Linemen Getting Used To OSU

Their first quarter of college is almost complete, and spring practice is just around the corner. For J.B. Shugarts and Michael Brewster, the Ohio State experience is well under way, even though it has not included OSU's other five-star lineman, Mike Adams.

It's like the Three Musketeers without Porthos, bacon and lettuce without tomato, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle without Duke Snider.

Two of the three five-star members of Ohio State's 2008 offensive line recruiting class are on campus taking classes, something they've been doing since early in January when OSU's winter quarter began. However, the third member of the group, Mike Adams, was not able to enroll at Ohio State before spring, meaning the big offensive tackle will not be on campus until spring quarter starts in late March.

It will be then that the highly publicized group of Adams, Michael Brewster of Orlando, Fla., and J.B. Shugarts of Klein, Texas, are together at Ohio State just in time for spring practice to begin. The two Buckeyes already on campus said they can't wait for Adams to come to the OSU campus to complete the group.

"I'm really looking forward to that," Shugarts said. "I wish he could have come now but just based on school and stuff he couldn't have made it. I can't wait until he gets up here just so we can start working together as a line unit and get to know each other even better."

Classes for Brewster and Shugarts began Jan. 3, with Adams due on campus March 24 for spring classes. At that point, observers will get their first look at one of the best hauls of offensive linemen pulled in during Ohio State history. Though Brewster will be handicapped by offseason shoulder surgery, he's looking forward to the group being united in school.

"It'll be good," Brewster said. "It's just going to be a lot of fun. I can't wait. I think we're really going to have a chance to be a great line."

Until then, the two already in school will continue on with their classes, with Shugarts saying he's majoring in communications, prompting one local scribe to tell him not to become a sports writer. Brewster, on the other hand, has had to get used to the Columbus winter and said he spent the first two weeks in Ohio's capital battling an illness thanks to help from line coach Jim Bollman.

When Adams arrives, he will be accompanied by high school teammate Jacob Stoneburner, a 6-5 wideout who also starred for Coffman. Stoneburner, who was one of the early commitments to the OSU class along with Adams, Shugarts and Brewster, said he has talked to Brewster and said that the Florida product is already enjoying his OSU experience.

"He says it's really not a whole lot different," Stoneburner said. "It's actually a lot of fun because he says his parents aren't around telling him what to do. He's just working out, hanging out with friends. He said it's a really great time and he loves it, so I can't wait to go now."

For his part, Adams said he's looking forward to joining not just his recruiting class but the linemen already at OSU with whom he's developed relationships.

"I know all the linemen there," he said. "Alex Boone, Steve Rehring, Bryant Browning – all those guys. Knowing those guys hopefully will make it a little bit easier for me to get acclimated."

Adams finished the year ranked as the No. 2-ranked offensive tackle according to Scout, while Brewster was the top-rated center and Shugarts was the No. 7 tackle.

Though efforts to add another highly rated lineman – such as Kyle Long or Josh Jenkins – to the group were unsuccessful, this group has the ability to go down as one of the best recruiting classes for linemen ever at OSU. The last large group OSU pulled in included three-star prospects Rob Sims and Doug Datish, two-star lineman T.J. Downing and one-star center Nick Mangold in the class of 2002.

All that group did was produce three captains and four starters of at least two years, with Mangold going on to the NFL as a first-round draft pick and Sims starting in the 2002 national championship game.

"Those ended up being four pretty good players for us," Bollman said. "Played a lot of ball, a lot of very good ball. But I've never had three guys rated as high as these guys."

Such impressive credentials compiled by the trio has had many wondering if the group will find playing time during their freshman campaigns of 2008. While many prospects rated as highly as the three would prefer to walk into situations in which early playing time is an obvious proposition, this group comes to OSU with four of five starters returning from the 2007 offensive line.

However, Shugarts said he's looking forward to the fact that such quality linemen will be at OSU when spring practice does start.

"I'm actually kind of happy because there's more people here because if you learn from the best, that's only going to make you better," Shugarts said. "If we don't play next year and we get redshirted, it's ‘Oh well, at least we got to come here and work out with the best people.' "

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