. I'm not certain he ends up at linebacker at the next level. I think he could be a Big-10 tailback, and a darn good one. I've watched him closely the past few combines and I'm also not convinced he won't be a nice outside linebacker. With Mike Zordich, Andrew Sweat and Shayne Hale currently in the Buckeye sights, Beachum will have to blow up in camp, hope at least one of the above-mentioned trio go elsewhere and remain patient with the Buckeye staff. My best guess is Beachum is still "in the mix" for a Buckeye offer.

There are two other linebacker prospects I'm very high on, Doug Rippy and Steve Gardiner. Rippy looks the part, 6'3" and 217 pounds, and has long arms and very quick feet. He could play either outside backer spot. Rippy took so many reps at the Scout Pittsburgh camp I thought he was getting paid a commission on each one. If you hesitated a moment, Rippy took your rep. He wants it and I love that in a player. Columbus Linden-McKinley isn't a glamour program but Rippy will be a heavily recruited player, especially since the long-awaited film is a reality. Gardiner put up outstanding measurables in Pittsburgh, like a 4.44 forty, a 4.50 shuttle, and a 7.43 "L" cone time. He probably could play safety but I'm guessing he gets to 225 pounds and plays the Wil backer in college. Do I think these 2 guys are getting Buckeye offers? Not really, but Jim Tressel has fooled us all before.

Now that Kyle Long has officially pulled himself out of the Buckeye O-line sweepstakes, look for OSU to turn to Josh Jenkins to fill out the desired 4-man haul. If Jenkins won't leave West Virginia are there any Ohio kids in the mix? Not quite sure these two guys are in the OSU plans, but Marc Stevens and Chad Hounshell have placed their names in the "keep an eye on them" basket. Stevens did not have a great Scout combine in Cincinnati, but has come back with a vengeance, and an attitude, in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Not making the all-combine team in a weaker Cincinnati combine pushed him to greater heights in Pittsburgh, against far tougher competition. I love seeing how kids respond to some tough times and Stevens responded like a man. Hounshell is a name I did not hear much about, until the Cleveland and Pittsburgh affairs. Now I'm hearing he could be a Big-10 recruit. He looks the part at 6'6" and 302 pounds. He moves well for his size and his frame could hold more weight. He's one to look out for in the future.

It was neat to see the Scout national guys marveling over DeVoe Torrence. I get accused of being a Torrence homer all the time, and I plead guilty, but this kid put on a show in Pittsburgh. In a combine full of stars, DeVoe shined brightly. Just think about a 215-pound kid putting up a 10' 3' standing broad jump. That's EXPLOSION and he has it. Could he be a great linebacker at Ohio State? Most assuredly. Will he be a great tailback at Ohio State? No doubt about it. Easy to see why JT and the boys promised DeVoe would be a runningback and there would be no other backs recruited. Oh and he ran a 4.55 forty on field turf in gym shoes, not spikes. Here is the early favorite for Mr.Football in 2007. He will put up HUGE numbers at Massillon on both sides of the ball.

How about a few random recruiting nuggets? Pennsylvania star linebacker Andrew Sweat should be making his college choice fairly soon. I have no clue where he'll end up, well maybe a small clue, but OSU commits Jake Stoneburner and DeVoe Torrence ere working Sweat pretty hard at the Pittsburgh combine and they think Sweat is a Buckeye. Who am I to argue with them? Danny McCarthy told me he will be narrowing his list to 3 by the end of May. I can almost assure you he will have Ohio State and Notre Dame make the cut, but I'm clueless on the third team. McCarthy was offered by Louisville this week. That gives him 18 offers. He and teammate Mike Zordich were nominated for the U.S. Army game in San Antonio. Nominations went out this week and I think Kyle Rudolph and Mike Adams are Ohio's best bets to appear in the game.

Akron Hoban's Wil Fleming is one of the more underrated players in Ohio and was visited this week by Ohio State, Michigan, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan State and Purdue. Fleming will put on 30 pounds and be a dynamite linebacker at the next level.

Justin Staples added another offer this week from North Carolina State. He will camp at Ohio State and try to earn an offer. If no Buckeye offer transpires look for Staples to be tough to pry away from Michigan State. Spartan hoop recruit Delvon Roe is trying to get his fellow St. Ed's teammate to join him in East Lansing. Staples was also nominated for the U.S. Army game this week. Staples also picked up offers from Toledo and Marshall this week.

Cardinal Mooney outside linebacker Taylor Hill picked up offers this week from Illinois, Wisconsin and Purdue. He had previously been offered by Oklahoma and LSU and others. You don't hear much about Hill with Beachum, Zordich and McCarthy getting a lot of attention, but Hill's offer list tells you all you need to know about him. Hill is Ohio State-worthy, trust me.

Just because Ohio State has had a fabulous start to the 2008 recruiting class, don't think for a minute that they're done offering Ohio kids. Camp will tell the tale and produce at least one Buckeye offer and probably more than that. As always you can TAKE IT TO THE BANK.


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