Take It To The BANK: '09 Class Will Rival '08

Ohio State fans were blessed to receive a veritable embarrassment of riches when the 2008 recruiting class was all said and done, but the Buckeyes did not stop there. Bill Greene takes a look at how the class of 2009 could be on pace to surpass the mark set by last year's class.

The 2008 Ohio State recruiting class will be forever remembered as a special group of young men. Five-star athletes were the rule, not the exception for this great class. The class featured the top offensive linemen in the country, added needed bulk up front defensively, and finished with a superstar in Terrelle Pryor.

The 2008 haul was truly a class for the ages, but in recruiting you are only as good as your next commitment. Can Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes hope to match last year's great group in 2009? At the halfway point, I'm going out on a limb and say "YES." Take it to the BANK.

Recent additions of Melvin Fellows, Darrell Givens, Jordan Hall and Dorian Bell have now added a lot of "stars" to the Buckeye recruiting class, on and off the field. When the new rankings come out soon, look for the 2009 Ohio State recruiting class to take a huge leap in the rankings. But can they match the great class of 2008? Absolutely. Why? Because there are more stars coming. BANK that.

We've seen spring game weekend turn into a Buckeye recruiting fest the past two seasons. Last year it was the commitments of Mike Brewster and J. B. Shugarts on successive days. This past week we've seen Ohio State pick up commitments from not only the four sweet high school players, but the addition of transfer Justin Boren cannot be discounted either. Clearly, the Tressel train is, once again, steamrolling down the tracks at breakneck speed. Ohio State has become the "NOW" program in recruiting circles. Forget about USC, LSU and Florida. It's time to look to Columbus to see the momentum brewing in recruiting.

With at least 12 more spots open, who finishes out the class of 2009? Who are the remaining contenders to help the Buckeyes compete for the top recruiting class in the country?

Right now, it's time to look to the state of Florida and the Buckeyes are clearly doing that. Expect to see Buckeye assistants Luke Fickell and Paul Haynes soaking up the Florida sun over the next month. Coaches are now allowed out on the road, and coupled with the fact that Florida permits high school spring football, it's safe to say the Buckeyes will maintain a steady presence in the sunshine state over the next few weeks.

Five Florida kids visited Ohio State last weekend and all came away impressed. Of Vald Emilien, Duron Carter, Brandon McGee, Jaamal Berry and Victor Marc, all but Marc hold offers. I'll step out on a limb and say that Marc will get his offer in the next few weeks. That offer will be followed by a quick commitment. The Buckeyes also have interest in Carlos Hyde, Frankie Telfort and James Green. I can realistically see Ohio State landing four of the above mentioned players, but that number could go higher. Assuming they land four, that pushes the scholarship number to 16.

On the offensive line it appears the Buckeyes would like to take four. I don't believe the Boren transfer alters that number. Jack Mewhort has committed and I expect Marcus Hall to be a Buckeye when the smoke clears. I see them landing two more from a group of Corey Linsley, Chris Watt, Eric Shrive, Nate Klatt and Chris Freeman. They might take five if ended up being the right combination. Four would take us to 20, leaving five more spots to fill.

The final five are very tough to figure. I'm counting Glenville's Jonathan Newsome as in the class of 2009. I believe tight end Reid Fragel is at least odds of 50% of being the class. I find it hard to believe Zach Boren won't be joining his brother at Ohio State. Cincinnati defensive lineman Pat Muldoon holds an offer and is said to be quite high on Ohio State. For the sake of argument, let's put him in the class. So who grabs the final spot? Who are the candidates? Michigan wide receiver James Jackson reportedly had a great spring game visit and holds an offer. Arizona defensive lineman Corey Adams is said to have a strong opinion of Ohio State. Two defensive backs, E.J. Banks and D.J. Hunter are supremely talented football players and would look good in a Buckeye uniform. In nothing more than a guess I'll give the final spot to D.J. Hunter.

This list leaves out a quarterback and it's hard to see this class not taking one. If a player like Morgan Newton out of Indiana is available it would be hard to not grab a quarterback. There is also the possibility of late offers to players like Ryan Spiker, Tank Carradine and Adam Bellamy. The Buckeye staff has been in contact with all three. As you can see, the spots are going to be tight over the next few months.

With the ability to take 25 expect to see this Buckeye recruiting class pick up a lot of stars still out on the table. When the final rankings shake out, I guarantee you will find Ohio State near the top of the college football world once again. Take that to the BANK.


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