I met Andrew at the recent Scout.com combine in Pittsburgh. At the same combine was a sophomore linebacker from Canton South named Mike McKinney, a nice prospect in his own right. McKinney had never been to any type of combine before and I wanted him to attend to get a feel for how this process works, to prepare him for next summer's camp season. The Scout combine was LOADED with unbelievable talent and I thought McKinney was looking a little overwhelmed. I asked Andrew if he wouldn't mind talking to McKinney to make him feel a little more comfortable. Sweat could have "big-timed" McKinney. He could have flat out said "No." He didn't do either. He went up to the kid, introduced himself, and proceeded to show McKinney how to work out, how to take his drops and how to approach a combine. In the process he also showed everybody what a fine young man he is. I told my good buddy, Bob Lichtenfels, that no matter where Sweat decided to attend college, that I would always root for the kid. Obviously I'm thrilled Sweat will be a Buckeye. Great talent plus great character can't lose.
I'm hearing the Bucks are in great shape with superstar QB prospect Terrelle Pryor. The nice thing for OSU is that they can ride this out until signing day. The approach will be Pryor or nobody. The competing schools may not have this luxury. If, say West Virginia, needs to add a QB in this recruiting class, how long can they chase Pryor before turning their attention towards another QB? The Buckeyes can hang until the end, because there is no need to add a QB. This advantage might allow Jim Tressel to out-last everybody else. Plus, how could Pryor not want to play behind Brewster, Shugarts and Adams? Add in Stoneburner, Posey and Torrence and the offense looks lethal.
My colleague Greg Powers and I share a real love for finding "sleeper" recruiting prospects. We talked at the Elite Skills camp on Cleveland about how shocked we were that Mentor Lake Catholic lineman Chad Hounshell had zero offers. That has now changed. Hounshell is currently on an "offer-a-day" run, and holds 6 offers, including Colorado and Kansas. There will be more. Hounshell is a Big-10-type recruit. Great size and footwork and you can see on film that he kind of enjoys pounding people. To quote Bob Lichtenfels, "You can't teach mean." Hounshell plays mean.
What about some of the other top Ohio prospects?
D. J. "Man on Fire" Woods is still raging. This fire ain't dying down any time soon. New offers from West Virginia and Wisconsin. Big camp appearances coming at Ohio State and Penn State. I remember talking with "Fire" in February about his lack of offers. He was disappointed but not defeated. He was on a mission to prove he was a legit D-I player. He has succeeded. He also LOVES the nickname I gave him.
Lakewood St.Edward's Justin Staples now has 17 offers and I see Michigan State possibly drawing away from the field. Classmate and hoop superstar Delvon Roe is pushing "J-Stape" to join him in East Lansing and I could see that happening. Taver Johnson, from Ohio State, is still in contact. A camp appearance is possible and is a must to receive a Buckeye offer. Maryland is a new shooter in the Staples sweepstakes.
Now that Hounshell is officially off the "sleeper" market, I have another one to mention. Powers and I are both high on Northwest wideout Teddy Robb. He made the all-combine team at the Elite Skills camp and can play D-I football. No offers yet, but he qualified for the state track championships and OSU assistant Darrell Hazell told Robb he wanted to meet up with him this weekend. They speak often. Robb also plans to head to Notre Dame to see the Fighting Irish staff this weekend after the track meet. How the MAC coaches aren't offering Teddy Robb is shocking to me. He will be on a D-I roster some day.
You guys know I like Zack Stoudt, the "Dublin Rifle," as one of the top QB's in the state. Stoudt, son of former NFL QB Cliff Stoudt, was injured last year and alternated with another QB, so there isn't a lot of film out there on him. The college recruiters know about him though. This week "Rifle" heard from West Virginia, Boise State, North Carolina State, Northwestern, Duke and Oregon. Boy, is that Dublin Coffman team loaded with D-I prospects. Watch out for Coffman linebacker Steve Gardiner. A great senior camp and Ohio State just might be offering. Gardiner has a West Virginia offer and is a terrific looking prospect.
How can we talk recruiting without some Youngstown Cardinal Mooney news? Mike Zordich to Penn State is done. I suspect Danny McCarthy just might "shake up the world" and not choose Ohio State or Notre Dame. Word is that Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh has made a favorable impression on "D-Mac." Danny has visited there twice in the past few months, on his dime, and Stanford is a strong player for McCarthy. Super linebacker prospect Taylor Hill will attend Ohio State's senior camp hoping to earn an offer. If he doesn't get offered, look for the Oklahoma Sooners to garner a verbal from this kid. I can't forget one of my favorite kids, Brandon "B-2 Bomber" Beachum. The "Bomber" will be visiting Florida State in 3 weeks and the recruiting combo of Bowden and Amato are in hot pursuit of this very talented player. Florida State, along with Oklahoma and LSU, are players in this race. A strong camp could result in the Buckeyes stepping up to the plate and offering the "Bomber." I would love to see the "Bomber" wearing Ohio State colors for the next 4 years. Offer him now and find a position later.
A couple of highly skilled athletes are still in the picture for Ohio State also. Johnny Adams of Akron Buchtel, "Mr. Excitement", and Columbus Eastmoor's Isaiah "Sweet" Pead will be coming to OSU's senior camp looking to battle the "Man on Fire" for a specialist offer. My money is on the "Man on Fire" to out-distance "Excitement" and "Sweetness." All 3 are quick, explosive, dangerous athletes. I believe "Fire" will prove to be the better defensive back and will get the nod over the other 2. There is a chance that none of the 3 gets offered and I see no way OSU takes more than 1.
Other developments have Lexington lineman Marc Stevens picking up 6 MAC offers. I see Stevens as a Big-10 recruit. His teammate Ben Boerner is starting to get a lot of attention as combo linebacker/safety. Boerner had a great camp showing at the Scout camp in Pittsburgh. The most interesting development is Hawaii now recruiting Akron Hoban linebacker Will Fleming. Fleming is the son of Akron defensive coordinator Jim Fleming, and a visit to Hawaii would be something to take advantage of, wouldn't you think?
Nothing changed lately on the Cleveland Glenville front. It was good to see Ted Ginn Sr. at the Elite Skills camp. Coach has had some health issues lately and is hoping to be able to go to at least some of the famed bus tour stops. Cordale Scott will probably commit in the winter, as the Glenville kids usually do. The next Glenville kid with a Buckeye offer that doesn't attend Ohio State will be the first. I do see "Shaq" Rowell being high on the Buckeye recruiting radar. If he does what the OSU staff is looking for weight-wise and grade-wise, I believe "Shaq" becomes a Buckeye. I'm very high on another Tar-Blooder prospect, Donnie Fletcher. This defensive back might get squeezed out of the Buckeye picture because of low numbers, but Donnie can play and will play at a high level D-I school, like maybe Nebraska.
I'll close with a tell-all, well kind of, recruiting story. It seems a certain out of state recruit, who I won't mention, visited Ohio State for the spring game and impressed nobody with his cocky, obnoxious attitude. He stayed a few days and managed to draw the ire of Buckeye players, Buckeye recruits and Buckeye family members. At a party after the spring game, he also made some rather tacky comments about the girlfriend of an Ohio State defensive lineman. He should feel lucky he was able to leave Columbus with his parents still able to recognize him. It's safe to say I know one recruit who won't be coming to Ohio State. I can't tell you his name, but he'll be committing to a high-profile school and that school won't be Ohio State. You can TAKE IT TO THE BANK.