Ben Buchanan became the first player of the class of 2008 to commit to the Ohio State Buckeyes. Buchanan's commitment took a lot of Buckeye fans by surprise, because most were expecting a commitment from Mike Adams or Mike Brewster, the big offensive linemen.
Following Buchanan's announcement, Buckeye fans were soon treated to a volley of commitments that impressed even lifelong followers of recruiting. Mike Adams set off the first bomb in March by committing to Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes. The Dublin Coffman star offensive lineman has drawn comparisons to Orlando Pace and his commitment was exactly the news Buckeye fans were hoping for.
"I knew Ohio State was the place for me when I attended their camp after my sophomore season," Adams stated. "I really liked it there and even though I looked around a little bit, I knew I wanted to play for Jim Tressel and Jim Bollman. We had a large gathering that went out to dinner on my birthday. Coach Tressel was there with a few other coaches. Mike Brewster was there with his family. So were Jake Stoneburner and his family. It just seemed like the right time, so I went ahead and committed. Everyone was pretty excited for me, but I knew I wouldn't be the last one of the group to commit to Ohio State. I just wasn't sure when he would announce it, but I knew Mike Brewster was going to be next."
The friendship between Mike Adams and Florida's Michael Brewster began at Ohio State's summer camp the previous year. Adams was impressed with Brewster's talent and began the process of trying to see if he and Brewster could play college football together.
"I met Brewster at the Ohio State summer camp," he said. "I could see he was a great player, but I didn't know who was recruiting him. We were just sophomores and he told me about all the other schools that were looking at him, so I knew he must be pretty good. We kept in contact after camp and became good friends. We always talked about going to school together. The next thing I knew Brewster introduced me to J. B. Shugarts, from Texas. Brewster met J.B. at a camp and I started talking to him on the computer. Then we started talking by phone and he became part of the group. Brewster also told me about Kyle Long. He said how great it would be if we all could play together. I started believing it might happen."
Even though Adams and Buchanan were the only public commitments, there was much going on behind the scenes to build a great recruiting class. Another key part of the puzzle was Adams' teammate at Coffman, Jake Stoneburner. Ironically, even though he didn't have an Ohio State offer, Stoneburner was doing his part of the recruiting as well.
"Jake and I were up at Ohio State visiting with Coach [Jim] Bollman," Adams continued. "Jake mentioned a wide receiver from Cincinnati named Devier Posey that was really good. Coach Bollman really liked Devier too. Jake played basketball against Devier, so I got his number from Jake and started calling him. Devier knew he wanted to go to Ohio State because it was close to home. Devier is a big family guy and he wanted his mom to be able to come see him play. It seemed like we had another guy for our class. I remember telling Brewster about Devier Posey and how well he'll fit in with the rest of us. It looked things were really rolling at that point."
What began to take place was something that was basically unheard of in football recruiting. A bunch of high school stars were going to build their own class of teammates by assembling not only great players, but great people as well. Even Mike Adams was surprised at what was taking place.
"It just started happening," Adams explained. "We would just meet people on the internet or at basketball games, and we just kept recruiting for Ohio State. Brewster and I decided that if we were going to play together that we should just go ahead and get the best players to come with us. Coach Tressel really encouraged us. He said he'd never seen anything like it before and they felt it would be easier to land someone if they knew they would have friends here to be teammates with. ‘
"I remember when Brewster met Andrew Sweat in Florida. He told me wanted Andrew, so I started talking with him. He came to Ohio State to visit, so Jake and I had him come out to Dublin to hang out. We started doing that with all the recruits we wanted. I met DeVoe Torrence up at Michigan. I remember Brewster telling me he saw DeVoe's film up on Scout.com and [Jim] Bollman loved DeVoe, so we really pushed him to join us. DeVoe told me he was going to whatever school I went to. I knew he was going to be a Buckeye long before he committed. We saw Nathan Williams at Ohio State and the coaches told us he would be getting an offer, so we stayed real close to him. Garrett Goebel was someone that I met when he came to visit. His family came and met Jake and I and we hung out with his brother and some friends."
If you think teammate Jake Stoneburner was a big key to this recruiting class, you are correct. Adams discussed the importance of adding Stoneburner to the Buckeye family. Mike Adams felt all along that Stoneburner was a player needed on the field and wasn't at all surprised to see the star wide receiver offered by the Buckeyes.
"I really felt Jake was going to be offered all along," Adams said. "Jake was looking at other schools in case Ohio State didn't offer, but he wanted to be here at Ohio State with the rest of us. He was just too good of a player to not get offered. He has been a big part of this recruiting class. He was recruiting guys even before he got his offer. He gets involved with the skill players and leaves the big guys to Brewster and me. He can relate to those guys really well."
Finally, Mike Adams admitted that the internet played a big part in helping them put this class together. From MySpace to Facebook, the players communicated often with each other. They watched recruiting videos on Scout.com and hunted down players they wanted to be their future teammates. Adams said even the nickname "The Brew Crew" became a source of amusement to the recruits.
"It's funny that it got called "The Brew Crew" on the internet," Adams said with a laugh. "At first, J.B. and Mike started talking to me about joining "Block O." That was kind of our nickname for us. Then we started seeing this "Brew Crew" stuff, and we think it's really funny. We were wondering where that name came from. There's no jealousy about it or anything at all. I think it's great to have something like that to identify us all."
In the next edition of "The Making of The Brew Crew" we will look at another key member of the 2008 Ohio State recruiting class. It's amazing that this recruiting phenomenon has taken on a life of its own. Hopefully this inside look will help explain how this class got off to such a great start. It's clearly not over yet, either, as we will learn in the upcoming articles.