"The thing that really sticks out is the real emotion and the real relationships that these kids have built," Peterson said. "It is a special class."
Of course, Peterson said, the class could be even more special should one quarterback – you probably know his name – from Jeannette, Pa., eventually settle on Ohio State, as he did not do yesterday. Peterson said it would be "fair to say" that the Buckeyes would like to finish the group with a signal caller – of which there are only two on scholarship at the moment – but that this group is a keeper nonetheless.
The man who doubles as the OSU tight ends coach pointed to two players who will line up beside his charges in the trenches and who also happened to be donning scarlet Ohio State home jerseys at the announcement shindig held in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Those two, offensive linemen Michael Brewster and J.B. Shugarts, enrolled early for Winter Quarter class after being part of a group known as the "Brew Crew" that helped the Buckeye class stock what is now a 19-member class with five five-star players and eight Scout Top 100 players.
"You can see the emotions that those kids have and their families," Peterson said. "They're awful proud to be Buckeyes, and I'm biased because I'm a Buckeye, so to have a group of big guys stop up front and put that on their shoulders was neat to see."
The early commitments of Brewster and Shugarts, who each pledged their services to the Buckeye program in April 2007, are part of a growing trend in college football in which players earlier decide their college choices. By the end of April, Ohio State had commitments from those two five-star linemen and another in Dublin, Ohio, native Mike Adams. Peterson attributed to the rise of that phenomenon to the increased knowledge the players have of both the schools in play and the recruiting process.
"(First, there are) the camps, and many kids are taking unofficial visits on their own is kind of a trend in nowadays," Peterson said. "Kids are doing a lot more research on universities through the Internet and computers. When they do that, they are more informed."
Peterson and his recruiting crew, which includes assistant recruiting coordinator Greg Gillum and supervisor of internal operations Amy Burgess, scheduled just 26 official visits for players to come to campus. Considering that Ohio State will finish with 19 or 20 commitments, the rate of players who checked out OSU and decided to become Buckeyes is quite high.
For that, Peterson credited all that the university has to offer, noting that the official visits are among the most important tools the coaching staff has in its repertoire.
"It's when kids get on campus is the key element," Peterson said. "We can recruit kids and we can talk about things over the phone and they can do the research, but again, what are they experiencing for real when they get here?
"When you talk about the faculty and the energy that those people talk about their programs, and you have (director of athletics) Gene Smith get up about his passion for athletics and what he wants student-athletes to be, and you have (director of player development) Stan Jefferson in our community outreach programs talk about all the exciting things that these guys are going to do besides football.
"Really, if you look at the big picture, football might just be a little piece of it. It's a whole experience that kids have when they come on campus."
As for the missing quarterback, this is the first time in Peterson's tenure that one of the players the Buckeyes are after has chosen to push his recruitment past signing day. Although that fact makes it impossible for the book to be closed on what is right now Scout's seventh-ranked class, Peterson said it won't have any real effect on the staff because, after all, recruiting is never over.
"People ask ‘When's your down time? When are you going to take vacation?'" Peterson said. "There never really is that word in recruiting. It really is a constant, so we're recruiting today just as hard as we will tomorrow and keep moving."